Chickamauga Reading Recommendations
Chickamauga Reading Recommendations: In September 1863, the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga forced Gen. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland to retreat to Chattanooga. There, Gen. Braxton Bragg held federal forces under siege until Gen. Ulysses S. Grant took charge of all Union armies in the western theater. Grant and his generals broke the siege and opened “the gateway to the Confederacy” for the duration of the war.
This page is a partial excerpt from Bicycling Chickamauga Battlefield: The Cyclist’s Civil War Travel Guide (Victor, NY: Civil War Cycling, 2021), paid link. Used with Permission. Please note that I may receive a small payment from Amazon if you purchase books through the links, below.
Chickamauga Reading Recommendations
The Chickamauga Campaign
Cozzens, Peter. This Terrible Sound (paid link). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2016. Widely acclaimed as the definitive one-volume study of the Battle of Chickamauga, this 675-page scholarly tome contains twenty-five black-and-white military maps. Cozzens’ fast-moving and highly detailed narrative keeps the lives of soldiers at the forefront of his analysis. The book’s appendix includes an order of battle.
Linton, Roger C. Chickamauga: A Battlefield History in Images (paid link). Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004. This book describes the historical context of more than 100 black-and-white photographs, many of which depict late-nineteenth and early twentieth century scenes. Its table of contents clearly lists Chickamauga’s principal farms, ridges, and bridges.
Powell, David A. The Chickamauga Campaign: Barren Victory; September 21 to October 20, 1863 (paid link). 2015. Reprint, El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2017. Powell’s three-volume military history of the Chickamauga Campaign is essential reading for serious students of the Battle of Chickamauga. At 380 pages, this third volume begins on the morning after the Battle of Chickamauga. It ends with a fascinating retrospective on the roles and perspectives of several participating generals. Roughly the last half of the book is seven appendixes that contain orders of battle and regimental strength/casualty counts.
———. The Chickamauga Campaign: Glory or the Grave; September 20, 1863 (paid link). 2015. Reprint, El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2017. This second volume in Powell’s trilogy covers the last day of the Battle of Chickamauga in 726 densely detailed pages. (You will want a military atlas at your side as you read this book). Twenty-nine chapter titles clearly identify the military action, day, time, and geographic location. It begins with the nighttime Council of War on September 19–20, 1863 and concludes with a chapter that covers military “loose ends” at surrounding towns.
———. The Chickamauga Campaign: A Mad Irregular Battle; August 22–September 19, 1863 (paid link). El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2016. Powell’s trilogy begins with this first volume, which in 676 pages covers the movement of armies across the Tennessee River (chapters 1–7), followed by the battle events of September 18 (chapters 8–10) and September 19 (chapters 11–25). Consistent with Powell’s other books, chapter titles clearly identify the military action, day, time, and geographic location.
———. Decisions at Chickamauga: The Twenty-four Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle (paid link). With cartography by David Friedrichs. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2018. This 208-page book has five chapters, one for each day of the three-day battle, plus “before” and “aftermath” chapters. Powell includes portrait photos of each decision maker. For each decision, he describes the situation, military options, decision, and results and impact. The book’s eleven simple black-and-white maps are embedded in the narrative. An appendix describes a 26-page battlefield guide with seventeen tour stops (plus optional sites) associated with the “critical decisions” of the Battle of Chickamauga. Two appendixes list orders of battle for both armies.
———. The Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign, Including the Tullahoma Operations, June 22–September 23, 1863 (paid link). With cartography by David Friedrichs. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2009. This is a must-have companion for any student of the Battle of Chickamauga. The maps span June 24 to September 23, 1863. Powell describes military actions on left-facing pages. Right-facing pages are Friedrichs (color) maps. The book includes two appendixes with orders of battle, one for Tullahoma and one for Chickamauga.
Robertson, William Glenn. The Battle of Chickamauga; Civil War Series (paid link). With cartography by George Skoch. Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1995. This 52-page book is an excellent addition to the Civil War Series by the National Park Service. Its maps and photos are interesting and helpful supplements to the book’s two-column text. For a first introduction to the Battle of Chickamauga, this book is highly recommended.
———. Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Chickamauga, 18–20 September 1863. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1992. The first chapter of this 184-page book has the title, “Civil War Armies,” and provides a brief overview of army organization, weapons, tactics, and support functions. The second chapter summarizes the Chickamauga Campaign form a military perspective. The last two chapters describe touring options and planning help. In addition to orders of battle, the appendixes include a listing of Chickamauga Medal of Honor Recipients, as well as meteorological data associated with the campaign.
Sullivan, James R. Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefields. National Park Service Historical Handbook Series, no. 25. 1956. Reprint, Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1961. This 60-page booklet is a short classic that covers the Tullahoma Campaign (June 24 to July 3, 1863); the Chickamauga Campaign (August through September ,1863); and the Battle of Chattanooga (November 23–25, 1863) and its aftermath. It includes a short history of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Although published in 1961, the booklet accurately summarizes significant military events at Chickamauga and Chattanooga.
Time-Life Books, eds. Chickamauga: Voices of the Civil War (paid link). Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1997. Like other “coffee table” books in the Voices of the Civil War series, this 168-page oversized book features the words and letters of soldiers and citizens about the Battle of Chickamauga. It includes many illustrations but no notes or bibliography. The book has a 5-page index. If you are looking for a book to browse and enjoy randomly, the Voices of the Civil War series will provide hours of enjoyment.
———. The Fight for Chattanooga: Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge (paid link). Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1985. This 176-page book is a good, basic introduction to a series of military battles in Tennessee and Georgia. It has five chapters: “Breakthrough at Tullahoma,” “River of Blood” (Chickamauga), “Chattanooga Besieged,” “The Context for Knoxville,” and “Decision on Missionary Ridge.” The book includes a short bibliography and a 3-page index. There are many more photos than maps in this book, but that maps that exist are detailed and in color.
Tucker, Glenn. Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West. New York: Smithmark, 1961, 1994. A classic but now dated publication in the Smithmark Civil War Library, Tucker’s 448-page scholarly monograph describes the Battle of Chickamauga in terms of U.S. Civil War personalities. The book’s three parts have these titles, for example: “Rosecrans: Gifted Eccentric;” “Bragg: Brusque, Prickly but ‘Will Fight’;” and “Longstreet: Whirlwind in the Forest.”
Woodworth, Steven E., ed. The Chickamauga Campaign (paid link). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010. This well-edited scholarly book includes essays in Chickamauga military history by Ethan S. Rafuse, Steven E. Woodworth, Alexander Mendoza, Lee White, John R. Lundberg, William G. Robertson, David Powell, and Timothy B. Smith. The book has four good but simple black-and-white maps, but no illustrations.
———. A Deep Steady Thunder: The Battle of Chickamauga. Civil War Campaigns and Commanders Series (paid link). Abilene, TX: McWhiney Foundation Press, 2006. Only 134 pages but masterfully written, Woodworth’s book includes fourteen black-and-white military maps that align well with the text. The book presents a clear, flowing military narrative that includes biographical sketches and portrait photos that enliven the battlefield story. The book includes orders of battle (but inexplicably omits the provisional division command of Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson). There is a section on “Further Reading” that is helpful for its inclusion of memoirs and biographies. The book’s index focuses on people and places. There are no notes. Highly recommended, especially for battlefield newcomers.
———. Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns. Great Campaigns of the Civil War Series (paid link). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998. Like A Deep Steady Thunder, this 258-page book describes the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns with particular reference to the actions of commanding generals. Woodworth’s analysis is clear, concise, and yet rich in strategic and tactical detail. This scholarly work includes six black-and-white campaign-level maps, but no maps that drill down to September 18–20, 1863. The book has notes and an index but no bibliography.
Chickamauga Battlefield Park
Boynton, H.V., comp. Dedication of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, September 18–20, 1895. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1896. Compiled by Ohio Chickamauga veteran, H.V. Boynton, this 376-page book is the Report of the Joint Committee to Represent Congress at the dedication of the national military park. It is an excellent source of information about monument dedication ceremonies and speeches by veterans and politicians. The book includes financial statements, committee reports, and program listings.
Kerr, Jack. Monuments and Markers of the Twenty-nine States Engaged at Chickamauga and Chattanooga. Apison, TN: Jack Kerr, 2003. This 9″ x 12″ booklet contains color photos of the monuments and markers (grouped by state) in Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Each photo is labeled; some photos include additional text. The back cover of this 16-page booklet contains a map of Chickamauga battlefield that identifies some of the monument locations.
