|Latitude 34 North|
Historic Markers Across Georgia
Crawfish Spring was the first name given to the modern community Chickamauga, Georgia. Cherokees lived in this area before their forced removal in 1838, with their Chickamauga District courthouse located near the spring. In the 1840s an early white settler, James Gordon used enslaved African craftsmen to build an imposing two-story brick plantation house west of the spring, located today just across this highway. James Gordon's son, Clark stood on a large rock between the spring and the house to raise a company of local men for Confederate Service to defend their homeland from federal invasion.
Struggle came to Crawfish Spring in September 1863. On the 16th, Union Major General William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, established his headquarters in the Gordon House. The summer had been extremely dry and the most reliable source of water in the area was Crawfish Spring. Colonial John P. Sanderson of Rosecrans' staff wrote in his diary, "the spring here is a magnificent one, affording an abundant supply, for man and beast of the entire army of cool, soft, delicious water." Thousands of canteens were filled from its water, including over 1,000 alone for the parched lips of the 39th Indiana Mounted Infantry after the first full days fighting on the 19th. For these reasons, the federal armies Medical Director Dr. Glover Perin, also made Crawfish Spring his major hospital depot for the Battle of Chickamauga from September 18 through 20.
The house and several large tents were used, but many of the wounded lay outside. Every effort was made to place the men under shelter, and to provide them with cover, as the nights were cold. When this could not be done, the men were arranged in rows with lines of campfires built at their feet. As thousands of other Federal soldiers marched north pass Crawfish Spring toward the battle, the hospitals became exposed to attack. Many men were hastily evacuated late on the 20th, but by 5 pm Confederate Major Joseph Wheeler's Calvary captured the hospitals, with 20 wagons of medicines and camp equipage, plus over 1,000 wounded federal soldiers.
On September 20, 1889, thousands of veterans from both armies, including General Rosecrans and former Confederate Major General (and then Georgia Governor) John B. Gordon met at Crawfish Spring in a spirit of reconciliation and friendship. After barbecue and patriotic speeches the men visited with comrades, and got acquainted with former enemies. Together they walked over the battlefield, recalling the bloody days they had shared so long ago. They sought out places where friends had died, and recalled their own actions during the desperate fighting. This land is sacred to the veterans, thus talk began about erecting monuments to permanently mark various actions on the field. Their reunion furthered efforts already underway to make the entire battlefield a park to honor the courage and valor shown here in 1863. On August 19 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill establishing America's First National Military Park.
This marker is part of the Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail, Army of the Cumberland #26
Crawfish Springs is located on the east side of Cove Road in the town of Chickamauga, Georgia and a short distance to the south of the intersection of Cove Road and Crittenden Avenue. The area appears on the Kensington, Georgia quadrangle of the U. S. Geological Survey maps.
Crawfish Spring was the first name for the modern community of Chickamauga, Georgia. The name is derived from an abundant supply of crawfish that live in the spring. During the present study one was noted that, although partly eaten by a raccoon, it was from ten to twelve inches in length. Before Indian removal, a group of Cherokees lived in this area, and the courthouse for their Chickamauga District was located near the spring. The spring later became the focal point of James Gordon's 2,500 acre plantation.
Before the Battle of Chickamauga, Surgeon Glover Perin, the U.S. Medical Director for the Army of The Cumberland, met with General Rosecrans concerning location for field hospitals. As soon as the Federal army had crossed Lookout Mountain, Surgeon Perin made immediate disposition to have medical supplies forwarded, and began looking for suitable places for hospitals prepared for the reception of wounded. While reflecting on the local geography, his primary considerations were suitable roads to transport the wounded and available water. "The ridge that divides the valley of Chickamauga from that of Chattanooga," he later wrote, "was traversed in several places by wagon roads. It was by these roads that our wounded must be conveyed to the rear. The wagon road down the Chickamauga Valley was near the base of this ridge, on the south side, where there were but few springs ... Our wounded were to be provided for at these springs ... After consulting with the general commanding, I selected Crawfish Spring as the main depot for the wounded. Division hospitals for the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps, together with two divisions of the Fourteenth Corps, were accordingly established at this point."
The choice of Crawfish Spring for the main Federal hospital depot made the Gordon house a focal point throughout the battle of Chickamauga. The 14th Army Corps, led by General George H. Thomas, spent most of the night marching by the spring. "The head of the column reached Kelly's farm about daylight on the 19th, Baird's division in front," General Thomas wrote, "and took up a position at the forks of the road, facing toward Reed's and Alexander's Bridges over the Chickamauga ... A narrow field commences at a point about a fourth of a mile south of Kelly's house ... The eastern slope of Missionary Ridge, between Glenn's and Kelly's, is cleared and mostly under cultivation. This position of Baird's threw my right in close proximity to Wilder's brigade, the interval I intended to fill up with the two remaining brigades of Reynolds division on their arrival. General Brannan, closely following Baird's division, was placed in position on his left, on the two roads leading from the State road to Reed's and Alexander's Bridges.
