Kaleb Wells and 1863 Civil War Soldier REenactor, Jonathan Shields
Tennessee Valley Railroad
We traveled into Northwest Georgia on Saturday via vintage rail/train from Chattanooga, TN to historic Chickamaunga, GA. We rode through the 1858 era Missionary Ridge Tunnel which is almost 1000 feet long. It was dug by pick and shovel and black powder explosive, as dynamite had not been perfected at that time. It took two years to complete, which was said to be a great accomplishment! We also learned that parts of the movie, Water for Elephants, was filmed at that location.
Through our attentive ears and teary eyes, we learned in great detail from Jonathan's "first person account" about the great Civil War battle that took place there in 1863. Over 34,000--not just Confederate or Union--but AMERICAN soldiers lost their lives in only 2 days!
"Chickamauga National Military Park was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service in 1933 and, while close to 1,400 monuments would be built to mark the battlefield contributions of the Union and Confederate veterans from the states represented in the battle, not one has ever been erected to mark the contributions of the Tennesseans who fought and died at Chickamauga.
Unlike other Tennessee National Military Parks, there is no National Cemetery on the Park’s grounds. All of the soldiers left on the battlefield, with one exception, were buried in other locations.
Before it became a park, the forests of Chickamauga remained untouched, but not for any environmental or historical reason. The gunfire that raged on the battlefield was like a steel curtain that tore into every tree on the site. The bullets embedded in the trees make cutting them dangerous. Lumber mills in the region never accept any timber from the site of the battle".
Chickamauga National Military Park is open daily and offers a variety of activities.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum offers various group and charter trips