Friday, December 28, 2007

Wauhatchie View

When I was in Chattanooga last fall I happened to time my trip around the anniversary of the Wauhatchie fight and as such was able to join a ranger led tour of the actions. One of the places he took us was the rear of a new Walmart. This may seem weird but the Walmart provides high ground in the valley with a nice open view. I shot a panoramic from there looking south in the valley of the area that Geary fought in that evening.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wiedrich's NY Battery Monument

This New York monument, for Wiedrich's Battery, is located east of Smith's Hill. Every time I've been there I've been told that its not on park property or that there is no public access. Either way I've never seen this monument with my own eyes, but the New York monument commission book did include a picture of the monument as well as the inscription which I'm sharing with you here. This monument is for action during the battle of Lookout Mountain, not for the fighting in the Wauhatchie Valley that I've earlier been posting on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New York interstate monument

I call this the interstate monument because its right next to the highway. As you can see from the pictures it used to be more quaint, but that was over a 100 years ago. This monument is for the New York troops of Smith's and Tyndale's brigades. These brigades were pushed forward to help relieve the pressure on Geary's force to the south at Wauhatchie. There was not much fighting here but the movement did place them in the rear of the Confederates attacking Geary and helped precipitate their withdrawal from that fight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sunset Rock part 2

Sunset Rock also offers a great view of the fighting done by Geary's division on October 28. This midnight fight occurred near the center of the picture near where the blue roofed building is.
This is a monument to the New York regiments engaged in this fight located in front of the small brown building that is to the right of the blue building.
Here, Matt shows the study group the ground ....
... using maps from his guide book, Storming the Heights. His newest book, Winter Lightning, on Stones River has just come out in time for Christmas. This spot is where Bratton's Brigade made a midnight attack on Geary's division. Knap's Battery held this high piece of high ground. Eventually the Confederate attack was repulsed.
Looking north up Lookout Valley.
I scanned this picture from the New York monument commission's report. It shows the what the area looked like when the monument was erected. This view is to the south but its interesting to note that the railroad appears closer to the monument then than it does today.
And the New York monument to the 78th, 137th and 149th New York.

Life Update

I finally found a house. Monday night we put in our offer, yesterday we accepted the counter offer, so now I'm officially on my way to home ownership. Its pretty exciting, a little scary too, but I'm more excited than scared. Now Jess and I can take this next step in becoming a family. If all goes according to plan we'll close on January 22nd, so in about 4 weeks I'll have a house of my own, and Jess and I can work on turning it into a home.

In other news, Grandma arrived in from Wisconsin last week for the holidays. I know her and mom are gonna kill me but I had to include this picture. I love it because of the expression on their faces and that they didn't even realize I was taking pictures.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunset Rock

A few views from Sunset Rock looking north. Sunset Rock is on the west side of Lookout Mountain and offers great views of the valley. Tomorrow I'll share some views of the valley which will include the scenes of the night fighting at Wauchatchie. Today we are looking north towards Moccasin Bend and Brown's Ferry.
You can also see the point of Lookout Mountain from here.
And if you look closely you can see the top of the New York monument poking above the trees.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Symposium Update

For my Denver area readers, and Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable members, I just wanted to make a quick announcement that we will have a symposium committee meeting this Thursday, December 20th. We will meet at Mike's Kinko's at 7 PM, email me if you need directions. We will be discussing our various marketing efforts. We are now under 5 months away from the big event (April 5, 2008).

Chattanooga posts will resume tomorrow and there might be a personal post later this week as well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain did not play too much of a role in the siege of Chattanooga. It was a Union signal post. Today it offers great views along the Tennessee River. This first picture shows the Tennessee River north of Chattanooga through what is called the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee River. The Confederates did have pickets along the river at various points to halt river supply traffic for the Union army in Chattanooga.

