Archive for September, 2012

2013 CCNMP Study Group announcement

September 30, 2012

Time to make the preliminary announcement concerning our 2013 Study Group plans… Please pass this along to anyone who might be interested

CCNMP Study Group 2013 Seminar in the Woods.

Mission Statement: The purpose of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National
Military Park Study Group is to create a forum to bring students of the
American Civil War together to study and explore those events in the fall
of 1863 that led ultimately to the creation of the Chickamauga and
Chattanooga National Military Park. The intent is to use the indispensable
resource of the battlefields themselves as an outdoor classroom to promote
learning and study of the Campaign for Chattanooga, and to build interest
for an annual gathering that will in time examine all aspects of the
Campaign. Additionally, we hope to bring students and serious scholars,
both professional and amateur, to the field for to share insights and
knowledge about the battles.

Tour Leaders: Jim Ogden, Park Historian, and Dave Powell

This year we are also very pleased and honored to announce that Dr. William Glenn Robertson will be joining us as a co-host. Glenn’s expertise on these battlefields is unmatched by anyone in the civil war community, and we are delighted to have him along.

Date: Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Note: Friday’s tours will involve a tour bus. We will be charging a small fee for use of the bus. See below.

Friday Morning: 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Re-opening the Tennessee River- Part I.

By Bus, we will examine the lifting of the Siege of Chattanooga in October 1863. This will be our first ‘post-Chickamauga’ tour, as we begin to explore the complexities of the precarious military situation for both the Union Army of the Cumberland and the Confederate Army of Tennessee. In the morning we will focus on Moccasin Bend and Brown’s Ferry.

Park at the Visitor‘s Center. The bus will depart and return from there.

Lunch Break:

We will not be returning to the Visitor’s Center for lunch, as this would take at least an hour out of the touring day. Instead, we will stop in downtown Chattanooga, near Market and Broad. From there we have a range of lunch choices and, for those who bring their own, plenty of places to picnic along the waterfront.

This means that whatever you need for the day, be prepared to bring it with. We will not have access to the cars at Lunch.

Friday Afternoon: 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Re-opening the Tennessee River- Part II.

By Bus, we will explore the engagements of Wauhatchie and Lookout Mountain. Wauhatchie was a highly confusing – and quite rare – night action involving easterners in both Blue and Gray. Elements of Longstreet’s First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, engage newly arrived elements of the Union 11th and 12th Corps, Army of the Potomac.

We will return to the Visitor’s Center at the end of the day, approximately a 30 minute trip.

Saturday Morning: 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Jay’s Mill and the opening guns, Sept. 19th.

On foot: We will revisit a topic we have not covered in several years, the opening action around Jay’s Mill. The focus will be between Brannan’s Division and the Rebels under Forrest and W.H.T. Walker. What were the intentions of Thomas and Forrest as they met and accepted the challenge of combat?

Park along Jay’s Mill Road.

Saturday Afternoon: 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hindman Attacks, September 20th

On Foot. By following Hindman’s three brigades from the point where they cross the La Fayette Road as part of Longstreet’s attack to where they overrun Sheridan’s Division in and around Lytle Hill, we will gain a better appreciation of the very southern end of Longstreet’s assault. We will encounter Union commander Jefferson C. Davis’s battered division, and then track up with Patton Anderson’s Mississippians as they deal the final blow to the center of Sheridan’s line, routing the Union XX Corps. While we have dealt with some parts of these actions before, tracking with Hindman across the entire advance is a new angle on some old explorations.

Parking (tentative) in the gravel lot at Recreational Field.

Cost: Beyond the fee for Friday’s Bus, there is no cost for tour participation. Meals lodging, transportation, and incidentals, however, are the individual’s responsibility.

Tour Departures: All tours will meet at the Chickamauga Visitor’s Center at the designated start time, and will depart from there after some brief overview discussion. We will board the bus or car caravan to the designated parking area, and from there, we will be on foot. We will be on foot for up to three hours, so dress and prepare accordingly. Tours will depart rain or shine. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, and should plan accordingly. All tours are designed to be self-contained, so participants who cannot attend the full schedule are still welcome to join us for any portion of the weekend.

Lodging and Meals: Everyone is responsible for their own lodging and meals. There are many hotels in the greater Chattanooga area, to fit most any price range. The closest are in Fort Olgethorpe, Georgia, with the least expensive in Ringgold. Each tour is designed to leave at least 90 minutes for lunch, and there are several family and fast food restaurants within minutes of the battlefield. There are designated picnic areas near the Visitor’s Center, for those who wish to bring a lunch and eat on the field.

