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September 18-20, 1863: The Battle of Chickamauga

On September 18-20, 1863, Union and Confederate forces engaged in the Battle of Chickamauga, a bloody Civil War battle fought near the Chickamauga Creek in Georgia. The battle ended in a victory for Confederate forces and resulted in 34,000 casualties. It marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia known as the Chickamauga Campaign. It is widely considered to be the second deadliest battle of the Civil War, following the Battle of Gettysburg.  

In the summer of 1863, Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans led his Union Army of the Cumberland from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, towards Chattanooga, 140 miles to the south. Chattanooga was an important rail junction for the South. The goal was to use the Federal army of about 60,000 to surround the city and cut off escape for Gen. Braxton Bragg and his Army of Tennessee numbering about 40,000.

As the Union Army approached Chattanooga in early September, Bragg and his army abandoned the city and retreated to Chickamauga Creek, just 12 miles away. There they awaited reinforcements. More than 30,000 Confederate troops poured in, boosting morale.  Now on the offensive, the Confederates set out on the morning of September 18, 1863, to cross two bridges on the Chickamauga Creek. They encountered Union infantry and cavalrymen armed with Spencer repeating rifles blocking the way. Skirmishes ensued but Bragg’s army eventually made it across the creek.

As evening approached, the Confederates encountered Union troops north of Lee and Gordon’s Mills. Rosecrans huddled with George Thomas, a Union general, to strategize and hold open a path of retreat back to Chattanooga for Union forces. Thomas gathered troops and marched through the night to extend Union lines northward and guarantee safe passage. After marching all night, the weary and thirsty soldiers stopped to prepare breakfast near a farm owned by Elijah Kelly. Thomas soon learned that an isolated enemy force was nearby in the woods. He sent a division of his men eastward to contend with them. Fighting broke out in earnest and intensified as it spread across an area covering four miles.

The battle raged throughout September 19th. Confederate forces pounded away at the Union line but were not able to break it, leaving both sides exhausted. As night fell, temperatures dropped, and soldiers endured a night of freezing temperatures. The dead and wounded littered the fields including Merritt J. Simonds of the 42nd Illinois, Company K. He lay wounded on the battlefield for nearly a week before being attended to. On October 8th, he wrote his father a letter saying he had been severely wounded but was optimistic for recovery. He wrote a second letter on October 27th saying, “My leg is now mortifying above the knee and doctors say I cannot live more than two days at the longest. You must not take this to heart but look to a higher source for God’s comfort, for it is God’s will and I feel resigned to my fate…I would like to have my body taken home and buried beside my mother.” Simonds died shortly after and his remains lie in Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The morning of September 20th, Bragg planned a dawn attack against Union forces but a breakdown in communication delayed the first engagement until 9:30 a.m. This allowed Federal soldiers time to organize and set up a defense. In the late morning, incorrect information was transmitted to Rosecrans stating that a gap had developed in the Union line. While attempting to shore up the gap, he inadvertently moved units and created an actual gap. Confederates quickly exploited the weakness and surged through and pushed 1/3 of the Union army, including Rosecrans, off the field. Union soldiers began to retreat. Some of them, however, created a defensive line on Horseshoe Ridge near the farm of George Snodgrass. They held the ridge until evening allowing more Union soldiers to retreat, but the Confederates earned the victory. If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Chickamauga or other Civil War battles, search our Fold3 Civil War collection today!

147 Comments

  1. To Charles Belser: Amen

    I have been there a few times and it seems so controlled for the Union side.
    Guess that happens when the other side wins. Very sad for the loss of life.
    I live only 60 miles from the battlefield.

    • I don’t understand

    • “It seems so controlled for the Union side. Guess that happens when the other side wins.” I’m assuming when you write “the other side” that you’re talking about the side that defeated the forces of industrialized slave labor in the South that sold people like cattle or pigs.

    • Blacks sold black slaves in Africa to the Arabs and had black slaves as did some freed blacks in America. Get off your high horse where the south is concerned. My white ancestors in Pomerania were enslaved when their tribe was defeated in the 4th century. Their descendants were baptized in the 6th century and went on to get the von and became one of the oldest German aristocratic families the von Mach family, which had a long military history as officers right up to a general in NATO, my cousin the late Dr. Niki von Mach.