Reaves, Stacy W. A History and Guide to the Monuments of Chickamauga National Military Park. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2013. In 158 pages, Reaves summarizes the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga; the establishment of the national military park; and a representative sampling of park monuments, including monument histories and dedication ceremonies. A good but brief introduction, Reaves’ book is not a comprehensive survey of park history or monumentation. It lacks notes.
Smith, Timothy B. A Chickamauga Memorial: The Establishment of America’s First Civil War National Military Park (paid link). Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2009. Written by a leading authority on U.S. Civil War history in the Mississippi Valley, especially Tennessee, Smith’s 212-page book is a scholarly history of the creation of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The book’s appendixes include the text of the park’s enabling legislation and lists of park commissioners and superintendents. It includes notes, a bibliography, and an index. There are a handful of black-and-white photos but no maps.
TravelBrains. Chickamauga Field Guide. With text and narration by Peter Cozzens. N.p.: TravelBrains, 2011. This 54-page guide contains bold but simple military maps and many large illustrations and photos. The text describes a modified version of the NPS auto tour (not safe for recreational bicyclists). Cozzens describes 10 tour stops. An older publication, it comes with two audio CDs and download instructions for a smartphone version.
White, William Lee. Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamauga, September 18–20, 1863 (paid link). El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2013. Written by a park ranger, this 174-page book is a well-written and detailed description of the Battle of Chickamauga in sixteen chapters (and eight black-and-white maps). White’s book begins with an overview of the Chickamauga Campaign and ends with the Federal withdrawal through McFarland Gap. Each chapter is a tour stop. Almost every page has an illustration or photo (that, in my opinion, the publisher prints overly dark and grainy). The book includes orders of battle, but no notes, bibliography, or index. If you are looking for one slim, clearly written and interesting volume that is packed with military detail, Lee’s book is an excellent choice.
Woodworth, Steven E. Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide with a section on Chattanooga (paid link). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. Woodworth’s excellent 182-page book describes a twenty-stop auto tour of Chickamauga that includes seven optional excursions. A second (Chattanooga) auto tour is seven stops with one optional excursion. Each tour stop includes a detailed map, directions, orientation notes, a description of what happened at the stop, an analysis, human interest vignette, and ideas for further reading or exploration. The book’s appendixes include orders of battle and an overview of military organization, weapons, and tactics. There are no notes or index.
Hiking & Biking
Carter, Robert L. The Fight for Snodgrass Hill and the Rock of Chickamauga: A History and Walking Tour (paid link). With cartography by James A. Boyd. Carrollton, GA: Melica Books, 2012. Written by an experienced battlefield guide who was a flare for storytelling and writing, this 116-page walking tour book is clear, accessible, and interesting. It’s the type of book that I enjoy reading while traveling to a battlefield—large font, straight-forward text, and clean maps.
———. Longstreet’s Breakthrough at Chickamauga: Accidental Victory; A History and Walking Tour (paid link). With cartography by James A. Boyd. Carrollton, GA: Melica Books, 2014. This second book by Carter is equal in quality to his first and similarly structured. Highly recommended. (I hear that a third volume that covers fighting at the creek’s crossing points, especially Reed’s Bridge, might be next?)
Manion, Richard L. Travels with Twister: A Chickamauga Battlefield Horseback and Hiking Tour. 2nd ed. (paid link). Lafayette, GA: White Star Battlefield Tours, 2018. This is a delightful 110-page basic introduction to the Chickamauga battlefield for equestrians and hikers. Although there are no maps, directions to each of twelve stops are clearly described. The book contains an assortment of interesting quotations from soldiers and does a very good job telling the battle story from a human perspective. The book contains a list of the names of several “Civil War Equine Veterans.”
Trailhead Graphics. Battlefield America: Chickamauga Battlefield. Civil War Map Series. Revised, Aurora, CO: Trailhead Graphics, 2012. For hikers who are serious about locating specific monuments or markers, this large (foldable) water-resistant map is an excellent resource. The font of the text is small, which can be challenging for some people (including me).
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