What to bring: Each tour will involve extensive walking. Proper clothing and especially footgear is essential. Dress in layers, wear sturdy, broken-in walking shoes or boots, and be prepared for some rain, as spring can be quite wet in North Georgia. We will be walking on dirt and gravel trails, uncut fields, and through stretches of woods. The ground will be wet and muddy in places. Bring your own water and snacks.

Reading up on the subject: Many people like to prepare in advance for these kinds of events. I suggest the following works might be of help.

Cozzens, Peter. This Terrible Sound. University of Illinois, 1992. The best one-volume study of the battle.

Powell, David with Cartography by Dave Friedrichs, The Maps Of Chickamauga. Savas-Beatie, 2009.

Powell, David. Failure In The Saddle: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joe Wheeler, and the Confederate Cavalry in the Chickamauga Campaign. Savas-Beatie, 2010.

In addition to the titles above, Dr. Robertson’s five part series in Blue & Gray Magazine is outstanding on both the campaign and battle of Chickamauga.

Robertson, Dr. William Glenn
“The Chickamauga Campaign: Part I—The Fall of Chattanooga,” Blue &
Gray Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 4, November-December, 2006. {part one of
the five part Chickamauga series; Part I covers campaign activities
August 16 to September 9, 1863}

Robertson, Dr. William Glenn
“The Chickamauga Campaign: Part II—Bragg’s Lost Opportunity,” Blue &
Gray Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 6, Spring, 2007. {part two of the five
part Chickamauga series; Part II covers what turned out to be Bragg’s
abortive strike in McLemore’s Cove on September 10-11, 1863}

Robertson, Dr. William Glenn
“The Chickamauga Campaign: Part III—The Armies Collide!,” Blue & Gray
Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 3, Fall, 2007. {part three of the five part
Chickamauga series; Part III covers the actions of September 12-18,

Robertson, Dr. William Glenn
“The Chickamauga Campaign: Part IV—Chickamauga, Day 1,” Blue & Gray
Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 6, Spring, 2008. {part four of the five part
Chickamauga series; Part IV covers the actions of September 19, 1863}

Robertson, Dr. William Glenn
“The Chickamauga Campaign: Part V—Chickamauga, Day 2,” Blue & Gray
Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 2, Summer, 2008. {part five of the five part
Chickamauga series; Part V covers the actions of September 20, 1863}

Woodworth, Stephen E. Six Armies In Tennessee: The Chickamauga And Chattanooga Campaigns. Lincoln, Nebraska. University of Nebraska Press, 1998. An excellent overview campaign study.

——————-, A Deep Steady Thunder: The Battle Of Chickamauga. Abilene, Texas. McWhiney Foundation Press, 1998. Concise but very useful account of the battle, designed as an introduction to the action. 100 pages, very readable

Chattanooga-specific studies are:

Cozzens, Peter The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga Urbana
and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Sword, Wiley Mountains Touched With Fire: Chattanooga Besieged, 1863. New York:
St. Martin’s Press, 1995.

Note: Friday’s Tours will be by Bus, as we move from site to site. While the tour itself is free, we do have to pay for the bus.

Pre-registration Fee: $35 Due by February 1st, 2013

After November 5th, 2012, send to:




Frank will hold your payments. If you pay by check, note that Frank will not cash those checks until we have sufficient entries, so that if we have to refund, Frank will simply send your checks back to you.

Please also note that this fee is NON-REFUNDABLE after February 1st, 2013. Once we are committed to the bus, we will be charged the booking fee.

On-site Sign up Fee: $40

We MUST have 20 attendees registered and Paid by Feb 1st, or we cannot reserve the bus. Once we confirm the minimum, you will be able to join the tour the day we depart, for late add-ons. If we do not meet the minimum, we will car-caravan for Friday’s tours.

149th Recap

September 24, 2012

It’s been a good week.

I got back from Chickamauga mid-week, after Jim Ogden’s Jay’s Mill talk on Tuesday night. The battle walks this year were more in-depth than I have seen in previous years, a nice mix of detail and overview that appeal to me, and I think, to the rest of the audiences we saw this past week. We had some big turnouts, with no less than 57 people attending our Viniard Field walk on Saturday.

Chris Evans asked for some comments on the walks, and so I will try and recap those I attended or participated in.

