Local News

October 20, 2013

Civil War anniversary: The aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga in Dalton

In the days leading up to the Battle of Chickamauga the movements of the Union and Confederate armies affected many changes in Dalton. On Sept. 7, 1863, all the Confederate hospitals, their staffs and the 300 or so patients were evacuated from Dalton to other locations farther south in Georgia.

Many of the citizens of Dalton would follow suit, relocating in places considered more suitable for their families. Yet, when Confederate Gen. James Longstreet’s troops came to Dalton on their way to Chickamauga they were welcomed here in their overnight camps and were cheered on their way the next day.

The biggest change was yet to come. After the Battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 19-20, 1863, special arrangements had to be made to take care of the thousands of wounded being removed from the battlefield.

Medical Director Samuel H. Stout in one of his reports stated, “After the battle it became necessary to reopen hospitals in Ringgold and Dalton for the reception and shipment of patients.”

Ringgold was north of some burned bridges on the Western and Atlantic Railroad so many of the wounded were sent to Tunnel Hill and Dalton for the first three days after the battle and there placed in boxcars to be sent to hospitals further south.

Until about Oct. 1 the wounded were brought to the wood station near Catoosa Platform where they slowly but eventually were removed to hospitals for treatment. The hospitals that had been removed from Tunnel Hill before the battle were never reopened.

Among the first surgeons to arrive in Dalton was W.L. Hilliard. He arrived Sept. 18, 1863, from Knoxville, Tenn., and was placed in charge of the hospitals at the post there.

Surgeon R.P. Bateman was ordered back from Newnan to establish a receiving and distribution hospital (R&D) in Dalton. It was quickly set up in the Western and Atlantic Hotel and immediately began receiving hundreds of the wounded from the battlefield.

Surgeon James B. Murfree was ordered to gather up all the property belonging to the Asylum Hospital that had been in Knoxville and proceed without delay to Dalton. On Sept. 23, Murfree reopened the Asylum Hospital and treated patients for the next 69 days before moving to Madison.

On Oct. 28, Surgeon Samuel Meredith was ordered back to Dalton and placed in charge of the hospital operations. On Nov. 15, Surgeon Lunsford P. Yandell was ordered to move the Stout Hospital back to Dalton and report to Meredith for assignment. 

On Nov. 28, after 30 days’ service in Dalton, Meredith was instructed to shut down the various hospitals in Dalton. Yandell was ordered to report to Gen. Stewart for assignment by Gen. Breckenridge. 

With the exception of the R&D Hospital, all other hospitals in Dalton were closed and removed to other cities further south. TheR &D Hospital would remain in Dalton through the long cold winter until the end of April 1864, at which time it was removed to Griffin.

The living conditions in Dalton through September, October and November 1863 were somewhat chaotic, to say the least. Farmers and businessmen like John S. Oliver, the Rev. Arch Fitzgerald and W.J.M. Thomas and others were filing claims with the Confederate government for damages done to their properties by Longstreet’s troops as they moved through Dalton.

Rail fences were handy and were taken by the thousands and burned in the camp fires. Tens of acres of standing corn, wheat and sugar cane were confiscated and consumed as forage for the horses and the troops. Their claims for damages were proven and for the most part paid in full.

Foragers for the hospitals were traveling as far away as Fannin County to find subsistence. Times were difficult in Dalton and would remain so for several years to come.

This article is part of a series of stories about Dalton and life in Dalton during the Civil War. The stories run on Sunday and are provided by the Dalton 150th Civil War Commission. To find out more about the committee, go to www.dalton150th.com. If you have material that you would like to contribute for a future article contact Robert Jenkins at (706) 259-4626 or robert.jenkins@robertdjenkins.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Investigation into MFG chemical accident continues

    An investigation is still ongoing after a MFG Chemical employee was injured earlier this month at a plant on Kimberly Park Drive.

    July 25, 2014

  • Judge sets $100,000 bond for Cohutta man accused of incest, molestation

    A Cohutta man charged with incest, aggravated sodomy and child molestation was granted a $100,000 bond over the prosecutor’s objection on Friday.

    July 25, 2014