And the view into Chattanooga. It was a little too foggy that day to see much of the town but a few other landmarks are visible which will help you locate other things. The fog shrouded mountain in the distance on the right side is Lookout Mountain. In the foreground you can see Williams Island. This puts the city at the left center of the picture, and you can kinda make it out anyway but those two landmarks make it much clearer. I'd love to get on Signal Mountain sometime when it wasn't so foggy but the only times I've had the free time to go there it has been foggy, or rainy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Brown's Ferry

I had originally intended to start posts about Chattanooga in late November to coincide with the anniversary of the culminating battles in the campaign to clear Chattanooga. Instead I still had some things to do for Chickamauga plus other life related things got in the way. Now I'm back and am changing gears to Chattanooga.

On the morning of October 27th the Union captured Brown's Ferry and began the efforts to raise the siege of Chattanooga. The first step in raising the siege was to get the men supplied again. Bragg did not have a super tight control on Chattanooga but it was pretty effective. Grant was given command of the Western theater on October 16th and soon arrived in Chattanooga to take care of the largest problem in his command. Soon after his arrival steps were taken to open a reliable supply line (previously most supplies had to come in over a tortuous route through the mountains north of Chattanooga). Taking Brown's Ferry, in conjunction with a move by Hooker from Bridgeport into Lookout Valley, would secure a reliable supply line. Once the supply line was secured Grant's men and animals could regain their strength and munitions could also be brought in so that in the near future his men could fight to clear the city of Bragg's army.

So around 3 am on October 27th a select group of men from Hazen's brigade floated down the river on pontoons, came ashore at Brown's Ferry, secured a beachhead, and built a pontoon bridge so that more brigades could cross the river and expand the the bridgehead. Later they would move south towards the tip of Lookout Mountain and meet up with Hooker's force coming down Lookout Valley.

The view from the Confederate side of the river at Brown's Ferry. The land across the river is Moccasin Bend, parts of which are now owned by the park service. When I was there in fall 2006 there was only very limited access and no trail maps. Apparently though there are some very well preserved entrenchments on Moccasin Bend and I look forward to seeing them on a future visit.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Roundtable Meeting - December 13

The next Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable meeting is December 13, 2007. Member Chuck Wheeler will be talking about the battles at North Anna and Cold Harbor in the spring of 1864.

After the fighting at Spotsylvania Court House, Grant continued his drive towards Richmond. The next clash was a relatively minor affair along the North Anna River. Lee had a pretty good defensive position and ended up missing a chance to strike a heavy blow to Grant. Once Grant realized the threat he pulled back the separated wings of his army. He would again move by the left flank.

The next point of contact was at Cold Harbor. This vital crossroads was seized on May 31 by Sheridan’s cavalry. Over the next few days the rest of the armies converged on this point, eventually settling into a seven mile front.

Richmond was nearby and Grant thought one big battle might force the capture of that city. The capture of Richmond itself was not greatly important but the city was a supply center that kept Lee’s army in the field. If that was captured then Lee would have a hard time continuing the fight.

At dawn on June 3 Grant launched a frontal assault that only succeeded in making huge casualty lists. He later wrote that this was the only attack he wished he had never ordered. A stalemate continued here for over a week before Grant again began his move by the left flank, this time with plans of crossing the James River and capturing Petersburg.

Chuck recommends the following books:
Grant and Lee: the Virginia Campaigns 1864-65 by William A Frassanito
Not War But Murder: Cold Harbor 1864 by Ernest B. Furgurson
The Virginia Campaign 1864 and 1865 by Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys
To the North Anna River: May 13-25, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea
Cold Harbor: May 26 - June 3, 1864 by Gordon C. Rhea
Bloody Roads South: May-June 1864 by Noah Andre Trudeau

Friday, November 30, 2007

Triumph & Defeat (Vol 2) by Terrence J. Winschel

I reviewed this book for Civil War News and yesterday my copy arrived so now I can post the review here. My review appears on page 31 of the December issue. This was my first review published in Civil War News and it appears that they made only very minor editing changes. I haven't compared my version to the published version word for word but it looks and reads very similar to what appears below.

Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign, Vol. 2 by Terrence J. Winschel

This is a collection of ten essays by Terrence Winschel, chief historian at Vicksburg National Military Park, that he created partly for speaking engagements at roundtables. The essays are on a variety of subjects but are grouped in chronological order. The first three chapters cover the movement of the armies from the crossing of the Mississippi River on April 30 to the beginning of the siege. No battle is discussed in minute detail, instead an overview of the fighting is presented. The other seven chapters highlight other aspects of the campaign, including a few lesser known actions.
One chapter focuses on one of the controversial Union figures, General John A. McClernand. Winschel is of the opinion that McClernand demonstrated many fine leadership qualities but that he never developed the qualities of leadership he lacked. The chief shortcoming being selflessness. In a later chapter Winschel tackles one of the controversial Confederate figures, General Joseph E. Johnston. Winschel does a good job of showing that Johnston probably never had any intention of coming to Pemberton's aid, despite various messages to the contrary. Johnston knew enough about how the siege was progressing and what he could have done. He let the window of opportunity close and then made some half hearted efforts to look like he was coming to help Pemberton but it was too little too late.

The chapter on the USS Cincinnati is interesting because it also discusses its actions before and after the siege. The USS Cincinnati had a hard luck career with significant activities nearly every May. On May 10, 1862 it was sunk in a battle near Fort Pillow when it was rammed by a Confederate ship. It had to be repaired in Cairo but was soon part of the brown water navy again. On May 27, 1863 it was sunk again, this time by Confederate cannon on the bluffs above Vicksburg. After the surrender the Union raised it and repaired it. Near the end of the war, coincidentally on May 10, 1865, it captured the CSS Nashville in one of its brighter moments.

I found the chapter on the siege of Jackson that followed Vicksburg's surrender especially interesting. So little has been written about this part of the campaign, mostly because there were very few casualties and it had little impact on the campaign. Despite this it is still interesting to read about.

In responding to an article by Albert Castel in North & South magazine Winschel makes a good point about the importance of Vicksburg to the war effort. Winschel's focus is on how Vicksburg was a key component in the supply route with the trans-Mississippi. That once Vicksburg was lost the rich resources of the trans-Mississippi, as well as the route for goods brought in through the blockade, shriveled up.

There was also a chapter on the Lord family's experiences during the siege. Reverend Dr. William Wilberforce Lord was the minister for the Episcopalian Christ Church. Like many Vicksburg families the Lords lived in a cave during the siege. Reverend Lord though also held daily services in his church, venturing from his cave into the danger to minister to his flock, which now included many Confederate soldiers. The final chapter deals with Stephen D. Lee's role in the creation and development of Vicksburg as a national military park. Lee was one of the early principals working to get Vicksburg preserved. He became the first former Confederate to be the chairman of a national military park. He also strived to present both sides fairly in interpretation through the park tablets.

This is a very good book in that it illuminates many lesser known aspects of the campaign. This book is not intended to be a detailed study of the campaign, instead it is intended to give us a fuller understanding of the variety of events of the campaign. It does a very good job of that and belongs on the shelf of every Vicksburg and Western Theater enthusiast.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life and The War

Just wanted to let you all know that I might not be as active here in the near future as I've been previously. I got engaged 11 days ago and since then wedding plans have been in high gear. The October date got pushed up to July 11th because it was the same price no matter the month, so we figured we'd do it earlier.

Then there were various problems with finding a reception site. We found the one we loved but were unable to book it because that lady was not working that day. Then we called the next five on our list and found out they were booked for the entire summer. So we decided we'd just have to cut the guest list to fit the chapel's reception facilities. Last night our first choice called and amazingly they had that date open, so now we have our first choice for chapel and reception site. Just a lot of nervousness and phone calls but it all paid off.

Yesterday my fiance (I never get tired of saying that) found the perfect wedding dress and bought it. Pretty much we're down to getting the cake, flowers, tuxes, and picking a menu. Those are the major details and they are things we don't have to worry too much about right now.

Once the date and location was finalized I went ahead and asked two buddies to be my best man and groomsman. That was a hard choice. Only picking two guys out. But hopefully my other close friends will understand that its a small wedding party and was a tough choice.

