Saturday, April 28, 2007

Chattanooga Choo Choo, Lookout Mountain Tennessee

On the trip during this last month, a side distraction of historical interest, was The Lookout Mountain and areas of Chattanooga Tennessee.

Chatanooga History

  • This city is also the site of the historic train station Hotel
  • described in the 1941 movie 'Sun Valley Serenade', 'Chattanooga Choo-Choo'. This swing Band song in the later 1940's, was the first recording to ever go 'Gold' with over one million records sold.

    The story is about a train trip from New York to Chattanooga. A lot of people may recall the words about 'Track twenty-nine', 'Pardon me Boy' and the actress name 'Dorothy Dandridge'.

    Chattanooga Choo Choo

  • The historic train station at the old site of the 'Stanton' Hotel is preserved and associated with the 'Choo-Choo Holiday Inn. Many of the old rail cars are available as suites or rooms to stay overnight. Restaurants are numerous with some of the dining done in old dining cars. A pizza place is even in one car. Gift shops and special interest displays are all on the site along the boarding platform and the many rails.

    Chattanooga, as well as other parts of Tennessee have several Railroad related sites including a large model railroad museum as well as functioning restored lines. the Union Army controlled the railroad during the Civil War. 1849 was the start of their control and maintenance. Forts had to be built along it's length to keep up with the Confederates 'Insurgent' destruction. The control of the railroad was instrumental in keeping the Union forces resupplied as they extended ever further South.

    'The Great Locomotive Chase' resulting in Confederate States locomotive, 'The General' being stolen by Andersons Union Raiders and pursued towards Chattanooga, was an old 'Buster Keaton' film. The USA first Medal of Honor was awarded to each of the Union survivors of the botched theft and chase. Only 8 of the 19 volunteer raiders survived. The locomotive "The General" still survives today as a museum display.

    The historic Civil War Battles are commemorated at the 'Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park', the nations first and largest Nat. Mil. Park. 37,000 casualties within two days being oneof the Civil Wars hardest battles.

    The Lookout mountain peak is high enough to see four states. Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia. The rest including Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, are all too far away and over the horizon.

    Many names from US Civil War History are memorialized here. Lookout Mountain, Signal Point, Missionary Ridge, Generals Ulysses S Grant, Braxton Bragg, Sherman, Longstreet, Cleburne, Hooker, Rosecrans, Burnside, Thompson. While burying the dead soldiers, (37,000 casualties) Thompson was reportedly asked if they should be separated by States? He reportedly answered, famously, that they should not. "Mix em up, I'm sick of States Rights".

    The Battle of 'Chickamauga' was a disaster for the Union army. But during the following 'Battle Above the clouds', (morning fog) the Union soldiers were yelling "Chickamauga! Chickamauga! as they attacked the Confederate forces that were entrenched above them on the mountain. That attack then turned the tide and routed the Confederates.

    The three battles for Chattanooga, 1862/3, ended in the Southern States being opened up for the historic 'March to Atlanta' by General Sherman. That brutal 'Scorched Earth' Invasion, totally Demoralized the Confederacy and brought the US Civil War to a much earlier ending, therefore saving much additional bloodshed. The 'Burning of Atlanta' was memorialized in the Book/Movie "Gone With the Wind" (Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara..."Frankly Scarlet, I Don't Give a DAM").

    The arrival of the Industrial Age was now very evident, as was the arrival of 'The Ironclad Gunboats'. The first 'Submarine', 'The Hunley'. The cannons used were basically 'Napoleon' types at the beginning of the Civil War. The Union was the first to use a cannon mount. It was during the battle for Chattanooga. The very large cannon was on a pivot surrounded by a circular rail for horizontal rotation in 360 degrees. A slide rail system allowed the cannon to be brought back to firing position for the following shot without completely re-aligning on target. 'Rifling' started to become common in the barrels of the weapons to spin the projectiles for more accuracy. The old 'Napoleon' type was now obsolete. Every shot was thrown out of alignment by the recoil. It was a wonder that any accuracy was ever achieved. The old 'Smooth Bore' was no help.

    Chattanooga Tennessee is a great place for tourists. When traveling near the area, visit the sights, The historic Walnut street Bridge over the Tennessee River (now the longest walking bridge in the world) the Incline Railway to the top of Lookout Mountain, Rock City made famous by the black and red birdhouses sold in gift shops all over the Nation as well as the painted Logo on barn roofs across the country for years, and Ruby Falls and caverns. The area is somewhat commercial with out being obnoxious. We enjoyed the days, including other previous trips through this area.

    Get out and see America. It's a Great Nation for freedom of all to experience. Learn about History so that we do not have to REPEAT IT!

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