Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Things to Do

  • Hans Heg's memorial - Ditch and Wilder beyond
    Hans Heg's memorial - Ditch and Wilder...
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  • Indiana Light, 18th Battery/Lily's and the Ditch
    Indiana Light, 18th Battery/Lily's and...
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  • Carlin's 21st Illinois fore of Bradley's 42nd IL
    Carlin's 21st Illinois fore of Bradley's...
    by mtncorg

Most Recent Things to Do in Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

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    SOUTH CAROLINA MONUMENT

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    South Carolina Monument
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    South Carolinians fought here in Brigadier General Joseph Kershaw’s brigade. Over 1500 survivors of Gettysburg marched with the brigade at Chickamauga. The men showed up early on 20 September marching with Humphrey’s brigade – the two divisions made up McLaw’s division though commanded by Kershaw (McLaw and his two other brigades did not make it to the battlefield that day). Together, they made up a fifth line in Longstreet’s assault on the Federal center.

    Once the Federal line had been routed at the Brotherton Field, the different division of the assault began pulling in different directions – Bushrod Johnson’s division pushed west past the Dyer Farm in a reasonably coherent fashion, but Law’s division took three separate paths.

    Following behind was Kershaw with Humphrey’s men trailing. Law’s third brigade – Robertson’s Texans – attacked northward up the Glenn-Kelly Road. Just as they seemed to be clearing Federal fronts from their front, Harker’s brigade was lead into them with flanking artillery fire from the west – left side of Robertson’s men – supplied by Battery M 1st Ohio Artillery. Robertson’s brigade – 12:30 pm – came apart retreating into the woods 200 yards to the south. General John Hood, the corps commander, was seriously wounded trying to rally the Texans, his own former brigade command. His wounding further hampered Confederate command control in this area of the battle.

    Kershaw directed his brigade at Harker – Harker’s men were lined up from the glenn-Kelly Road up to the knoll where the South Carolina Monument now sits. A quick 15 minute battle saw Kershaw’s men triumphant and Harker was forced to retreat to Snodgrass Hill. Kershaw’s brigade became disrupted in victory, drifting in an uncoordinated fashion into the next Federal line that had just been cobbled together on Horseshoe Ridge. Their first assault – 1:15 pm – was quickly pushed back.

    Regrouping, the brigade tried again 30 minutes later with little more success after which Kershaw pulled his men back to await reinforcements. By 2:30 pm, Kershaw’s men attacked a third and final time, but Federal reinforcements made the difference. With this third repulse, Kershaw pulled his men back to the Vittoe Road. Their long day was over.

    The monument sits high on the knoll with the Battery M 1st Ohio Artillery monument nearby, both memorializing events of that afternoon 20 September 1863. From the knoll you can also see a group of unit markers along the ridge sitting atop the west edge of Dyer Field. It was here that Major John Mendenhall gathered together as many artillery pieces as he could in an attempt to stop Longstreet’s men. He placed some five batteries of guns – 26 pieces in all – along the ridge in a grand battery similar to the one he had amassed at Stones River. At Stones River his guns had open range to fire at the oncoming Rebel troops. Here, his guns could not fire because of all the retreating Federal troops fleeing from the Brotherton Field actions. Unable to fire too late and with no infantry support, Mendenhall’s gunner were quickly overrun lonsing 14 of the 26 pieces.

    Kershaw’s brigade 2nd 3rd 7th 8th 15th South Carolina regiments 3rd South Carolina Sharpshooter Battalion 1591 present/504 casualties

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    GLENN-KELLY ROAD: LYTLE’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    89th Illinois Regimental monument
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    1ST BRIGADE – 3RD DIVISION(Sheridan)/20TH CORPS (McCook)

    William H. Lytle grew up in Cincinnati, graduating from Cincinnati College with a degree in law. He passed the bar and started a legal practise before going off to serve in the Mexican-American War for some 10 months. Returning to Ohio, Lytle resumed his law practise and was elected to the State Legislature, as well.

