The Project Gutenberg eBook of Point Park, Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Battlefields

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Title: Point Park, Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Battlefields

Creator: United States. National Park Service

Release date: July 19, 2021 [eBook #65875]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1961

Credits: Stephen Hutcheson and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Point Park, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia and Tennessee

Point Park
Lookout Mountain
and Chattanooga

National Military Park


National Park Service

The National Park System, of which this area is a unit, is dedicated to conserving the scenic, scientific, and historic heritage of the United States for the benefit and inspiration of its people.

Cover: Chattanooga and the winding Tennessee River from Point Park, Lookout Mountain.



Point Park, Lookout Mountain and Chattanooga Battlefields


The Battle of Chattanooga—a Union victory in November 1863 which secured that important railroad center and opened the way for the Atlanta Campaign

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, oldest and largest of the national military park areas, was established in commemoration of two important battles of the American Civil War. On these battlefields gallant soldiers of the North and the South fought for control of Chattanooga, strategic railroad center and gateway to the heart of the Confederate States. Here, thousands of men on both sides exemplified the true American qualities of independence, courage, and self-sacrifice, which constitute the enduring strength of our democracy. At the dedication of the park, a veteran of the battle said: “Here ... we and they, the living and the dead, Confederate and Federal, fought for the right as each understood it, for the Constitution as each construed it, and for the liberty as each interpreted it.”

The Campaign for Chattanooga

Chattanooga was an important railroad center at the time of the Civil War. Railroad lines radiated in the four principal directions and provided connections with Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, and Richmond. The location of the city on the navigable Tennessee River where there were gaps in the mountains added to its strategic value. Its capture by Union forces would be a severe blow to the South. It would check the east and west passage of men and supplies for the Southern 2 armies and provide a springboard for the invasion of Georgia.

During the summer and early fall of 1863, by skillful maneuvers, the Union Army of the Cumberland forced the Southern Army of Tennessee out of middle Tennessee and Chattanooga. On September 19 and 20, at Chickamauga Creek in Georgia, the two armies met in one of the fiercest engagements of the war. While this battle ended in Confederate victory, the Union forces succeeded in retreating northward into Chattanooga.

The Confederates now settled down to siege tactics and attempted to force the surrender of the Army of the Cumberland through starvation. By occupying Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and by establishing a line between the two heights, they cut off all but the most difficult route by which supplies could be brought into the city. Within a month the Union Army in Chattanooga was in a desperate situation and was reduced to half rations. Ten thousand horses and mules died and surrender seemed inevitable.

The North, however, met this crisis by a change of command and reinforcements. Troops from the Army of the Potomac in Virginia and from Grant’s Vicksburg forces in Mississippi were sent hurrying to Chattanooga, and General Grant arrived to take the overall command.

The reinforcements arrived in time to save the besieged army. A new supply route was opened and was successfully defended. As a result of this timely aid, the siege of Chattanooga failed. Nevertheless, the Confederates still held their positions. In November the greatly strengthened Union Army assumed the offensive.

Missionary Ridge from DeLong Reservation.

The Battle of Chattanooga

The Battle of Chattanooga was a 3-day engagement, November 23 to 25. As planned by the Union officers, victory was to be won by a flanking movement against the Confederate right wing on the north end of Missionary Ridge. If this position were carried, Union troops in the center were to join in an effort to sweep the Confederates from their base of supplies and communications and to defeat them. The engagement, however, developed much differently. While the main force was maneuvered into position, a demonstration attack was made on a Confederate outpost at Orchard Knob, about a mile in front of Missionary Ridge. This advance movement was successfully carried out on 3 November 23 but it warned the Confederates of danger on that right flank and prompted them to strengthen their positions.

