• Cannons overlook the City of Chattanooga from atop Lookout Mountain

    Chickamauga & Chattanooga

    National Military Park GA,TN

150th Anniversary Ranger-Guided Programs

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 - SPECIAL PROGRAMS:

4:30 PM -The Fight at Alexander's

On September 18, 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg initiated his attempt to move northward beyond the Union left flank near Lee and Gordon's Mill. As Confederate Major General William Walker approached Alexander's Bridge, he was met by elements of Union Colonel John T. Wilder's "Lightning Brigade." Join a park ranger as one of the elements of General Bragg's first efforts is discussed, and how this unexpected delay affected subsequent action in the area.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin near the intersection of Alexander's Bridge Road and Viniard-Alexander Road. Parking will be along Alexander Bridge Road and Viniard Road.

6:30 PM - "Occupied After a Brief Skirmish:" Buckner Seizes Thedford's and Dalton's Fords

Braxton Bragg's designated crossings of the steep-banked Chickamauga on September 18, 1863, included Thedford's and Dalton's Fords. Alexander Stewart's and William Preston's divisions of Buckner's Corps were to cross there. This 2½ hour, three mile evening-to-night hike to the creek and back will examine the action at these two key but often overlooked crossings of the "River of Death."

This program will begin at East Viniard Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 - SPECIAL PROGRAMS:

Dawn (6:30 a.m.) -The Dawn Skirmish at Jay's Mill

After a nervous night in the woods west of Reed's Bridge, the dawn contact Dan McCook's Illinois and Ohio Brigade had with Confederate cavalry allowed the men of that brigade to later be amongst the claimants of the honor of having fired the "first shot" in the Battle of Chickamauga. During this ninety minute night-to-day dawn walk, learn about the encounter near a steam saw mill, small spring, and a burning bridge that did so much to shape the coming day.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin near the intersection of Jay's Mill Road and Brotherton Road.

8:30 AM - "Not a Lone Brigade"

Receiving a report of an isolated Confederate brigade in the area of William Jay's sawmill, General George H. Thomas ordered Colonel John T. Croxton's brigade forward to capture this lone brigade. What Croxton discovered was not a lone brigade, but rather several brigades of Confederate cavalry and infantry. Croxton's contact with these Confederates brought about an engagement that spread several miles south throughout the day.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at Winfrey Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

10:30 AM - "Like a Pack of Wolves"

Croxton's contact near Jay's Mill brought Absalom Baird's Union Division and St. John R. Liddell's Confederates to the area. Learning of activity in his front, Colonel Benjamin Franklin Scribner hesitated to fire knowing that Union troops were advancing in that direction. However, these troops were Liddell's Confederates who were about to pounce upon Baird's Division "like a pack of wolves."

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at Winfrey Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

12:30 PM - The Battle Moves South

By late morning on September 19, a very different battle from that envisioned by Bragg and Rosecrans was unfolding in the forests west of Chickamauga Creek, a battle that seemingly had taken on a life of its own. "March to the sound of the guns," "be governed by circumstances," were often the only guidance offered by higher command. In this walk, National Military Park historians will examine the mid-day action of Cheatham's Confederate Division and that of Johnson's and Palmer's Federal Divisions in the area of the Brock Field.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at Winfrey Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

2:30 PM - "Like Driftwood in a Squall"

Gray-clad soldiers commanded by Major General Alexander Stewart waded through their retreating brethren intending to strike Union troops east of the LaFayette Road, pushing them aside and gaining control of this important connector to Chattanooga. Stewart committed his brigades to the fight, where one found brief success but was forced to retreat after firing most of its ammunition and finding no support, the other was met with physical exhaustion after intense fighting, and the final being swept from the field with a barrage of Union artillery fire. Join National Military Park historians for a ninety minute walk that examines the assault and repulse of Stewart's men.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at the intersection of Dyer and Glenn Kelly Roads. Parking will be available at the program site.

