Read more Chattanooga History Columns
- Gaston: Paul John Kruesi was Edison's right-hand man
- Robbins: The old Richardson's house and the Civil War
- Gaston: James Williams was a man of the world
- Raney: Mason Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Chilhowee'
- Gaston: The legacy of Adolph Ochs endures
- Martin: Ed Johnson said, 'I have a changed heart,' the day before his lynching in Chattanooga on 1906
- Thomas: The inventiveness of Judge Michael M. Allison
- Moore: Chattanooga's first Chinese community
- Summers, Robbins: Chattanooga's Tuskegee Airman - Joseph C. White
- McCallie: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says so!
- Gaston: John McCline's Civil War - from slave to D.C. parade
- Raney: Exploring Chattanooga businesses in the Green Book
- Elliott: Remembering the Freedmen's Bureau in Chattanooga
- Gaston: Nancy Ward was a beloved, respected Tennessean
- Martin: Prohibition - the noble experiment
- Elliott: 'A shameful, disgraceful deed': The destruction of the Sewanee cornerstone
- Gaston: Robert Cravens was ironmaster, Chattanooga area's first commuter
- Robbins: Dr. T.H. McCallie's Christmas 1863
- Robbins: Journalist writes of a trip to Missionary Ridge in 1896
- Summers, Robbins: Mine 21 disaster - gone but not forgotten
- Elliott: Collegedale incorporates to avoid Sunday 'blue laws'
- Gaston: 'Marse Henry' Watterson's journalism fame began in Chattanooga
- Robbins: Orchard Knob battle recalled in 1895
- Elliott: Chattanoogans joined in an 'orgy of joy and gladness' on Armistice Day, 1918
- Thomas: Noted service, speakers are marks of Rotary Club of Chattanooga since 1914
- Summers and Robbins: Remembering noted Tennessee author North Callahan
- Raney: 'I auto cry, I auto laugh, I auto sign my autograph'
- Gaston: Sequoyah's alphabet enriched Cherokees
- Robbins: A look at Sam Divine's life during the Civil War
- Robbins: Memories of a Confederate nurse
- Robbins: More notes from Bradford Torrey's 1895 visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Robbins: Journalist in 1895 details visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Elliott: Telephone exchange firebombing was distraction for grocery store robbery
- Gaston: Worcester brought Christ's message to Cherokee at Brainerd Mission
- Robbins: 1896 travel diary: 'A Week on Walden's Ridge'
- Gaston: Elizabeth Strayhorn, WAC Commandant at Fort Oglethorpe
- Robbins: The history of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park
- Moore: Do you own a Sears Roebuck home?
- Summers and Robbins: Camp Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II
- Gaston: Hiram Sanborn Chamberlain remembered
- Elliott: Daisy the center of tile, ceramic manufacturing in Hamilton County
- Gaston: FDR inaugurates the Chickamauga Dam
- Summers, Robbins: Interned WWII Germans had it easy at Camp Crossville
- Elliott: A war correspondent on Lookout Mountain
- Gaston: Chickamaugas finally bury hatchet in Tennessee Valley
- Gaston: Chickamaugas in Chattanooga
- Robbins: The history of the Riverbend festival
- Raney: Sadie Watson, the first woman elected in Hamilton County government
- Moore: Remembering Chattanooga's Hawkinsville community
- Elliott: Welsh coal miners transformed Soddy after the Civil War
- Gaston: Chattanooga's best-kept secret
- Elliott: Cabell Breckinridge loses his horse
- Raney: Martin Fleming is the people's judge
- Gaston: The amazing career of Francis Lynde
- Martin: Hamilton County's Name Sake: Alexander Hamilton
- Summers, Robbins: The crosses at Sewanee
- Bledsoe: The fiery truce at Kennesaw Mountain
- Moore: Talented architect's life cut short by tragedy
- Rydell: Chattanooga's place in soccer history
- Robbins: Tennessee Coal, member of the First Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Raney: In the barber chair
- Lanier: Becoming the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
- McCallie: John P. Franklin: Living history among us
- Barr: Chattanooga's first railroad: The Underground Railroad
- Summers, Robbins: Charles Bartlett was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy confidant
- Rainey: 'We have seen it'
- Elliott: Feinting and fighting at Running Water Creek and Johnson's Crook
- Gaston: The Spring Frog Cabin at Audubon Acres
- Raney: Wauhatchie Pike was moonshine motorway
- Robbins: Oakmont was home of venerable Williams clan
- Summers and Robbins: Rebirth of the Mountain Goat Line
- Elliott: Bad investments led to Soddy Bank failure in 1930
- Summers and Robbins: Pearl Harbor attack left football behind
- Gaston: Jolly’s Island namesake had long ties with Sam Houston
- Return Jonathan Meigs, Indian Agent
- Moore: Did you know about St. Elmo's other two cemeteries?