    With the onset of the Civil War, Lytle became the colonel of the 10th Ohio, being wounded in early fighting in the region that would become West Virginia at the battle of Carnifex Ferry 10 September 1861. Recovering, he became a brigade commander and was wounded once again at Perrydale – 8 October 1862 – this time also being captured. Soon, thereafter, he was exchanged and promoted to brigadier general and leading a brigade.

    Lytle’s brigade had been left behind on 19 September to cover the creek crossings at Lee and Gordon Mill while the other two brigades of Sheridan’s division had marched north to help in Viniard Field. Overnight, Lytle brought his men north to reunite with rest of the division in the area around the Widow Glenn House – Wilder’s Tower, today. Sheridan received instructions late in the morning of 20 September to move his men towards the Federal left and Thomas.

    Laiboldt’s brigade was put into action when they ran head into the middle of Longstreet’s assault. Lytle was to move up in support. Laiboldt’s brigade quickly came apart and it was now up to Lytle. The men formed a semicircleatop the small hill west and south of the southern reaches of Dyer Field. Initially – noon – they were able to stop the Rebels of Deas’ Alabamians who were winded after running through two Federal lines and chasing the survivors back over a half mile. Walworth’s (Bradley’s) brigade lined up to the right of Lytle just as Patton Anderson brought up his fresh brigade to reinforce Deas. With Confederates lapping the left flank, Lytle’s brigade came apart. Lytle was mortally wounded trying to rally the 36th Illinois. The remainder of his brigade reformed along a ridge a couple of hundred yards to the west. They were then marched off the field by Sheridan a little after 12:30 in a vain attempt to circle around Missionary Ridge to reunite with Thomas.

    Here in the woods between Dyer and Glenn Fields are the regimental monuments of 36th and 88th Illinois, 21st Michigan and 24th Wisconsin, as well as the shell pyramid remembering Lytle. The pyramid was only recently repaired. In the past, shell pyramids were not cemented and thus worthy of souvenir collectors. The shells from Lytle’s monument were used as replacements for the other monuments which left Lytle’s monument with only a pyramidal base.

    Present 1593/casualties 441

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    GLENN-KELLY ROAD: LAIBOLDT’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    73rd & 44th Illinois - markers for 2nd & 15th MO

    2ND BRIGADE – 3RD DIVISION(Sheridan)/20th CORPS (McCook)

    Colonel Bernard Laiboldt had originally helped to raise the 2nd Missouri, a regiment that evolved from a pro-Unionist militia largely made of German-born soldiers. They had fought in Missouri in the early stages of the war and then moved with the 15th Missouri to join the Army of the Cumberland with Laiboldt as their commander. He was promoted to brigade commander to replace Colonel Frederich Shaefer who died at Stones River. Paired with the Missourians were two regiments from Illinois – the 44th and 73rd. The 73rd Illinois was known as a “persimmon regiment” meaning they never saw a persimmon grove that could not stop them. Laiboldt had commented that with the 2nd Missouri’s love of rails and the 73rd Illinois’ love of persimmons, he could capture Richmond with these two regiments by simply putting a pile of persimmon trees and rails in Richmond’s public square.

    Sheridan’s division had started 19 September at Lee and Gordon Mill. As the battle progressed, McCook ordered Sheridan to bring up two of his three brigades. Marching behind Bradley’s men, Laiboldt’s brigade deployed across Lafayette Road on the south edge of Viniard Field at about the time Benning’s troops were being routed out of the Ditch of Death -5:15 pm. While Bradley’s men went forward, Laibolt’s held their ground, reuniting with Bradley after his attack wasquickly stopped. Sheridan’s division retired for the night to thearea around the Widow Glenn’s House – Wilder Tower.

