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Tour Descriptions

Annual Conference

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Annual Conference registration includes Friday and Saturday tours; Color Bearer members also may attend tours on Thursday. An optional tour is available Wednesday for an additional charge.

Walking and Mobility: If you have limitations, please take note of the statement regarding the amount of walking anticipated on each tour that is included in bold at the end of each tour description.

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Wednesday Optional Tours

— Additional Fee Applies —

 

Joe Wheeler’s Raid, October 1863 (1/2 day)
with Jim Ogden

Description: Tour description coming soon...

More details: Additional fee of $30; tour runs 1:00 – 5:30 pm. 


Chattanooga Museums (1/2 day)

Desciption: Stops to include The 6th Cavalry Museum, The Battles for Chattanooga Museum, and the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

More details: Additional fee of $30; tour runs 1:00 – 5:30 pm. 

 

The Tullahoma Campaign (Full Day)
with Michael Bradley

Description: Join Michael Bradley for a tour of the overlooked Tullahoma Campaign of June/July 1863.  This brilliant campaign of maneuver occurred at the same time as Gettysburg and the Vicksburg Campaigns and was glossed over by both due to the low level of casualties by comparison.  Yet, in terms of damaging the Confederacy, Tullahoma ranks just below Vicksburg in importance.  Union General William S. Rosecrans conceived a wonderful plan of feint and maneuver designed to turn the right flank of Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee and force him into a fight over his lines of supply on a field of his choosing.  Only the incessant rains prevented this aspect of the campaign from happening but the end result was the conquest of Tennessee for the Union cause.  The tour will visit Hoover's Gap, seized by the mounted infantry and Spencer rifle-armed brigade of John Wilder which earned them the nickname of the Lightning Brigade.  Other sites include Liberty Gap; Bell Buckle; Wartrace (including Patrick Cleburne's headquarters); Guy's Gap and Shelbyville, sites of major cavalry fights in the campaign; Tullahoma, Estill Springs and the vital bridges and Cowan, Bragg's last stand.  The route back to Chattanooga will include a “windshield tour” of Sewanee Mountain where the campaign ended.  There will be some easy walking during the tour so be sure to bring comfortable shoes and clothing.

More details: Additional fee of $60; tour runs 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. 

Thursday Color Bearer Tours

— Color Bearer members may attend a tour on Thursday — 

 

Eli Long’s Cavalry Raid
with Jim Ogden

Description: This raid, conducted by Ohioan Eli Long with a thrown together cavalry force occurs during the Battles for Chattanooga and is one of most successful cavalry raids of the entire war but is almost completely unknown.  It went from Sherman's Crossing of the Tennessee River for the Battle of Missionary Ridge to and along the Confederate line of communication to Cleveland, Tennessee, to sever communications between Bragg at Chattanooga and Bragg's detached force under Longstreet that was operating up at Knoxville.  Long thoroughly accomplished his mission with little loss and the information-darkness relative to Bragg into which he plunged Longstreet largely causes Longstreet to make what became some of the most poorly conducted assaults of the war at Knoxville.  This tour will take place mostly by bus, but there will be some walking on a paved walkway (3/4 mile RT).

 

Photos, Fighting, and Folklore at Chattanooga
with Garry Adelman 

Description: Description coming soon... 

 

Tennessee Valley Railroad Tour
with Mark Brainard

Description: Description coming soon... 

Tours Offered Both Friday and Saturday

— You will select which day you wish to attend —

 

The Chattanooga Battles One-Day Overview
with Parker Hills
or with A. Wilson Greene (Saturday only)

Descripton: After its defeat at Chickamauga, the besieged Army of the Cumberland hunkered down in Chattanooga, threatened on three sides by the reinforced Army of Tennessee.  The waters of  the Tennessee River completed the encirclement, so Ulysses Grant was ordered from Vicksburg to Chattanooga to break the siege.  En route Grant relieved Rosecrans by telegram, and George Thomas found himself in command of the besieged Army of the Cumberland.  Thomas wired Grant, saying, “we will hold the town till we starve.”  

Late on a rainy Friday, 23 October 1863, a bone-weary and rain-soaked Grant slipped through Confederate lines on horseback to cross the Tennessee River and arrive in Chattanooga.  Grant knew that his initial problem was to establish a supply line to feed the suffering army.  It was the dead of winter; it was wet and cold, and the men and animals of the Army of the Cumberland were hungry.  After food, fodder, and ammunition were procured, the second problem was to break the siege.  

The one-day Chattanooga Battles bus tour will visit sites associated with the accomplishment of Grant’s two military objectives, both of which were achieved from the 27th of October to the 25th of November 1863.  Stops include: Lookout Mountain, Brown’s Ferry, Wauhatchie, Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge and more. Some stops will require moderately challenging walking.

