Monday, May 6, 2013

Chattanooga - Some History, and LOTS of rain

We left Vicksburg on May 2nd, and headed towards Chattanooga taking the Natchez Trace Parkway.  It was a good thing that we took this route, because we drove in heavy rain all day, and fortunately the Parkway was practically deserted.  We decided to stop after about 5 hours, and stay at Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi.  I had reserved a site, but it wasn't really necessary - when we pulled in we practically had the place to ourselves.  Our closest neighbor was a pair of Canadian geese who seemed to highly resent our presence and loudly let us know about it.  At first we didn't realize why they were so upset, but then we saw that they had babies and were just being protective.

Geese at Tishomingo State Park

Tishomingo State Park, MS

Campsite 14 at Tishomingo State Park

We headed out for Chattanooga the next day (Thursday), and fortunately the rain had stopped.  When we got to our destination - Holiday Trav-L-Park in Chattanooga - we checked the weather forecast.  It was horrible - heavy rain every day starting on Saturday.  That left us one day to do some sightseeing.  We got up early on Friday, and headed over to Point Park on Lookout Mountain.  Although it was a cloudy, cold and windy day, at least the rain hadn't set in yet.  What a view!

View From Lookout Mountain

New York Peace Memorial at Point Park

Point Park

In the afternoon, we headed over the the Chickamauga Battlefield and did the Auto tour.  It was interesting, but we found that it wasn't as easy to envision the battles that took place as it was in Vicksburg.  There were monuments put up by the states that were involved, as there were in Vicksburg.

Snodgrass Cabin - served as a Union Hospital

The battles at Chattanooga, fought in the fall of 1863, were some of the hardest fought battles of the Civil War.  Chattanooga was a key rail center and gateway to the Confederacy.  The battle of Chickamauga began on September 19th.  The Union army under Major General William S. Rosecrans fought General Braxton Bragg's Confederate troops, and the Federal troops were forced to retreat into Chattanooga.  The Confederates pursued them, occupying Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Valley.  The Confederates were successful in preventing the Union Army from getting supplies, and Rosecrans army was in a desperate position.  Lincoln sent reinforcements through Major General Joseph Hooker, who brought 20,000 men and Gen. William T. Sherman, who added 16,000 in November.  Thomas replaced Rosecrans, Grant assumed overall command of the army, and things changed drastically.  On November 24th Hooker's men drove the Confederates out of their defenses around the Cravens House in the "Battle of the Clouds".  On November 25th, Sherman's troops attacked the Confederate right flank, and Hooker attacked the Confederate left.  Hooker was delayed crossing Chattanooga Creek, and Sherman's attack was blocked.  To aid Sherman, Grant ordered Thomas' army (that had been held in reserve at Orchard Knob) to attack Missionary Ridge, and Thomas' men scaled Missionary Ridge in one of the great charges of the war.  The Confederate line collapsed, Bragg's troops fled that night into Georgia, and the Union had control of Chattanooga and nearly all of Tennessee.  Later, Chattanooga was used as Sherman's base for his march to Atlanta.

Enough history....

The rain started here on Friday night and it hasn't stopped since.  The heaviest rain was all day and all night Saturday.  There was a reprieve on Sunday for awhile, then it started to come down again, and has been off and on all day today.  I think we've gotten over 5 inches so far.  There's been enough to put out flood watches, and the Tennessee River is really high.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) we head towards Virginia Beach, and will be stopping in Wytheville VA overnight.  We'll check into First Landing State Park on Wednesday. We may be going back into the rain, but let's hope not.  We could sure use some sunshine!