Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park Things to Do

  • Monument of the 19th Illinois
    Monument of the 19th Illinois
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  • Missouri State Monument off Crest Road
    Missouri State Monument off Crest Road
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  • Missouri Monument at Bragg Reservation
    Missouri Monument at Bragg Reservation
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Most Recent Things to Do in Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

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    CHATTANOOGA NATIONAL MILITARY CEMETERY

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    Major General George H. Thomas created this cemetery just after the battle at Missionary Ridge on Christmas Day 1863. The cemetery site selected by Thomas had served as the headquarters for Grant and Thomas during the successful assault on Orchard Knob 23 November which preceeded Missionary Ridge. Gathered up were the dead from the Chattanooga campaign and the earlier battle at Chickamauga – included were some 1,798 unknown soldiers. As the Atlanta campaign began, new bodies were added, as were those who died in other nearby areas. The chaplain responsible for laying out the cemetery asked Thomas if the dead should be buried together in plots dedicated to the States from which they came. Thomas replied, “No, no. Mix them up. Mix them up. I’m tired of State’s rights.”

    By 1870, more than 12,800 burials were recorded – 4,189 unknown. The original site of some 75 acres has grown over the years to encompass over 120 acres and there are nearly 44,000 veterans buried here – not only from the Civil War but from each of the conflicts since. It is also the only national cemetery to include the remains of prisoners of war from both World Wars.

    More is included in the travelogue.

    Sunset behind Lookout Mt and the National Cemetery Graves and Lookout Mountain beyond
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    PENNSYLVANIA AND SHERMAN RESERVATIONS

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    The small Pennsylvania Reservation and the larger Sherman Reservation encompass the northern end of the Missionary Ridge battlefield. It was here that General Grant hoped that Sherman would push the Rebles off the ridge. The heaviest fighting of the battle occurred here with the Confederates making use of mistakes Sherman made and they stopped the Federals cold. Due to a lack of time on my part, I was unable toe visit these parks – nor was I able to visit the monuments on nearby Orchard Knob where Grant watched the battle unfold from with Thomas and others. One monument relating to these areas I did visit – the grave of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph B. Taft, commander of the 73rd Pennsylvania at the Chattanooga National Military Cemetery. Taft led the 73rd and the 27th Pennsylvani in an assault up the west side of Tunnel Hill. They made it just short of the top when they were pinned down. Almost out of ammunition, Taft, himself, tried to bring up more, but like the three messengers he had sent down before, he, too, was killed in the effort.

    Taft had been a part of the 143rd New York which had joined Grant’s army in September as a part of the 11th Corps – that corps and the 12th had been detached from the Army of the Potomac and sent west after Chickamauga. Colonel William Moore had been the commanders of the 73rd Pennsylvania, but wounds he had received at Chancellorsville forced him to retire from the field on 22 November. Taft was brought over to lead the regiment.

    Things got worse for the 73rd after Taft went down. A Confederate counterattack surrounded many of the men around the area where the Pennsylvania Reservation is today. Ninety-nine of the regiment were captured and by the end of the battle, attrition left a first lieutenant in command. Major Peter A. McAldon, leading the 27th Pennsylvania, was also mortally wounded.

    Both the 27th and the 73rd Pennsylvania have monuments at Gettysburg on East Cemetery Hill – the 27th has another one on Coster Avenue in the town – besides there monuments here at the Pennsylvania Reservation.

    Grave of LTC Joseph Taft at National Cemetery
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    MORTUARY CANNON FOR COLONEL PHELPS

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    Edward H. Phelps led the north flank of Brigadier Absalom Baird’s division – Van DerVeer and Turchin lead the other two brigades to the south. Phelps had enlisted in 1861 becoming the lieutenant colonel of the 38th Ohio at the age of 32. He was promoted to full colonel after six months leading the regiment at Stones River where they saw slight action coming late onto the filed. At Chickamauga, the 38th – detached from Colonel John M. Connell’s brigade - was guarding a supply wagon train moving towards Chattanooga.

    After Chickamauga, Phelps was given command of the third brigade of Baird’s division. The brigade was john Croxton’s old brigade with the 38th Ohio added on – 10th and 74th Indiana; 4th, 10th and 18th Kentucky and the 14th Ohio. Croxton had been wounded at Chickamauga, so Phelps was brought in. Here, at Missionary Ridge, Phelps’ brigade was held in check by steeper terrain than elsewhere and the men of Brigadier General Alfred Vaughan. The rupture of the Confederate line south of here mad Vaughan’s stand here only a matter of time, however. Phelps had been wounded once down near the rifle pits, but he continued to exhort his men upward. He was shot down for good just near the crest of the ridge. The Rebel line withdrew shortly afterwards as darkness closed out the fight.

