For people interested in Civil War history, Chattanooga is a great place to visit because it is the location of several important battles. There is a large historical site on top of Lookout Mountain, called Point Park Battlefield, where you can look out over the town of Chattanooga and visualize how these battles took place.
Chattanooga was a strategic location during the Civil War because it was a vital railroad hub and was positioned along a river. Abraham Lincoln wanted to take Chattanooga and hold it as a base of operations for further attacks into the Confederate South. Multiple battles were fought in and around Chattanooga, including the Battle of Chickamauga, Siege of Chattanooga, Battle of Orchard Knob, Battle of Lookout Mountain, and Battle of Missionary Ridge.
Of course, entire books could be written about each of these battles, but in case you don’t have time for that, I will give a short synopsis of each.
The the Battle of Chickamauga took place in September 1863. Confederate forces defeated Union forces and pushed them into Chattanooga. The Siege of Chattanooga followed, during which the Confederates occupied the high ground surrounding the city and blocked supplies and food from reaching the Union army.
In Late October, the Union managed to use Lookout Valley as a supply line to transport food into the city. Then on November 23rd, the Union troops stormed and captured Orchard Knob, a hill east of their defense line. The Battle of Lookout Mountain took place the next day. Union forces drove the Confederates from their positions on Lookout Mountain. Because the mountain was partially covered in fog, the battle was called the “Battle Above The Clouds.”
During the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25th, the Union broke through the seemingly impenetrable Confederate units and broke the siege.
Chattanooga ultimately became a supply and communications base for Sherman’s March, which decimated the South and was a pivotal campaign for the Civil War Union victory.
Point Park Battlefield on Lookout Mountain provides expansive views of Chattanooga, as you can see from the pictures that I took while we were there.