Fighting began in the area of Jay's Mill and soon spread south over a wide front with multiple points of action extending almost as far down as Lee and Gordon's Mills. While the fighting was indecisive, the action produced many casualties. While there were regimental aid stations set up in the field, Crawfish Spring was established as the central hospital depot for the entire army. "The wounded of the 2nd division were removed to a temporary hospital immediately in the rear," Surgeon Jabez Perkins, serving on the 20th Army Corps Medical Staff from the 10 th Kentucky Infantry Regiment [Federal], "and those of the1st and 3rd divisions to the vicinity of Crawfish Spring, on the right and rear of our line of battle. At this point we occupied a large brick building [the Gordon House] with a number of out-houses for hospital purposes, and to these were added such hospital tents as were in our possession. In addition to the wounded of the Twentieth Corps, a large portion of the Fourteenth Corps were brought here, it being the nearest point at which they could obtain water. By eight o'clock in the morning every place of shelter was full, and a large number were yet unprovided for."
"One brigade became engaged with the enemy from which several were wounded. Surgeon R. G. Bogue, 19th Illinois Infantry in the Second Division of the 14th Army Corps, stated. "They were removed to Widow Gordon's house at Crawfish Spring, their wounds dressed and they were put to bed. About 4 o'clock P.M., the troops having nearly all passed beyond this point, I had all, except two who were very severely wounded loaded into ambulances and moved toward the left as the battle had been in progress in that direction for several hours. I thought the hospitals would be established in that direction. After going about one mile, I met wounded men in large numbers being taken back toward the spring. Still moving further toward the left, I met Assistant Surgeon D. Bache, U.S.A., assistant medical director of the department of the Cumberland, who informed me that all wounded were to be sent to the spring, as there would be the great depot for them."
The summer had been extremely dry, and the most reliable source of water in the area was Crawfish Springs. This was the major reason that it was selected as the central Federal hospital area. Many of the Federal soldiers who passed this way in September 1863 commented in a highly favorable way on the quality of the water that bubbled out from the rocks at this spring. Colonel John Sanderson remarked that "the spring here is a magnificent one, affording an abundant supply, for man and beast of the entire army, of cool, soft, delicious water." The spring, he further stated, "runs out of a hill and forms a very large creek."
"Crawfish Spring is a curiosity of itself," John Beach, historian of the 40 th Ohio Infantry Regiment, wrote after the war, "a great column of water bursting out from the base of a hill, and well worth a visit from Chattanooga. About the spring was located the hospital for the right wing of our army as Cloud Spring was selected for the same purpose for the left wing on September 19, 1863."
Another soldier who was at the spring on September 19, 1863, was George H. Putney, of the 37th Indiana Infantry Regiment. "After going some distance," he stated, "we came to Crawfish Springs. There we were permitted to fill our canteens, which we gladly did, as we knew the importance of water in a bottle. What a beautiful spring of water that was and is! Think of going from that pure life-giving fountain of clear, cold water, springing up in great abundance, to a great and dreadful battle where smoke and dust and toil and wounds and death hold high carnival. That is war!"
"[It was] after an all nights' long and weary march," Dr. William B. Graham, regimental surgeon of the 101st Indiana Infantry Regiment, stated, "that we were ushered into the bloody battle of Chickamauga. We were allowed just time enough to make coffee and drink it, when the call into line was sounded; and we were at once on our way to the field of carnage. I was at once stationed in a small ravine immediately in the rear of the brigade, with orders to care temporarily for the wounded, put them in ambulances, and send then to the Field Hospital. I had been attending to this duty but a short time, when I received orders to immediately ship all the wounded back to the hospital at once, as our line was broken, and the enemy was coming, which I did, and mounted my horse and rode back to the hospital. I immediately met Dr. C. N. Fowler, the Brigade surgeon, who told me that Col. Doan, commanding my Regiment, had sent an orderly for me to come to the regiment, and ordered me to go at once, which I undertook to do. You can imagine how difficult it would be for me to find my regiment after it had constituted a part of a broken line of battle."
