Corbitt's National Parks
     Chickamauga and Chattanooga
               National Military Park


1890: National Military Park

Size: 9,038 acres

2008 visitors: 993,535

Stamp: ?

Rating (1-5): Unrated

About the Site

In the fall of 1863, with the outcome of the Civil War still in doubt, more than 150,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought in a series of battles on the fields of this park. These battles were remembered as some of the hardest fighting of the war. The Union campaign begain in June and didn't end until late November. When the battles were done, the Union had seized Chattannooga, and with it a gateway into the deep South. Chattanooga was a major railway center, and the following spring Sherman used it as his launching-pad to begin his march to Atlanta and the sea.

This Park was the first Military Park of its kind. In 1888, former members of the Cumberland Army General H. V. Boynton and Ferdinand Van Derveer revisited the area, and were impressed to protect and commemorate the memory of the area. Two years later, this Park was established, and became the largest of the first four military parks, the others being Shiloh, Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

What You're Going to See

Chickamauga Battlefield offers a visitor center with a 26-minute explanatory film, a self-guided seven-mile driving tour, horse and hiking trails, and historical markers. Lookout Mountain Battlefield has a visitor center as well, hiking trails and monument markers, scenic vistas, and the historic Craven House. There is a Junior Ranger program for the kids.

Personal Observations

This is the first of what promises to be many Civil War sites that I'll review. This is a good thing. No, really. My grasp of Civil War details is fuzzy.

Getting There

Chickamauga Battlefield visitor center: From Chattanooga, Tennessee, take exit 180A off I-24 and go south on US 27. Cross into Georgia and drive about 4 miles. The visitor center is about a mile south of the intersection with Highway 2.

The Lookout Mountain Battlefield visitor center is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the East Brow Road atop historic Lookout Mountain, at the entrance to Point Park.

Nearby Attractions

In Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about 90 miles northeast, Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetary is 95 miles northwest, and Obed Wild & Scenic River is 75 miles to the north. Across in Alabama, Russell Cave National Monument is about 30 miles to the west, and Little River Canyon National Preserve is 45 miles southwest. In Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is about 70 miles to the south, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is 90 miles southwest in Atlanta, the Chattahoochie River National Recreation Area is just northeast of Atlanta, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail crosses into the state about 80 miles to the east.