On the next day, while the maneuvering force was still getting into position, the Union officers tried another demonstration, this time to divert the Confederates on their left. Moving along the slopes of Lookout Mountain from the western side, Union troops gradually drove back the few Confederate defenders. At Cravens Farm, however, they met stubborn resistance from an entrenched line of troops. Here the fighting was most serious, the Confederates finally being dislodged and forced to retreat to a new line 400 yards beyond. At this point the fighting ended, and although the Confederates had not yet been driven from the mountain, their position was in danger. Rather than risk being cut off from the main line of forces on Missionary Ridge, the Confederate commander, General Bragg, evacuated all troops from Lookout Mountain and the valley below. When Union soldiers scaled the palisades the next morning, they found the mountain deserted.

On the third day, the Union Army resumed the attempt to gain a foothold on the north end of Missionary Ridge, which it had previously failed to take, but all attacks were repulsed by the Confederates. The forces on Lookout Mountain were ordered to advance across Chattanooga Valley to attack the Confederate left flank, but they advanced slowly. Meanwhile, in order to relieve the situation on both Union flanks, other troops were thrown against the Confederate rifle pits along the base of Missionary Ridge. In a rush these Union soldiers carried the rifle pits. Then in their enthusiasm, without waiting for further orders, they charged up the mountain slopes and broke the Confederate positions. This precipitated a general retreat of the Confederate Army across the border into Georgia. Complete control of Chattanooga and its approaches had at last been won by the Union.

Tennessee River from Point Park, Lookout Mountain.

The Park

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is composed of separate areas, the more important of which are: Chickamauga Battlefield, in Georgia; Point Park and the Battlefield of Lookout Mountain, and Orchard Knob, in Chattanooga; a chain of 4 small reservations located on Missionary Ridge; and Signal Point on Signal Mountain. The park contains approximately 8,190 acres of Federal land.

Point Park and Lookout Mountain Battlefield

You are urged to go first to Point Park on Lookout Mountain, where from the terrace of the Adolph S. Ochs Observatory and Museum, high above the winding Tennessee River, you may obtain a comprehensive view of the Battlefield of Chattanooga. On the parapet are markers to identify the more important troop positions, and maps are available to indicate the natural and historic features of interest. You may get further assistance from a National Park Service attendant.

The observatory and museum bears the name of one of the park’s major benefactors, the late Adolph S. Ochs, publisher of the Chattanooga Times and the New York Times. He was responsible for the acquisition of considerable land on Lookout Mountain for inclusion in the park.

From Lookout Point interesting foot trails, extending along eastern and western flanks of the mountain, will reveal to you unusual rock formations typical of the area and will provide ever-changing and beautiful vistas of the countryside below.

You can reach Point Park from Chattanooga via U. S. 41, 64, 72, and 11 which combine as they leave the city and skirt the base of Lookout Mountain. You then turn off on the Scenic Highway, which leads up the mountain to the park entrance. You may also visit the park by means of the St. Elmo buses from Chattanooga, which connect with the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway at the foot of the mountain. The top of the incline is within short walking distance of the Point Park entrance.

Missionary Ridge

To commemorate the engagement on Missionary Ridge, there are a series of park areas located at important points on the ridge. Access to these areas is provided by the Crest Road which runs the entire length of the line occupied by the Confederates during the battle. Markers, monuments, tablets, and gun positions will provide you with information, and you can get excellent views of Chattanooga along this drive. The more important units of the park on Missionary Ridge are: The Sherman Reservation, where Sherman’s forces unsuccessfully attacked the north end of the Confederate line; the DeLong Reservation, site of one of the breaks in the Confederate line; the Ohio Reservation, an area set aside to commemorate the participation of Ohio troops in the battles; and the Bragg Reservation, where the Confederate commander had his headquarters.

Orchard Knob

This unit of the park is located near McCallie Avenue (U. S. 11 and 64), in Chattanooga. It marks the site where the first action of the Battle of Chattanooga took place. Orchard Knob became General Grant’s headquarters during the remainder of the battle.


Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is administered by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior.

At the park headquarters, located on the Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia, there are a museum and reference library. The Fuller gun collection of American shoulder arms is an outstanding attraction of the museum.

Additional information may be obtained by addressing the Superintendent, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Those who plan to visit in a group may receive special service if advance arrangements are made with the superintendent.



Transcriber’s Notes