Fighting in the Chickamauga Woods continued into the night
Throughout the day on September 19, 1863, men were thrown into the fighting as soon as they arrived on the field. Neither side could control the battle which expanded in a southerly direction (behind you) as the day wore on. In the thick woods soldiers fought hand to hand and sometimes became confused and fired on their friends. Casualties were heavy.
At sunset Gen. Braxton Bragg, Confederate commander, tried one more assault on the Union line. He ordered Cleburne´s and Cheatham´s Divisions to attack near this point. In the growing darkness, the battle raged to your left and right along the Brotherton Road. Both sides became confused and fired at any rifle musket flashes they saw.
Brig. Gen. Preston Smith, a Confederate brigade commander, got lost in the dark woods and stumbled into an enemy position. He was killed by a point blank Union volley about 220 yards southeast of here (behind you).
(center) Confederate infantry in the Chickamauga woods. Drawing by wartime artist A.R. Waud.
(top right) Gen. Braxton Bragg controversial commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, hoped to prevent the Union army from reaching the fortified city of Chattanooga by blocking the LaFayette Road.
Confederate Brig. Gen. Preston Smith of Cheatham's Division was killed not far from here on the night of the first day of battle. Confused by the darkness, Smith discovered too late that he had ridden between the opposing lines.
(bottom right)On the night of September 19, Confederate divisions under Generals Cleburne and Cheatham attacked the Union line near this point, but made no decisive gain.