by Neil J. Williams

Please join us on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019, as we tour the locations and places important to reopening of the Tennessee River during the early stages of the 1863 Chattanooga Campaign, we will learn more about the actions that led to the establishment of the famous Cracker Line that fed the Army of the Cumberland which had been bottled up in Chattanooga following their defeat at Chickamauga. We are pleased to have return as our guide, Jim Ogden, Chief Historian at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This tour will start at 9 am in Chattanooga and end about 5. We will meet up at 8:30-8:45 am at a location in Chattanooga that will be announced at a later date.

This will be the KCWRT’s fourth trip with Jim Ogden covering different portions of the Campaign and Battle of Chattanooga. The first tour covered Sherman’s army’s approach and eventual attack against Cleburne’s men on the northern portion of Missionary Ridge at Tunnel Hill. The second tour was at the opposite end on the Union line covering the Battle of Lookout Mountain, where recently arrived soldiers from the XI and XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac under Gen. Hooker clashed with Confederate soldiers from Cheatham and Stevenson’s Divisions of the Army of

Tennessee. Last we toured Missionary Ridge and learned about the Army of the Cumberland charge of the steep slopes. This year we will learn about the operations to reopen the Tennessee River and establish a supply line into the city of Chattanooga, that would later be named the Cracker Line. Once established supplies and rations began to follow into the bottled up and starving Army of the Cumberland, prior to the opening of the Cracker Line, the soldiers were down to receiving four pieces of hardtack/bread and a quarter pound of meat every three days.

We will meet up at 8:30-8:45 a.m. in the northeast corner on the Walmart parking lot located at 3550 Cummins Hwy in Chattanooga. We will start our tour from that location and will consolidate into as few cars as possible, any volunteers for drivers in the car caravan would be greatly appreciated. Those who have already volunteered as a driver for the tour, thank you again for volunteering. For lunch I would encourage many of you to bring your own lunch, we will try to find a nice location to eat lunch similar to last year’s Missionary Ridge tour. If you want to grab fast food, you will also be free to do too. This tour will take place rain or shine, please dress appropriately for the weather.

For some good reading on the Battle of Chattanooga and the actions on Missionary Ridge, see Blue and Gray Magazine’s 2013, #6, issue written by the late Wiley Sword; “The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battle for Chattanooga”, by Peter Cozzens; or visit the Civil War Trust’s web page which has extensive information on the battle and some of the people who fought it in.

If you plan to go on the tour of the Reopening of the Tennessee River, please send an email to Neil Williams at, so I can add your name to the list.