The real time programs at Chickamauga concluded on Friday. As at so many of the sesquicentennial events the last few years, the programs started in the early hours of the day:
Even early, a sizable crowd gathered to hear the program:
Makes you wonder… is it the notion of “being there” 150 years later? The quality of programming? Or a little of both?
I have not seen official numbers, but from appearances the attendance was on par with that seen at Chancellorsville this spring:
Lots of familiar faces among the attendees. Folks I’ve shared a lot of sesqui moments with (but alas, I could not attend this one):
I’ve heard from several that the ranger programs were outstanding by all measure.
Some wrote after Gettysburg that the sesquicentennial was going to slack off, maybe finish with a little flair at Appomattox. The gatherings over the the last week at Chickamauga say otherwise.
One of Friday’s activities included a re-dedication of the Memorial for Brigadier-General William Lytle, the “poet warrior” of the Civil War:
Well before the 100th anniversary, the cannon balls from the memorial started disappearing. Some due to vandalism, but some due to maintenance staff drawing upon this remote monument to provide spares for the more visible monuments. Good to see it restored.
Lytle is not as well known today as he was in the Civil War era. The memorial was placed at a time when veterans of the war were directly shaping the battlefield by placing memorials, monuments, and tablets to show future generations what they had done and the importance of places on the field. Ranger Chris Young brought that home in one of his presentations, captured by the social media team:
Next time someone nay-sayer to preservation says something about taking down the memorials to restore the battlefield, “if you are really serious about preservation,” then show them this video.
An outstanding 150th observance from Chickamauga, from what I see. Just wish I had been there in person to see it!