Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park invites the public to the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center on Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27, for a living history weekend and ranger programs exploring the role Chickamauga Battlefield played as a training post during the Named Camp Thomas as a tribute to General George H. Thomas and his stand during the 1863 Battle of Chickamauga. Chickamauga Battlefield served as a training camp for up to 70,000 troops during the three months it was in operation in 1898. These “Boys of 98” are scarcely remembered today, but the Spanish-American War thrust the United States into a global trajectory power that continues today.
Camp Thomas provided the space needed to train those boys to become soldiers in a nation that had not long been reunited from costly Civil War battles fought beneath their very feet. Volunteers flocked to the recruiters’ calls and vowed to “Remember the Maine,” yet few troops who trained at Camp Thomas saw actual combat. Indeed more soldiers died of disease in training at Camp Thomas than fighting in the war overseas. Their final resting places can be found in the Chattanooga National Cemetery alongside Civil War soldiers, in some cases their fathers and grandfathers, who gave their lives on the same ground.
Living history volunteer will portray soldiers throughout the weekend, training at Camp Thomas. Ranger programs will be presented both Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.