Fort Oglethorpe, NPS Plan For 150th Commemoration Of The Battle Of Chickamauga

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - by Mike O'Neal

The Fort Oglethorpe Tourism Association and the National Park Service are moving forward with plans to mark the 150th anniversary of the Batlle of Chickamauga that was fought mid-September of 1863.

During their February meeting, the local tourism association agreed to publicize that milestone with banners commemorating that battle and their city.

Association member Pat Silcox described how cloth banners, five feet high and 1 1/2 feet wide from utility poles, might attract some of the untold numbers of tourists and re-enactors that will be visiting the battlefield to stop and spend some time — and money — in Fort Oglethorpe.

“We’re deficient on signage in this city,” she said. “We’r trying to direct people to the battlefield that is the city’s biggest attraction.”

In conjunction with placing banners along the city’s main thoroughfares, it was suggested that signs be placed at the Interstate 75 exit onto Cloud Springs Road that would direct travelers toward the battlefield.

Tourism association members and others agreed that not only were signs needed, but that they needed to be designed to catch the eye of someone driving along unfamiliar roads.

“From the city’s standpoint, whatever is there needs to jump out and bite you,” Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Lynn Long said. “And we something that can be used over and over again.”

The mayor said revenue collected from the local hotel and motel tax could be used to pay for banners and brackets necessary to install them.

The next step in the process is to agree on a design, solicit cost estimates, place an order and arrange for the banners being mounted sometime in late spring or early summer.

A re-enactment of the battle staged by the Blue Gray Alliance and Walker County is scheduled to take place Sept. 19-22, 2013, about 20 miles south of Fort Oglethorpe at Mountain Cove Farms.

While Fort Oglethorpe’s Tourism Association views the 150th anniversary as focusing attention on the city and its businesses to those visiting the actual battlefield or the re-enactment, the National Park Service sees the anniversary as an integral part of its mission of preservation and educate.

Ranger Kim Coons advised the tourism association that special events are scheduled for the weekends of Sept. 14-15 and Sept. 21-22 at Chickamauga Battlefield when more than 50 individuals will present a series of historical vignettes. 

In addition, there will be “real time” ranger-guided tours of the battlefield, ones that will be held at various sites on the days and hours when actual fighting took place one-and-a-half centuries ago.

“We are going to take people back in time,” she said.

Re-enactors and rangers will stage a series of five “timelines” covering events of 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863 with the last being a “burial detail” dealing with the aftermath of the fighting that took place Sept. 18-20, 1863 among the fields and woods of Northwest Georgia.

The National Park Service will have living history, artillery and military demonstrations; performances local high school bands and the acclaimed 8th Regimental Band playing authentic Civil War-era music and instruments; and re-enactments of the political debates that occurred during Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaigns.

“This will combine the separate events that we have been doing for the past few years,” Ranger Coons said.

NPS officials expected as many as 25,000 people will attend these weekend events that combine information and entertainment.

As part of the commemorative events, the Lytle Monument will be rededicated on Sept. 20 and there will be an evening concert at the Wilder Brigade Monument the following evening.

Information about programs offered at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park can be obtained by calling 706 866-9241 or visiting online at www.nps.gov/chch.


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