The Federal reserve force at Crawfish Springs included the 19th Illinois Infantry Regiment of Stanley's Brigade. One of the men in the regiment, Corporal James Fenton, later recorded his memories of that day. "At early dawn on the morning of the 19th of September, the advance of General Thomas's Troops, after all night march and a part of the day before, reached Crawfish Springs, tired, thirsty, and all covered with dust from a road nearly shoe-top deep with a thick splurgy dust that was partially damp from a slight rain the night before. The equipment and faces of the soldiers were black with this dust, it just raised enough to cover everyone a dark color. Every soldier in that nights march knew that the Confederate army was moving on the other side of the Chickamauga to gain the road that led to Chattanooga. The fences had been set on fire to give the enemy the impression we were lying in the battlefield. On reaching Crawfish Springs, the 19th Illinois, the advance of Negley's division was detached from the line, Companies I and K were deployed in front of the Spring, the rest of the regiment in reserve. Instantly the enemy opened [upon] us with a battery from the other side of Chickamauga River. This was the opening of the great battle; almost at the same time, our cavalry and mounted infantry were heard disputing the enemy at the fords and bridges away to our left, on the battle ground proper. Crawfish Springs gushes out at the foot of a small bluff, a sheet of the finest water, some 50 feet wide and over a foot in depth; being dammed up at the Lee and Gordon Mill on the Chickamauga it made a beautiful lake up to within 150 yards of the spring proper. Bridges's battery now took a position on a sloping garden in front of a fine brick house [the Gordon-Lee House] back from the spring, and replied to the Rebel battery. Our battery, on account of its exposed positions, was roughly handled and a gun dismounted and a caisson blown up and several killed and wounded. Another battery soon took its place and this duel was kept up for some time ... We lying down on the skirmish line to the right of Company K, close to the road would be asked by these troops [going to the front] where that firing was and we pointed out to the left ... the troops, tired, hungry, and thirsty, covered with dust were not allowed to break ranks to get water. In some regiments in spite of officers, men rushed down and waded across the sheet of water, dragging a canteen or a large cup, to get a drink. That was the last water hundreds of them saw ... Both sides rushed in troops by brigades and divisions. It was charge and countercharge, until past noon, and some of the most desperate fighting of the war was taking place. We lying on the skirmish line at Crawfish Springs listened to the roar of battle and saw the great clouds of powder smoke rising over the field, but could not see the battle. We looked at one another but not much was said. Some would say that is the Rebs charging and soon would hear our men charge, as the yells were quite different."
Dr. Graham continued to try to find his regiment. "I rode back at random, however," he wrote, "and rode through the break in the line, and succeeded in being shot at several times, when I realized where I was, and retreated at once. I rode a swift horse, and my retreat was rapid. As I rode back I saw a squad of soldiers of our army, and I rode towards them, and one of them, John Powell, of the 75th Ind. Vols. raised his gun to shoot at me, thinking I was a rebel; when a comrade told him not to shoot, as it might be one of our own men. When I rode up, he stepped up to me and told me the circumstances of how near he came to shooting at me. I then rode back to the hospital, and reported to Dr. O. C. H., our Division Surgeon, as good a man, by the way as ever wore shoulder straps, and who is now numbered among the brave dead, and he told me to report to the General hospital at Crawfish Springs, and do what I could for the wounded there, and pay no attention to any order from any one else."
"During the afternoon, about half-past three o'clock," Surgeon W. W. Blair wrote, "our situation seemed somewhat hazardous, and, upon the medical director's advise, I had the entire encampment moved to a point more directly to the rear of where the battle was then raging. Later that evening, Surgeon G. Perin, U.S.A., directed that the wounded should all be taken to Crawfish Spring or its vicinity, and I accordingly returned to the ground I had left but a few hours before."
Throughout the night, the screams and cries of the wounded and dying could be heard on the battle-field. The fate of the wounded was such that many men preferred to be killed outright. When a man was hit during combat, his first source of assistance was the comrade next to him. If the wound was slight it would be bandaged and the fighting would go on. If more serious, but still leaving the man able to walk, he was expected to make his way to the regimental aid station in the rear. Before an action, men from each regiment were assigned duty as stretcher bearers. It was their job to carry the wounded who could not walk. If the man was wounded during an attack he was left where he fell. He could only hope that he would not be hit again by shells or rifle bullets flying overhead. If he survived these dangers, he was still subject to being trampled or run over by friendly or enemy soldiers or by horses and wagons passing back and forth in waves of panic or controlled frenzy. If still alive after that, he would hope that the litter bearers would arrive before he bled to death, died or thirst, or succumbed to the elements.
Litter bearers from each regiment collected all who could not walk and delivered them to an aid station located just beyond enemy musket fire. Those who could not be evacuated under fire were brought out under cover of darkness, or as soon after the battle as possible. At the aid station, assistant surgeons examined the wounds, applied dressings and ligatures where needed, and sent the men by ambulance to the field hospital. Again, those who were able were expected to walk.
Wilbur Hineman, the historian of Harker's Brigade, walked through the thick dust on the LaFayette Road for more than three miles to Crawfish Springs after being shot through the right elbow during the after-noon. He reached the spring at dusk, and reported to the hospital tent of his division. The brigade surgeon called to him to wait as he bandaged the stump of an amputated arm. Hineman sat down and contemplated his surrounding. "A field hospital just after a battle," he later wrote, "is the most grewsome and harrowing picture presented by the changing panorama of war. Words seem to have no meaning when one attempts to portray the awful scenes of suffering and death. All through the hours of that long night, but the light of blazing fires, the surgeons and their assistants moved about among the hundreds that lay upon cots or upon the ground around the tents, stanching the wounds and administering food and cordials and water to the suffers. Often a pulseless, motionless form was borne away and laid in the fast lengthening row of those to whom death had come."