    • I am with you. I hate the fact that they are on their high horse about slavery when even blacks had black slaves also. It is part of our history. We may not like it, but it is still history none the less. Everyone just needs to read up on it. Stop taking down the monuments and etc,

  2. My g-grandfather Marquis D. L. Price (Co. C, 17th/18th Texas Cavalry Dismounted) was in the front lines at Chickamauga. His regiment suffered a lot of casualties and commander Gen. James Deshler was killed. My ancestor also served in Cleburne’s Whitworth Sharpshooters.

  3. Sgt. John Chisum Bonner, Co G 35th Tennessee Inf. C.S.A, was killed at Chickamauga on the last day of battle. My maternal grandmother wrote that her father, John’s older brother Lt. C. C. Bonner, and a black man named Edmund buried Sgt. Bonner on the battlefield somewhere in the vicinity of Brotherton Cabin where he reportedly died. According to the park rangers at the visitors center, remains of the Confederate dead were disinterred after the war and buried in a mass grave at Marietta, GA.

    • Marietta is the site of a national cemetery. Every year we (my dauther’s American Heritage Girls troop) lay wreaths on the graves of the war dead.

    • Thank you for sharing. Hopefully the girls learn more about the the wars in which the dead were a part and understand both sides of the conflict. Perhaps they have ancestors who have served in the military and will ask relatives about them. It is also important to know how the conflicts affected the families and everyday life. Sadly, we adults must try to reconstruct much of their lives if people with first hand knowledge are no longer living.

    • I would call Kennesaw Historical Society and ask them for more information

  4. My great, great uncle, Robert A. Moore, Company C, Mississippi 17th, was killed in action at the Battle of Chickamauga. He kept a pocket diary in four volumes eventually published in the late 1950’s entitled Life for the Confederacy.

  5. My Ancestors Col William T Beatty and Capt W.S.B. Randall were part of the Ohio Regiment that held Snodgrass Hill through the night. Both of them were captured the next morning when Longstreet arrived.
    W.S.B. Randall was sent to Libby Prison in Richmond. He and several others were successful in escaping. They were memorialized in the book “Escape from Libby Prison”.
    W.T. Beatty was set in free in error. He was one of the original settlers of the town of Gibbon NE in 1872. He died in 1903 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Gibbon NE. W.S.B. Randall returned to Ohio and died in 1903 in Springfield Ohio and is buried with other Civil War Soldiers in Fern Cliff Cemetery.

    • Interesting! My great great uncle was in Libby prison also, I’ll have to find that book! He was released when the name of another prisoner was called out for parole….my uncle stepped up after no one came forward, he posed as the person and was released. 15th Connecticut Regime.

  6. My Gr.Gr. Grandfather 2nd Lt. Philip P. Lash Co.F 30th Indiana Infantry was wounded in the thigh and captured but escaped back to his unit. Was wounded again at Kennesaw Mt., released on surgeons certificate.

    • Hi Cousin Earle , I have been researching our G.G. Grandpa Lash as well. I too am a Civil War history buff . Keep up the good work.

  7. I tend to agree with the Southern view that the terms of the U.S. Constitution were being violated prior to the Civil War, and that the Southern states should have been able to legally secede from the Union if they wanted to. Certainly Lincoln drastically changed the nature of our federal system… it is tempting to say he wrecked it, yet if we had not had Lincoln, and had not strengthened the federal government, who can say how much worse things might have played out over the years? We cannot run out the various scenarios to find out.

    While there were a few vindictive “Radical Republicans” after the war, I don’t have much sympathy for those who complain that the South has been treated harshly. I can’t think of any civil war or rebellion in any other nation, at any point in recorded history, where the losing rebels were treated half as leniently as the former Confederates were treated after the American Civil War. Genocide? No… take your horses home with you for plowing. Mass execution of leaders? No… you can keep your swords.

    In my opinion slavery was an embarrassing and nearly fatal flaw in our United States Constitution… a horrible compromise that had to be made to allow the formation of our nation. The Civil War was probably inevitable, and I personally take great pride in both sides of the war. I love them both. Up to that point the USA was regarded as a bunch of hillbillies by the Europeans, but what other nation on Earth could have fielded not just one but TWO tremendous armies, armed them in many cases with weapons which were the prototypes of things 50 years ahead of their time, and marched them off to fight with such steely nerve and bravery?

    As long as they do not overtly or directly promote racism, I hate to see Confederate monuments being permanently destroyed by some temporary wave of political fashion. The Veterans Administration provides grave markers for Confederate graves, and I think we would all be doing well to take a cue from them. The rebels are once again our countrymen.

    • That’s so nice of you! Nobody helped the South rebuild after the war. Blacks and whites did it together with the sweat of their brows. Suggest you read about the “Readjusters” party in Virginia in which poor people banded together so as to escape from a mountain of debt after the war. There was no Marshall Plan, or GI Bill. or low cost government loans. People who worked hard brought our nation together. Now. there are those who wish to tear it apart. The Know Nothings are back!

    • I agree. I have often thought that such a ferocious conflict could only have been fought by American vs American, be they in gray or blue. They are all Americans in my book, with courageous men on both sides. And yes slavery is an absolute evil that tore us apart, but we all eventually emerged on the other side of this war, much stronger and more dedicated to our future greatness as a nation.
      You are probably correct that the south had aright to leave the Union if they wished, but the two halves resulting would have become the weak sisters, targeted by other nations for domination. Instead we ended up together and forged the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

    • Richard Florey,

      As Lincoln pointed out, we could not physically separate North from South. Imagine the border, with fanatical (and morally correct) Abolitionists no longer having any reason to restrain themselves from breaking Southern laws, vs. Yankee-hating Southerners who no longer had any reason not to make those Abolitionists simply disappear. It could have been a real mess, and like you said would have left us weak.

      I guess my heart is for more of a confederate type of government, but my head agrees with Lincoln. But… although I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life, I have to say I have taken great pleasure in watching the states finally grow some spine and rebel against federal idiocy on the legalization issue. I hope that signals a move towards a better balance of power generally, in the future.

    • Slavery was the sin and stain. Our early nation and its wealth (in the pockets of a minority) was built on free labor. 600,000 souls paid for that sin. The Civil War was a test for our Constitution. Today those statues have morphed into symbols of racism, sadly. There is that viewpoint those men portrayed in those statues were traitors to these United States. That is a harsh label. But the base issues in the balance of our Civil War were harsh—namely the continuation of free labor.

    • You have to go deeper than today.

      1. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington had many slaves.
      2. Many Southern Plantations lost money and went broke due to
      cheap sugar from Cuba. Tariff was issued!
      3. The so called cheap labor was not cheap. A real challenge to work these folks.
      4. Slavery was a sign of the times during 1700-1865. Many slaves were in worse
      condition after being freed.
      5. Some black obtained a great deal of wealth in the Baton Rouge River area and
      also had slaves.
      6. Slaves in Africa were being slaughtered by their neighbors and chose to board the ships to America.

      Much More! Study plantation life and history more!

    • I have ancestors that fought on both sides, the North and the South, in the Civil War. They were so brave and hard fighting. I’m glad the North won though and ended slavery. The Confederate soldiers were treated fairly when the war ended. It was after that the troubles started with those who could not accept how things turned out.
      Unfortunately, racial repression continued with the harsh jail sentences for blacks, basically free labor. Up to our present day the black men are the vast majority in our judicial system. We have to correct this injustice in order to go forward as ‘a more perfect union’.

    • I agree with this comment. My family had people in both sides of this war. Both seriously believing they were right. Both sides involved in fighting for their side. It’s over. We are fortunate that this country has been able to survive and become what we are today. God bless America!

