Civil War Sesquicentennial And Fall Color Cruises Coming Up

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - by Thom Benson
Spectacular fall color in the Tennessee River Gorge draws many visitors to Chattanooga each year.
Spectacular fall color in the Tennessee River Gorge draws many visitors to Chattanooga each year.
- photo by Tennessee Aquarium

After an unusually wet summer across the Southeast, everyone is looking forward to drier fall weather. Soon brilliant colors will decorate the mountains surrounding Chattanooga.

The Tennessee River Gorge is a favored leaf peeping location. “The narrow, winding nature of the Gorge makes this one of the most scenic cruise routes in the eastern half of the U.S.,” said River Gorge Explorer Captain Pete Hosemann. “When the fall colors start appearing, the views are simply breathtaking.”

Once again, two-hour “Awesome Autumn” fall color cruises will be offered daily aboard the River Gorge Explorer beginning in October. The Tennessee Aquarium also has two new cruises for those who want to experience the entire 26-mile length of “Tennessee’s Grand Canyon.”

On Saturday, Nov. 2, A three-hour, (downstream) “River Gorgeous” cruise will depart at 10 a.m. from the Chattanooga Pier bound for historic Hale’s Bar Dam. At Noon, guests registered for a second (upstream) cruise will board a bus at IMAX to meet the boat in Marion County. Disembarking passengers will then ride the bus back to Chattanooga. Tickets are expected to sell quickly for these special cruises that include lunch, music and bus transportation. To reserve seating go to:

Chattanooga is rich in Civil War history, landmarks and legend. In addition to the hues of autumn, this fall will be a particularly great time to cruise the Gorge as Tennessee officially commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battles for Chattanooga.

Being on the river during the Civil War Sesquicentennial helps people today connect to the history that unfolded here during the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battles for Chattanooga in 1863. “A Civil War cruise on the River Gorge Explorer is a great way to get a deeper appreciation of the Chattanooga area’s complex terrain,” said Civil War historian Jim Ogden. “Terrain that made the area such a crossroads and gateway over time, which resulted in some of the most significant fighting in our nation’s Civil War.”

In addition to daily cruises highlighting historic points of interest and fall color, several special cruises have been scheduled to focus on specific Civil War events that changed the course of history.

Civil War Sesquicentennial Cruises:

"Over the Plateau"- Saturday, Sept. 7, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

This special Civil War cruise brings to life the troop movements of the Army of the Cumberland. Discover how soldiers endured the elements and traversed the rugged local terrain to play a key role in the Battle of Chickamauga in the late summer of 1863.

"Sharpshooters and the Siege"- Saturday, Oct. 5, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Travel 150 years back in time with Tennessee Aquarium Naturalist John Dever aboard the River Gorge Explorer. On this Civil War cruise you’ll learn the intriguing history related to the actions of Confederate sharpshooters in the Tennessee River Gorge during the siege of Chattanooga in October of 1863.

"Brown's Ferry Raid"- Sunday, Oct. 27, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Join Chief Historian of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Ranger Jim Ogden, on the day of the 150th Anniversary of the Federal Strike against Brown's Ferry. The raid successfully established the "Cracker Line" and was the major turning point in the Battles for Chattanooga.

"Sherman's Crossing"- Saturday, Nov. 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

During this Civil War Sesquicentennial cruise you’ll venture upstream from downtown Chattanooga to where The Army of the Tennessee and General William T. Sherman crossed the Tennessee River at Chickamauga Creek. Learn how the subsequent Battle of Missionary Ridge ended the Battles for Chattanooga in 1863.

To reserve seating go to:

Video screens help passengers visualize history during special Civil War Sesquicentennial cruises aboard the River Gorge Explorer.
Video screens help passengers visualize history during special Civil War Sesquicentennial cruises aboard the River Gorge Explorer.
- Photo2 by Tennessee Aquarium

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