"Every effort was made to place the men under shelter," Surgeon Glover Perin, Medical Director of the Army stated, "but particularly to provide them with covering, as the night was cold. When this could not he done, the men were arranged in rows near each other and lines of camp-fires were built at their feet."
"The night was extremely cold for the season," Surgeon Perkins stated, "yet those compelled to remain out were rendered comparatively comfortable by large fires and such bedding as we could command. An abundance of nourishment in the form of beef soup, coffee, etc., was provided for all, and their wounds were dressed as rapidly as possible under the circumstances."
Extensive fires were kept up all night," Surgeon W. W. Blair wrote, "and my medical officers and attendants labored faithfully to alleviate the unutterable suffering with which we were surrounded."
Dr. Graham reported to the hospital center at Crawfish Spring. "I at once repaired to the general hospital" he stated. "It was evening, and I found the whole neighborhood covered with wounded and dead. I hitched my horse and went to work. I soon found Sergeant Miller of Co. D, 101st Ind. Vols. wounded in the hip by a minnie ball which I extracted. I worked until far into the night. In my rounds I found C. S. W. Petijohn in one of the hospitals, shot through the right lung. I spoke to him and asked him what was the trouble, and he told me he was shot through the breast. I examined him and found a wound passing through the lung, and at every inspiration the blood would bubble out at the wound. He said, Dock, for God's sake do something for me, for I cannot stand it much longer. I thought so too. I studied a moment and thought nothing would do him much good, but decided to give him a drink of whiskey. I procured a half teacup full and brought it, and held up his head and he swallowed it. I then dressed his wound and left him, thinking he would be dead in the morning; but I found him better, and he said then, and many times to me since the war, that the whiskey saved his life."
"On the morning of the 20th," Surgeon Perin, Medical Director of the Army, stated, "the movement of the army to the left continued. Our hospital to the right becoming more distant and communication with them precarious ... Communication with Crawfish Spring, the main hospital depot, was cut off; the position, too, was becoming quite unsafe."
"About one o'clock ... ," Surgeon Perkins, with McCook's 20th Army Corps, stated, "our right having been given way, the enemy got between us and our hospital at Crawfish Spring. General Mitchell, with a large cavalry force, was guarding the spring, but it was evident that he would be compelled to abandon this position. I was on the left at the time, and cut off by the enemy from our hospitals on the right. Surgeon Luther D. Wateman, 39th Indiana Volunteers, and Surgeon Griffiths, however, made their arrangements as judiciously and as rapidly as possible for leaving, and Colonel Boyd, our corps quartermaster, being present, with commendable promptness collected a large number of empty wagons, which having been partly filled with straw, were with the available ambulances, loaded with wounded, and conducted across Missionary Hills to the Lookout Valley road and thence to Chattanooga."
Dr. Graham had planned to return to his regiment on the battlefield. "Later on," he recalled, "I went to get my horse and it was stolen. I was busy all the next day at work in the hospital. That was Sept. 20th . In the afternoon we were informed that our army was whipped, and that if we escaped being captured, we should fly at once. Some left, but quite a number remained. I think I should have left, but for the constant importuning of some of our wounded boys not to leave them."
"Although these officers labored faithfully," Surgeon Perin, Medical Director of the Army, stated, "to remove all the wounded from Crawfish Spring, it was found impracticable. Medical officers were, therefore, detailed to remain, and provisions were distributed in such a manner as to insure for the benefit of the patients during the confusion that must result immediately after a battle ... About one thousand five hundred of the graver cases were left on this part of the field ... Great care was taken by the surgeons-in-chief of divisions to detail medical officers with the necessary dressings, medicines, etc., to remain, and provisions were usually divided out among the men to prevent possible suffering from hunger. In the retreat, every vehicle, baggage wagon, and supply train, as well as ambulances, were filled with wounded."