    • To Jerry(again) – So, your “digging deeper” has made some astounding discoveries:
      1. Washington and Jefferson had slaves — which makes slavery in America fully understandable and even patriotic! 2. Southern plantations went broke because of cheap Cuban sugar — which means Plantation owners, not the slaves, were the ones who suffered! 3. “The so called cheap labor was not cheap. A real challenge to work these folks.” — Yes, you acually had to feed these “folks” food so they wouldn’t die and provide shacks to house them! THIS COST PLANTATION OWNERS MONEY! (ALSO SOME OF THESE DAMN SLAVES DIDN’T WANT TO BE SLAVES! THIS MADE A PLANTATION OWNER’S LIFE A LIVING HELL!) 4. Slavery was a sign of times thru the Civil War, and many slaves were in worse shape after being freed! — yes, because slavery was widespread throughout the South, that makes slavery all right! (Besides if you free your slaves God Only Knows what terrible things would happen to them!) 5. Some blacks got wealthy in the Baton Rouge area and also owned slaves — yes, anyone who owned slaves and had free slave labor could become wealthy, which makes slavery so understandable. 6. “Slaves in Africa were being slaughtered by their neighbors and chose to board the ships to America.” Yes, black Africans were actually fleeing Africa and couldn’t wait to board 1st Class accommodations on slave ships to America so they could be separated from their families, sold as slaves, and pick cotton on southern plantations and, if they tried to escape, were hunted down like animals and, if they were lucky, were returned to their beautiful shacks, to be whipped (literally) back into free labor.
      Yes, indeed, “study plantation life and history more!” and be amazed what you can ignore!

    • Oh Jim, out of context. You need to study more. Must be a democrat!

  8. I was amazed at the loss of life. 34,000 casualties.
    How sad.

  9. Glad my Confederate ancestors won some battles but not the War between the States. My ancestor Orville Betts fought w the South Carolina Regiment 1 and signed up in Nashville in 1861. He was in prison from 1865 til 1873 for not recognizing the Union. His ancestor Thomas Betts was an English sailor who came to Jamestwn in 1619. His descendants fought against the British in the American Revolution s did my Connecticut yankee ancestors on my father;s side whe ancestors came to New England in 1624.

  10. The article states “they endured a night of freezing temperatures” – I doubt this, as the nights in South Tennessee and North Georgia on September 19, are more in the 50 to 70 degree range. I have visited this site many times, and climbed up in Wilder’s Tower to take a look at the surroundings. Always liked Chattanooga. My mother had Irish cousins here that worked in the foundry, and also a Dan Connely, that owned the Studebaker Dealership. Dan lived on Signal Mountain. Liked the way they call the tunnels through the mountains “tubes” – this is more Irish or English than American in nature.

    • Hi Cliff, the weather during the battle was unseasonably cold. Soldiers describe frost on the battlefield and water freezing in canteens. I found one account of soldier whose bleeding wound caused him to freeze to the ground. Historic newspapers describe temperatures in the 40s but based on personal diary accounts it may have been even colder. Some soldiers defied orders and built campfires to keep wounded comrades from freezing to death.

  11. My ggrand uncles diary was used to write a book about the battle. I have a copy of the book signed. I think it’s out of print now.

  12. This thread has inspired me to think about the differences between the “causes” of the war and the motivation of individual soldiers to join and fight. My Ggrandmother’s brother was a sergeant with the 9th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (Union) and was at Chickamauga. He was wounded grievously and died after Missionary Ridge awhile later. His letters make it clear that the preservation of the union was extremely important to him. They also are clear that he was against the emancipation proclamation and disturbed with President Lincoln. I am a Viet Nam War era veteran. I certainly wasn’t pondering the particulars of the advance of communism in Southeast Asia when I chose to join the army. My country called and I answered the call.

  13. My wife’s great-grandfather, Henry Vessey of the 2nd Minnesota, was wounded in the leg during the last day of fighting at Chickamauga and thus was unable to join the Union retreat. Along with hundreds (thousands?) of other POWs he was sent by train to a Confederate prison in Richmond. Later he was transferred to a prison in Danville, VA. In April 1864 he and 11 other Union prisoners escaped. In an epic journey of several hundred miles that took almost a month and saw them nearly recaptured several times, Henry and a companion made it to the front in SW Virginia as a battle – Cloyd’s Mountain – was raging. They took shelter in the basement of a house that was soon converted to a battlefield surgery. Afraid to come upstairs, not knowing who was in control of the house, they waited until the quiet of the following morning. When they emerged they found they had made it back to the Union lines. Most of the other escapees also reached the Union army of Gen. Crook. Henry and his friends’ incredible saga was documented in a St. Paul, MN, newspaper in 1864. He also dictated a personal account in the 1920s.

