A century and a half ago ...

A century and a half ago ...

April 13th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

A great deal of American history from a century and a half ago is being reviewed, recollected and discussed throughout our country these days. That's because the War Between the States - the Civil War - began with the attack by Confederate forces on Union-held Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

The conflict would sweep this region in September and November of 1863, in areas including North Georgia, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Time magazine, in its most recent edition, not only noted the beginning of the conflict, but featured a full-page color picture of historically important Orchard Knob in Chattanooga.

Part of the magazine's message was a lament about how modern developments have encroached on many important historic landscapes.

In Time's picture of Orchard Knob (between East Third and East Fourth streets, several blocks west of Missionary Ridge), what appeared to be streetlight glowed on a stone wall and monument at the small Orchard Knob site - with a parked Cadillac and a small home nearby, as a Civil War re-enactor sat on a paved sidewalk curb.

It is impossible, of course, to preserve all the important sites in the war as they were then. But our area is fortunate that there are many well-kept historic sites here.

The Chickamauga Battlefield is a large, beautiful, pastoral and wooded park that is carefully kept very much as it appeared at the time of the battle.

On Lookout Mountain, Point Park is attractively maintained.

Missionary Ridge now is a residential area, with several small reservations and many historic markers explaining the events that occurred there a century and a half ago.

It is important for us to remember our history and to preserve historic sites and their meaning, as some appealing - and some unsightly - scenes encroach upon them.