"By request of Doctor Blair," John J. Hight, the chaplain of the 58th Indiana Infantry Regiment, wrote on September 20, "I started early with our Regimental ambulance, driven by John Everett, to hunt up our wounded in the various hospitals. We first visited Van Cleve's and Palmer's. At the former we found several of our men and took them to our own hospital. We then went to Reynolds and Davis. By this time the battle was already raging. I had hoped that the quiet of the Sabbath would not be broken. When I arrived at our hospital, I made out a list of the killed, wounded and missing, as far as I could gain the necessary information. Soon wounded men from our Brigade began to arrive. All reported that our men were being driven. None of the 58th were brought in. Two pieces of artillery, which were at the brick house [the Gordon-Lee House] near Crawfish Springs, were taken to the left. The cavalry went out and returned. About eleven a.m. the cavalry formed immediately in front of the hospital, thus indicating that Gordon's Mills had been abandoned by our infantry. It was plain that the day was lost, utterly and irretrievably lost. What must I do? If I remain with the wounded, and fall into rebel hands, I can not hope for proper treatment, for the rebels utterly despise Yankee preachers. As for leaving, I could not think of doing so without orders, unless I went to the Regiment, and they were driven I knew not where. So I saddled my horse, and 'waited for something to turn up.' I suppose it was when Doctor Phelps, of General Crittenden's staff, rode up and ordered that every man and thing, that could be, should be moved towards Chattanooga by the hill road. It was pitiful to leave our brave and suffering men in the hands of the rebels. 'You are not going to leave us, are you?' asked the silent and suffering Captain Davis of Company A. 'Can you not get an ambulance, and take us?' said Sergeant Keeler, of Company B, meaning himself and the old sharpshooter, Gilbert Armstrong. I went to see, but never returned to communicate the negative. I never expected to see them again. All who could walk were sent forward. The wagons were loaded up and the train started. Doctors Holtzman and Downey, Steward Brunch, Anthony Lindsey and John A. Baldwin remained to care for our wounded. The cavalry left our front and took up the valley, parallel to the hill road and next [to] Lookout Mountain. It was a motley train and crowd that moved along the hill road between Crawfish Springs and Missionary Ridge. There were M.D.s in abundance. There were musicians carrying drums and saxehorns, with the usual red rag to tell the tale of their devotions to the wounded. There were parsons, with straight coats and sad faces. Of Negroes there were every shade and size, but the accustomed grin was gone! The order was 'Close up! Close up!' but the long train moved slow, like 'That memorable caravan that moves to the pale realms, where each shall take his chamber in the silent halls of death.' There was no haste and no confusion. You might hear almost anything you pleased. All kinds of tales were floating along the line. It was said first that we were 'going up here to a valley, where water was plenty.' But we continued on our winding way until we reached Chattanooga. It must have been midnight when the remains of our hospital sought rest on the ground near the Brown hospitals."
"It will be remembered," W. R. Carter, regimental historian of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry [Federal], wrote, "that at the opening of the battle of Chickamauga the principal hospital for the reception of the wounded was established at Crawfish Spring, and no better place could have been selected. The Lee Mansion and all outbuildings were used, beside tents. Just a short distance from this old homestead, a large, magnificent spring gushes out from under a ledge of stone, and from this famous 'Crawfish Spring' thousands of our wounded quenched their thirst. Around this mansion numerous large, stately oaks are found, whose outspreading branches protected our wounded from the hot rays of the sun ... The turn of affairs on our left cut us off from all communication with McCook, who was in command on the right, and Mitchell was left to make his way as best he could toward Chattanooga. The scene around the hospital at Crawfish Spring when we left was one of peculiar sadness, and to be seen was never to be forgotten. Hundreds of our men who had been taken from the battlefield badly wounded had answered to the last roll call amid the boom of cannon and as the living demanded all the time and attention of those in charge, the dead, for the time being, were laid out in rows, side by side, awaiting the burial party ... There were several sharp attacks made upon Mitchell's cavalry before leaving Crawfish Spring, but each was repulsed, and at 5 p.m. it left for Chattanooga. Just here I want to relate an incident that occurred at the time of our withdrawal from Crawfish Spring. It serves as a reminder of that true friendship that existed among soldiers. When the ambulances and wagons had been loaded, there yet remained thousands of our wounded comrades, and in the absence of orders, our boys began to dismount and place a wounded soldier in his stead, and in this way hundreds could have been brought from the red field of Chickamauga. When our commander found out that we were letting our wounded soldiers ride, he made all dismount and return to the hospital, giving as his reason that if we should be attacked the wounded would be greatly in the way, some scarcely being able to sit on the horse when quietly marching along, while our dismounted men would also be of little service. We fell back toward Chattanooga, bringing off two guns which had been abandoned by the troops of McCook's Corps. Mitchell marched his command six miles toward Chattanooga and bivouacked for the night in line of battle. The next morning the whole command was placed in line of battle across the Chattanooga Valley road, and during the day the enemy's cavalry moved up and several light skirmishes occurred, but no severe attack was made. This valley was full of stragglers, all going at a 'two-forty gait' toward Chattanooga."
"The Second [Tennessee] Cavalry [Federal] was stationed on Rosecrans's right," Lieutenant John W. Andes, Company K, later wrote, "there being but one single regiment on our right. We occupied the ground at Crawfish Spring, a large spring, the basin of which is about 100 yards in circumference, and deep enough to swim a horse. A large creek ran off from it, to the banks of which our wounded, a large portion of them, were carried during the day, several hundred tents having been put up there. Before night the tents were filled with wounded and dying soldiers. Hundreds were laid out on the leaves and the sedge grass of an old field just by, and hardly out of range of the enemy's shells. Our regiment was the last to leave the field on Sunday evening (September 20). As we were leaving we were closely pressed by Confederates, and those who escaped the enemy's bullets had no time to render assistance to the wounded. I shall never forget the piteous cries of hundreds of our men as we would ride by. Some with an arm off, some with a leg and others seriously or mortally wounded, when they realized that they were about to fall into the hands of the enemy, their appeals were heart-rending. While some were thus pleading with all the eloquence of despair, others were dying. Such are some of the realities of terrible war. To add to the horrors of the occasion, the exploding shells had set fire to the leaves and sedge grass, and hundreds of poor fellows were in danger of burning to death. We were compelled to surrender the position we held. At the time our regiment retreated, which was about sunset, there was so much smoke it was impossible to distinguish a friend from a foe, twenty yards away. The whole atmosphere was impregnated with the odor of gunpowder. As above remarked, the official reports show that this was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The killed numbered thousands, while hundreds died after-wards from wounds received upon the battle field."
