Study Group 2007
On March 16 & 17, 2007, Jim Ogden and David Powell led a group of about 30 battlefield enthusiasts on a four-part tour of Chickamauga Battlefield. [Click here for the original October 2006 press release details.] Shown below are photos by Chattanooga Civil War Round Table Webmaster Harvey Scarborough. They are not in any particular order, but they do give a sense of what the Study Group entails. The focus this year was on the activity of September 19, 1863 on the eastern half of the battlefield. This is an annual event, so for a wonderful hands-on experience, you might want to consider coming along next year.
|The group began the first day's tour just outside the entrance to the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitors Center. Friday was a cold, windy and mostly cloudy day after a much needed all day and night rain from the day before. Saturday turned out fair, but cool and breezy. We would soon warm up after walking about three miles each session!|
|Specific map instruction orientated the group to the events of the battle and the ground to be examined. Here, Jim maneuvers blue and gray markers across the large map in the Visitors Center to better explain the flow of the battle. A highly detailed map handout, courtesy of David Powell, accompanied these avid students of military history.|
|The 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment and a section from Battery I of the 4th U. S. Artillery had to turn 90 degrees to the left and face north along Reeds Bridge Road in anticipation of an attack from Dibrell's Brigade (CSA) who moved around Van Derveer's Union position in search of an ideal place for a flank attack. The fighting at Chickamauga started here on the north end of the field and worked its way south all during the day. The group would go on to examine the ground fought over by the brigades of Davidson (CSA), Ector (CSA), Wilson (CSA) and Walthall (CSA) versus Croxton (USA), King (USA) and Connell (USA).|
|In tracing the course of battle, the group generally walks west to east following Union units and east to west following Confederate units. The group walked in the footsteps of Wood's Confederate Brigade during the famous "Cleburne's night attack" as it headed toward Baldwin's Brigade in the tree line. Semple's Alabama battery is to the left.|
(Below) Two 6-pounder James guns representing Semple's Alabama Battery (CSA) and Calvert's Arkansas Battery (CSA)
in the middle of Winfrey Field provided a
stopping point for further instruction on the linear battle tactics of the day. Due to the curvature of the ground and the near
total darkness at the time of the fight here, much of the expended ammunition by both sides did not find its mark when
these two brigades zeroed in on each other. You have to be here to see and understand what took place nearly a century
and a half ago!
|The group paused at the 1st Ohio monument in the northwest corner
of Winfrey Field. Once Baldwin's and Wood's brigades did make close contact, the fighting turned very deadly, including
the loss of Colonel Baldwin (USA) just a few feet from this very spot. David Powell reads an appropriate passage from a
letter written by one of the soldiers in a Baldwin regiment. |
|The 77th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (monument in center marks their location) was overwhelmed by Preston Smith's Brigade (CSA). The regiment lost most of its men captured, including its colors; Preston Smith lost his life (spot marked by the triangular pyramid of cannon balls at right).|
The second day started with another orientation around the big map. With his blue and gray "paper
troops" in place, Jim pointed out the difficulties encountered by both Union and Confederate soldiers
during the fighting around Brock Field.
Take note: this IS a study group tour, and NOT just another "walk in the park!" On several occasions, Jim and David encouraged some of the "experts" within the group to share their knowledge about certain specific topics. All questions, and there were many, were promptly answered.
|Prior to an invigorating walk to Brock Field, the group gathered at Poe Field above near Tour Stop 4 to follow Palmer and Johnson's Union divisions into the woods to the east. The magnificent Georgia Monument at right stands above everyone in this area of the battlefield.|
|We learned that Brock Field was much larger at the time of the battle than it is today. The tree line to the left is where the field ends today, but at the time of the battle, it extended much further south by over two times. The dead tree in the background (left of center) is near where the Brock farm house once stood.|
|One of several "wet-weather drainage systems" encountered both days that called for a detour or two. At this particular stream, the "pioneer troops" threw in enough stepping stones that allowed the group to tip-toe over and avoid getting (too) wet. Our march through those ever present woods continued unabated!|
|The last tour examined the ground Stewart's Division (CSA) advanced over on its way to the LaFayette Road during his attack on the 19th. Encountered deep in the woods is Carnes' Tennessee Battery (CSA) aimed at the Brotherton cabin.|
The next time that anyone in the group reads about the actions of this battle, it will be with a much better perspective.
Those "hills" and "ridges" often mentioned by the soldiers themselves have been traversed by these individuals; the
very same woods that shielded the commanders from viewing their own troops also prevented us from seeing each
battle segment; and now, we all look forward to understanding more of this great battle next year! Visit this website
often as we will pass along plans for the next Study Group.