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Chickamauga

(Continued)

A Rebel of the 20th Tennessee wrote of their triumph:

“Everyone seemed wild with joy, from generals down to privates, all joined in the exultant cheer that rang over that blood-stained field, telling in tones as loud as ‘Heaven’s artillery,’ that we were victorious. Wild shouts ran from one end of our lines to the other and even the poor wounded fellows lying about through the woods joined in.”

A partial list of Confederate captures from the Federals included: “8,000 prisoners, 51 cannon, 23,281 small arms, 2,381 rounds of artillery ammunition, 135,000 rifle ammunition, etc.”

Cheatham’s men bivouacked that night in the enemy’s breastworks “the dead bodies lying all around us, so close we could almost touch them with our hands.”

Among the dead was Winfield Scott McDill of Portersville.

Harriet McDill McLaughlin recalled, learning of his death: “The first heart-breaking news we had from the line of battle was that brother Scott (9th Tennessee) had been killed in a battle.

"Scott was struck by shrapnel from an exploding shell, as he was in front of his company when they rushed over the breastworks…Mother was prostrated…it was the first time I ever saw Father shed tears. Scott was so young and a great favorite with every one…”

Shelby Foote termed Chickamauga:“the greatest and bloodiest of all the battles won by the South.”

Both armies lost nearly a third in casualties:

Confederate- 18,454

Union- 16,170

Some wounded veterans of Chickamauga who moved to Tipton following the war were: Thomas J. Anderson, Fayette County, enlisted in the 154th Tennessee at Randolph; Capt. Andrew J. Cody of Co. F, 39th North Carolina; William Thomas Grant, Co. E, 5th South Carolina Infantry; and John Noble Harris, Co. G, 9th Tenn. Cavalry.

During Sept. 21-22, 1881, a “Blue – Gray” reunion was held at Chattanooga under auspices of the Federal army of the Cumberland. A month earlier, the Tipton Confederate Veterans’ Association “adopted unanimously, a resolution to send a delegation of seven to join in welcoming the Federal soldiers to their first reunion on southern soil, at Chattanooga.”

The following were appointed: Capt. Charles B. Simonton, Capt. David J. Wood, Colonel Wm. Sanford, David A. Merrill, Dr. John B. Payne, Joseph Forsyth, and Dr. James E. Blades.

In 1895, a Union veteran of the battle, H. V. Boynton, visited the Chickamauga battlefield. His later efforts led to the establishment of a national military park.

In a ceremony held there, Boynton spoke of: “…the unequaled fighting of that thin and contracted line of heroes; and the magnificent assaults which swept in upon us time and again…

"We went over ground where Forrest’s and Walker’s men had marched into the smoke of our rifles and the very flame of our batteries…we saw their ranks melt as snowflakes disappear in the heat...

"We stood on Baird’s line where Helm’s brigade went to pieces but not until one man out of every three—was dead or wounded.

"We saw Longstreet’s men roll in on the difficult slopes of the Horseshoe, dash wildly and break there, and recede, only to sweep on again…

"We looked down again on those slopes, slippery with blood and strewn thick as the leaves with all the horrible wreck of battle which and in spite of repeated failure, these assaulting columns still formed and re-formed and came on.

"I stood silent thinking of that unsurpassed Confederate fighting, and in my heart thanked God that the men who were equal to such endeavors on the battle field were Americans.”

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