Chattanooga Civil War Holds Monthly Meeting On Jan. 15

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Chattanooga Civil War Round Table will hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday. The meeting is at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Hospitality Room of the Sports & Activity Center of the The McCallie School (enter the campus from Dodds Avenue and follow the signs to the Sports & Activity Center).  

Historian Jim Ogden is the speaker.  Mr. Ogden will speak on the Battle of Arkansas Post, Jan. 10-11, 1863.  The meeting is free and open to the public. 

"The Gun Boats open the ball this morning early--  We put out a line of pickets in front of our breastworks last night, but there was no disturbance all night--  But it commences very brash this morning--  They knock the iron off the Fort, make the iron fly in every direction--  Knock those big square logs about like they were fence rails--  Harts Battery is in full blast-- and the small arms on the left again-- when we hear amid all the roar of the artillery zip-- zip zip-- zip bullets from the enemy in front of us-- now the 6th opens-- and small arms on the Fort.  Whoopee now comes the business-- every gun and cannon we have are doing its best....Is this the end of the world?--  Is this war?--....Lord deliver us......"

So recorded one of the Texans who fought at Arkansas Post one hundred and fifty years ago this month in a fight that is often overlooked (that a good part of the Arkansas Post battlefield is preserved as a unit of the National Park System is often overlooked too).  But, it is an engagement that helped shape many of the men engaged and which in the end resulting in shaping a couple of later campaigns as well; ten months after the fight on the Arkansas, some of the combatants faced off again here on Tunnel Hill.

The Confederate position at Arkansas Post not only potentially blocked any Federal penetration into Central Arkansas up the Arkansas River, but it also served as a base from which to strike against Union forces operating on the Mississippi River in the larger effort to capture Vicksburg.  To remove this Confederate post, Union Major General John A McClernand, with a force that included troops under William T. Sherman, supported by an ironclad naval flotilla, attacked on Jan. 10 and 11, 1863.  Based principally around the earthen Fort Hindman, the Confederate position at a bend in the river and with swampy bayous protecting is flanks, seemed strong.  It proved, however, no match for the power of the big guns of the brown-water navy.  The naval gunfire silenced the fort and several vessels were able to pass upstream to essentially "surround" the Confederate position.  When the Union infantry attacked, the Confederates, by a means debated long after, surrendered, giving the Mississippi River Federals an early victory in the new year.

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