Also we are looking at buying a townhouse. Tonight we're making an offer. If that goes well that will be the main reason my blogging is going to slack off here as there will be tons of painting and remodeling to do. Putting too much on our plates at once? Maybe but I think we'll make it through. Another interesting thing about this townhouse is that I'll be very close to one of my good buddies, within walking distance. If you cut through people's back yards I think you'd only have to cut through two to get to his back yard, doing it legally is a bit more roundabout but not too tough. Maybe I can convince him to come paint, or maybe just come over for scotch and talk about the war. [What do ya say Ian?]

I'll still post here but I might not be able to keep up the 5 a week pace. I'm sure I'll have good weeks and bad weeks. Just didn't want you all to think I'd given up on this once the posts start becoming less frequent.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

96th Illinois

Commanded by
SEPT. 20, 1863
2.30 TO 6.30 P.M.
LOSS 225
Monument #713
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dave Powell suggested in a comment that I should post a picture of the 96th Illinois monument, so here it is. Unfortunately it really doesn't show much of the surrounding terrain. One thing it does show is how think the woods is now. Makes me wish there was an active Friends Of organization like Gettysburg or Antietam that would work to thin the woods. It would probably be a full time job to keep the woods thinned but I've seen the results at Antietam and Gettysburg and it is truly spectacular.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

2nd South Carolina

2nd Regiment South Carolina Infantry
Lt. Col. Franklin Gaillard
Monument #1349

South Carolina markers are pretty simple, just regiment and commander. I did a little searching online to flesh out some more details on Franklin Gaillard. He served with the 2nd South Carolina his whole career. He enlisted as 2nd lieutenant in Company A, was a major by Antietam, and commanded the regiment thereafter as lieutenant colonel, excepting periods that the colonel returned for duty after his own woundings. Gaillard was killed at the Wilderness and his cousin, William DuBose, the chaplain for the 2nd South Carolina, wrote of this, "What his loss is to us of the brigade as an officer and as a man it is impossible to overestimate. It would gratify his friends to see how deep and universal the feeling has been and how irreparable his loss is regarded. . . . I do not think that any death outside of my immediate family has ever affected me more deeply."
Lt. Col. Franklin Gaillard with his daughter, Maria Porcher Gaillard, and son, David Lellair Gaillard.
His grave in Fredericksburg. The family photo and the grave photo I found at

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Granger Knoll

As you can see I have added pictures of the five Union monuments on Granger knoll, which was the subject of two previous posts (visit them here and here). I have also turned these into pdf files that can be viewed by clicking the link on the right side of the page under "Chickamauga Monuments"

I'd also like to point out that this past week I added pdf files of the last 16 Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable newsletters and that is available on the right side of the page too, under "RMCWRT Newsletters." Each issue is 6 pages but when you view them you will notice that some do not run a complete 6 pages. That is because I edited out some info that was really only applicable to roundtable members and no longer needs to appear in this online version.

And this morning I also added a link to a copy of the symposium ad that will run in the next issue of North & South magazine. This ad was done in conjunction with the University of Tennessee Press and I am impressed with how well it turned out and how much of the ad space UT Press shared with the roundtable. It is in the section marked "Files" on the right side of the page.

22nd Michigan

This monument marks the position where the regiment performed its most important service, Sept. 20th, 1863.
Engaged 455
Killed 32
Wounded 96
Missing 261
Total loss 389
On the 19th the regiment marched from Rossville joining the brigade near McAfee's Church. From thence it moved about noon of the 20th toward this position. After three hours desperate combat having exhausted their ammunition, they charged overwhelming numbers until overcome.
In the Chattanooga campaigns it performed important engineer service, Major Henry S. Dean, Commanding.
Monument #898