    Inverted cannon remembers Colonel Phelps
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    DELONG RESERVATION: 2ND MINNESOTA/TURCHIN’S

    by mtncorg Updated Jul 8, 2014

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    The next stop of consequence heading north on Crest Road is the DeLong Reservation. You have passed the small Turchin Reservation on the way where there is a marker for Brigadier General Samuel Beatty’s brigade. Beatty’s men were to the left of of Willich’s brigade and they made up the left of Wood’s division in the attack on Missionary Ridge. Turchin’s brigade – of Baird’s division – reached the crest of the ridge actually further to the north around the DeLong Reservation and that is where the brigade tablet is located.

    Beatty’s brigade were an amalgamation like most of the rest of the Army of the Cumberland following the losses incurred at Chickamauga. His brigade was combined with that of Colonel George F. Dicks - Dick was back commanding his 86th Indiana. Beatty’s brigade had seen hard fighting by the time of Missionary Ridge with the 9th Kentucky, 19th and 59th Ohio making up the bulk of Boyle’s brigade at Shiloh.

    Turchin had the 11th, 36th and 92nd Ohio with him at Chickamauga, while the 82nd Indiana, 17th and 31st Ohio had been a part of Colonel John Connell’s brigade and the 89th Ohio being temporarily unatttached at the time of Chickamauga had gone into the fight on Horseshoe Ridge as a part of Colonel John G. Mitchell’s reserve brigade. Markers exist for Turchin’s regiments on both sides of the DeLong Reservation: 17th Ohio to the south; 89th and 92nd Ohio to the north for this part fo the crest where they came up along with the 9th Kentucky of Samuel Beatty’s brigade.

    Facing them here was Water’s Alabama Battery consisting of five cannons. The 17th Ohio and Beatty’s brigade gained the crest to the south and rolled the Confederate line northwards capturing four of the guns.

    The main monument here is to the 2nd Minnesota, a regiment belonging to the brigade of Colonel Ferdinand Van DerVeer. They and the rest of Van DerVeer’s men actually gained the crest a ways to the north. Six of the seven color bearers of the 2nd Minnesota were killed or wounded in the assault. The regiment also has three monuments at Chickamauga besides this one which dates to 1893. Van Derveer’s pre-Chickamaugan regiments – the 87th Indiana, 9th and 35th Ohio – also have monuments at Chickamauga. New regiments for Van DerVeer here at Missionary Ridge – the 68th, 75th and 101st Indiana and the 105th Ohio had fought at Chickamauga under Colonel Edward A. King who had died there.

    Monument of 2nd Minnesota and guns of Waters Tablet explaining actions of Turchin's Brigade Guns of Waters' Battery Guns could not be depressed enough in attack
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    8TH KANSAS MONUMENT – WILLICH’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    The 8th Kansas fought long and hard during the Civil War. They had been organized under the command of a West Pointer Colonel Henry Wessels in late November 1861. Wessels was sent east by the army to take up another command in February 1862 and Lieutenant Colonel John A. Martin – a 22 year old editor – took over. Ordered east to help in the Siege of Corinth after Shiloh, the 8th Kansas would become part of the Army of the Cumberland in time for Perryville. They missed Stones River since they were serving as a provost guard in Nashville at the time, but they were back actively with the army for the Tullahoma campaign and served as part of Hans Heg’s brigade at Chickamauga.

    The reorganization following Chickamauga saw Heg’s brigade becoming absorbed into that of Augusts Willich’s. Heg’s brigade had suffered heavy losses at Chickamauga – the 8th Kansas lost 210 men out of 406; the 25th Illinois lost 205 men of 337 and the 35th Illinois lost 160 men of 299 – much like other brigades. Regiments were shells of what they had been before. An average brigade in the Army of the Cumberland at Missionary Ridge was double the size it had been at Chickamauga reflecting those casualty lists.

    John Martin returned to Kansas after the war to his newspaper in Atchison becoming involved in GOP politics. He served two terms as governor from 1884 to 1888 dying at the age of 50 one year after leaving office.

    Notes on other regiments in Willich’s brigade: the 15th Ohio was originally banded with the 49th Ohio, 32nd Indiana (First German – Willich’s original regiment) and the 39th Indiana. The originally regimental commander, Colonel Moses Dickey, resigned in October 1862, upset because he felt passed over when Willich was given command of the brigade – led by Colonel W.H. Gibson of the 49th Ohio at Shiloh. William Wallace took command of the 15th and led the regiment at Stone River. Ill health took him back to Ohio and Frank Askew took over for the rest of the war. Askew was wounded and captured at Stones River but had been left behind when the Confederates retreated after the battle. Brigade commander Willich had suffered a similar fate but the Rebels took him with them. Private Robert Brown of the 15th captured a Confederate color bearer on the crest of Missionary Ridge taking him and the flag of the 9th Mississippi to Colonel Askew. For his actions, he eventually received the Medal of Honor.