 

Chickamauga Overview
with Keith Bohannon

Description: This one-day bus tour will provide a general overview of the three main days of fighting at Chickamauga, September 18-20, 1863.  After an orientation at the visitor center, we will drive to Reed’s Bridge, the scene of some of the earliest fighting on September 18.  Then we will visit sites associated with the heavy combat on Sept 19, including Jay’s Mill, Winfrey Field, and the Vinyard Farm.  Following a stop for lunch, we will spend the afternoon going to stops where decisive fighting took place on Sept 20, including Battle Line Road, the Poe Field, the Brotherton cabin (scene of Longstreet’s breakthrough), and the Dyer Field.  Our final stop will be at Snodgrass Hill where Union General George Thomas earned his nickname “the Rock of Chickamauga.”  The tour will involve only light walking for short distances.

  

The Road to Chickamauga
with William Glenn Robertson

Description: Before the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of Tennessee clashed in the Battle of Chickamauga, they maneuvered for three weeks in a complex campaign conducted in a rugged and scenic region.  On the offensive, William Rosecrans’s army had to build a massive logistics base to sustain itself while crossing four major geographical obstacles (the Cumberland Plateau, the Tennessee River, Sand Mountain, and Lookout Mountain), all before coming to grips with its enemy.  Realizing he was too weak to hold the long river line when Rosecrans advanced, Braxton Bragg evacuated Chattanooga and maneuvered beyond Lookout Mountain to defeat the widely-scattered Federals in detail.  Twice he tried and twice he failed to bring Rosecrans to battle, prior to Chickamauga.  This day-long tour will follow the Army of the Cumberland’s advance by visiting the Federal logistics base, its multiple river crossing sites, and its routes over the mountain barriers.  It will then visit the sites associated with Bragg’s two offensive efforts, McLemore’s Cove and Lee and Gordon’s Mill, before culminating on the edge of the Chickamauga battlefield.  By the end of the day, tour attendees will have a new appreciation for the struggles of both armies in one of the most scenic, complex, and difficult campaign areas in the American Civil War. This is a limited walking tour, with considerable amount of time on the bus.

Tours Offered Friday Only

 

The Battle of Chickamauga in Detail, Part 1
with Dave Powell (Friday only) 

Description: A day-long bus tour that will cover the first two days of the battle of Chickamauga; both the initial fighting on September 18 1863, and the full day’s horrific combat of September 19. We will explore the command decisions that led these two armies to collide in the heavily wooded bottomland along West Chickamauga Creek, develop an appreciation for how difficult fighting in this terrain could be, and discuss the unusual circumstances that set the stage for the climactic engagement on September 20. Friday’s tour will involve light to moderate walking, over level terrain. 

 

The Siege and Battles for Chattanooga in Detail, Part 1
with Jim Ogden (Friday only)

Descripton: This first day of the two part/two day "Siege and Battles for Chattanooga in Detail" tour will start out with a look at events associated with the Siege of Chattanooga in late September and October of 1863 when Braxton Bragg's for once victorious army seemingly had the Army of the Cumberland cooped up and withering within increasingly fortified Chattanooga.  We'll then quickly transition to the discussion of the key Union operation of Reopening the Tennessee River.  We'll visit such associated sites as Moccasin Bend and Brown's Ferry, including sites associated with the nighttime Battle of Wauhatchie.  Once we have opened the "Cracker Line," and ourselves consumed our ration of hardtack, we'll turn to Ulysses Grant's November offensive, spending the rest of Part 1/Day 1 looking at Joseph Hooker's "if practicable" Battle of Lookout Mountain, concluding, hopefully, with our own successful summitting of the mountain.  This tour involves extensive walking on mostly natural surface paths and in hilly terrain and is probably not appropriate for those with mobility issues.

 

Raiders and Rome
with Brian Wills (Friday only)

Description: Before the dramatic events of the fall of 1863 brought large-scale warfare to the Chattanooga area, the city was already a focal point of Union attention, with efforts to disrupt Confederate lines of communication and threaten resources planned in the earlier part of the year.  The nearby city of Rome was already developing as an important production center when Colonel Abel Streight led a raiding force to destroy facilities there and wreck railroad connections between Atlanta and Chattanooga in April and May.  His opponent in this endeavor was the formidable Confederate cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest.  We will see the aspects that made Rome, Ga., a target and visit the site at which Forrest brought the raid to an inauspicious and improbable close. This tour will involve minimal walking.

