Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Parks featuring the Campaign for Chattanooga, Chickamauga Battlefield and Lookout Mountain Battlefield. History, battlefield descriptions, maps and contact info included.
Military Parks History and Descriptions
Between 1890 and 1899 the Congress of the United States authorized the establishment of several National Military Parks: Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Shiloh, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg. The first of these, and the one upon which the establishment and development of most other national military parks was based, was Chickamauga and Chattanooga. The park owes its existence largely to the efforts of General H. V. Boynton and General Ferdinand Van Derveer, both veterans of the Army of the Cumberland, who, during a visit to the area in 1888, saw the need for a national park to preserve and commemorate these battlefields. Early in 1890 Ohio Congressman Charles H. Grosvenor introduced into the 51st Congress a bill to establish the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Following speedy Congressional passage, President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill on August 19, 1890.
In recommending creation of the park, both House and Senate military affairs committees pointed out that probably no other field in the world presented more formidable natural obstacles to large scale military operations than the slopes of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Since the purpose would be to maintain the park in its historic condition, they also noted that there had been scarcely any changes in the roads, fields, forests, and houses at Chickamauga since the battle, except in the growth of underbrush and timber, which could easily be removed. Taken together, these battlefields offered unparalleled opportunities for historical and professional military study of the operations of two great armies as they both encountered the multiple military obstacles created by forests, steep mountains, open fields, and streams.
From strategically placed observation towers placed on the Chickamauga Battlefield, Missionary Ridge, and Lookout Mountain, observers and students could comprehend the grand campaign that extended over a 150 mile front and follow many tactical details of the actual battle. No battlefield park of this quality and magnitude could be found in any other location in the world.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was officially dedicated on September 18-20, 1895. Most of the 1,400 monuments and historical markers on the battlefields were planned and placed by Boynton and other veterans of the battles, under the supervision of the War Department, which administered all national military parks until they were transferred to the National Park Service in 1933. Efforts continue today to protect and preserve the park’s many cultural and natural features while providing an inspiring experience for visitors.
The Campaign for Chattanooga
In 1863, Union and Confederate forces fought for control of Chattanooga, the gateway to the deep south. The Confederate’s were victorious at nearby Chickamauga in September, but renewed fighting in Chattanooga in November gave Union troops final control.
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the nation’s first, was created in 1890 to preserve and commemorate these battlefields.
The 5,200 acre Chickamauga Battlefield, scene of the last major Confederate victory of the Civil War, contains numerous monuments, historical tablets, wayside exhibits, and trails. Major points of interest can be reached by following the seven-mile auto tour. The Visitor Center includes exhibits, a bookstore, and the Claud E. and Zenada O. Fuller Collection of American Military Shoulder Arms.
Lookout Mountain Battlefield
The 3,000 acre Lookout Mountain Battlefield contains monuments, historical markers, trails, and scenic vistas. Point Park, located on the top of the mountain, is the most prominent feature. The Visitor Center, located across the street from Point Park, displays James Walker’s 13 x 33 foot painting “Battle of Lookout Mountain”.
Operating Hours, Seasons & Phone Contact
All units of the National Military Park are open between sunrise and sunset.The Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center and Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center are open daily from 8:30 am until 6 pm. Both Visitor Centers are closed on Christmas Day. The historic Cravens House on Lookout Mountain is open for tours during the summer. The summer season provides a wider variety of ranger led programs for the public throughout the park.The summer season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Contact the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at 423-821-7786 for hours of operation.
Fees & Reservations
Chickamauga Battlefield is free. Craven's House on historic Lookout Mountain is free. Point Park at Lookout Mountain Battlefield is $3 for people 16 or older, and is free for anyone up to age 15.
Directions to Battlefields
Chickamauga Battlefield From Interstate 75: At Exit 350 take Battlefield Parkway (Georgia 2) west to Fort Oglethorpe. Turn left at the intersection of Battlefield Parkway and Lafayette Road. Go one mile on Lafayette Road to the park entrance and visitor center. From Interstate 24: At Exit 180 take U.S. Highway 27 south (Rossville Boulevard) to Fort Oglethorpe. At the intersection of Battlefield Parkway, continue straight through the intersection onto Lafayette Road to the park entrance one mile ahead.
Lookout Mountain Battlefield From Interstate 24: At Exit 178 follow signs to Lookout Mountain. At the top of Lookout Mountain follow signs to Point Park where the Lookout Mnt. Battlefield Visitor Center is located.
Interesting Chickamauga Facts
Chattanooga, a city with a population today of 153,000 people, had a population of 2,500 at the time of the Civil War.
Ambrose Bierce, noted American writer of the late 19th Century, and author of 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge', 'Chickamauga', and other Civil War stories, served as topographical engineer (map maker) on General William B. Hazen's staff during the Chattanooga Campaign.
During World War II, 50,000 Women's Army Corps soldiers trained on the Chickamauga Battlefield, marking the first time women were officially allowed to join the U.S. Army. President Franklin D Roosevelt reviewed the WACs in front of the battlefield’s visitor center on 4/17/1943.