4:30 PM - "A Pity to Kill Men So"

Further south on the battlefield, soldiers engaged in fighting near the Viniard Farm. Confederates moving west, through the woods toward the LaFayette Road, found Union soldiers ready to sell their lives dearly to maintain their positions. However, overwhelming numbers of Southern soldiers pressed them back across the road. These Confederates took cover in a ditch as they began taking fire from Union soldiers on the opposite side of West Viniard Field. Ironically, this ditch that the soldiers believed would provide them protection became a haven of death and destruction. Participate in this ninety minute walk with National Military Park historians as they explore the fighting around the Viniard Farm.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at East Viniard Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

6:30 PM - "The Scene Was Thrilling - Indeed"

As day turned to night and the sounds of battle receded from the farms and forests, small arms and cannon fire suddenly erupted on the north end of the battlefield. Confederate soldiers commanded by Major General Patrick Cleburne swept forward, toward Winfrey Field in a final effort to turn the Union flank and force it south, away from Chattanooga. As a result of the smoke from the day's battle and the increasing darkness, Cleburne's assault soon deteriorated into chaos. However disjointed, Confederates were somewhat successful as they pushed Union troops back and took control of Winfrey Field. Take part in this ninety minute walk as National Military Park historians cover the night fighting in and around Winfrey Field.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin at Brock Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 - SPECIAL PROGRAMS:

Dawn (6:30 a.m.) - Sounds of Silence

General Braxton Bragg ordered his Confederate army to resume the battle with a "day dawn" attack against the Union left. However, the sounds of silence at day dawn indicated that Bragg's commanders had failed to carry out his orders. It was almost four hours until the Confederates made their "day dawn" attack.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in Winfrey Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

8:30 AM -- Thomas Builds a Line

While initially developed in the overnight hours before dawn, the line in George Thomas' sector on the Union left really took form in the first hours of daylight on September 20. Join National Military Park Historians for a ninety minute walk that examines the Union Kelly Field line where it can be argued Thomas really earned the sobriquet "The Rock of Chickamauga."

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in North McDonald Field behind the Visitor Center. Parking will be available at the program site.

10:30 AM - The Vice President Attacks the Left

The opening Confederate attack on September 20 was led by a man just 2½ years out of the office of Vice President of the United States-John C. Breckinridge. For independence-minded Southerners it was hoped that his attack would open a day that would bring a major success for the Confederacy. In this ninety-minute walk, join historians examining the initial promise and subsequent fate of an attack by a Vice President.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in North McDonald Field behind the Visitor Center. Parking will be available at the program site.

12:30 PM - The Breakthrough

In the late morning hours of September 20, 1863, confusion and a mistake sowed the seeds of destruction for the right wing of the Army of the Cumberland by opening a gap in their lines and shifting troops about. By pure luck these moves occurred just as General James Longstreet ordered his half of the Confederate army to attack.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in Brock Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

2:30 - "Keep Ahead of Everything"

A disaster of epic proportions befell Rosecrans' army when the "breakthrough" occurred. Thousands of Union soldiers fled before a massive wave of Confederates, who burst into the Dyer Field in what one Confederate commander described as; "a scene of unsurpassed grandeur," as a few Union Commanders and soldiers tried desperate to hold on and stem the tide.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in West Kelly Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

4:30 - The Stand at Snodgrass Hill/Horseshoe Ridge

While one-third of the Army of the Cumberland began withdrawing toward Chattanooga, other Union troops rallied on Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge determined to halt the surging Confederates. These "Rocks of Chickamauga" held this key ground throughout the afternoon in one of the most historic and significant engagements of the Battle of Chickamauga.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in West Kelly Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

6:30 - Withdrawal and Victory

The sun settled toward the western horizon through the smoke of a third day of fighting but that day and the fight were not yet ended. Most of the tens of thousands of men who had been engaged over the last three days were on the move. A "final" outcome was still to be or might yet be determined. On this final 150th anniversary evening of the Battle of Chickamauga, join National Military Park historians and examine the close of the fight that then still flared at points along the line as both sides made their last moves in what proved to be one of the most costly engagements of the Civil War.

The 1½ hour program/walk will begin in West Kelly Field. Parking will be available at the program site.

**Comfortable, supportive footwear, clothing appropriate to the weather, and a bottle of water are recommended for ALL programs. A flashlight is recommended for early morning and evening programs.**

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