Civil War era hasn’t faded out
By H.M. Cauley
For the AJC
The Civil War is not forgotten in Chickamauga, the tiny town on Georgia’s border with Tennessee. The three vicious days of fighting that raged in the area from Sept. 18-20, 1863, still echo through this community and the surrounding Chickamauga Battlefield.
Visitors pass by the entrance to the 5,500-acre battlefield on the way to Chickamauga’s downtown district. Officially named for Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the battlefield was one of the first national military parks in the country, formed in 1890 to preserve the land on which the Confederates and Union forces vied for control of the South.
Nearby is Chickamauga’s downtown, where the streets named for Confederate leaders are marked with signposts giving a photo of the man and a short explanation of his exploits.
The center of town is defined by train tracks on one end and a lone traffic light on the other. In between are wide sidewalks lined with shops that draw on the Civil War connection, both real and fictitious.
Scarlett’s Tea Room serves up salads and flavored teas; the Oh! Fiddle-Dee Shoppe is filled with a mix of antiques and new merchandise. The Mountain City Mercantile is stocked with Civil War-era clothing and supplies that attract re-enactors as well as browsers interested in the period.
Each September, the streets are lined with vendors, re-enactors, Civil War buffs and visitors who flock to town for the War Between the States Festival.
This year’s event Sept. 19-20 features living-history demonstrations, arts, crafts, cannon firings, battlefield camps and food.
“It’s a great way to get a flavor for what it was like to be a soldier,” said Chickamauga’s Jim Powell.
© 2009 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution