Dave Buckhout .
Publication Date: v.2 2015-2016 (v.1 1996)
The decisive battle for Chattanooga was fought on Wednesday, November 25, 1863. The weather on that day was cold and crisp with heavy clouds; some described it as bitter. But meteorological conditions certainly weighed less on minds than knowledge of the bitter fighting ahead. The fate of Chattanooga, gateway to the southern heartland, was to be determined along routes that—with preparation and persistence—one can replicate across the modern city … Starting in the mid ‘90s, I began to trek to and tour Chattanooga on, or as near November 25 every year that schedules would allow. And though the weather has usually served up sparkling autumn days ranging from mild-to-cool, the conditions on my first extensive battle-wide tour—Monday, November 25, 1996—happened to be cold and windy. The average temperature hovered just above freezing, wind-chills dropping it deep into the 20s. Bulky stratocumulus clouds ran the sky, their coming-and-going allowing for dramatic sun-rays to carve through and spotlight the ground below. At points, these beams seemed to mark historical pins on the busy city grid—racing along as if retracing the flow of battle. It was quite a show, the same moody conditions under which this grim and bloody battle was fought.
Recalling the prized collection of shots captured on film that day in ‘96 (all B&W film back then: 100 TMAX / 400 Tri-X) has fired my enthusiasm for late-fall tours of The Battles for Chattanooga ever since, camera-in-hand. What follows is a running visual and narrative documentary of them all—with more to come, for sure.
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