The Chickamauga Civil War Trip
The Class of '72 Marches Through Georgia
April 13-18, 2010
By Ed Strauss '72
From four points of the compass, from as far away as Vermont, Nebraska, Texas, Idaho, San Francisco, and Oregon, ’72 stalwarts along with spouses and guests mustered on board the 1926 stern-wheeler Delta Queen, permanently moored on the banks the Tennessee River at Chattanooga, on a balmy Tuesday evening, April 13, 2010.
Here began our fourth Class Trip to Civil War battlefields, led once again by indefatigable honorary classmate Prof. Emeritus James McPherson, accompanied as always by his charming wife Pat. We kicked off with an elegant shipboard dinner and welcoming remarks from Jim Robinson -- impresario of our previous trips to Gettysburg (2004), Antietam/South Mountain/Harper’s Ferry (2006), and Shiloh/Vicksburg (2008) -- and the intrepid Professor.
Next morning we traveled by bus south from Chattanooga, just across the border into Georgia, and spent the day touring the impressive, evocative Chickamauga battlefield, scene of the Confederacy’s last great tactical victory, September 19-20, 1863, the Civil War’s first national battlefield park, established in the 1880’s.
In the course of the day, at our many stops and treks across the terrain, we enjoyed lucid, insightful commentary from Professor McPherson and from Park Historian Jim Ogden. We ended the day where the battle itself ended, on the flank of Snodgrass Hill, where Virginia-born Union general George Thomas earned his nickname "the Rock of Chickamauga.” Our class photo was taken there, at the monument to the 125th Ohio regiment, nicknamed "Opdycke’s Tigers,” which held that position during the battle’s climax on September 20.
That evening we enjoyed a delicious tapas dinner near our lodgings, and were joined by local Princetonians Bob Caldwell and Jim Frierson '73. Next morning our bus zig-zagged up Lookout Mountain which, as its name implies, looms over Chattanooga and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Tennessee River valley and surrounding terrain. It was here that, on November 24, 1863, Union forces battled to the summit and pushed Braxton Bragg’s Confederates back to the parallel, but lower, Missionary Ridge, which was our next objective, after stopping for a picnic lunch on Orchard Knob, Ulysses Grant’s battlefield vantage-point.
That afternoon we followed the Confederate defensive positions south along the ridgeline, noting where Union forces assaulted the formidable hillside entrenchments on November 25. Thursday evening we enjoyed an alfresco buffet dinner in a riverside nature preserve. Next day we departed Chattanooga and traveled to Atlanta, along the route which William Tecumseh Sherman’s army followed in May-June 1864, with stops at the Pickett’s Mill and Kennesaw
Mountain battlefields where the Confederates offered stiff resistance to the Union advance.
We checked in to the elegant St.RegisHotel in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, and enjoyed cocktails and dinner at the Atlanta HistoryCenter, in the delightful company of Beverly "Bo” DuBose, who with his late father had assembled a remarkable collection of Civil War arms and artifacts on display there.
We began Saturday morning with a visit to the Cyclorama museum, viewing the remarkable 1880’s painting-diorama of the July 1864 Battle of Atlanta and one of the actual locomotives from the April 1862 "Great Locomotive Chase.” We then drove due east from Atlanta about two hours to Crawfordville, where we had a picnic lunch on the grounds of Liberty Hall, postwar home of Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens, and toured the house, and then on to nearby Washington, Georgia, a charming county seat with an unrivaled collection of beautiful antebellum homes -- including Peacewood, lovingly restored by Class President Bill Degolian and his wife B.J., who welcomed us all for a delicious barbecue dinner in the congenial company of local friends. Congressman Jim Marshall and his wife, Camille joined us at the deGolians' in Washington, Georgia on Saturday. (There's a pull-quote and a photo of Jim in the June 2, 2010 PAW, page 24. The topic is political civility.)
Next morning, April 18, we made our way back to the Atlanta airport and home to our various destinations, basking in warm recollections of stirring, inspiring history, gracious southern hospitality, and legendary ’72 camaraderie. As noted above, for pictures, please visit: http://picasaweb.google.com
. Then log in using email@example.com; password: DeGolian72.
In attendance were:
Rock and Melanie Brockman
Bob Daniels and Dale Robbins
Andy and Elly Dayton
Bill and B.J. deGolian
Daryl English and Barclay Foord
Rick and Christine Hammitt
Randy Harris and Barbara Sloan
Doug Harrison and father-in-law Dr. Richard Klinetob (at age 90, effortlessly kept up with everyone else)
Tom and Joan Hoster
David and Margaret Hunter
Grif and Alix Johnson
Barbara Julius and Marc Silberberg
Arthur and Colleen Kent
Charlie and Marie Kireker
Pam (Lloyd) and John Coulter
Michael Marks and Thom Radice
Angenette (Duffy) and Bob (’69) Meaney
Nikos Monoyios and Valerie Brackett
Dan and Debbie Morris
Skip and Camille Rankin
Jim and Chris (hon.) Robinson and daughter Emily
Michael and Isabel Schneider
Mike and Martile Schroder
Paul and Linda Sinsar
Sandy Stuart and daughter Annie
Richard Sun and Phyllis Hollenbeck
Peter and Lynn (’77) Wendell