    Late in the morning of 20 September, Sheridan’s division stirred. With Laiboldt’s brigade in the forefront, the`division began moving northeast, up the Glenn-Kelly Road to help reinforce Thomas and the Federal left. Their timing was brutal though as they began their march just as the Federal center collapsed and the division walked right into Longstreet’s assault. Laiboldt was moving his men in a columned stacked formation – as opposed to a line formation which covers more ground. Corps commander Major General Alexander McCook, aghast at what lay ahead, ordered Laiboldt to go in and try and stem the flow. Laiboldt asked for time to redploy his men into a line formation but McCook told him to go in as he was. The Persimmon Regiment – 73rd Illinois – led the way down the hill moving towards the Glenn-Kelly Road. They really ‘t have didn’t have much of a chance to get off much in the way of fire as the remnants of other Federal brigades – Carlin’s and Martin’s (Heg’s) – masked their field of fire. Deas’ brigade of Hindman’ s division had no such problem. Arrayed in their linear formation, they also quickly laped the flanks of Laiboldt’s men and their volleys ripped apart Laiboldt’s compact regiments. His routed troops overran the headquarters of Rosecrans on the west side of Dyer Field which led to both Rosecrans andMcCook being driven off the battlefield around noon.

    Laiboldt’s Illinois regiments have placed their monuments in their positions opposite the Tan Yards where they cam to grief on 20 September 1863 – 44th Illinois and 73rd`Illinois

    Present 1100/casualties 384

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    LAFAYETTE ROAD: VISITOR CENTER

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    Description of Battlefield Monument development
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    Located near the intersection of Reed Bridge and Lafayette Roads, the Visitor Center is a good place to start your discovery of the Park and the battle that took place here. General information can uncover some of the confusing events. Other information relates to the development of this the first Federal battlefield to be preserved – 1890. There is an informative film and a large collection of guns large and small to attend to.

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    LAFAYETTE ROAD: JOHN BEATTY’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Updated Sep 8, 2013
    Monument to Captain Lyman Bridges' Battery

    1ST BRIGADE – 2ND DIVISION(Negley)/14th CORPS (Thomas)

    John Beatty was an Ohio banker before the war. He joined the 3rd Ohio as a private and soon shot up in rank. As a colonel, he led his regiment at Perryville in October 1862, being elevated to brigadier general and brigade command shortly afterwards. At Stones River, he had two horses shot out from under him being right in the thick of the action.

    19 September saw Beatty’s brigade covering the ford over Chickamauga Creek at Glass Mill, several miles to the south of the battlefield. They repulsed several Confederate attempts at crossing during the day until they were ordered north around 5 pm. Early on 20 September, they were sent to join Thomas’ men on the left end of the Federal line. Thomas put the brigade on the extreme left. He wanted Beatty to cover the ground all the way to the McDonald Farm at the intersection of Reed’s Bridge and Lafayette Roads. This frontage was much too large for a single brigade to cover – more like the area an entire division would cover – but Thomas was hoping to bring the rest of Negley’s division up to help in quick order.

    Negley’s other two brigades – Sirwell and Stanley – were delayed when Rosecrans ordered them to stay in place in Brotherton Field until Wood’s division relieved them. Those two brigades were not marching north until 9 am which was too late to help Beatty since Breckinridge’s division launched their attack on the Union left at 9:30 am.

    Beatty’s regiments were widely separated – the 42nd and 88th Indiana being next to Reed Bridge Road across Lafayette Road from today’s Visitor Center while the 104th Illinois and 15th Kentucky defended the fields south around where the Florida monument now sits. Adams’ brigade quickly routed the Indianan regiments who were done for the day afterwards – survivors fleeing to the west. The 104th Illinois faced Stovall’s entire brigade but was able to withdraw in better order, falling back to try and form up near where the monument to Captain Lyman Bridges’ Illinois Battery is today. On their right, the 15th Kentucky was back by two Rebel Kentucky regiments – 4th and 6th Kentucky – of Helm’s brigade. This is where the Kentucky Monument is placed today. Both regiments fell back further into the woods some 300 yards leaving Bridges’ gun behind.

    The Confederates would be repulsed, but the two remaining regiments of Beatty’s brigade were pulled back to Snodgrass Hill where division`commander Major General James Negley was. By midday, the Federal center and right had collapsed and Negley, believing he was alone on the battlefield, pulled off moost of the troops, artillery and supplies he had amassed on Snodgrass Hill at around 12:30 pm – some 2600 men plus sorely missed division ammunition trains. The remaining men of Beatty’s brigade were included. Beatty, himself, stayed and would be involved along with Major General John Brannan in forming a defensive line along Horseshoe Ridge.

