The Tennessee State Library and Archives will continue its Looking Back at the Civil War project this year, giving Tennesseans a rare opportunity to have their Civil War manuscripts, artifacts and photographs digitally preserved free of charge. A team of professional archivists, curators and conservators is traveling across the state to digitize these privately owned records. The files are maintained by TSLA and will become part of a virtual archive to be used by the general public as well as K-12 teachers and students.
In Chattanooga: The Looking Back project will be at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza, from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 9, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 10. To schedule a reservation, visit www.tn.gov/tsla/cwtn; call 615- 253-3470; or email email@example.com.
"If we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die."
So wrote President Abraham Lincoln in an Oct. 4, 1863, telegram to Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, who was in charge of Union troops here.
The 150th anniversary of the Civil War's march through the Chattanooga region will be marked this year, and events are in the works to commemorate key battles, such as the Battle of Chickamauga.
It was a disaster for Rosecrans, who ordered troops to fill a gap in the Union line that instead left a gaping hole. Confederate troops under the command of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet poured through and drove off a third of the Union Army, including Rosecrans himself.
The Army of the Cumberland was shattered, retreated to Chattanooga and was besieged.
But the bloody Battle of Chickamauga, in which some 34,000 soldiers died, was the South's last major victory.
Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Chattanooga on Oct. 23. He replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George Thomas.
On Nov. 23-24, the regrouped Union forces struck out and captured Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. On Nov. 25, Union soldiers won a surprise victory against Confederate soldiers on Missionary Ridge.
Lincoln's prediction came true. The Union held Chattanooga, "the gateway to the South," and used it as a base of operations for Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's Atlanta campaign.
That history and more will be recapped by the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 2013 at the following events.
• May 27: Decoration Day torchlight tour at Chattanooga National Cemetery.
• June 22: Tullahoma campaign bus tour.
• July 16-18 and 23-25: A Call to Arms: The Gateway City Falls, fourth annual summer day camp for kids.
• Sept. 14-15: 150th anniversary events at Chickamauga Battlefield.
• Sept. 20: Rededication of Lytle Monument.
• Sept. 21: Evening concert at Wilder Brigade Monument.
• Sept. 21-22: Special programs at Chickamauga Battlefield.
• Oct. 9-12: Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial signature event: Occupation and Liberation symposium.
• Nov. 23-24: 150th anniversary events for the Battles for Chattanooga (at various locations around Chattanooga).
For more detailed information as the dates approach, see www.nps.gov/chch.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6651.