Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dead men tell no tales...

The Battle of Chickamauga: 
Rosecrans and Thomas...US vs Bragg and Longstreet...Confederate

As the Civil War dragged on, Rosecrans wanted Chattanooga for the Union...a gem in the south with its rail lines running to Nashville, Knoxville, and Atlanta; access to river traffic on the TN; and as a manufacturing center for iron and coke...Chattanooga was much desired by both sides.  In September of 1863, he gathered Union troops scattered in TN and north GA and pushed Bragg out of Chattanooga, headed south.  Bragg was equally determined not to lose Chatt-town for the rebels.  On the 17th, Bragg headed north again.  On the 18th, he ran into Union Calvary and mounted infantry. Fighting grew more intense on the 19th as Bragg continued to hammer, but failed to break through the Union line strung out between LaFayette and Rossville, GA. On Sept 20th, Bragg continued his assault.  A break came for the Rebels, when Rosecrans was told, in error, of a break in his line.  As Rosecrans maneuvered troops to fill the supposed gap, he created one, which Longstreet promptly exploited, driving 1/3 of the Union Army, including Rosecrans, from the field.  After a small rally, the Union retired to Chattanooga with the Confederates occupying the surrounding high ground of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain.

This nifty interlude of back and forth in our country's history required the lives of 3,969 men and wounded 24,430 more.  I wonder what all those boys from Illinois and Ohio thought of the thick woods, swampy creeks, and sharp ridges in TN and North GA. 

All this comes to me because yesterday, Brent and I biked over two hours through the Chickamauga Battlefield.  Today, there are large open fields and wooded paths filled with deer, chipmunks, squirrels, robins, doves, mocking birds....and that's just what we among the white, marble monuments depicting battle lines, skirmishes, and death.

We were there to check out the path of a Marathon/1/2 Marathon coming up in November that Brent is thinking of running in.  It was a beautiful day (if hotter than big, hairy Wizard balls!!!...Thanks, Ruthie!!!) and when biking on paths in the deeper woods, it was surprisingly cool.  We were only incredibly lost twice.  Once we were spontaneously rescued by a young, local guy in his pickup who patiently turned us around and got us headed in the right direction.  And later, by a Yank (given his distinct, clipped accent!) all decked out on a fancy bike, shaved and everything like a serious biker....stopping his dedication to his sport to help us pick the desired fork. (No proper spandex or titanium Schwinn bikes for us!!!)

And perhaps, that says it all.  A south Alabama girl and  hometown Chattanooga boy, with tendencies to wander globally, rescued by both sides.  A beautiful place, forever haunted by men and boys who will speak no more.  May we all live such that our deeds and those who love us will speak well of us in the end. - c

1 comment:

  1. So sad that we never learn with these wars, and our young men keep paying the price...
    (Heehee! Wizard Balls!)