Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide with a Section on Chattanooga

By Steven E. Woodworth | Go to book overview

The Chickamauga National Military Park Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is a useful resource for students of the battlefield. Besides displays of Civil War cannon (in front), complete with information on the type and characteristics, it also includes a slide presentation on the history of the Chickamauga National Battlefield Park and a fine Civil War bookstore. Most interesting, perhaps, is the Fuller Gun Collection, which contains several types of weapons used in the battle of Chickamauga. In the first alcove on the right are ordinary Civil War rifles of various makes but the same basic pattern. Such weapons equipped the vast majority of the infantrymen at Chickamauga. In the second alcove on the left is the Spencer Repeating Rifle, which was used with devastating effect by Wilder's brigade. In the fourth (last) alcove on the right is the Colt Revolving Rifle. Though inferior in design to the excellent Spencer, the Colt Revolving Rifle was nevertheless used effectively by several companies of the 21st Ohio in that regiment's epic stand on Horseshoe Ridge. A small museum room beyond the gun collection is also interesting.

Once you have become acquainted with the Visitor Center, you are ready to begin your exploration of the Chickamauga battlefield. First, let's consider the action on September 19, 1863, the first full day of pitched battle.


Optional Excursions

Before visiting the scenes of the September 19 fighting, you may want to visit one or both of the key crossings of Chickamauga Creek, where the Confederates fought their way to the west bank on September 18, making the following two days of battle possible. If so, turn left out of the Visitor Center parking lot and proceed 0.1 mile to the traffic light at REED'S BRIDGE ROAD. Turn tight. Proceed 2.6 miles to REED'S BRIDGE. Park in the turnout on the right, just before the bridge. Turn to optional excursion 1, Reed's Bridge.

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