General Wheeler's Confederate cavalry rode north along the east side of West Chickamauga Creek to the area opposite Lee and Gordon's Mills. The cavalrymen arrived at that point around 3:00 p.m. Facing the Confederates were two Federal cavalry brigades from the command of General Robert Mitchell. General Mitchell had been ordered to protect "at all hazards" the Federal hospitals and wagon trains at Crawfish Springs, less than two miles west of Lee and Gordon's Mills. Most of Wheeler's cavalrymen, dismounted, forded the creek north of the mill. The 4th Alabama Cavalry Regiment, on the extreme left of Wheeler's line, waded the waist-deep stream just below the mill dam.
There was bitter fighting, but the Confederates pressed on. "About 4 o'clock in the evening of the 20th," Dr. Graham stated, "we saw the ragged Rebel line of cavalry charging towards the hospital as fast as their horses could carry them. The air was full of that familiar rebel yell that we had heard so often; and their old sabers were swinging and jingling by their sides, and altogether the outlook was anything but encouraging. As soon as I saw the line approaching, I took a hospital flag and ran over to that side of the hospital, and stuck it in a hollow stump, thinking when they would see it they would respect the hospital. As I returned after putting the flag in position, I saw the little drummer boy of the 75 th Ind. Mashing his drum against the side of a large oak tree. He mashed it all to pieces; and as I came up to him I asked him what he was doing that for, and he said no rebel should beat his drum."
"We pursued half a mile further," the dismounted cavalryman from the 4th Tennessee Regimant later wrote, "and ... drove them beyond Crawfish Spring, the field hospital of McCook and Crittenden's corps. This explained what we could not understand at the time -- why we were making a fight at a point so far detached from the line of our infantry. The Federals had been driven from the line of the Chickamauga, and this was the only water accessible to them, and their killed and wounded on this wing of the army were brought here ... When we came in sight of Crawfish Springs the immense crowd of men, tents, vehicles, etc., caused us at first to think that we had captured the whole Federal army. Dead men in rail pens for protection, and wounded men in large circus tents, and scattered about over the ground, with the accustomed retinue of hospital assistants and not a few skulkers from the fight, all made an immense mass. This spring is one of the largest and finest streams of water we have ever seen. Its volume is large enough to supply a great city."
Gordon Lee, the four year-old son of James and Elizabeth Lee, was at the Gordon house with his mother and grand-mother during the battle. His constant cheerful and curious nature made him a favorite with the federal soldiers there. The four year-old showed just as much interest toward the Confederates when they arrived. "There was true bravery manifested by a small boy," Dr. Graham concluded, "and he met his captors as bravely as any of us."
In adult life, Gordon Lee liked to tell about his participation in the battle. "I was in but one battle," he would say, "but that was the great battle of Chickamauga. I was in the Union lines at the beginning and in the Confederate lines at the end. I did not desert; but I was one of the few who stayed where they were when the Confederates advanced. Of course, no one can blame me for being annexed to the Confederacy. I at least stood my ground, and that is more than the brave soldiers of the North can say for themselves in connection with this occasion. I secured no favors whatever for my part in that fight, and for several years after this military service I was spanked at home and flogged at school, just as if I had not been a veteran."
"The Rebs were soon in and around and all through the hospital," Dr. Graham concluded, "robbing the wounded of their blankets and cooking utensils, &c. I stepped up to one who seemed to be in command and told him we had a great many wounded, and but little to care for them with, and his men were taking what little we had, and with a loud voice he ordered his men to leave everything alone. This man I learned afterwards was Gen. Jo. Wheeler. The next event worthy of note was when one of Wheelers aides [and] two orderlies came into camp, and ordered the Surgeons into line. They had their pistols drawn, and they called for our hats, over coats, side arms, &c. They said it was Gen. Wheeler's orders, and rode away. There we stood coatless and hatless, and nothing much was said, and what was said might not sound well to a preacher. The next day we were paroled by Ben. McKinster, Provo Marshall General of the state of Georgia, to care for the wounded until they were sent through the lines; and then we were to report to Ringgold, Geo. which we did at the end of twelve days, and were at once shipped by rail to Richmond, Virginia. We were taken by Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia, Columbia, S.C., and Raleigh N.C., Petersburg, Virg. Thence to Richmond and into the famous Libby prison."
