From the Chickamauga Battlefields to Signal Point to the National Cemetery, Chattanooga’s rich history made it the perfect place for Civil War historians to gather to discuss research and see the historical sites firsthand.

The group, , was co-founded in 1998 by Drs. John Marszalek and Michael Ballard. Its purpose is to provide historians an informal way to share information and ideas. Each spring, the group holds a conference that includes a day of discussion and another day of sightseeing.

“This is our second time hosting this conference. Historians from all over the country come to this conference, so it’s helped the University establish ties with researchers, authors, and academics interested in the Civil War,” Dr. Kit Rushing, Associate Dean for the UTC College of Arts and Sciences and Interim Head for the Department of History, said.

Chattanooga has multiple significant landmarks related to the Civil War. The Battle of Chattanooga, a turning point in the war, took place on Missionary Ridge, a steep ridge located about 20 miles from the city. Craven House, located on the top of Lookout Mountain, served as a lookout and headquarters for both Union and Confederate soldiers.

The Chickamauga Battlefield, located just minutes from downtown, has monuments dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Chickamauga there. The group toured several of those areas, including the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Orchard Knob, and Missionary Ridge

According to Rushing, the Civil War’s importance in U.S. history cannot be overstated.

“A quote from author Shelby Foote best sums it up, ‘The Civil War is when the U.S. became a singular instead of a plural noun.’ That change in philosophy had a profound impact on what we’ve become in the 20th and 21st centuries. It changed our lives. We’re still dealing with the effects of the decisions made during that time,” he said.

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