Midwest Archeological Center
  • 3D Rendering of Shiloh Mound

    Southeast Archeological Center

    Cultural Resources National Park Service

SEAC Featured Project: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

During the summer of 2012 a crew of archeologists from SEAC conducted archeological investigations at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park with the assistance of a group of volunteers from the Chattanooga Area Relic and Historical Association. The project consisted of both systematic shovel testing and metal detection at the Brotherton Farm and Jay’s Mill areas of Chickamauga Battlefield.

The Battle of Chickamauga took place on September 19-20, 1863. Gen. Bragg of the Confederate Army of Tennessee attacked Gen. Rosecrans Union Army of the Cumberland. Chickamauga was one of the few battles of the war in which the Southern Army shared, or actually had an advantage in manpower. As the battle raged on the 19th, Gen. Rosecrans accidentally created a gap in his lines opposite an attacking column under Gen. Longstreet. Longstreet’s men were able to pour through the gap turning the union flank and forcing many union soldiers to flee the battlefield. The gap was directly across from the headquarters of Gen. Rosecrans, who had only a few batteries of reserve artillery and no infantry at his disposal. After a quick defense, Confederate soldiers overran Gen. Rosecrans position forcing him from the battlefield. The Battle of Chickamauga resulted in over 30,000 causalities, the second largest of any battle during the war.

In the years following the war, northern Georgia saw an increase in population, and in Chickamauga, 24 new farmsteads were established on the battlefield alone. A growing concern over the preservation of the battlefield eventually led to the creation of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 1890. An 1896 Act of Congress stipulated that the grounds, administered by the War Department, would be available for military encampments. In 1898, Camp George H. Thomas was constructed on the grounds of Chickamauga as part of the build-up during the Spanish-American war. At the outset of the war, Chickamauga battlefield was designated as a meeting place for several regiments of cavalry making their way from the north and west to Tampa, Florida. The camp eventually housed over 70,000 volunteer and regular soldiers making it the largest of its kind in the United States.

The project succeeded in uncovering new information about Spanish-American war encampments and this often overlooked period of American history.