    The 42nd and 88th Indiana have placed their monuments near Reed Bridge Road on either side of Lafayette Road. The 104th Illinois has its monument out in the field next to the Florida Monument.

    Present 1191 men/Casualties 284

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    LAFAYETTE ROAD - KENTUCKY MONUMENT

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    Kentucky Monument along Lafayette Road
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    Being a Border State, Kentucky supplied men to both sides at Chickamauga – some 1027 of Helms’ brigade on the Rebel side and 5402 men on the Federal side distributed among some 11 brigades. The Kentucky Monument is located next to the intersection of Alexander Bridge and Lafayette Roads. This is where at 9:45am 20 September Brigadier General Benjamin Helm’s –Helm was also the brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln – Orphan Brigade – so-called because their fight on the Confederate side took them far from their homes in the Bluegrass State – slammed into the 15th Kentucky fighting as a part of John Beatty’s brigade, Kentuckian versus Kentuckian. The 15th Kentucky was forced back in this instance, but most of Helm’s Orphans ran head into Thomas’ prepared left flank. They were repulse with heavy casualty including Helm who was mortally wounded. All Kentuckians, Blue and Grey, are remembered on this monument with all units involved on either side inscribed on the sides.

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    LAFAYETTE ROAD - FLORIDA MONUMENT

    by mtncorg Written Sep 8, 2013
    Florida Monument in McDonald Field

    Floridian regiments were found in the brigades of Colonel Robert Trigg – Preston’s division/ Buckner’s corps – and Brigadier General Marcellus Stovall. Trigg’s brigade served mainly as a reserve unit during the two days of battle with the exception of the 6th Florida attack upon the right flank of Bradley’s brigade around 4 pm on 19 September in Viniard Field. That attack was initially very successful though without reinforcement, Trigg’s men were quickly pushed back. Stovall’ brigade included two Floridian regiments – 1st&3rd Florida and 4th Florida. Along with Adams’ brigade on 20 September, 9:45 am, as a part of Breckinridge’s attack upon the left flank of Thomas, they pushed away John Beatty’s overextended brigade – the monument is placed right where the Floridians overwhelmed the 104th Illinois. The 4th Florida was on the left flank of the brigade as they turned south to get into Thomas’ rear. The brigade ran into Van Derveer’s brigade and flanked also by Dodge’s men, they were forced to retreat in the direction from which they came from at about 11:15am.

    Stovall’s Brigade – 1st&3rd Florida 4th Florida 546 present/179 casualties
    Trigg’s Brigade – 1st Florida Dismounted Cavalry 6th Florida 7th Florida 1201 present/255 casualties – most from the 6th Florida

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    WILDER’S TOWER – LONG’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Updated Sep 7, 2013
    Chicago Board of Trade Battery monument
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    LONG’S BRIGADE 2ND BRIGADE - 2ND DIVISION(Crook)- Cavalry Corps (Mitchell)

    Brigadier General George Crook brought Eli Long’s entire brigade to replace the 2nd Michigan when ehy were pushed back from the ford at Glass Mill. With only 900 men to face both of General Joseph Wheeler’s two cavalry divisions – some 5000 men – there was only so much that could be accomplished. Luckily for the Federals, topography – creek bends – limited the area Wheeler’s men could operate in. It took a couple of hours before the numbers finally forced Crook’s men back to Crawfish Springs. In the later general retreat, Long’s brigade went out in front with Post’s infantry to make sure the way was clear for the hopsital-supply wagon trains moving over Missionary Ridge to the west en route to Chattanooga.

    Having participated in the largest cavalry actions of the battle, the 1st 3rd and 4th Ohio Cavalry and the Chicago Board of Trade Artillery Battery monuments are found here near the Wilder Tower.

