Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Medal of Honor Heritage Trail - Lookout Mountain - November - 1863

Marker ID:  
Location: 906 Scenic Hwy, Chattanooga TN
County: Hamilton
Coordinates: N 35° 0.434    W 085° 20.273
  35.00723333    -85.33788333
Waymark: None


Medal of Honor Heritage TrailLookout Mountain - November - 1863

General Grant originally intended the action on Lookout Mountain to be a simple demonstration or diversion to distract the Confederates while General Tecumseh Sherman moved north of the river and prepared to attack the north end of Missionary Ridge. Nevertheless, four men of the 149th New York Infantry were awarded the Medal of Honor for extreme valor during the intense fighting.

Henry Alanson Barnum joined the U.S. army as a Captain in 1861. He was badly wounded at Malvern Hill. After recovery he became Colonel of the 149th New York Infantry. He was later compelled to leave the unit for medical treatment. He rejoined the Regiment at Wauhatchie two weeks before the Lookout Mountain Battle. At the start of the battle he was still scarcely able to march with the regiment from the effects of wounds yet unhealed. Nevertheless, he insisted on leading from the front, inciting the men to greater action by words and example, he received a musket ball through the right fore-arm, totally disabled him from proceeding farther.

Sergeant John Kiggins entered the army and became the flag bearer for Company D in the 149th New York Infantry Regiment. At the start of the Lookout Mountain Battle, a thick fog near the creak made visibility very limited. Full scale fighting broke out, and the fog thickened to the point that visibility was very limited. The men of the 149th found themselves shelled by Federal artillery. Sgt. Kiggins stood on a stump and held his flag above the fog, stopping the Federal shelling but drawing Confederate fire. Sergeant Kiggins’ clothing was filled with a total of nine bullet holes. The top of his head had been grazed by a bullet, and one bullet entered his thigh, but he survived.

Norman Potter joined the army at the start of the war, and became the First Sergeant of Company E, 149th New York Infantry Regiment. At Lookout Mountain, Lieutenant Colonel Randall reported, “One [Confederate battle flag] was taken from the hands of the rebel sergeant who carried it by First Sergeant Norman F. Potter, Company E, while in advance of our line, and near the beginning of the felled timber beyond the rebel camps on Lookout Mountain. He disarmed the sergeant and passed him to the rear a prisoner. Sergeant Potter was afterward severely wounded and is now in the hospital.”

At the start of the war, Peter Kappesser joined the 149th New York Infantry Regiment. On Lookout Mountain he captured a Confederate battle flag while rescuing a wounded comrade. In the cold of that night, Private Kappesser used his captured Confederate flag as a scarf around his neck and continued to do so until the end of the battle at Missionary Ridge, whereupon he gave the flag to the commander of his regiment. Colonel Brannon carried all the captured trophies to Washington.

This sign made possible by the Benwood Foundation

[Photo on the marker can be found on HMDB.org]

National Medal of Honor and Museum of Military History Foundation.