One of the things we often do in the Visitors Center is look up where a particular monument is located. We have a map that shows all 1400 monuments and tablets located on the Chickamauga Battlefield. We also have a computer program that locates the tablets and monuments scattered on Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and throughout Chattanooga. When the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was established in 1890, the veterans decided to put tablets where the units were on the battlefield and in the area. They also put monuments where there were concentrations of tablets from a particular state.
Someone might come into the Visitors Center and say they had an ancestor that fought in the 41st Ohio. Are there any monuments to that unit in the park? We can look at the map and find the monument on the edge of the woods in Brock Field. Then we can direct the guest to that particular location.
My parents have a neighbor, Stan Bowers, who had an ancestor who fought in the 64th Ohio. The 64th Ohio was very active in the entire Tennessee campaign and fought at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. Mr. Bowers loaned us a book written by that ancestor about his experiences in the 64th Ohio, Harker’s Brigade, Wood’s Division, Crittenden’s Corps. It was very interesting to read it and follow one unit through the entire war. On one of our off days, Tom and I decided to go hunting for monuments related to the 64th Ohio.
We started by printing out copies of all the tablets and monuments that mention the 64th Ohio. Because the 64th Ohio was so active, there are 14 of them. Then we got out the battlefield map and located the nine monuments and tablets that are on the Chickamauga Battlefield. We spent an afternoon hiking to them because most of them were located on the western side of the battlefield, not far from where we live. We located eight of them easily – they were right where the map said they would be.
The ninth found us tromping through the woods, heading from one false lead to another. We found monuments for Indiana and Illinois and some that were for Ohio but not the right unit. Finally we gave up and headed back home. When we got home we checked the battlefield map again and found out we had placed the monument north of the road instead of south. Rats. Tom suggesting going straight back out to get it, but it was at least 2.5 miles away and I wasn’t up to another long tromp.
But it was fun to go hunting for monuments and gave us a better appreciation for the excitement (and sometimes frustration) our guests feel when they are out looking for a particular monument. We look forward to returning Mr. Bowers’ book and sharing with him the pictures we took of the monuments and tablets that included his ancestor.