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    WILDER’S TOWER – CAMPBELL’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 7, 2013
    2nd Michigan Cavalry Regiment monument
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    CAMPBELL’S BRIGADE 1ST BRIGADE-2ND DIVISON(Crook)- Cavalry Corps (Mitchell)

    Colonel Archibald Campbell’s brigade – 2nd Michigan, 9th Pennsylvania, 2nd Tennessee (U.S.) – guarded the west bank of Chickamauga Creek from the Lee and Gordon Mills south to near Glass Mill. They helped to guard the many divisional hospitals that had set up nearthe good water source at Crawfish Springs. The 2nd Michigan tangled in the morning – 20 September – with units of Harrison’s brigade who outnumbered the Michiganders and took control of the crossing after a couple of hours of skirmishing. Long’s brigade was then ordered to replace the 2nd Michigan who rejoined their brigade at Lee and Gordon Mills.

    Long’s brigade was forced back by Wheeler’s two full cavalry divisions to Crawfish Springs after a sharp fight late in the morning and Campbell’s force was withdrawn from the creekbank to the Lee mansion at the Springs. The 9th Pennsylvani was sent out to the north to see fi contact could be re-established with the rest of the army. They soon found their way blocked and returned. Cavalry Corps commander Brigadier General Robert Mitchell then ordered a general withdrawal over Missionary Ridge and Campbell’s brigade served as the column’s rear guard.

    Campbell’s regiments are remembered by the monuments here of the 2nd Michigan, 9th Pennsylvania and the 1st Tennessee (U.S.).

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    WILDER’S TOWER – RAY’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 7, 2013
    1st Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment monument
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    2ND BRIGADE-1ST Div(McCook)- Cavalry Corps (Mitchell)

    The cavalry units of the Army of the Cumberland have grouped their monuments together around the Wilder Tower. Cavarly always had a chip on their shoulder regarding their importance and this can be seen in the extravagance of their monuments.

    Colonel Daniel Ray’s brigade escorted Federal supply wagon trains to Crawfish Springs on 19 September. Along with the men of Campbell’s brigade, they served as a guard for seven of the nine divisional hopsitals set up around Crawfish Springs. With the arrival of the Federal rearguard late in the morning of 20 September – Post’s infantry brigade – the hospitals, ambulatory wounded and other supply wagon trains were evacuated west over Missionary Ridge – the way north was now blocked by Longstreet’s men. Post’s men and Long’s cavalry led the way with Ray’s men in the middle and Campbell’s men guarding the rear. Wheeler’s two cavalry divisions came onto the scene about 5 pm capturing some 1000 Federal stragglers and five of the hopsitals, but Wheeler did not press the Federals ahead of him thus letting them get back to Chattanooga safely to fight another day.

    Here are the monuments to the 2nd Indiana Cavalry, the 4th Indiana Cavalry and the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry.

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    WILDER’S TOWER

    by mtncorg Written Sep 7, 2013
    Wilder's Tower and the 8th Wisconsin Battery
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    Colonel John T. Wilder had a busy career during the Civil War. A former businessman and inventor in Indiana, he had commanded some 4,000 men at Munfordville, Kentucky during Bragg’s invasion of the Bluegrass state in September-October 1862. Bragg wasted critical time bringing much of his army to bear on Wilder when he did not give way before Bragg’s advance units. Wilder, outnumbered 5:1, did surrender but the time he bought allowed Federal army commander Don Carlos Buell enough time to bring his army up from the south and beat the Rebels to the critical city of Louisville. Exchanged two months later, Wilder mounted his brigade by horse or mule by mid-April 1863 and armed his men with seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles at cost of his own men with himself vouching – eventually the Federal government would reimburse them. His Lightning Brigade had been at the forefront of the Union effort during the Tullahoma campaign and on both 19 and 19 September here at Chickamauga. Wilder’s men and other mounted infantry were similar in function to units in the past known as dragoons. Their advantage was they used seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles – cavalrymen used five-shot carbines which were shorter, had less range and were less accurate. The mobility and instant firepower made a difference in several points on the battlefield here.

