What we do
For almost twenty years, I have been conducting tours of Civil War battlefields in the Chattanooga area. I offer private comprehensive tours that interpret the battle from the grand strategic view to what the soldiers saw on the battlefield.
Many young men joined the army to escape the boring back-breaking labor of farm life or from the monotonous, often dangerous, experience of a city job. What was it like, then, for these everyday Americans to find themselves in the tumult, horror and carnage of a battlefield? What was it like to be in the Chickamauga forest, neither side knowing the location of the other, groping through the dark foreboding woods to find each other? "March to the sound of the guns and be governed by circumstances," were the orders. What was it like to hear volly after volly of musket fire ripping through the trees, to experience the air bursts of exploding artillery shells and to smell the sulfur smoke from innumerable destructive blasts?
At the end, 34,000 soldiers - Americans all, were killed, wounded or missing. Brigades were broken, regiments shattered and companies obliterated. In one company of the 48th Tennessee infantry, thirty-three of forty-four soldiers were shot down in a matter of minutes. Company H of the 100th Illinois took twenty-two soldiers in the battle and lost eleven of them in the opening minutes of their fight in Viniard field. In just a few minutes, some community in Tennessee and Illinois didn't have any young men anymore. Heartbreaking losses like these were commonplace at Chickamauga, the rule, not the exception. The battle cost both armies close to thirty percent of their operational strength. The official death total was 4,200. In the days, weeks, months, even years after the battle that figure may be as high as 10,000 dead as a result of Chickamauga.