Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail
The majority of the people who came into the area to establish Walker County were deeply religious. Soon after establishing their farms, the residents of most areas usually built a church that also served as a community and social center for the surrounding area. One such church was the Peavine Church located on Peavine Creek. During the war this facility consisted of a small frame church building with an adjacent cemetery.
During the years before the war a large farming community grew up in the area around and between the Rock Spring and Peavine Churches. Both of these churches served as prominent landmarks in the region. During the Chickamauga Campaign, Confederate forces occupied and camped throughout this area, and at one time Federal forces occupied the grounds of the Peavine Church.
During the days that led up to the Battle of Chickamauga, Confederate Corps Commander Leonidas Polk was camped with his command in the Rock Spring area. At 2 p.m. on September 13, General H.T. B. Walker was ordered to swing his entire division from right to left, in order to strike against enemy forces that were said to be a Peavine Church in force. Before the order was executed, however, "it was discovered that leaving his skirmishers to deceive, he [the enemy] had gone with his whole force toward Chattanooga." At 5 p.m. on the same day, General Braxton Bragg and his staff returned south to LaFayette. The following day, General Polk and the rest of the Confederate forces left the area of the Peavine Church and also followed General Bragg south to LaFayette.
The Confederate forces returned to the area a few days later, and Leet's Mill and Tanyard, located a short distance east of the church, became a major staging area for the coming battle. "Left LaFayette at 4 P.M.," R. J. Jones, 1st Confederate Infantry, noted in his diary on September 17, "& arrived at Patton's St[o]re at 10 o'clock at night. Formed line of battle through Patton's fields and remained there all night." Leet's Tanyard, a short distance east of the Peavine Church, served as Confederate Commander Braxton Bragg's headquarters just prior to the battle of Chickamauga. It was there that he met with his generals and planned the upcoming battle.
Although Bragg left the Leet's Mill and Tanyard area on the morning of September 18, there was still a Confederate military presence in the vicinity of Peavine Church both during and after the Battle of Chickamauga. Some of the Confederate wounded from battle were cared for and treated at the church.
The Peavine Church cemetery is significant because of the fact that it is known to contain the graves of a number of prominent wartime civilians. For example, Arthur Leet, the proprietor of Lee's Mill and Tanyard is buried at the Peavine Church cemetery. It is also probable that several Confederate veterans including men who died from wounds received in the battle are also buried there.