 

Red Clay Minuet: Sherman versus Johnston in North Georgia
with A. Wilson Greene (Friday only)

Descripton: Shelby Foote coined this apt metaphor for the maneuvers and engagements conducted by William Tecumseh Sherman and Joseph Eggleston Johnston during the first two weeks of the Atlanta Campaign.  The spring of 1864 found Sherman's Federal army group poised in southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia ready to execute General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant's orders to engage the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  That army, revitalized during the winter under Johnston's new leadership, occupied defensive positions along imposing Rocky Face Ridge, near Dalton, Georgia, protecting their line of communication back to Atlanta along the Western & Atlantic Railroad.  On May 5, Sherman ordered his troops forward, leading to a series of fights and flankings that eventually drove the Confederates off Rocky Face Ridge and south of the Oostanaula River, setting the stage for the next phase of the Atlanta Campaign.

Our tour will begin at Ringgold, Georgia, scene of the last clash of the battles for Chattanooga and the place from which Sherman launched his offensive.  We will visit the famous railroad tunnel at the appropriately named Tunnel Hill, visit historic sites at Confederate headquarters in Dalton, and tour the battlefields at Mill Creek Gap, Dug Gap, and Resaca, including the brand new state battlefield park there.  Lunch will be at the Depot Restaurant in Dalton. This tour involves extensive walking on hilly terrain and is probably not appropriate for those with mobility issues.  

 

Museums, Homes and Gardens
(Friday only)

Description: Coming soon...

Tours Offered Saturday Only

 

The Battle of Chickamauga in Detail, Part 2
with Dave Powell (Saturday only)

Description: A day-long bus tour that will focus on the most consequential day of the battle of Chickamauga: September 20 1863. We begin our day discussing the Confederate Army of Tennessee’s botched attack orders of that morning that left a Confederate division unsupported on the brink of victory. We then move on to examine the Union Army of the Cumberland’s own disastrous miscommunication at midday, which left a gaping hole in the Blue line for James Longstreet to exploit, and we conclude with the final fighting on Horseshoe Ridge and in Kelly Field. Saturday’s tour will involve moderate walking, over slightly hillier terrain. 

 

The Siege and Battles for Chattanooga in Detail, Part 2
with Jim Ogden (Saturday only)

Description: This second day of the two part/two day "Siege and Battles for Chattanooga in Detail" tour will focus on the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the final major engagement in the Campaign for Chattanooga.  We'll visit Orchard Knob and discuss its seizure on November 23rd and its subsequent use by Ulysses Grant as his primary point of observation and command post in the latter part of the Battles for Chattanooga.  From there, we will join William T. Sherman's amphibious assault across the Tennessee River and visit the landing site at the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek.  We'll then follow Sherman's advance to Missionary Ridge and examine his abortive assaults of November 24 and 25 on the ground (ground increasingly preserved and accessible thanks to the members of the Trust).  With Sherman stymied, we'll spend the rest of the day examining the Army of the Cumberland's "demonstration," and Hooker's movement, that brought Grant victory as the sun set on November 25, 1863, and sealed the fate of the Gateway to the Deep South, laying it open for Sherman's army in 1864.  This tour involves extensive walking on both hard and natural surface paths and in hilly terrain and is probably not appropriate for those with mobility issues.

 

The Rock: George Thomas at Chickamauga, 1863
with Brian Wills (Saturday only)

Description: Join us as we explore the ground over which Union and Confederate forces grappled with each other in the fall of 1863 following the maneuvering of the Tullahoma Campaign.  The morning will be spent covering the terrain of Chickamauga Creek, where the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Braxton Bragg turned to confront William S. Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland, we will follow the early encounters at Reed’s and Alexander’s bridges, northeast of Lee and Gordon’s Mill and focus on the role of General George Thomas in the developing combat that occurred over two full days of fighting on September 19-20.  Prominent in the action on the Union left after the collapse of the fight and center on the second full day of fighting, we will walk the ground at Snodgrass Hill and nearby Horseshoe Ridge where Thomas fended off repeated Southern assaults and won an enduring nickname as the “Rock of Chickamauga.”

In the aftermath of Chickamauga, Bragg advanced to Chattanooga and established lines that constricted Union supply into the city.  In the afternoon we will see the sites associated with the “siege” of the city associated with George Thomas, including a preliminary gambit against Orchard Knob on Nov. 23 that paved the way for a final dramatic assault on Nov. 25 by the Army of the Cumberland against the Confederate defenders on Missionary Ridge that drove Braxton Bragg’s forces back toward Georgia in disarray.  In addition, we will visit the Chattanooga National Cemetery, the resting place for Union dead that General Thomas had particular interest in developing and included James J. Andrews and several of his fellow “raiders” from the “Great Locomotive Chase” that had occurred a year earlier. This tour will involve minimal walking.

 

Tennessee Today
(Saturday only) 

Description: Coming soon...

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