    The 68th Indiana was one of the last Federal units on the field at Chickamauga covering the left flank during the withdrawal off Horseshoe Ridge. Their commander, Lieutenant Harvey J. Espy, was wounded here in the assault up Missionary Ridge.

    W.H. Gibson had recruited and trained the 49th Ohio leading them as the first Federal regiment to enter Kentucky – 22 September 1861. At Shiloh, Gibson was given brigade command leading them in battle during the afternoon of 7 April. They missed out on Perryville, but at Stones River, they started that battle with Gibson back in charge. He again took over brigade command when Willich was captured. The suceeding lieutenant colonel was killed; the major wounded and all senior captains were killed or wounded with the day ending and the regiment under command of a junior captain. At Chickamauga, the 49th Ohio again saw ferious action on both days of battle led by Major Samuel F. Gray. Gray led the 49th again here.

    The 15th Wisconsin was kept in reserve at Missionary Ridge. They were led by a senior captain, Captain John A. Gordon, one of the few non-Norwegians in the “Scandanavian Regiment”, a regiment that had lost 176 men at Chickamauga including its old commander Colonel Hans C. Heg who was commanding their brigade that day. Heg’s three other regiments were part of Willich’s brigade here too – the 25th and 35th Illinois and the 8th Kansas. Here at Missionary Ridge, the 35th Illinois, on the left flank of the brigade’s front, their commander, Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Chandler carried the regimental colors into the Rebel line on the ridge crest after all of his color bearers had been killed or wounded.

    The 32nd Indiana had originally been recruited and drilled – in German – by Willich. The were first atop the ridge crest along with the 6th Ohio of Hazen’s brigade. The 32nd Indiana have monuments at Shiloh - where Willich led them – and at Chickamauga where they were led by the same commander who led them at Missionary Ridge – Lieutenant Colonel Francis Erdelmeyer. Erdelmeyer had immigrated from Germany at the age of 17, working as an upholster apprentice – first in New York City and then in Indianapolis. Like many German immigrants, he was a member of the Turngemeinde – Turner Club, so named after German nationalist Frederich Ludwig Jahn – Turner Jahn. Jahn was a Prussian gymnastics teacher who developed gymnastics clubs in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars aimed at restoring the spirits of his countrymen, but also with an eye towards developing a unified Germany with a democratic constitution and free speech – two items not popular with the presiding Hohenzollern monarchy.

    Erdelmeyer joined Colonel Lew Wallace’s three-month 11th Zouaves at the war’s outset, going on to become a captain in the 32nd Indiana at the end of that term. He took command of the regiment just before Stones River when Willich was raised to brigade command. He led the regiment until the three-year tour was over in August 1864. The surviviors of the regiment returned to Indianapolis having served their time, disappointed at the general anit-German feeling which existed in the Northern States at the time.

    The 8th Kansas is the only regiment of the brigade to have a monument placed here on Missionary Ridge – they also have a smaller one on nearby Orchard Knob where Willich’s men had been involved two days earlier – 23 november. Their other monument is on the north side of Viniard Field along with the other regiments of Heg’s brigade. While no other regiments have monuments here, there are marker tablets for each regiment – the 25th and 35th Illinois being just north of the 8th Kansas while the 89th Illinois, 49th Ohio, 15th Wisconsin, 15th Ohio and 32nd Indiana are just south along Crest Road. The 89th Illinois, 32nd Indiana, 15th and 49th Ohio had been under Willich at Chickamauga and have their own monuments there.

    Monument of the 8th Kansas along Crest Road
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    OHIO RESERVATION

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    This little park is dominated by the Ohio State Monument dedicated to the men of Ohio that participated in the battles here and around. The monument dates to 1903 and was recently restored thanks to the efforts of a fifth grade class in Reynoldsburg, Ohio that raised $5000 to fix the statue of the drummer boy – new right hand and new drumsticks – and repair water damage. The four figures at the base represent the artillery, cavalry and infantry in addition to the drummer boy. A plaque in front of the monument notes all of Ohio’s contributors here including the commanding generals Rosecrans, Grant, Sherman; three of fifteen divisional commanders and ten of thirty-eight brigade commanders; 65 of 227 infantry units, 13 of 54 artillery units and 4 of 8 cavalry regiments. Around a third of the casualties here at Missionary Ridge – 5475 – were Ohioan. Another plaque talks of Ohio at Chickamauga where Ohioans counted for another third of the 11413 casualties suffered by Federal forces there.