    I feel an affinity for these heroes of our history Four of my grandmother’s great uncles served in the same artillery battery (16th Ohio) during the war, and one of them, battery captain James A. Mitchell, was killed at the Battle of Champion Hill, MS. Since Mitchell’s heroic action of bringing his guns down in front of the infantry on a hillside was instrumental in checking a key Confederate attack, and the battle subsequently turned the Union’s way, I like to think that this was the turning point in a battle that was a turning point of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign, which itself was a turning point in the war. After his defeat at Champion Hill, Pemberton withdrew his army into Vicksburg, where Grant laid siege and eventually forced the surrender of the last CSA stronghold on the Mississippi and Pemberton’s entire army.

  14. My great grandfather was in the union army and fought in the Battle of Chickamauga at the age of 16

  15. My Tennessee family was 60% Confederate, 40% Union, which is fairly usual for our state. I am pleased that my direct paternal ancestor fought for the Union at Franklin and Nashville. Less pleased that the maternal side had Confederate representatives there as well. The battles were horrendous, no matter how some Southerners want to make the war glorious and honorable. To me it was about a bunch of slave owners using their poorer neighbors under the guise of regional loyalty, to keep themselves rich. Think about it logically, if the South had won, would the South have been as forgiving? Somehow, I don’t think so, and it is scary to imagine were we would be today. I am a Southerner proud of my Union Cavalry soldier great-grandfather and consider my Confederate loving relatives as misled. Robert E. Lee’s wife was apparently of my opinion, as well and tried to dissuade her husband from joining the South. Her I admire, him I consider a traitor to his country and his oath.

  16. MY GREAT GRANDFATHER,CASSIUS M. CASE FOUGHT IN THE BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA WITH THE 6TH INDIANA REGIMENT.TRUE THE UNION DID NOT FAIR WELL.AT THE BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA THEY MADE UP FOR IT AT THE BATTLE OF CHATTANOGABY DRIVING THE REBEL’S OFF OF LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN.

  17. We often forget the dynamic that was playing out besides the battles of war. The north was becoming very industrialized, the south had goods and crops needed to stoke the industrialization.

    North wanted the goods South wanted a fair exchange. North didn’t want to deal or enrich the South. That was one of the components that separated our nation. Slavery by today’s standards is unconscionable however it had been a norm in Europe for centuries with both black and white cultures enslaved by the conquerors

    Let us learn from the past, and Never repeat its horrors. Treat everyone as You would want to be treated. Respect our ancestors for their struggles and accomplishments and appreciate our enlightenment

    • This is an incredibly simplistic notion of the North and South in the Civil War. Yes, the North was much more industrialized, but the idea that the South “wanted a fair exchange” for the goods they were producing (on the backs of slave labor!) was not, as you so glibly describe, “one of the components that separated our nation.”
      What the South wanted was to continue to enslave human beings so they could continue to enrich themselves with free slave labor. In addition, the immorality of the South’s vast slave “business” was unconscionable not just by “today’s standards”, but in the nineteenth century as well. It caused our nation’s great cataclysm, the Civil War.

    • We need to bear in mind that slavery legally existed under the United States Constitution for far, far longer than under the Confederate States Constitution. The Northern states where lucky that plantation-style farming did not work out as well there… I presume because of the costs of feeding all those idle slaves through the much longer non-productive winters? Slavery legally existed in Northern states such as New York, but around the time of the Revolution they mostly started on gradual programs of emancipation. But they were gradual, and slaves were still held in the North until the 1830’s or later.

      But to act like the North or the Union was somehow pure and free of sin is not right. Slavery was part of our country from the beginning, and something we all had to deal with together in the end.

      Also, today we Americans spit out the word “state” with almost the same sense or feeling we would have for the words “county” or “township”… a subdivision of some central government. Of course this is not actually right; the word “state” is synonymous with “nation” and that is how many if not most Americans saw things before the Civil War. I certainly feel primary patriotism towards the USA and view my state government as sort of a nanny organization to take care of boring domestic matters, but that is not how Lee or his contemporaries would have viewed things. Those folks were born into a different world, and grew up with slavery all around them. It is not entirely fair to judge them with our 20/20 hindsight.

  18. I’m searching for information about a receiving and shipping hospital at Catoosa Platform (not the woodshed) following the battle and would be pleased to hear from anyone with information.

