Saturday, November 8, 2014

ACWRR ANNUAL MEET 2014 - Chattanooga

American Civil War RR Historical Society/
Civil War RR Yahoo Group Meet
September 2014
One of our best meets to date, our members traveled to Chattanooga TN and experienced a variety of ACWRR historical elements. We had the good fortune to have Mark Brainard, railroad historian specializing in the Civil War era, seen here with a coupler in his personal collection while Dave Schnieder looks on below;
and Jim Ogden, one of the premier Battlefield Park historians and interpreters in the park system. Here on Lookout Mountain he is providing an overview of Chattanooga as a key cross roads for several Confederate rail lines on our first day.
During the evenings we were treated to a few presentations. First is Charlie Taylor presenting an overview of the many forts built by the USMRR. Later he shared his approach to and the construction of his expansive bridge on his Memphis and Charleston O scale model railroad. You can see a few pictures and videos on his site

Another evening, LeBron Mathews, who also models the W&A and is another skilled, artistic modeler, is presenting 'Longstreet's Troop Movement by Rail.'

Day 2 we ventured into an area only accessible with Mark and Jim. This was at the tunnel through Missionary Ridge. The other tunnel, of which most people/historians are familiar, is known as Tunnel Hill near Dalton and further south. Here Chip and Sue Barona stand at the tunnel entrance to give perspective on the entrance height. Notice the shape as the lower part is slightly more narrow than the upper wall to provide structural support, a most common design for our period of modeling.

Venturing further along, Mark took us to the East TN & GA RR crossings over Chickamauga Creek which also crossed the Western & Atlantic RR. Here are the original piers from that time.

There was also a battle that took place in this area for the Missionary Ridge position. This was an attempted flanking move by General W.T. Sherman where he was decidedly whooped by Patrick Cleburne's troops. 
Here Jim provides a detailed story of the battle and the relationship of the forts which guarded the crossings just beyond this picture.

We also had the opportunity to ride the live steam excursion which ran about 40 minutes round trip with a pause at the turntable.
 Several members were invited, thanks to Mark, to ride in the cab. Al gives the command to "ALL ABOARRRRRD!!"
Dave Schneider, Ron Flowers and Charlie Taylor were among the other riders while the rest of us rode the period passenger cars as Mark pointed out various aspects of the line during the war. This was a highlight of our meet for many.

As I mentioned, and as you can see by the sign, it was only due to having Mark along that we were able to experience a walk through this tunnel built in the 1850's. Truly a grand experience was this most recent meet. We now set our sights for 2015 to York and Gettysburg where we hope to ride the new 4-4-0 York. Maybe see you then? You are most welcome! 
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