Confederate General Joseph Wheeler reported on his capture of the Federal hospital depot as follows: "I received orders to move my available once to Lee and Gordon's Mills and attack the enemy. We arrived at that place about 3 p.m., crossed the river, and vigorously assailed him. After a short time he commenced retreating in confusion. We followed as rapidly as possible, capturing about 1,000 prisoners, 20 wagons, and a large amount of arms and ordnance stores. About dark we also captured five large hospitals, with a considerable supply of medicines, camp equipage, and a great number of wounded prisoners. The pursuit was continued till two hours after nightfall, when we retired to feed our horses."
The area around the Gordon-Lee House and Crawfish Springs continued to be used as a hospital for some time after the battle. Between September 29 and October 1, an exchange of wounded prisoners took place between the two armies. When wagonloads of wounded confederates arrived in Crawfish Springs, "the wounded 'Johnnies' were taken out," one of the wounded Federal cavalrymen stated, "the ambulances turned by driving around a loop, our men were put in and the procession moved slowly to the north." The Federals were taken to hospitals at Chattanooga. What happened to the returned Confederates is not clear. A few may have continued to receive treatment at the Gordon Lee House, but most were probably sent on to the established Confederate Hospital complex around Ringgold, Georgia.
In addition to the Federal dead and wounded, the Confederate forces around Chickamauga also had a number of non-wounded Federal prisoners to deal with for sometime after the battle. At least one post-war account by a Federal prisoner captured at Chickamauga indicates that the Confederates held hundreds of captive Federal soldiers in Rock Spring. Adam S. Johnston, 79th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, stated that he was captured at Chickamauga "by the Rebel Col. Humphrey's men" and "sent to the rear seven miles, to Cheatham's headquarters, or hospital, called Rock Springs." There he said that the Confederates recorded every man's name, regiment, rank, and place of residence, and then turned them over to "rebel citizens [armed] with double-barreled shotguns, rifles, pistols, sabers, old scythes ... and almost everything you could mention." He then stated that the approximately 700 prisoners were formed into "double-square" and marched to Ringgold, Georgia.
Upon the death of James M. Lee, the house and all business enterprises passed on to his son, Gordon Lee. Shortly after the death of his father, Gordon Lee, probably on the recommendation of John T. Wilder, began selling lots near the spring with the intention of establishing a town. To further the goals of this project, Charles James, an associate of Wilder, completed a railroad south from Chattanooga that passed through the center of the planned town, crossing the creek that flows from Crawfish Spring a short distance below the dam that James Lee had constructed to provide running water for his house. Some lots were sold, but the growth was not as rapid as expected. As a result, Lee sold most of the old Gordon plantation to the newly formed Crawfish Springs Land Company. In addition to receiving the purchase price for the land, Gordon Lee was also made a member of the company. The officers of company were identified as: John T. Wilder, President; S. F. Parrott, Superintendent; and Gordon Lee, Secretary and Treasurer. The goal of the company was to establish a modern manufacturing town to be called, in honor of the battle, "Chickamauga ... "
"A beautiful lake, two miles long, will be lighted by electricity, as well as the avenue which winds about its border. For those who indulge in aquatic recreation a steam launch is now on its way from New York, with a lot of St. Lawrence row boats, with all the appliances that belong to the best resorts of the East. A dancing pavillion, 50 by 100 feet, will be built on the margins of the lake, fitted with all the modern appliances to entertain parties or excursions."
"A large park with drives to suit the grounds is now being graded and graveled through a magnificent forest of oaks, in which some of the residences are being built. More than half the ground in the park is left for park purposes, thirty acres being set aside for a mammoth stone hotel to be built later on. Broad walks are being graded and graveled through the grounds, and the most beautiful drives will be found on its broad and well-graded streets. Large expenditure has been made to throw all surface drainage and sewage into the Chickamauga River, away from the springs, especial care being taken to improve every possible sanitary feature of this magnificent location." For further particulars interested parties were urged to apply to the CRAWFISH SPRINGS LAND CO., Chickamauga, Georgia.
The land company advertised rail advantages. "Hourly trains will be run from Chattanooga, at minimum fares, from 6 in the morning, until 11 at night. Special rates will be made for all manufacturers, to whose works the tracks will be laid. A beautiful Stone Depot, of elegant proportions and finish will be built near the hotel. The plans are now completed. A platform, 24 feet wide by 300 feet long, will be laid alongside the track.
The proposed hotel was rapidly built, near the depot as was advertised. The new hotel lived up to everyone's expectations. It was designed and built by William H. Floyd, a Chattanooga architect, at a cost of $38,000.00. With plumbing, running water, and electricity provided by Crawfish Spring, the hotel was fully equal to anything that could be found in Chicago or New York, much less Chattanooga. It was named the Park Hotel. Although the records are scanty, it is likely that the hotel was named in honor of James Park, the well known local official in the Masonic Lodge and the Methodist Church. The land company advertised the hotel as a part of their publicity program. "Every room an outside room; all of unusual size; well lighted, ventilated and furnished in luxurious style. W. H. Stoddard, of Chicago, an authority on hotels, says it is the most beautiful building, with the best internal arrangements he has ever seen."