  19. Very interesting write-up. Thank you! Coincidentally, my 2XGG, Capt. John A. Mackey–Tennessee 2nd Infantry Regiment–fought against my husband’s 2XGG, Pvt. James Shaffer (Shafer)–11th Indiana Battery–in the Battle of Chickamauga and TEN other Civil War battles. Both sustained injuries at various times during this war, but both survived and lived long, relatively healthy lives well after.

    • Carol
      what is your Grand Fathers Family Tree

    • Hello – I’m writing a biography on my gg grandfather who was s major general. His name was William B Bate and he was Col of the 2nd Tennessee until Shiloh and later the regiment was attached to his division at the end of the 100 days battle (Atlanta Campaign). Do you have any personal correspondences from and too Captain Mackey?

  20. A thorough research of Lincoln’s biographies will certify that he was initially
    concerned with the preservation of the union. He even toyed with the notion
    to colonize Compensated slaves in south America. He was a consummate
    politician and espoused abolition only when it became politically advantageous.
    This isn’t offered in criticism. It’s simply true.

    After the war, “Reconstruction” foundered because it wasn’t appropriately enforced. The north won. They dictated the peace. But they were weary and
    hadn’t the will to follow through and stay with Reconstruction.
    You don’t overturn a (southern) culture by simply winning a war. This can only
    be accomplished over time – most likely generations! “Reconstruction” may seem harsh, but failing it’s prosecution, look what developed and the aftermath
    we live with yet today!
    harsh

    • I think Lincoln was always opposed to slavery in his heart, but as you say his political goals were more modest or practical. In fact if we look closely at what he actually believed about race, he would appear to be a horrible racist by modern standards! In opposing slavery, he did not necessarily regard blacks as equal to whites, or desirable to have around.

      Lincoln’s ideas about shipping the blacks back to Africa, etc. were not really that far removed from Lee’s views that blacks were unready to be free citizens at that time. If you look at what Lee said on the subject, he implies that at some future point blacks could be educated and then ready to vote intelligently and so forth. Of course Lee viewed slavery as a means of gradually bringing blacks up to speed, while in fact slavery purposely kept them ignorant, so he was overlooking reality in that respect.

  21. Two of my 2nd G-granddads were in Longstreet’s contingent. They had a long march from Virginia and arrived late. This is the only time they did not fight for Robert E. Lee. One was in the 13th MS Regiment and the other was in the 18th MS Regiment. Neither was wounded in this battle so that was good. They did send those Union troops running for Tenneessee.

    • My great, great uncle with the MS 17th also was with the Army of Northern Virginia and made that trek with his Company from Virginia to the battlefield of Chickamauga where he was killed in battle. U am so glad your ancestors survived.

    • The hammer blow at Chickamauga, just as at 2nd Manassas and the Wilderness, was delivered by Longstreet and his men. Too bad for the Confederates that Longstreet was “missing a boot” (Pickett’s division) on the 2nd day at Gettysburg, when his corps, minus Pickett, came pretty close to turning the Union left.

  22. My ancestor was there with the 10th Ky US infantry. He said the river ran red with blood.

  23. My great-great-grandfather Enlisted as a Private in CSA Army, Company “C”, 24th Regiment Volunteers, Capt. Appleby’s Company at George’s Station near Charleston, SC on Jan. 7, 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga, GA on Sept. 20, 1863, and put on furlough. He died at home on Dec. 11, 1863, from wounds received in battle.

  24. My step great-great grandfather, Abram Plunkett was a private in Company 1, Third Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry under General Joseph Wheeler. In his journal he described going into battle, he wrote, “We whipped the Yankees badly. We could have captured the whole Yankee Army if we had just crowded them a bit more. Some of them just threw down their guns and ran like hell. General Bragg did not press them. Thus they escaped. We were fighting nearly every day. it was winter. On the 17th of January, 1864, I was pretty badly wounded. I was shot through the right arm. I was patched up and sent to White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, where I stayed all winter.” During the Battle of Chickamauga, Plunkett accompanied General Wheeler and 4,000 men and went on a raid in back of the Union Army. They captured wagon trains, beef cattle, and other army stores. This venture took 32 days and they were about 100 miles back of their command. They were apprehended by about 30 Yankee guerrillas and chased for miles, but avoided capture. In 1868 Plunkett and his family moved from
    Arkansas to Gilroy, California. Every year until he died in 1931, he would don his Confederate uniform and ride at the head of the Memorial Day Parade through the town and out to the cemetery for the observances. Accompanying him was a neighbor who, like him, every year donned his Union Army uniform and rode alongside him at the head of the parade. For as long as they lived, the two men went to the public schools to share their Civil War experiences and to lecture to the students on the perils of war and the importance of finding peace.