    There are rows of plaques on the north and south side of the reservation which commemorate those Ohioan units that were present in Chattanooga at the time of the battle but were not engaged – cavalry, engineers, headquarter guards and troops kept in reserve.

    It was either the men of Brigadier General William B. Hazen or Brigadier General August Willich that gained the crest of Missionary Ridge first. Hazen’s men had the advantage of hitting the portion of the ridge defended by Major A.W. Reynold’s brigade. They had been sent down to man the rifle pits at the base of the ridge. When they withdrew from there to the top, the tired men regrouped on the other side of the ridge or simply wandered away leaving only the guns of the Washington Artillery 5th Company Battalion of New Orleans to hold off Hazen’s brigade. That didn’t last long and four of the six guns were lost in the ravine behind on the ridge’s east side. Hazen then turned his brigade southward after reaching the crest, a move which would help unzip the portion of the Confederate line defending against Wagner’s and Sherman’s men.

    After the battle, Hazen would get into a life-long argument with Philip Sheridan over whose men reached the top of Missionary Ridge first. Hazen wasn’t known for nothing, in the words of Ambrose Bierce – one of his soldiers who would go on to become one of the best-known writers from the Civil War - as “the best-hated man that I ever knew, and his memory is a terror to every unworthy soul in the service.” Blowing the whistle on massive fraud within the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the postwar Grant years also ensure enmity between Hazen, Grant, Sheridan and Grant’s Secretary of War, Richard Todd Lincoln.

    There are separate marker tablets noting the postions of the 124th Ohio and the 1st Ohio along Crest Road north of the Ohio Reservation, as well as a marker for Hazen’s Brigade located next one for Garrity’s Alabama Battery. The guns of this battery marked the first point on the crest captured by the Federals. These guns were then turned about and used on the Washington Artillery position sitting at the Ohio Reservation.

    Ohio State Monument Ohio monument on Missionary Ridge
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: WAGNER’S BRIGADE/97TH OHIO

    by mtncorg Updated Jul 8, 2014

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    Brigadier General George D. Wagner commanded the brigade that made up the left flank of Philip Sheridan’s division. Wagner was a farmer and politician from Indiana before the war. Initially, he had been the colonel of the 15th Indiana – one of the regiments of the brigade – but he had led a brigade since before Shiloh. His men fought hard at Stones River but missed the fight at Chickamauga serving as garrison troop back in Chattanooga.

    With a skirmish line in front, Wagner’s brigade attacked the rifle pit line in two lines. The first line drove beyond the pits climbing uphill before Wagner recalled them due to a mix up in orders. It soon became apparent that to stay in the line of the rifle pits was not a good thing since there weren’t enough pits to go around and that the Confederates could see and range their artillery in on the milling Federals. Sheridan gave Wagner the ok to continue the assault uphill. Sending his reserve line out in front led by Lieutenant Colonel Milton Barnes’ 97th Ohio – Barnes would be a two term Secretary of State for Ohio in the postwar years. Other units joined the upward push and with Hazen’s troops already flanking the Rebel positions to the north, Wagner’s men gained the crest along with Sherman’s brigade to their right.

    Besides a marker for Wagner’s brigade, there is one regimental monument for the 97th Ohio. Like the other regiments of Wagner’s brigade at the time of Chickamauga, the 97th did not take part in that battle. The other units of Wagner had already placed monuments at Shiloh but the 97th had not yet been formed at the time of that battle. So, they have their regimental monument here on the north edge of the Bragg reservation. A tablet further north next to the south entry for the Crest Road Bridge over I-24 is actually where the regiment gained the crest.

    Two other marker tablets commemorate other regiments of Wagner’s brigade. On the north side of the same bridge is a tablet commemorating the 26th Ohio. They were nicknamed the Groundhog Regiment because of the fast and efficient manner in which the men could dig into ground when they had to. The 26th Ohio had previous experience in the Round Forest at Stones River, as well as with Buell’s brigade at Chickamauga where the regimental monument stands in Viniard Field. The regiment suffered some 56% casualties in the two days of fighting there – 213 men out of 377.

    Another three houses north is the tablet of the 100th Illinois along the west side of Crest Road. The 100th Illinois lost 165 men of 315 at Chickamauga with every man of the color guard going down but one. Their commander, Colonel Bartleson, had been wounded and was then taken prisoner spending the next seven months at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Eventually exchanged, Bartleson returned to lead the 100th again dying at Kennesaw Mountain.

    Other regiments of Wagner that had fought as a part of Buell’s brigade at Chickamauga included the 58th Indiana. The 51st Indiana has a monument at Shiloh even though they arrived too late for that battle. They had been led by Colonel Abel Streight and had been involved in a long range raid of brigade strength mounted upon mules striking deep towards north Alabama in early 1863. In the course of their raid, Confederate forces led by Nathan Forrest had been able to surround and capture the Union force. The men of the 51st had just been paroled in early November and had just returned to the army in time for the events here on Missionary Ridge.

