Civil War Roundtable hosts fall field trip

The Civil War Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley will host a fall 2016 field trip to Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, Tennessee departing from points in Marietta and Parkersburg on Thursday, Sept. 29, and returning on Sunday, Oct. 2.

The field trip includes round-trip charter bus transportation, one night of accommodations at Comfort Suites in Murfreesboro and two nights of accommodations at The Read House Historic Inn & Suites in Chattanooga, a guided tour of cultural and historic sites in Chattanooga, and narrated tours of Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro TN, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Oglethorpe, Ga., Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN, and Missionary Ridge Battlefield.

The mission of the Civil War Roundtable is to “Educate, commemorate and encourage public interest in the American Civil War”. In addition to regular bi-monthly meetings, the roundtable regularly conducts field trips to locations of historic and cultural significance to the period. Central features of each field trip are visits to sites where soldiers from the Mid-Ohio Valley region served both the Union and Confederacy. Interpretation is based on original research by local historians to recognize the experiences and honor the sacrifices of these veterans. Research materials include family letters, personal memoirs, and official military unit records. Interpretation will be provided by local historians Scott Britton and Kyle Yoho, National Park Service historians, and a contract guide.

The Battle of Stones River, or Second Battle of Murfreesboro, was fought on Dec. 3, 1862 through Jan. 2, 1863 as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theatre of the Civil War. Stones River has the distinction of claiming the highest percentage of casualties for both Federal and Confederate forces engaged during the war. Although the battle was inconclusive, the Union’s repulse of two Confederate attacks and subsequent Confederate retreat provided a much-needed boost to the Union cause after the defeat at Fredericksburg and dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee.

Sites included in the Stones River National Battlefield tour are the Visitor’s Center; the Slaughter Pen, site of the valiant stand by Stanley’s Brigade (18th OVI); the “Round Forest” or “Hell’s Half-Acre” where repeated Confederate assaults were repulsed by Col. William P. Hazen; and, The Cedars at McFadden’s Ford, site of intense fighting to repel Confederate attacks. Personal histories of local interest will include Pvt. Leonidas Allen, 18th OVI; Pvt. Lewis Schneider, 65th OVI; and, Lt. Timothy Condit, 1st Ohio Cav and Marietta College valedictorian, and, CSA Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson, Marietta College student.

The Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 19-20, 1864, marked the end of a major Union offensive in Southeastern Tennessee and Northern Georgia. The battle resulted in the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theatre of the Civil War and the highest number of casualties in the war following the Battle of Gettysburg. It was also the first major battle staged in Georgia.

Sites included in the Chickamauga National Military Park tour are the Visitor’s Center; Turchin’s Brigade Day-1; Harker’s Attack; Bushrod Johnson’s Breakthrough; Opdycke’s Tigers’ (125th OVI) Heroic Stand on Snodgrass Hill where Union Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas earned the reputation of “The Rock of Chickamauga”; and, where Turchin’s Brigade saved the Union Army. Personal histories will include Col. Benjamin D. Fearing, Surgeon Joseph D. Cotton, and Adjutant George Butler Turner, 92nd OVI; Cpl. Augustus Wood, 36th OVI; Cpl. Lewis Schneider, 65th OVI; and, Cpl. John Price, assigned to General Thomas’s personal bodyguard corps.

The tour will include an introduction to the Attack on Wauhatchie or Brown’s Ferry … The Cracker Line is Opened!

The Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought on Nov. 24, 1863 when Major General Joseph Hooker’s army attacked the Confederate stronghold on Lookout Mountain. The Battle around Craven House (not accessible by tour bus) drove the Confederate left flank and set the stage for the Battle of Missionary Ridge the following day. The view from Lookout Mountain is often cited as one of the most breathtaking in America. An optional 10-minute hike to the Ochs Museum and Observatory, Umbrella Rock, and Point Lookout Rock requires access via multiple flights of non-handicapped accessible stairs.

A flag ceremony at Chattanooga National Cemetery will honor Civil War soldiers from Ohio and West Virginia who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. This site visit is also notable for the memorial to Andrews’ Raiders, the first recipients of the Medal of Honor, and will feature the personal history of James Ovid Smith, 33rd OVI.

The Battle of Missionary Ridge was fought on Nov. 25, 1863 when Union forces under Major Gen. U.S. Grant assaulted Missionary Ridge and defeated Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of the Tennessee. In one of the most confusing, heroic, and improbable victories of the war, Union forces forced Bragg’s army from the high ground, broke the siege of Chattanooga, and opened the door for Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea that ultimately sealed the defeat of the Confederacy.

Scott Britton is a scholar, educator, historian, re-enactor and executive director of The Castle Historic House Museum in Marietta. He is past commander of Benjamin D. Fearing Camp #2, Sons of Union Veterans, and has undertaken extensive research on Civil War soldiers and citizens from throughout Southeastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia to define their contributions to the period. Britton is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University.

Kyle Yoho is a scholar, educator, historian, re-enactor and education director at The Castle Historic House Museum in Marietta. He earned his undergraduate degree in History from Marietta College and master’s degree from Wright State University. Yoho compiled much of the research recently published in newspaper chronicles of the opening of Camp Putnam in April 1861.

The cost to register is $435/person for double-occupancy accommodations; or, $550/guest if private accommodations are preferred. Hotel services include complimentary breakfast buffet on Friday morning, wireless internet access, fitness center and swimming pool. No additional meals or gratuities are included.

Registration is limited and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Kyle Yoho at mariettacastle@gmail.com or 740-373-4180 to request an information package or with any questions.

The Civil War Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley conducts regular meetings on the third Thursday of each odd-numbered month (e.g. January, March, May, etc.) at 7 p.m. at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta. Presentations embrace a wide range of subjects and interests. The public is welcomed and there is no cost to attend.

The Civil War Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley is affiliated with the Marietta Community Foundation. Donations to the Marietta Community Foundation on behalf of the Civil War Roundtable of the Mid-Ohio Valley are tax deductible.