General Joe Wheeler's Attack

General Joe Wheeler's Attack (HM1FXR)

Location: Chickamauga, GA 30707 Walker County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 53.006', W 85° 16.033'

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Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail

In the late morning of September 20, 1863, General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry rode north along the east side of West Chickamauga Creek to the area opposite Lee and Gordon's Mills. They arrived at that point around 3:00 p.m. Most of Wheeler's cavalrymen, dismounted, left the horses behind, and forded the creek north of the mill. "Having dismounted," a member of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry regiment wrote, "we moved down the road to the Chickamauga in column. Fording the stream near the mill, we formed a line of battle on the opposite bank in the edge of a low, level beech wood, and placing our skirmishers a short distance in front, advanced through the woods... and we swept through the woods driving the enemy before us..."

"We pursued half a mile further," the dismounted cavalryman from the 4th Tennessee regiment continued, and... drove them beyond Crawfish Spring, the field hospital of McCook and Crittenden's corps. This explained what we could not understand at the time, why we were making a fight at a point so far detached from the line of our infantry. The Federals had been driven from the line of the Chickamauga, and this was the only water accessible to them, and their killed and wounded on this wing of the army were brought here... When we came in sight of Crawfish Springs the immense crowd of men, tents, vehicles, etc., caused us at first to think that we had captured the whole federal army. Dead men in rail pens for protection, and wounded men in large circus tents, and scattered about over the ground, with the accustomed retinue of hospital assistants..."

General Joseph Wheeler reported his actions as follows: "I received orders to move my available [men at] once to Lee and Gordon's Mills and attack the enemy. We arrived at that place about 3 p.m., crossed the river, and vigorously assailed him. After a short time he commenced retreating in confusion. We followed as rapidly as possible, capturing about 1,000 prisoners, 20 wagons, and a large amount of arms and ordnance stores. About dark we also captured five large hospitals, with a considerable supply of medicines, camp equipage, and a great number of wounded prisoners. The pursuit was continued till two hours after nightfall, when we retired to feed our horses."

"As we passed back to re-cross the Chickamauga," the 4th Tennessee Cavalryman continued, "the road was full of ambulances and litters bearing off the killed and wounded. Here was presented that other phase of the grim-visaged war, sickening to think about; friends and comrades dead and dying who a few hours before were full of life and soldierly enthusiasm; men with their pale, ashy countenances turned toward the skies. Such scenes dissipate the excitement the advance creates... We have seen paintings depicting the horrors of the battlefield, and which we supposed were overdrawn; but this idea was dispelled at Chickamauga, and we appreciate the fact now that the imagination cannot always do it justice."
Placed ByChickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 8:37pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 658351 N 3861486
Decimal Degrees34.88343333, -85.26721667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 53.006', W 85° 16.033'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 53' 0.36" N, 85° 16' 1.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)706
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2-14 Lee Gordan Mill Terrace, Chickamauga GA 30707, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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