Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide with a Section on Chattanooga

By Steven E. Woodworth | Go to book overview

Introduction

In many ways, Chattanooga's battlefields are disappointing, confusing, and frustrating to visit. Unlike Chickamauga, Chattanooga offers no large areas preserved more or less as they were in 1863. The battle sites that the visitor may view profitably today are few, scattered, and surrounded by an urban environment that is at best irritating and in several cases downright threatening. Traffic will obviously have to be endured, and a good amount of city driving will have to be done to get to some of the sites. Roads are narrow and confusing, and the experience can be frustrating. Visitors sometimes feel, upon reaching a site, that they have battled an extreme amount of vexatious city traffic to arrive at an extremely small piece of preserved battlefield.

If that doesn't deter you, Chattanooga is not without its rewards. It was in some ways one of the most dramatic battles of the war because it was played out in the mammoth natural amphitheater of the Chattanooga Basin. Towering mountains all around provided spectacular scenery, dramatic stages for action, and breathtaking vantage points for observation. The modern visitor can still benefit from many of those factors. As one of the participants wrote, "When history shall have recorded the thrilling tragedies enacted here, when poets shall have illuminated every hilltop and mountain peak with the glow of their imagination, when the novelist shall have given it a population from his fertile brain -- what place can be more attractive to the traveler?"

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