    • That is an awesome story about the two men riding side by side. That is how it should be… we were enemies, we fought like hell, we are not enemies any longer.

  25. My 2 great-great uncles Noah & Jabez Smith with the 1st Ohio were captured in that battle. They both died in Andersonville Prison in July 1864.

  26. Merritt Simonds was mentioned in the narrative. He was close friends with my great uncle Sherwin King, 1st Sgt, Co K, Illinois 42nd Inf. King was also killed at Chickamauga. I have all of King’s letters and Simonds diary. He writes about laying wounded on the battlefield for three days. My great uncle’s family had the means to have his body returned to his hometown, DeKalb, IL, where it is buried.

    • Your great uncle was my gGrandfather’s sgt . Pvt. James Aaron Strange from Cairo, Ill. At Shiloh/Pittsburgh Landing, he was taken POW and then released on furlough until an exchange could be arranged. Family legend says the Furlough was due to his membership in the Masons. Do you have any documentation or mention of how the Masonic order had influence in the Illinois 42 inf?

      Jim Strange
      McIntosh, Florida

    • No, I don’t any information on that. If I happen to locate any I will forward to you

  27. The first slave owner in the America was a black man! The war was an important part of our history whether weight or black. They should not be destroying the southern monuments and for that matter they should no be removing Gods 10 commandments. They need to be posted all over the place. So many people do not know them and therefore cannot follow them. To bad the slave owners did not understand them either for they should have been treating the blacks the same way they wanted to be treated.

  28. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…. History, especially family history should be discussed without political correctness or condemnation. We are here to discuss and share information about a desperate and bloody battle. Each and every soldier, Union or Confederate fought for (or died for) deeply held convictions. The outcome of that war was decided over 150 years ago, there is no need to rekindle the conflict. Every soldier was a hero in his own right (or wrong), let us honor them as such.

    “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;
    So let it be with Caesar. “

  29. My GGGgrandfather, Hampton Combee, originally of the CSA Florida Cow Cavalry, then mustered into militia, was wounded at Chickamauga, along with several other battles. He lost everything to the war. When he returned home to Polk County, Florida, his home was destroyed, all his livestock was taken. He found his wife and children abiding among the palmettos, exposed to the elements, snakes, gators, etc. His wife, Sarah, was a pastor’s daughter. Hampton was a man of God. He made it known his God would restore his family. His prior lifestyle was returned to him 2-fold, through hard work and strong faith. He was truly a hero to me.

  30. I have been to this battlefield. When I walk it, I can feel what happened there. Major. Gen. Patrick Cleburne commanded and led his brave troops. This is also the battle where Gen. George H. Thomas earned his nickname the Rock of Chickamauga. Oh I do wish he had pledged his allegiance to Virginia.

  31. The Civil War was a bloody time in our nation’s history. We as Americans will never agree on all of the issues of that time period, just as we will not always agree with the issues today. There were good and bad happening on both sides, and unless we learn to recognize that this country could be doomed to repeat history. That would be a terribly sad thing, especially for our children. It’s easy to hate those who don’t agree with you, but harder to look beyond those disagreements to love them. I know this struggle myself. May we all learn from our history, and do better for our future generations.

  32. Well said !

    I had relatives on both sides of this battle. Two died (one from South and one from North) I love and identify with both families. Judgement is for the past, knowledge of the past will mold our future

    God Bless America!

  33. My ancestor was captured during this battle, was sent to Andersonville prison, became ill and was transferred to NC Salisbury prison and died in route.

  34. Very true and understable. If you don’t have any clue about the beginning and the end of the warzone back in the day’s. Please start reading and know who you are and the men and women that sacrificed for our country! Thank you. Peace be still!