It has been three weeks since the 2016 CCNMP Study Group concluded, and a rousing success it was.
Attendance was strong – we had about 45 attendees each for Friday and Saturday – just about the right size for a group, in my opinion. That number fits comfortably on the bus, and provides a manageable group for the walking portion on Saturday.
Friday we explored the Sequatchie Valley and Walden’s Ridge (note, the modern name is Walden Ridge, the possessive “s” seems to have disappeared) the stage for General Rosecrans’s deceptive play-acting, as carried out by the brigades of Wagner, Hazen, Minty, and Wilder. We began the day on the now much-truncated Cameron Hill in Chattanooga, and ended it across the river on Stringer’s Ridge, nearly opposite our starting point.
Friday night we added something: an evening Q&A session with Jim Ogden, myself, and Lee White. When on the bus or on the battlefield, we are often asked questions, but the answers can be hard for everyone to hear. The evening session provided a venue to do exactly that – it was also a lot of fun, and we will continue that event next year.
Saturday was spent on foot, focusing first on the difficult fight experienced by Horatio Van Cleve’s Division of the XXI Corps in the woods east of Brotherton field, and then, in the afternoon, the first half of John C. Breckinridge’s attack through McDonald Field and down into Kelly Field. We will revisit Breckinridge in 2017, exploring the second half of that action, in which various Federal units combined to expel Breckinridge’s Rebels from Kelly Field.
2016 marks the second time we bailed on exploring the new battlefield park at Resaca, for the important reason that it wasn’t open, nor could we arrange a tour. The good news is that the park projects a grand opening on May 13, 2016, and so we should be able to – at last – visit that park next March.
We once again raised a considerable sum of money, roughly $1,000. As usual, there are many worthy causes that need our help, but based on group consensus, we are focused on two:
the first is a contribution to the monument fund at Chickamauga, money that goes towards the repair and upkeep of those many monuments, markers, tablets and signboards that give the park its “outdoor classroom” aspect.
The second is the likely upcoming appeal from the Civil War Trust concerning some highly significant land preservation around Dalton. Just prior to the tour, Pat McCormick and I spent some time exploring civil war sites around Dalton, which are very impressive, but much more remains to be done. While Dalton is, strictly speaking, outside the remit of the CCNMP Study Group; the land around Dalton has great significance for the men of both armies who fought at Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and chances to save important land can be fleeting.
As I make those donations on behalf of the group, I will post updates here.
This is now the 12th, 13th (or maybe even the 14th) annual event. Ironically, I don’t have a great head for dates, at least modern ones – go figure. I had no idea, when I began this effort, that the event would become so successful, so popular, or so long-lived. Thanks to all who attended, and who made the weekend special.
And I would be remiss if I did not extent special thanks to Charlie Banks, who is fast becoming the official trip photographer.
Next year in Chattanooga!