Met on Lookout Mountain Battlefield for the
July 15, 2008 Monthly Meeting
|Our July meeting was a field trip to the Lookout Mountain Battlefield
high atop Lookout Mountain. Most in the crowd had not as yet visited the newly renovated Visitor Center, so this
meeting was an extra special event.
|A nice crowd gathers at 7 PM just outside the Lookout Mountain
Visitor Center (to the immediate right of photo) at the start of the Chattanooga Civil War
Round Table meeting. The famous entrance gate to Point Park
is in the background.
||Inside the Visitor Center lobby, Jim Ogden (Round Table President
and tonight's speaker) tells us about the
recently completed renovation project and the new displays. The NPS shares the lobby with
Eastern National Park and Monument Association's bookstore.
|This display contains a Confederate 3" Read Shell (at far left in the display) that was found on the side of Lookout Mountain. Story has it that this shell was fired by Confederates from the mountain at Union positions on Moccasin Bend. The shell failed to explode, was recovered by Union forces, and fired back at the Confederates.|
|Inside the Visitor Center hangs the impressive James Walker painting "The
Battle Above The Clouds." Measuring 13' high by 30' long, the restored painting features Major General Joseph Hooker with
his corps of troops as they watch General John W. Geary's Division sweep (from right to left) across the face of Lookout Mountain during the
November 24, 1863 battle. Clouds partially hid the action that day giving the battle scene a dramatic and mysterious
flare as well as its name.
|Following our tour of the Visitor Center, the group crossed the street to enter Point Park.|
|From the NPS Chickamauga-Chattanooga website (http://www.nps.gov/chch/faqs.htm): "Q. Why does the entrance to Point Park look like a castle? A. The U.S.Army Corps of Engineers built the Point Park gate and adjoining wall. The entrance gate, which resembles that of a castle, was completed in 1905, and is the largest symbol of the Army Corps displayed anywhere in the world." The Corps' current logo is shown below:|
|As Jim Ogden ventures in front of the Confederate Parrot cannon, he is soon joined by the group which becomes almost as fascinated with the view as the history. Jim read several eye witness accounts of the Civil War soldiers' experience in seeing this same view 145 years earlier.|
|Several purposes of this battlefield are to teach and to learn. Here, Jim points out the difference in the riverbank today versus War time. During the 1960's, portions of the south side of the river around Moccasin Bend was extended northward approximately 400' to accomodate the construction of Interstate 24 between the Tennessee River and the base of Lookout Mountain. A sizable part of Cameron Hill provided the land fill for the south shore. To maintain river navigation, the north shore was shortened to offset the south side's encroachment - it was dredged and the dirt was used as land fill in the Moccasin Bend area.|
|The group walked a short distance around the point from the Chattanooga side to the Lookout Valley side past the New York Peace Memorial shown below. Pictured at right, Jim uses a smaller version of the large campaign map at Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center to point out features visable from the western side of the mountain that are important to both the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns.||Nothing beats being able to see the actual ground the troops marched across - even if we are 1,400' above
area at the bottom of this photo. The valley below is Lookout Valley, scene of the Battle of Wauhatchie, October 29, 1863.
The "Cracker Line" ran through the gap in the mountains just to the left of center.
|A slight discomfort from looking west at a very pretty sunset is just that - looking into a setting sun! But, today's visitors didn't mind - the sight was well worth it.|| After our program, we walked back to the gate while facing a
|Memories of fantastic vistas and a much better understanding of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga campaigns were had by all!|