One hundred and fifty years ago this fall, Union and Confederate forces fought several battles in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee during the American Civil War.  Union forces, under command of General William Rosecrans, had taken control of Chattanooga in August of 1863, driving Confederate troops, under command of General Braxton Bragg, south into north Georgia.  The resulting bloody battle of Chickamauga, approximately fifteen miles south of Chattanooga, would claim over four thousand lives in September of 1863, and would be one of the last major Confederate victories of the war.  Two months later the Union Army would take back Chattanooga.  The following year, Union General William T. Sherman, began his historic “March to the Sea” and broke the back and the will of the Southern people.

Hand colored engraving published in Harper's Weekly during the American Civil War.

Hand colored engraving published in Harper’s Weekly during the American Civil War. Original housed in the Historic Newspaper collections in Special Collections & University Archives.

The Special Collections & University Archives, in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of these local events, is displaying some of its Civil War collections and items.  Included is a late 19th century facsimile of the legendary Chattanooga Civil War newspaper, The Chattanooga Daily Rebel.  Other items include Harper’s Weekly illustrations of local battle scenes, letters from Union officer John T. Wilder to his wife back in Indiana describing the horrific scene at Shiloh and their move on Chattanooga; soldier’s reunion medals and programs; uniform parts such as a kepi (hat), sash, and epaulettes, minie balls (bullets); photographs of Southern officers; and books about local campaigns.

Visit us on the 2nd floor of Lupton Library to learn more about the American Civil War in and around Chattanooga.

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