Chattanooga Civil War Round Table Meeting August 20

Topic is disruption of the Confederate saltpeter mining efforts in the Chattanooga area

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table will hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.  The meeting is at 7 PM and will be held in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus  of the The McCallie School (enter the campus from Dodds Avenue and follow the signs to the Academic Quadrangle and Caldwell Hall). 

Cave Historian Marion O. Smith is the speaker.  Historian Smith will speak on the disruption of the Confederate saltpeter mining efforts in the Chattanooga area as the Union army advanced 150 years ago.  The meeting is free and open to the public. 

 The retreat of Bragg's army on Chattanooga in early July, 1863, had not only put the Gateway to the Deep South city essentially on the front line, but it had also made one of the fledgling Confederacy's richest resource zones a part of that front line and very likely a battleground.

Just as the city of Chattanooga began adjusting to its new status, so too did the operatives of the Confederate States extractive industries in the greater Chattanooga region.  "Removing Govt Stores to the south side of Tenn. River," "moving tools materials &c from Sauta Cave," "Hauling Nitre & Materials...to places of safety" and similar phrases appeared commonly on dozens of vouchers for services hired in July and August, 1863.  Confederate nitre works at Big Bone, Sauta, Battle Creek, Nickajack, Lookout, and a dozen other caves, potash works on Sand Mountain and at Chattanooga, the coal mines on Raccoon Mountain, the new Empire Iron Works, were all now threatened and the their product, equipment, labor, and operatives were all having to be relocated from within the now even more practical reach of the enemy.  In his talk this evening, Cave and Saltpeter Historian Marion Smith will relate this too often forgotten story that is another important impact of the Campaign for Chattanooga.  The Gateway to the Confederacy's developing military-industrial heartland changed hands, but lost too were rich resources for that vital heartland.  Come out and learn about another chapter in the vast and rich story of the events that unfolded here 150 years ago.

A native of Georgia, Marion Smith has previously spoken to the Round Table on subjects related to his topic this evening.  A researcher for years on the Papers of Andrew Johnson project at the University of Tennessee, he is now retired and pursuing his lifelong interest in caves and their historical uses on a full time basis.  He is the author of several publications including Confederate Niter Bureau Operations in Alabama (2007), Confederate Niter District Eight: Middle Tennessee & Northwest Georgia (2011), and Confederate Niter District Seven: East Tennessee (2012).

James Ogden, III, President

Chattanooga Civil War Round Table

 {The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table is a group of area citizens interested in the study of the American Civil War.  The Round Table meets on the third Tuesday of each month, normally in the Millis-Evans Room of Caldwell Hall on the campus of The McCallie School on Missionary Ridge (enter off Dodds Avenue at Union Street).  At each month’s meeting, a historian or author from the region or from across the nation, or a member, makes a presentation on some aspect of the conflict.  The meetings are free and open to the public and membership in the Round Table is open to all with an interest in the era of the War Between the States.}


Tri-state (TN-GA-AL) Rail Stops - East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, 1851

This railroad began existence as the Hiwassee Railroad Company in Tennessee in 1836, intending to link up with the Georgia State Railroad (Western and Atlantic, or W&A) at Dalton extending to Knoxville, Tennessee.   The Red Clay and Cross Plains Branch Railroad Company was chartered in 1840 to meet the former company at Red Clay.   After reorganizing into a single ... (click for more)

Tri-state (TN-GA-AL) Rail Stops - Western and Atlantic Railroad

This is the railroad that gave birth to Atlanta and other towns and spearheaded the making of Chattanooga into the great railroad center it became. The Western and Atlantic Railroad (W&A) started life as the Georgia State Railroad, which was leased to the company bearing this name in 1870.   The railroad was built from Zero Mile Post in what is now Atlanta to Chetoogeta ... (click for more)

Boyd Questions Effectiveness Of Read 20 Program; Coppinger Defends It

County Commissioner Tim Boyd said he questions the effectiveness of the Read 20 pre-K literacy program and wants the director to come before the County Commission to answer questions.   County Mayor Jim Coppinger defended the program, noting that it was the creation of former County Mayor Claude Ramsey.   Commissioner Boyd said the low literacy level hearing ... (click for more)

Corker Says Without Budget Reform, Washington Is “Laying A Huge Burden On Future Generations”

In remarks on the Senate floor  on Wednesday , Senator Bob Corker joined a number of colleagues to discuss the broken federal budget process.   “The processes that we have in place make it impossible for us to really deal with our country’s fiscal issues,” said Senator Corker. “Today is the perfect example of that: we pass a continuing resolution ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Knobfather & Me

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life. I’ve eaten dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris all aglitter below. I’ve been sprayed by champagne in the Dallas Cowboys’ dressing room after they won the Super Bowl. I’ve stood both at the top and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve snorkeled in the Great Exuma islands, learned to snow ski in the Austrian Alps, and ... (click for more)