• Cannons overlook the City of Chattanooga from atop Lookout Mountain

    Chickamauga & Chattanooga

    National Military Park GA,TN

"A Monstrous Proposal" - Cleburne's Proposal to Arm Slaves

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Date: January 9, 2014
Contact: Kim Coons, 423-752-5213 x139

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to attend a special ranger-led talk about a radical proposition made by General Patrick Cleburne in 1864. This 30 minute program will take place at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center on Saturday, January 18, 2014, at 2 p.m.  

Sometimes after the shock of a devastating loss, seemingly far-reaching ideas are brought forth as solutions. The same could be said after the loss of Chattanooga in November 1863. Confederate General Cleburne advocated that some slaves be given a form of emancipation in return for military service as an answer to the severe manpower shortages that confronted the Southern armies. On January 2, 1864, in Dalton, Georgia, Cleburne presented his proposal. It was met with a firestorm of resistance, with General Howell Cobb noting, ""You cannot make soldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day you make a soldier of them is the beginning of the end of the Revolution. And if slaves seem good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong."You cannot make soldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day you make a soldier of them is the beginning of the end of the Revolution. And if slaves seem good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Join a park ranger to learn more about this shockwave that rippled through the Confederacy.

Did You Know?

Battlefield monument

The four Union generals given credit for bringing an end to the Civil War (Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, and Philip Sheridan) were all in Chattanooga in the autumn of 1863.