- Summers: Orme - Marion County's almost lost community
- Davis: Spooky revival at Sharp Mountain in 1873
- Robbins: The story of Longholm
- Raney: Women labored to help the U.S. win World War I
- Even in the city, the 'wheel' changed everything
- Murray: Confederate dilemma after Chickamauga
- J.B. Collins — Newsman extraordinaire
- Robbins: The Story of the Lyndhurst Mansion
- Chattanooga artist and wife lost on the Lusitania
- Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute
- John Ross, a founder of Chattanooga
- Hamilton County casualties in World War I
- Chattanooga Power Couple
- 'Somewhere in France'
- The Ray Moss family
- Battery B from Chattanooga
- Ulysses S. Grant, Clark B. Lagow, and the Chattanooga Bender
- Songbirds Museum Timeline
- Hamilton County World War 1 roster
- The Soddy Girl and the Memphis Belle
- Blues icon Bessie Smith was the Empress of Soul
- Women's Army Corps at Chickamauga
- Emma Bell Miles' life at the top of the 'W'
- The Tivoli Wurlitzer is one of Chattanooga's priceless assets
- Chattanooga in struggle for freedom during Civil War
- October 1918, Chattanooga paralyzed by Spanish flu epidemic
- Eli Lilly and the Ditch of Death
- One hundred years ago, Chattanooga goes to war
- The legacy of Anna Safley Houston
- Harriet Whiteside was ahead of her time
- Southern Adventist University
- Chattanooga native's writings aided Civil Rights movement
- Zion College, Chattanooga's only African American College
- The North Shore's hidden past
- Mayme Martin -- Businesswoman and community leader
- Thomas Sim's epic struggle for freedom
- Top of Cameron Hill was price of rerouting interstate
- Cameron Hill has rich history
- Temperance movement included Harriman university
- The sweetest music this side of Heaven
- Conquistadors at Chattanooga
- Chattanooga and the 'General'
- Chattanooga's first Thanksgiving, 1863
- Chattanooga's greatest flood caught city unaware
- Opening the Cracker Line
- European trip in 1900 enlightens Sophia Scholze Long
- Sophia Scholze Long spoke out when others were silent
- Little South Pittsburg and its big silent movie stars
- Lot attendant recalls hottest job in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's Forest Hills is final resting place for known, unknown
- Burritt College -- Pioneer of the Cumberlands
- Chattanooga's nicknames trace city's evolution
- The 25th annual meeting of the Tennessee Press Association
- Clemons Brothers Furniture Store
- The Short Life of the USS Chattanooga
- Ellen Jarnagin McCallie lived a truly remarkable life
- Dr. Jonathan Bachman was a revered city father
- Second guessing the Confederate failure on Missionary Ridge
- Nancy Kefauver, ambassador for the arts
- William Gibbs McAdoo kept his Southern roots
- Chattanooga's Secretary of the Treasury
- Howard Baker remembered as a statesman/photographer who snapped history
- Tivoli's last picture show
- The history of one of Chattanooga's oldest businesses
- Chattanooga's roller derby skaters
- Myths of Coca-Cola in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's neighborhood grocery stores
- The tale of the Scottsboro Boys
- The people's history of Chattanooga
- Howard School is Chattanooga's reminder of Reconstruction
- Elevator operator, painter, mystery man: meet Rice Carothers
- Raulston Schoolfield made enemies amid his rise to power
- Website lets users peer into Chattanooga's past
- The flood of 1917
- Chattanooga's 'wickedest woman' buried at Forest Hills
- History of Cummings Highway
On Oct. 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first official Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter. President George Washington had also called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, but it did not become an annual event until Lincoln made it so.