89th Ohio

This regiment, Col. Caleb H. Carlton and Capt. Isaac Nelson, commanding, being temporarily detached from its brigade, was on Sept. 19th, 1863, assigned to Whitaker's Brigade, Steadman's Division, Reserve Corps. About 2:00 p.m. Sept. 20th, 1863, it participated with that brigade in the assault on this position which it occupied and held until night. The withdrawal of the troops on its right after dark and without notice, resulted in the capture of a large part of the regiment.
Loss: Killed 19, Wounded 63, Captured or missing 171, Total 253.
The regiment was organized Aug. 26th, 1862 for three years.
Monument #1016

84th Indiana

September 18th this regiment was engaged on the extreme left of the army near Ringgold Bridge, and on the morning of the 19th was stationed on the hills near McAfee's Church.
Skirmished with the enemy until 1 p.m., when he attacked in large force and severe fighting was kept up until 5 p.m., when the enemy drew off. September 20th still in position near McAfee Church until 12 m. when the regiment marched to the sound of the firing at Snodgrass Hill, arriving at this point about 2:30 p.m. and engaged in the charge and desperate combat which took place here, assisting in driving back the enemy and saving the right.
Killed 23
Wounded 97
Missing 13
Total 133
Monument #842

115th Illinois

SEPT. 20, 1863
2 P.M. TO 6 P.M.
LOSS 183
Monument #723

98th Ohio

This regiment arrived of the field Sept. 20th, 1863, about 1:30 p.m. It went into action about 2:00 p.m. being on the left of the first line of the brigade. It gained this position by assault and occupied and held it until 6:00 p.m.
Loss: Killed 9, wounded 41, captured or missing 13.
Monument #1026

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm engaged

I am engaged. Whew. Part of me had wondered if I had long ago missed out on Ms Right, if I blew my chance at happiness because I was young and stupid. And then seven months ago I met Jess.

I think I knew pretty early in our relationship that this one might be "the one." For awhile I had to consciously slow myself, make sure this was the one, not jump in too fast. But during that time I did come to realize that this was it, that I am too happy. And that's what I told her Saturday night. I told her that she makes me very happy and that the only thing that could ever make me happier would be if she would be my wife.

The last week has been kinda nerve racking. Getting everything planned for Saturday. Wanting it to be perfect but also knowing that it was okay if it wasn't. I knew that the trap there is if you're so worked up on it being perfect and there is one little slip up it sends you into a tailspin. But I knew I couldn't be perfect so when things didn't work out I adapted, I didn't freak out. And in the end I think it came off better in her eyes than it did in mine. I knew the things that were missing, she didn't, and what I was able to bring together was good enough that she didn't realize anything was missing.

Now the planning starts. Figuring out a date, figuring out a guest list, asking buddies to be groomsmen and a best man, finding a location, picking a menu, finding a place to live, picking colors for the wedding, the list goes on and on. And I want to be involved, not like some guys who don't care about all that. But for now we can relax for a bit before we have to really think about all that stuff. In the meantime I'm as happy as I've ever been, nothing in my life has been as exciting as this moment. I feel different today than I did Friday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An old map

I scanned this old map to share because it shows farmer's fields which some other maps do not. I dug this out because my post referring to Recreation Field got two comments about what the name of the field was historically. I did remember it being called Glenn Field but was not sure where the dividing line was. Someone else commented that the area that the North Carolina monument is at is Brock Field (a second Brock Field). This I did not remember but the map proves this to be correct too. This area is on the first map section, above the word Park in the title, Chickamauga Park Base Historical Map.

This map is one of those treasures I found at TIC that I've talked about previously. The first three pictures are sections of the map and the final picture is the entire map stitched together.

McDonald Field

The first two pictures show Confederate artillery positions taken on the afternoon of September 20th. The battery on the left (first picture) was Warren's Mississippi Light Artillery (also known as Swett's Battery) and the one on the right (second picture) is Fowler's Alabama Battery. They took position here on the afternoon to fire towards Snodgrass Hill. Later they were forced to retreat when Reynolds' Division approached its left on its way off the battlefield.
A second view of Warren's Battery showing more of the open ground in front of the position. Snodgrass Hill would be beyond the far tree line.