    After the first day of fighting in Viniard Field, Wilder brought his brigade to the west side of Glenn Field to rest for the night. They were still in those positions to the right of Sheridan's division when that division began to pull out for a move towards Thomas and the Federal left in the late morning of 20 September. Sheridan's division promptly ran smack into Longtreet's crashing divisions and quickly came apart. Wilder brought his brigade into action on the left flank of Manigault's brigade and the firepower tore holes in the advancing Rebel ranks sending that brigade stumbling back to Lafayette Road.

    Following the success of his attack, Wilder briefly pondered an attack to the north parallel to Lafayette Road which would have cut off Longstreet’s divisions, fighting through to Thomas and the Federal left. He probably would have run into reserves that Longstreet had amassed – the divisions of Preston and Law. As it was, Wilder met up with Assistant Secretary of War Charles Dana. Dana had been sent by the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to basically spy on Rosecrans – a Democrat – keeping Washington informed of any failings. The rout of the Federal center had cast Dana adrift and he came upon Wilder. Informing him of the calamity and strongly advised Wilder to withdraw. Wilder did back off behind the Widow Glenn House – burnt to the ground by now – where he coalesced some 600 of Sheridan’s troopers – mainly the 27th Illinois – and gathered in stragglers and wagons over the next few hours. Late in the day he withdrew everyone towards Chattanooga.

    Wilder was laid low by disease after Chickamauga and had to leave the army as a result. Recovering his health, he moved to Chattanooga at the war’s end becoming a successful businessman – mine owner, iron production and machine shop – and was elected mayor in 1871. Veterans of his brigade had this stone observation tower built between 1892 and 1903 (it is slightly lower in height than originally planned because economic downturns meant a corresponding downturn in donations) in commemoration of their efforts here on 20 September 1863.

    Other observation towers were erected upon the battlefield but this is the only one remaining. The Park was run from its inception in 1895 by the Department of War until 1933 when battlefields were included into the National Park Service – Department of the Interior. Observation towers were built to allow a better study of the battlefield especially by military students.

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    WILDER’S TOWER – OTHER MONUMENTS

    by mtncorg Written Sep 7, 2013
    39th Indiana Regiment by Wilder's Tower
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    There are a couple of other monuments here not a part of Wilder’s Brigade, Rosecrans’ guard or the Federal cavalry. They include the monument of the 39th Indiana Mounted Infantry, the 21st Michigan Infantry and Battery C 8th Wisconsin Artillery. The 8th Wisconsin were here all alone next to the Widow Glenn House in the afternoon of 19 September when McNair’s brigade punched through the Union line. For a brief moment, the gunners were facing two regiments of Confederates making their way through the middle part of Glenn Field. The 8th Wisconsin was normally assigned to Heg’s brigade but had been detached by Rosecrans, himself. Wilder’s men and Harker’s brigade soon caught the Rebels on their left flank and the 39th North Carolina and 25th Arkansas quickly retreated back across into the woods on the east side of Lafayette Road rather than get cut off.

    The 21st Michigan monument memorializes the action of a group of men – from the regimental picket line (a group of men who went out in front of the main regiment to determine what sort of problems the regiment was faced with) – who had become detached from the main regiment and helped keep Manigault’s brigade at a temporary standstill near the Widow Glenn House around noon on 20 September.

    The 39th Indiana Mounted – detached from Willich’s brigade – was the main group responsible for slowing Manigault. About the same time that Wilder’s men had found mounts – April 1863 – this regiment had also horsed up. Also like Wilder’s brigade, the 39th Indiana armed themselves with seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles giving them a big firepower advantage. They had been serving mostly along with cavalry units and were coming up from Crawfish Springs where much of the Federal cavalry had been stationed to protect the field hospitals and supply trains. By holding up Manigault’s advance they gave Wilder’s full brigade time to come in on Manigault’s left and quickly peel back that brigade. Shortly after Chickamauga, the 39th Indiana was renamed the 8th Indiana Cavalry and served out the wat as basically a dragoon unit.

