October, 2012. Chattanooga, Tennessee. Tenting On the Old Campground

Posted on October 11, 2012

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Tenting tonight, tenting tonight,

Tenting on the old campground.

 We’ve been fighting today

On the old campground,

Many are lying near,

Some are dead and some are dying,

Many are in tears.

— Excerpts from the song, “Tenting on the Old Campground” by Walter Kittridge, 1864

 

While our “tent” is a metal box on wheels with 5 slide-outs, we are indeed sleeping on the old campground, in the company of men from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois who found their eternal rest here, in September of 1863, on this battlefield just outside Chattanooga, now the site of the Best Holiday Travel-R-Park Campground.

Three Civil War battles were held in the Chattanooga area in late 1863 for control of supply lines and industrial output – Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and Chickamauga. Control of Chattanooga was vital for both the North and the South because it had the three r’s of transportation – roads, rivers and rails. And, it was also an important manufacturer of iron and coke.

The 84th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, part of the Union Army of the Cumberland, was deployed in a line stretching from the area where today’s campground is located to Chickamauga, in an effort to push the Confederate forces back into Georgia.  They encountered heavy resistance, and returned to their camp only to be attacked in by Confederate forces.

When the Battles for Chattanooga were over, 133 of their original 374 men had been killed or wounded, but Union forces had opened the door to the Deep South, setting the stage for Sherman’s 1864 March to the Sea.

A group of men from the 84th returned to visit their old campsite and battleground in 1883, and they erected a monument to honor all members of the 84th Indiana Volunteer Infantry – both those who survived, and those who did not.

View from Lookout Mountain

It can be accessed by a short walk from the campground.

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