    Wagner would continue to lead his brigade through the Atlanta campaign suffering heavy casualties at Kennesaw Mountain. Raised to division command, his reputation was dashed at Franklin when he left part of his force out in an exposed position allowing the Confederates to briefly pierce the center of the Federal line. Criticism and his wife’s ill health led him to resign. His wife would die within a year of the war’s end and he followed in 1869 at the age of only 39.

    Monument of the 97th Ohio on Missionary Ridge Illinois State Monument and the 97th Ohio
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    MISSIONARY RIDGE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    There is nothing like living on an old battlefield! Missionary Ridge was rural at the time of the Civil War. Chattanooga was not much larger than the area encompassed by today’s central business district. That was then. Today, metro Chattanooga has expanded far to the east and south engulfing not only this battlefield but growing into Georgia and the battlefield at Chickamauga.

    Missionary Ridge offers gorgeous views over Chattanooga and has become a very affluent area in which to live. The homes tend to be large and grand – even including Tennessee’s only Frank Lloyd Wright home – though more modest abodes can be found slipped in here and there, as well. The entire district is included in the Missionary Ridge Historical District and runs for more than seven miles in length linked together by Crest Road. There are four tunnels underneath the ridge and the large “Ridge Cut” through which I-24 runs – just above the north edge of the Bragg Reservation.

    Crest Road is lined with historical tablets and markers noting the positions of the various units of the opposing armies. Cannons are placed where artillery batteries belched their deadly shot from on 25 November 1863. Many tablets and a few guns can be found directly in people’s front yards as here in the picture with Mebane’s Tennessee Battery.

    Parking is not always readily available and Crest Road is narrow. The most important monuments are found in the small reservation parks. I suggest visiting early on a weekend morning when the locals are not up and about so much. There are a few streets that cross the ridge with some of the intersections sight-impaired so be careful as the east-west traffic can rip across oblivious to the non-astute tourist.

    Mebane’s Tennessee Battery consisted of four 12-pound howitzers which hammered at Wagner’s brigade. As Hazen’s men gained the ridge to the north, the guns were refaced to meet this new threat to their right. Men from the 100th Ohio had begun to come up from the south, as well forcing the battery to withdraw. Nothing like having a couple of cannons pointing at your house from the front lawn to remember the past by!

    Marker for Mebane's Battery in front of house
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: HARKER’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    Charles G. Harker was originally from New Jersey. Graduating from West Point in 1858, he had been on the frontier in Oregon and Washington Territory at the war’s outset. Promoted to 1st lieutenant and then captain in the Regular Army while training Ohio volunteers, he leapt in rank to become the colonel of the 65th Ohio. He and his men saw their first action at Shiloh. Harker went on to command brigades at Perrydale and Stones River. His ]brigade helped to hold the line on Snodgrass Hill through the long afternoon of 20 September 1863 at Chickamauga. Promoted to brigadier general of volunteers, he was leading a much larger brigade here at Missionary Ridge as his former command had been combined with much of Laiboldt’s brigade - 22nd, 27th, 42nd and 51st Illinois – and the 79th Illinois was brought over from what had been Dodge’s brigade. With so many more regiments, his combined strength was still about the same as the number of men he led at Chickamauga.

    The brigade was split into two tactical units by Harker on 25 November to give better control due to the terrain. The demi-brigade to the right/north being led by Colonel Nathan Walworth of the 42nd Illinois and the demi-brigade on the left/south by Colonel Emerson Opdycke of the 125th Ohio - his units included the 125th Ohio, 64th, 65th, and 79th Illinois.

    Around 3 pm, Harker’s men advanced slightly behind and to the right of the brigade of George Wagner. As they came onto the rifle pits at the base of Missionary Ridge, the men kept going uphill – Wagner was not aware of Grant’s admonition to stop there and he thought the crest was his objective. Harker’s left flank regiment, the 3rd Kentucky, had been told to keep up with the troops on their left – Wagner – so as they continued, so did the Kentuckians. About halfway up, Wagner issued a withdrawal – a mix up in orders from corps commander Gordon Granger meant the men were to return to the rifle pits. As Wagner’s men started to come back downhill, so did the 3rd Kentucky and parts of the 64th and 125th Ohio as well, jamming into the now overcrowded pits.

    Sheridan had watched the retreat of Wagner and Opdycke’s demi-brigade and contemptuous of the order from Granger, he got Harker and Opdycke ready to uphill again. He accompanied the 79th Illinois as they pushed uphill with the rest of the brigade. Advancing under the cover of smoke and the steepness of the terrain, the Federals pushed up. Confederates on the crest were further hampered by their own retreating men – many of whom were of no further use in the defense of the ridge as they were worn out by their own uphill ordeal.