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    WILDER’S TOWER – HQ UNITS

    by mtncorg Written Sep 7, 2013
    10th Ohio Regiment monument at Wilder's Tower
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    HEADQUARTER GUARD ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND

    The 10th Ohio, 1st Ohio Sharpshooter Battalion (3 companies) and the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry served as the headquarter guard for the Army of the Cumberland. The sharpshooters were a sort of a bodyguard while the other two regiments served a variety of functions for the commander such as guiding various units towards new positions, collection of prisoners, guarding supply wagons, etc.. Rosecrans had his headquarter at Crawfish Springs on 18 September but moved it up to the Widow Glenn House for the 19th. On 20 September, he moved on to a knoll siting on the west side of the fields around the Tanyards and Dyer farm. The headquarters would move on to Chattanooga late in the day. The 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry elected to place their monument at the site of the headquarters for 20 September while the other two units decided on the site of the Widow Glenn House from where Rosecrans directed the Federal efforts from on 19 September.

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    VINIARD FIELD/WILDER’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 3, 2013
    72nd Indiana Regiment on west edge of Viniard's
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    1ST BRIGADE - 4 DIV (Reynolds)/14TH CORPS (Thomas)

    The brigade of Colonel James T. Wilder was detached from the divisional command of Joseph Reynolds during the days of Chickamauga. The men were able to impact events all over the battlefield and the brigade’s stories are among the more colorful to tell.

    Wilder led a varied life before the Civil War, continuing that trend throughout and after the War. Wilder had been an inventor before he donned the Blue – as was his army commander, William Rosecrans – and was open to innovation and searching out new ways to better serve as a soldier. Frustrated earlier in the war when the infantry regiment he led – 17th Indiana – was sent out to fight Confederate cavalry. Wilder reinvented the “dragoon” – mounted infantry – when he had his men mount up on mules and horses, thereby vastly increasing the range over which they could operate. Original dragoon units – there had been two in the pre-war US Army – had evolved into cavalry units instead of mounted infantry. Wilder’s men would ride – the Lightning Brigade – to where they were needed, dismount and then fight as normal infantrymen. Instead of sabers, the men carried long-handled hatchets – the Hatchet Brigade – but the other difference that made this brigade truly elite was their use of the seven-shot Spencer repeating rifle. This gave Wilder’s men a large advantage in firepower over adversaries. Other cavalrymen carried carbines which while were capable of multiple fire, they were shorter and not capable of the accuracy of the Spencer.
    On 18 September, Wilder’s men had been given the task of defending the Alexander Bridge over the Chickamauga Creek. Colonel Robert Minty’s cavalry brigade was likewise working further north covering the Reed Bridge. Like Minty, Wilder was able to delay the Rebels from crossing the creek in numbers for most of the day – 10 am until 5 pm – thus thwarting Bragg’s plan of cutting the Union army off from Chattanooga by placing his troops across the Lafayette Road. Late in the day, as Bragg’s army began to mass in truly large numbers, both Minty and Wilder withdrew their men to a position just east of Viniard Field where they stopped Rebel penetration for the day.
    Until early afternoon on 19 September, Wilder’s men skirmished from the Viniard Field occasionally with nearby Confederate units hidden in the woods to the east – men from Trigg’s brigade. About 2 pm, Davis’ division formed up along Lafayette Road next to the fields and Wilder’s men moved to a tree line on the west edge of Viniard Field to the west of the road forming a reserve backstop for the Federal infantry now attacking out in front of them.

    Several times in the late afternoon action, Wilder would use his regiments to stop Rebel breakthroughs and steady routed Federal brigades in his front: 4 pm – the 98th Illinois and 17th Indiana caught two advancing regiments of McNair’s brigade on their left flank and with Harker’s brigade moving north up Lafayette Road, the Confederates were forced to withdraw to the east as quickly as they had come; 4:10 pm – Wilder’s two right flank regiments – 123rd Indiana and 72nd Indiana – advanced through the chaos created when Barnes’ brigade (and Buell’s, in turn) were caught in the flank by the 6th Florida of Trigg’s brigade, restoring order; 4:30 pm – Robertson’s brigade routed the Federals on the east side of Lafayette Road and coming in to relieve them, Benning’s Georgians crossed the road moving into the ditch that ran through the middle of the field on the west side. Wilder’s men firing from the west edge of the field – backstopped by survivors of Jefferson Davis’ division – pinned the Georgians down while Lilly’s battery moved out and fired canister of shot down the length of the ditch forcing Benning’s men to retreat or die.

