The Battle of Chickamauga, which raged September 19th and 20th, 1863, is considered the bloodiest two-day battle of the Civil War, but in truth the battle opened a day earlier than most history books reflect. On the 18th, as the armies of Rosecrans and Bragg maneuvered for position, two bridges spanning Chickamauga Creek took on special significance. Reed’s Bridge was defended by a splendid Union cavalry brigade under the command of Col. Robert Minty, and Alexander’s Bridge above it was defended by the redoubtable Col. John T. Wilder and his vaunted Lightning Brigade of mounted infantry. The latter was one of the first units to arrive on the field and one of the last to leave it. Armed with their Spencer repeating rifles and ably led, the Lightning Brigade proved a major impediment to Confederate ambitions time and again in a battle that was ultimately lost but one that gained imperishable glory for Wilder and his men.       

On Saturday, March 20th, Historian Jim Ogden will meet us and lead us as we follow the movements of Wilder’s Lightning Brigade at Chickamauga. Please join us if you can. Here is what you need to know:

  • You are responsible for your own transportation. Due to COVID, we will not ask anyone to group up, though you are free to ride with whomever you feel comfortable. Whenever you are outside your vehicle you will be expected to mask up and maintain social distancing throughout the day.
  • We are meeting Jim at the Chickamauga Visitors Center (3370 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742) at 9:15 AM on the 20th come rain or shine. The restrooms there will be open. You may want to use them before we take the field. We will be departing the parking lot promptly at 9:30 AM and moving around the battlefield in a caravan.  
  • Bring clothing for all conditions, and comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots. Also, bring your lunch. We will have 45 minutes for lunch at the Visitors Center. Lunch will be in the parking lot either in your car or outside of it. Bring a camp chair if you want to eat outside. The only time we will be at the Visitors Center when the museum and bookstore are open is over lunch, so plan accordingly. There will not be time to go into town for food, so, again, bring food and drink with you.   
  • We will wrap up the day at approximately 4 PM.
  • To sign up, email Jim Doncaster at or call him at 412 908-2043.