    Hazen’s brigade was out in front further to the north ripping a quarter mile hole in the Confederate line in the area around the Ohio Reservation. Bragg had just congratulated division commander William Bate on the seeming defeat of Wagner and Harker when he realized what was happening to the north. He had already sent of his reserves to Tunnel Hill to stave off Sherman but now he pushed Bate to send some of his men north along the crest to stave off Hazen just as Sheridan’s division came uphill once again. Bate’s extra men did little to influence an already serious situation to the north. Their absence made it much easier now for the position at the Bragg Reservation to fold, as well. Federals pushed up Moore Road coming out onto the crest as Confederate infantrymen melted off to the east leaving the artillery batteries to fend for themselves. Harker, himself, excited at what his men had just accomplished, jumped off his horse and onto the barrel of Lady Breckinridge – one of the guns captured from Cobb’s Kentucky Battery. The gun barrel was still too hot from its earlier use and Harker jumped off it as quick as he was on.

    The monument of the 42nd, 27th and 79th Illinois continue the Illinois line of regiments northwards from Sherman’s Illinois markers sited just in front of the cannons marking Cobb’s Battery. The 42nd and 27th were a part of Laibolddt’s brigade at Chickamauga and have monuments out in the fields by the Tan Yard north of Wilder’s Tower. The 79th Illinois had been with Dodge’s brigade at Chickamauga and have a monument in the woods just to the southwest of the Alexander’s Bridge Road/Brotherton Road intersection. The 51st and 22nd Illinois are at the north end of the Illinois monuments here at Bragg Reservation. These two regiments fought with Bradley’s brigade at Chickamauga as their monuments north of Wilder’s Tower attest. Markers for the 64th and 65th Ohio are found just next to the marker for the 22nd Illinois on the north edge of the Bragg Reservation. These regiments were a part of Harker’s brigade atop Snodgrass Hill where they are remembered, as well. Both of these regiments also have a monument at Shiloh.

    Colonel Emerson Opdycke started the war with the 41st Ohio fighting at Shiloh as a part of Hazen’s brigade. He was then reassigned to recruit the 125th Ohio becoming their colonel early in 1863. His regiment was instrumental in Harker’s defense of Snodgrass Hill at Chickamauga. The 125th was nicknamed Opdycke’s Tigers, as a result of their actions there – obvious by their monument. Opdycke would continue to lead the regiment during the Atlanta campaign suffering a wound at Resaca, but recovering in time to lead again at Kennesaw Mountain. He helped recover the Union position which had been briefly breached at the battle of Franklin – his counterattack turned that battle around. Opdycke would survive the war going into dry goods business in New York dying of a gunshot wound incurred while cleaning his gun. Brigade commander Harkins would not survive the war, dying at Kennesaw Mountain at the age of only 26. He is buried back in his native New Jersey.

    Marker notes actions of 125th Ohio Harker's Brigade at Missionary Ridge 64th and 65th Ohio here captured Rebel guns 32nd Illinois of Harker's Brigade
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: SHERMAN’S BRIGADE

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    Colonel Francis T. Sherman led the 1st brigade of Philip Sheridan’s division, nine regiments strong. His father, Francis C., had been involved with Chicago politics serving as mayor for three terms. The son started the war as a lieutenant colonel for the 56th Illinois and then as a major in the 12th Illinois cavalry before gaining the colonelcy of the 88th Illinois – also known as the 2nd Board of Trade Regiment as is was the second such regiment to be raised from funds provided by the Chicago Board of Trade (the first was the 72nd Illinois). Sherman led the regiment through the battles of Perryville and Stones River with the unit suffering a 35% casualty rate at the second battle. Asthma problems had him recuperating back in Chicago at the time of the battle of Chickamauga. Returning just after that battle, he was given command of the brigade to which the 88th belonged to – the brigade commander, William Lytle, had been killed. The Army of the Cumberland had undergone a large reorganization in October 1863 after the long casualty lists of Chickamauga. Brigades were combined and where there were four regiments before, there were eight or more with about the same amount of men.

    Organizing his regiment into four lines, he rolled out at the Rebel positions at the base of Missionary Ridge first and then moved up the hill farther. The 44th, 46th and 73rd Illinois (Colonel Barrett commanding the first line) made up his first line; the 88th Illinois and 24th Wisconsin (Miller commanding) was the second; 22nd Indiana was the third line and the fourth was the 2nd and 15th Missouri and 74th Illinois (Colonel Laiboldt commanding).