    It is here, on the west edge of the field where the monuments of the 17th Indiana and 72nd Indiana are located. The 92nd Illinois monument is in the south end of Brotherton Field where they fought detached that afternoon. The 123rd Illinois monument is in the woods east of Viniard Field where the brigade made its stand late on 18 September. The 98th Illinois is one of the few Federal regiments without a monument placed on the battlefield in memory though a unit marker does note their place here on the west edge of Viniard Field.

    Actions of the brigade on 20 September are noted under the “Wilder’s Tower” note.

    2283 men present/125 casualties

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    VINIARD FIELD: BRADLEY’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Sep 3, 2013
    22nd Illinois Regiment in Viniard Field
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    3RD BRIGADE 3RD DIV (Sheridan)/20TH CORPS (McCook)

    Colonel Luther Bradley was originally from Connecticut which was where he took an interest in things military, enrolling in that State’s militia. In 1855, Bradley moved on to Chicago. He impressed the Illinoisans enough to be made a lieutenant colonel in the 51st Illinois at the young age of 29 in 1861. By the time of the Battle of Stones River – 31 December 1862-2 January 1863, he was a brigade commander guiding four regiments from Illinois – 22nd, 27th, 42nd and the 51st. Phil Sheridan’s 3rd Division – 21st Corps/McCook – had been guarding Lee and Gordon Mills to the south of the battlefield during the day of 19 September. He was ordered north to feed his brigades into the fray to help Wood. Bradley’s men were the lead brigade. When Benning’s troops were disorganized by Wilder’s counterattack – 5 PM, Sheridan ordered Bradley forward – 5:30 PM. They were able to get as far as the midpoint of the Viniard Field east of Lafayette Road. Here they exchanged fire for a half hour with the Rebel brigades of Robertson – firing from the woods on the north side of the field – and Trigg – firing from the woods on the east side of the field. Bradley, himself, was wounded in two places and his fight was over. By 6 PM, Barnes men had withdrawn into the woods on the west side of Lafayette Road and an uneasy stillness descended.

    During the night, Rosecrans decided he wasn’t going to fight in Viniard Field the next day and he pulled back McCook’s Corps – Sheridan’s and Davis’ divisions – to the area of the Widow Glenn House – site of the Wilder Tower today – which had served as Rosecrans headquarters on 19 September. On 20 September at about 11 AM, Sheridan started his division in the direction of Thomas on the far Federal left only to run smack into Longstreet’s grand assault. Bradley’s men were led this day by Colonel Nathan Walworth – formerly in command of the 42nd Illinois. The men arrayed themselves – 12 PM – along the road which leads from the Wilder Tower towards Dyer Field and the Tan Yards near where the picnic area is today. To their north, the brigades of Laiboldt and Lytle crumpled and the left wing of Walworth suffered, as a result, but overall, the men of the brigade held their own, falling back to the west and out of the battle after getting flanked from north and south after about twenty minutes. Sheridan reformed his brigades shortly thereafter and left the battlefield, hoping in vain, to circle around Missionary Ridge to link up with Thomas.
    Bradley would survive his wounds and returned to command the brigade again before suffering another wound a year later. He stayed in the Army following the war’s end and was involved in several postings during the Indian Wars retiring in 1886 at 64 years of age. He lived on dying at the ripe old age of 87 and is buried in Arlington.

    His regiments have erected their monuments on the east side of Lafayette Road behind those of Carlin’s brigade – in memory of their late afternoon attack on 19 September 1863: 22nd Illinois, 51st Illinois, 27th Illinois and 42nd Illinois

    1391 men present/514 casualties

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