Chickamauga – the 149th Anniversary

I intend to be at Chickamauga from September 15th through the 18th, for the 149th Anniversary of the battle. I have volunteered to do some interpretive walks, and will probably set up a book signing. The park usually assembles some very good interpretation efforts every year, and I try and attend, but this is the first year i know far enough in advance that I can volunteer my time.

I hope to see some of you there…


11 Responses to “Chickamauga – the 149th Anniversary”

  1. Chris Evans Says:


    I know this is off topic but I don’t know where else to ask you.

    What do you think of ‘Memoirs of a Dutch Mudsill’ by John Otto of the 21st Wisconsin and his account of Chickamauga? I’ve been reading it recently and have been impressed by his accounts and how he really doesn’t pull punches when talking about himself or his fellow soldiers. It really seems to me to be one of the best personal accounts to come out of the Army of the Cumberland.


    • Dave Powell Says:

      Chris, Otto’s narrative is solid. It is a memoir re-written from a wartime journal, so it is more immediate than many such memoirs, and also more accurate. I use it quite a bit, and find his descriptions of action to be useful. He retains a sense of the tactical details of his regiment’s movements, and they match well with other accounts. “Fighting for Liberty and the Right” the diary of William Bluffton Miller, 75th Indiana, is another very good account, and pretty honest. His description of September 19 and 20 runs to several pages. An outstanding account along these lines is still unpublished. It is the Journal of Captain William Boyd, 84th Indiana, and is out in California in an archive there. It is another re-written diary, and is very detailed. He pulls no punches, but manages to tell his story with touches of sardonic humor. Dave

      • Chris Evans Says:

        Thanks for the reply. The Boyd diary looks like it would be a good book to publish.

        Otto is quite a good writer. His descriptions can be so detailed that it is quite easy to try to visualize what he is talking about. I really enjoy that his descriptions are more than ‘We had a big battle on the 19th and 20th and lost quite a few men. Retreated back to Chattanooga’.


    • Nathan Towne Says:


      I was browsing through some of Dave’s older posts and came across an exchange between the two of you where you said that you were considering writing a biography of Bragg. Is that something that you are still considering? I haven’t yet read Sam Martin’s bio and I have heard that it has value but the subject still seems wide open for a very detailed study, even handed study that incorporates the scholarship of the last 40 years since McWhiney’s 1st volume of “Confederate Defeat” was published.

      It is surely a massive undertaking though.

      • Chris Evans Says:

        I’ve really thought about it. I haven’t really put pen to paper yet on it. Maybe a fictional rendering would be easier for me to write.

        I think like you said that this is a undertaking that is not to be taken lightly. I would really like to see him examined in a fair and detailed light. I would really like to see his battle decisions really looked at in detail like Lee or Jackson are depicted in Eastern Theater literature. I’d like to know where he was and what exactly he was doing almost every hour of his battles from Shiloh to Bentonville. I’d really like to see something done on his thought process.

        All of this assembled with excellent maps. I still can’t believe McWhiney didn’t go ahead and finish his two volumes. Hallock doesn’t even come close in the type of detail I want on Bragg at Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.

        I thought the depiction of Bragg and Rosecrans in W.J. Wood’s ‘Civil War Generalship: The Art Of Command’ was a fair, interesting, and analytic view of them. I would like something like that except in detail.


      • Dave Powell Says:

        Martin’s recent biography of Bragg’s is much better than Hallock’s, but still falls a little short, I think. Martin is heavily reliant on secondary sources, and most of what isn’t secondary comes straight out of the OR. Not that using the OR is bad, but there is a lot of material available to go a lot deeper than where Martin has taken things. Martin also suffers from very crude maps. Dave Powell

      • Nathan Towne Says:

        I also want to write a biography (of William Bate) and have wanted to for the past few years, but I am also somewhat intimidated by the magnitude of the project as I want to cover his entire life in detail. I have also been putting it off because of my age (19) as if that is an adequate excuse.

        Like you I would love to see a phenomenal bio of Bragg written that covers his personal and proffesional life fairly, yet analytically. Naturally length could become a major issue though. A multi-volume biography may be necessary in a definitve day by day study.

        It is obviously entirely your call but an outstanding bio of Bragg would be an awesome contribution to American Civil War literature.

      • Nathan Towne Says:


        I appreciate it. I just got myself a copy.

      • Nathan Towne Says:


        That isn’t a ringing endorsement. I have heard Martin is very sympathetic of Bragg in his bio, which isn’t neccesarily a bad thing, I think you are fairly sympathetic of Bragg as well but in Hallock’s bio for example others suffer extremely unfairly as a result of her sympathy to her subject. The $50 dollar price tag is also unreasonable.

        By the way as Chris and I are talking about our future plans in historical writing can you give us any valuable tips as an established author and historian that as possibly inexperienced, yet passionate potential authors we could benefit from? Things that you have learned as a writer and a as a historian that surprised you, mistakes you made and learned from e.t.c.?


  2. Bill Byrne Says:

    Dave, will you be attending the 7:00PM walk on the 18th (the schedule was just posted; I think Steve Ogden is leading that one). If so, see you there!

    Best wishes,
    Bill Byrne

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