    They quickly gained the rifle pits at the base and took another intermediate line a little higher after another ten minutes. The main line atop the crest meant the men had to push uphill at almost 40 degrees, a climb made harder by brush and fallen timber. The steepness, however, provided cover for the advancing Federals as the Confederates had placed their main line on the very crest of the ridge and could not see their attackers until they were right upon them.

    Lines became mixed as the Federals raced each other up the ridge. Colonel Jason Marsh of the 74th Illinois was hit in the shoulder near the summit. All nine regiments planted their colors atop the crest as the defending Confederates melted away. Victory here meant the Federals could help their comrades in Brigadier Richard Johnson’s division on their right which was encountering even steeper terrain.

    Missionary Ridge was the high point of Sherman’s military career and he would write about his experiences more than once in the coming years. He continued to lead his command in action during the early phases of the Atlanta campaign until he was appointed chief of staff for the 4th Corps just after the battle of Resaca. Captured near Atlanta on 7 July 1864, he was exchanged three months later and then sent east to the Army of the Potomac where he served as an assistant inspector general of the Cavalry Corps during the Appomattox campaign. As the war ended, a promotion to brigadier general fulfilled a hope that he had cherished and pushed for throughout the war. The collection of his letters in a fairly recent book, “A Quest for a Star” illuminates Sherman’s war and his thoughts vividly giving an interesting look at the Army of the Cumberland and its campaigns.

    The regiments of Sherman’s brigade had a long history already by the time of Missionary Ridge. The 22nd Indiana had been fighting since late 1861, initially in Missouri battles – their original commander, Colonel Jefferson C. Davis, had quickly risen to brigade command and was commanding a division on loan to Sherman near Tunnel Hill – culminating in the battle of Pea Ridge. Sent east to the Army of the Cumberland, they fought at Perryville – losing half their number – and at Stones River – where they were mauled again in the confusion on the Federal right early in that battle. At Chickamauga, as a part of Colonel Sidney Post’s brigade, they were not involved in the main fighting as the brigade was tasked with guarding the supply wagon trains of the Army as they withdrew towards Chattanooga. They have a monument next to the Wilder Tower but no marker here on Missionary Ridge.

    Both the 2nd and 15th Missouri are noted on the Missouri Monument here at Bragg Reservation. The inscription notes that they reached this position on 25 November 1864. Both regiments fought at Pea Ridge, Perryville, Stones River and Chickamauga. The 2nd was a largely German-American unit led by Colonel Bernard Laiboldt who had been a brigade commander at Chickamauga, but was back with his old regiment here.

    The 24th Wisconsin has a marker just south of the Bragg Reservation. They were veterans of Stones River and Chickamauga as a part of Lytle’s brigade. They are best remembered by the Arthur McArthur tablet next to the Illinois State monument – Arthur was the young adjutant from Milwaukee. The 74th and 88th Illinois – the 88th Sherman’s regiment – have small markers nearby along the west side of Crest Road near the Wisconsin marker. The 88th Illinois was also a part of Lytle’s brigade at Chickamauga with a monument there. The 74th Illinois was a part of Colonel Sidney Post’s brigade which guarded the army supply wagons during that battle. They also have a monument.

    The 73rd Illinois was nicknamed the Preacher’s Regiment in honor of their commander Colonel James Jacquess - a Methodist preacher before and after the war – and a number of other ministers who had signed up for service in the regiment. Jacquess had been a longtime casual friend of Abraham Lincoln. Persistently, Jacquess would finally gain an opportunity to privately engage Jefferson Davis with a peace overture in the summer of 1864 that went nowhere. The 73rd was also known as the Persimmon Regiment by their Chickamauga brigade commander, ]Bernard Laiboldt for the men’s love of persimmons – much to Laiboldt’s dismay.

    Three markers to left were from Sherman's Brigade
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: BRAGG’S HEADQUARTERS

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    Braxton Bragg was a very polarizing commander. He was not popular with his men who viewed him as a martinet valuing discipline above all else. Nor was he popular with his officers who always seemed to be scheming for his replacement when they simply were not ignoring his orders. Bragg is thought to have been too aggressive at times and inflexible during the course of a battle. Here on Missionary Ridge, he mismanaged events as he had done since Chickamauga. His actual headquarters was sited a bit further north in the notch through which the freeway I-24 now passes. That notch is much enlarged today from what it was in 1863. As Sheridan’s men began to break over the crest, Bragg and his staff were nearly captured. They vainly tried to rally their men – Tucker’s, Finley’s, and finally Gibson’s brigades – as they crumbled under the Federal attack. Retreating soldiers took pleasure in hooting at Bragg as the withdrew and, finally, Bragg, himself, turned his horse eastward, the center of his impregnable line atop Missionary Ridge had evaporated.