On Saturday morning, I followed Mr. Ogden down to Thedford’s and Dalton’s (Hunt’s) Fords. Jim talked about the crossings there by Buckner’s Corps, (Stewart’s and Preston’s Divisions) and how tentative they seemed. Bragg’s original plan was to mass three corps (Buckner, plus Hood and Walker) across West Chickamauga Creek by early on the 18th, and then pivot southwest to strike the Union flank at Lee & Gordon’s Mills. Thanks largely to Minty and Wilder, that did not happen. Buckner, however, faced no real opposition on the 18th, and most of his time was taken up with waiting for other Rebels. only a brigade from each division managed to get across the Creek by first light on the 19th. We discussed Buckner’s unwillingness to take much iniatitive, and also the geography problem created by using these two fords – a big northward bend in the Creek at Hall’s ford means that Buckner was depoying in a cul-de-sac, and would have to shift position quite a bit in order to get at any Yankees.

On Saturday afternoon, we tackled Viniard Field. This is a hard walk to do in the time alotted, given the back and forth nature of the fighting here. We did four stands, and covered things in pretty fair detail, I think, but any way you slice it the fight there is a confusing one. I was surprised that we had such a large turnout, and pleased that they all stuck with us all the way through.

On Sunday Morning, I tagged along on part of Jim’s walk discussing Breckinridge and his attack on the morning of September 20th. I had to break away after about 15 minutes to go sign books in the bookstore, and as much fun as that is, I would have liked to follow Jim. he did tell me that the group got into a bit of a discussion on the employment of Hardee’s tactics vs. Casey’s tactics within the Army of the Cumberland, which sounded interesting. In a nutshell, the old tactics called for all the regiments in a brigade to line up side by side, while using Casey’s, the regiments would form in two lines, one behind the other, in more of a square formation.

At midday, I led a walk looking at the “the Fateful Order Of the Day.” This one spent time at the Brotherton House and then at the Wood divisional Tablet on the west side of Brotherton Field – more talk than walk. I like to focus on the largely ignored presence of Alexander McDowell McCook, and the impact of two other orders that I think usually get overlooked in any discussion of Wood. Rosecrans’ order to Wood is well known – “Close up and support Reynolds.” This order was written at 10:45 a.m., delivered at about 10:55, and being executed by 11:15 or 11:20 – with Longstreet attacking between 11:15 and 11:30, to disastrous (for the Federals) result.

Less well known are two orders written at 10:10 and 10:30 a.m., from Rosecrans to McCook, both of which were received by McCook at about 10:50 or 10:55 – probably literally within minutes of McCook riding up to find Wood getting his order from Rosecrans. The two earlier orders informed McCook that Rosecrans was sending Sheridan to Thomas, and also that the right flank of the army was about to be drawn back west and north. In short, Rosecrans was shifting his entire line. With the order to Wood seen in that context, McCook’s haste can be seen as a little more understandable, if still a disaster in the making.

When I first started studying Chickamauga, I accepted the Wood-as-Snidely-Whiplash style villian of this story, but both Dr. Robertson and Jim Ogden have, through their own takes on the issue, challenged me into revising my thinking. Now I think there isn’t a villian, per se, just a bad situation unfolding dangerously quickly.

Lee White’s Sunday evening walk focused on Cleburne’s night attack on the 19th. Lee outlined the situation that led to the attack, and led some discussion on whether it was a good idea. he explained the difficulties concerning night attacks in general, and finished up with General Smith, the 77th Pennsylvania, and the story told by their tablets on the field. Lee was tired, having played artilleryman all day in Poe Field, but I thought he rose to the occaision very well. It was very dark when we finished, which set the tone nicely.

The Park Superintendent, Cathy Cook, attended all the walks on Sunday. I managed to chat with her a little, and hope to have further opportunity to do so in the future.

I think the 150th is on track to be very interesting indeed.

149th Anniversary – Updated

September 9, 2012

My schedule has firmed up for the coming festivities

Waiting for Hood…

Between 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, I will be tag-teaming with Jim Ogden on a ranger walk in Viniard Field, where some of the battle’s bloodiest fighting occurred.

On Sunday the 16th, between 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., I will be discussing “Breakthrough In Brotherton Field” the critical moment of Tom Wood’s departure right as General Longstreet attacked.

I will also be doing book signings each day.

Plus I will be wandering around, hanging out with the park guys, taking in a few such walks as a tourist, and all that fun stuff. See you there…