Recently, my folks made a visit to Chickamauga Battlefield National Military Park in North Georgia. Relating to my early blog posts about our ancestor, Allen Erp, they followed the 86th Indiana Infantry markers at this battlefield. One of the places they visited was the Snodgrass Cabin, which was used as a field hospital. So, if Allen was still working as an ambulance driver, he would have frequently been close to this cabin.
In general, after spending time at Murfreesboro, TN, Allen and the 86th moved on to Chickamauga as part of the Army of the Cumberland. The battle occurred September 19 & 20, 1863. The Union Army was defeated at this battle and withdrew back to Chattanooga to then find victory at Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge in November 1863. There were about 62,000 Union soldiers and 65,000 Conferderate soldiers involved in the Chickamauga battle. The approximate number of casualties (killed, wounded, missing/captured) was 16,170 on the Union side and 18,454 on the Confederate. Hard to imagine all of that in only 2 days.
The book mentioned in the early blog: The 86th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. A Narrative of It”s Services in the Civil War of 1861-1865. James A Barnes et al. Crawfordsville, Ind. 1895 (available on Google Books) gives a very detailed story of the Chickamauga battle. The book was published at the same time the Military Park was dedicated. The author ends the chapter on this battle with the following:
“Thus has been given the part that this, the Eighty-sixth Indiana, bore in one of the severest battles of modern warfare, in many respects the severest. The members of the regiment who yet survive may glory in the part they bore on that deadly field. The children of all of the members of the regiment, of the members living and of those who are dead, will never have cause for feelings other than of honest pride that they whose names they bear, were with those who fought at Chickamauga. They joy of to-day comes to the survivors in that the war in which they participated has passed, and Peace shall ever reign within this land. He who shall visit Chickamauga in the future may read in enduring bronse and firmest granite the deeds of valor of the men of the North; and the sons of the South, may see the pride and glory of the Nation in that now all cause for strife has passed, and that only deeds of bravery are remembered where once ran the red tide of battle.
“The roar of the battle on the field of Chickamauga is hushed and in its stead from the leafy bowers and beside the quiet stream is to rise for all future time the anthem of peace. The men who died on this field did not shed their blood in vain. The cause for which they of the Union army fought was triumphant, and Chickamauga was the beginning of the end of the years of strife.” (p. 209-210)
So one of these days I hope to visit the battlefield myself and walk in the steps of my ancestor from the Indiana 86th.