    Condos replace Bragg's Headquarters Tablet list casualties here at Missionary Ridge
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: COBB’S KENTUCKY BATTERY

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    The Confederate artillery battery supporting Finley’s Floridian brigade was Cobb’s Kentucky Battery commanded on this day by Lieutenant Frank P. Gracey. This was an original battery of the Orphan Brigade comprised of Kentucky Southern volunteers. They had seen earlier serious action at Shiloh where on 6 April 1862 they were caught in crossfire and all of the guns were overrun. Subsequent Confederate attacks retook the battery but only four of the six guns were reusable and all six caissons were gone. In fact, the battery had already lost more men and horses than any other battery in the Army of Tennessee.

    The rest of the Orphan Brigade was occupying a reserve position behind Tunnel Hill where they saw very little action. The battery defended here on the crest trying to support the men of Finley – Gibson’s men had already retreated. The men of the battery finally retreated when they were almost surrounded losing all four of their guns including two new pieces that were included nicknames – ‘Lady Buckner’ and ‘Lady Breck’ –painted on their trails. The rest of the Orphan Brigade never forgave the supporting infantry for the loss of the guns which they felt would not have happened if they had been present. They would call out when they saw them, “Where’s our battery? What did you do with our battery?”

    Tablet and guns mark Cobb's Battery Cobb's guns and Illinois infantry markers The 'Ladies' of Cobb's Battery Gun facing the direction the Illinoisans came from The 'Ladies' are silent now
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: MEDAL OF HONOR ARTHUR MCARTHUR

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    On the right of Sheridan’s division was the 24th Wisconsin. There is a small marker for the regiment just south of the Bragg reservation showing where they reached the crest of Missionary Ridge. Next to the Illinois State Monument is a tablet devoted to the adjutant of the 24th, Arthur McArthur, Jr.. He grabbed the colors when the color bearer went down and continued to lead the men up the hill. For his actions, McArthur would be awarded the Medal of Honor in the 1890’s, an award which would be a constant motive for his son, Douglas McArthur to emulate. Both would eventually win their medals though politics played major roles in each case.

    Tablet tells McArthur's story Just one of the stories from Missionary Ridge
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: ILLINOIS STATE MONUMENT

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

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    The Illinois State Monument remembers all of the Illinois units and generals involved in the battles here. Two of Philip Sheridan’s three brigades were made up mostly of Illinois men: Colonel Francis T. Sherman included the 36th, 44th, 73rd, 74th and 88th Illinois; Colonel Charles G. Harker had the 22nd, 27th, 42nd, 51st and 79th Illinois; the other brigade commanded by Brigadier General George D. Wagner only had the 110th Illinois in an Indiana-heavy brigade.

    Sheridan’s men were ordered to take the rifle pits at the base of Missionary Ridge originally, but seeing men from Hazen’s brigade on the left of the division continue to go uphill, Sheridan decided to let his men continue uphill, too. Sherman’s and Harker’s brigades drove off both defending Confederate brigades – Adams’ and Strahl’s – capturing several of the guns of the supporting Rebel batteries along with a bevy of Confederate staff officers, just missing out on Bragg, himself.

    Illinois State Monument at Bragg reservation Base of State Monument with services represented Illinois Monument with Cobb's guns to left
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    BRAGG RESERVATION: MISSOURI MONUMENT

    by mtncorg Written Jul 8, 2014

    Three miles north of Rossville Gap on Crest Road sits the Bragg Reservation. This is one of the main centers of monuments along the ridge and was nearby where Braxton Bragg maintained his headquarters. Sheridan’s three brigades – Colonel Francis T. Sherman, Brigadier General George D. Wagner and Colonel Charles G. Harker – attacked uphill from the west here. The Confederate positions were defended by the brigades of Brigadier General Jesse Finley – the Florida Brigade, Colonel R.C. Gibson – Adams’ Louisiana Brigade, and Brigadier General Otho F. Strahl – a Tennessean brigade. The last two brigades belonged to the division of Major General A.P. Stewart whose other two brigades – Holtzclaw (Clayton’s brigade) and Stovall were further south along the ridge. The Florida Brigade was the southern flank of Breckinridge’s Division commanded this day by Brigadier General William Bate.

    The first monument in this park on the south side is a Missouri State Monument. There were seven Missourian regiments in the brigade of Brigadier General Charles R. Woods – the 3rd, 12th, 17th, 27th, 29th 31st, and 32nd Missouri (the 13th Illinois and 76th Ohio completed the brigade). They were a part of the division of Brigadier General Pete J. Osterhaus that came north out of Rossville Gap along the east side of Missionary Ridge capturing Confederate troops that were fleeing from Hooker’s two other divisions as they swept northwards from the Gap.

    Missouri State Monument off Crest Road Missouri Monument at Bragg Reservation
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