Lincoln's intention was to give thanks to the Union Army and God for the Union victory at Gettysburg the previous July.
On Sept. 20, 1863, after their defeat at Chickamauga, Union forces retreated north to Chattanooga. Surrounded and besieged by Confederate forces, they were kept alive by deliveries of food and supplies via wagon across Walden's Ridge, costing the lives of an estimated 10,000 horses and mules.
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in late October and was able to clear Lookout Valley by the 28th, making it possible for the Union Army to open a "Cracker Line" by river from Bridgeport, Ala., which eased the situation.
Benjamin F. Taylor, a war correspondent from Chicago, wrote on Nov. 22: "Stand with me as I stood this morning, near Major-Gen. [Gordon] Granger's headquarters, here in the heart of Chattanooga. As the sun comes up, the mists lift grandly, trail across the tops of the mountains, and are folded up in heaven. The horizon all around rises and falls like the waves of the sea.
"Stretching along the east and trending slightly away to the southwest, you see an undulating ridge edged with a thin fringe of trees. Along the sides you shall see camps sprinkled like flocks away on till the ridge melts out of sight; you shall see guns and men in gray.
"That is Mission Ridge, and you are looking upon what your heart does not warm to. You are in the presence of the enemy."
To his right is Lookout Mountain, that "rises like an everlasting thunder-storm that will never pass over" and in the midst of the scene is Chattanooga, "a town gone to pieces in a heavy sea."
Federal camps extend almost to the base of Lookout, right up to the Confederate lines: "It overturns your notions of hostile armies, this neighborly nearness. You see two thin picket lines running parallel and a few rods apart - not so far as you can jerk a peach-stone. They pass lovingly together from your left, down Mission Ridge, curve to the right along the lowlands and past the foot of the great mountain. They are the line of blue and the line of gray."
On Sept. 22, J.L. Bostick, a Confederate stationed on Missionary Ridge, described in a letter home the close proximity of the lines: "The two armies are in sight of each other, their pickets standing within 200 yards and all looks as quiet and peaceful as if they were two friendly forces.
"Only occasionally a gun is fired from one side or the other, to try the range or to feel for a battery. The pickets on both sides are ordered not to fire unless in case of an advance, and the Yankees became so familiar as to exchange several papers with our men and seemed quite desirous of entering into conversation on all occasions, until positive orders were issued by Gen. [Braxton] Bragg forbidding all intercourse of every description.
"I understand that one Yankee captain persisted in coming over to our pickets notwithstanding; he had been warned not to leave his line and was quickly made a prisoner in spite of his earnest entreaty to be released."
It ended when Gen. Joseph Hooker moved against the 2,000 Confederates on Lookout Mountain. In the early dawn of Nov. 24, Federal scouts raised the Stars and Stripes atop the Palisades on Point Lookout, having won the "Battle Above the Clouds."
The main position of the Confederates was a thin line seven miles long on the top of Missionary Ridge. After an eclipse of the moon, Nov. 25 dawned bright. Gen. William T. Sherman led the Union charge, followed by Gen. George Thomas and his men who broke the Confederate center. All Confederate troops abandoned the ridge after nightfall and began a retreat into Georgia.
The day after the battle was Thursday, Nov. 26, 1863. Chattanooga had been regained by the Union just in time to celebrate the first official Thanksgiving Day.
At noon the guns on Fort Wood began to toll - "chimes so grand that men began to uncover their heads," Taylor wrote. But the services consisted of burial details "doing for dead comrades what somebody may do for them the next day or the next."
Kay Baker Gaston is a regional historian and former Chattanoogan. For more, visit Chattahistoricalassoc.org.