James T. Holmes, a veteran of the 52nd Ohio Infantry Regiment, visited the area with a comrade named Swan while preparing a formal history of his regiment. He made the following comments concerning Crawfish Springs as it was then and as he remembered it from his last visit in April, 1864: "Then they poured out of the ground just as nature and the action of the water had left it. An old wheel, which looked as if it had belonged to some kind of mill, was then standing by the spring. It was beginning to grow dusk and I did not examine it particularly, as Swan and I had ridden up especially to see the Springs. Now, there is a dam of stone masonry just below the spring, which makes a lake some forty feet in diameter and I should say eighteen or twenty feet in depth. A wheel-house is built at the west end of the dam and the power is used up to pump the water to the Lee mansion, a little way above the spring, and to operate the dynamos for the house and the hotel. Mr. Geo. Elliott told me that the effect of building the dam had been to decrease the power apparent flow of the spring by forcing the water through channels which conducted it into the creek at different points down the stream. It belongs to the Lee, or Lee and Gordon, estate, and Mr. Lee, the son of the war-time head of the firm, and grandson of Mr. Gordon, the other partner, would tear down the dam if it promised permanent injury to the Spring. The Spring is the strongest issue of water from the ground I remember ever to have seen. It is a creek from the source, perhaps twenty feet wide and from ten to twelve inches deep. The water of the spring lake has a strange blue color, in the lake, but is clear when dipped up."
As far reaching as the plans for the city of Chickamauga were, the Society of the Army of the Cumberland had another project that would have an even greater impact on the region. These men, in addition to their membership in the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, were also members of the national Federal veterans organization known as the Grand Army of the Republic. They were fully aware that veterans from other Federal units who had fought at Gettysburg had a high view of the importance of that battle. A few weeks after the battle a local attorney, David McConaughy, in conjunction with the governor of Pennsylvania purchased a portion of the battlefield, including Culp's and Cemetery hills and Little Round Top to form the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. On April 30, 1864, only nine months after the battle, this organization received a charter from the state of Pennsylvania. Over the years that followed there were many reunions of Federal veterans held at the site, and the survivors of several regiments began erecting imposing monuments to their units. At national meetings of the GAR, the Society of the Army of the Cumberland veterans frequently heard the boasting of the Gettysburg men. They were equally proud of their accomplishments at Chickamauga and Chattanooga and began to think that Chickamauga should be, at least, recognized as the "Gettysburg of the West." As was the case throughout his career, whenever John T. Wilder had an idea he acted quickly to make it become a reality.
Henry V. Boynton had been a Lieutenant-Colonel with the 35th Ohio Infantry during the battle of Chickamauga. In the years that followed the war he became journalist with a keen interest in history. He served as the Washington correspondent for the Cinciannati Commercial Gazette, but maintained membership in the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, making frequent visits to Chattanooga where the headquarters of the society was located. While in the area during 1888, Boynton visited the Chickamauga battlefield in the company of Frederick Van Derveer, his former brigade commander. The two veterans walked over the fields where they had fought with General Brannan's Division, trying to find where Helm fell, where Longstreet struck, and where Thomas held. Their difficulty in matching the present terrain with their memory made them think of the monuments that were being erected at Gettysburg. They felt that the various elements of the Battle of Chickamauga deserved similar recognition. Boynton felt that they could even go beyond what had been done at Gettysburg by including Confederate veterans in their plans. "The survivors of the Army of the Cumberland should awake to great pride in this notable field of Chickamauga," he stated in a newspaper article. "Why should it not, as well as eastern fields, be marked by monuments, and its lines accurately preserved for history? Both sides might well unite in preserving the field where both, in a military sense, won such renown."
Boynton discussed the concept with Wilder, who gave it his full approval. The Society of the Army of the Cumberland established a park committee. This body met on February 13, 1889 at Washington, but adjourned until the next day so that invitations could be extended to any Confederate veterans known to be in the city. The next day the joint conference consisted of seven Federal officers and eight Confederates.. The group agreed to incorporate a joint memorial association. Each side was directed to name fifty leading veterans and non-veterans, North and South, as incorporators.
Plans had been made earlier that the annual reunion of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland would be held at Chattanooga. The United Confederate Veterans had only been organized a few months earlier, but efforts were made to contact as many of their members as possible and invite them to attend the joint reunion and discuss plans for the park. Adolf S. Ochs, publisher of the Chattanooga Times, was named as the local committee chairman. Ochs was to young to have served in the war, but his newspaper had made him a leading figure in local affairs. Thousands of men from both sides gathered in September for a session held in a large tent at Chattanooga. A Confederate veteran from the Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp at Chattanooga moved that General William S. Rosecrans be elected chairman by acclamation. The motion passed andin his brief acceptance remarks Rosecrans stated: "It is very difficult to find in history an instance where contending parties in after years meet together in perfect amity. It took great men to win that battle, but it takes greater men still, I will say morally greater, to wipe away all the ill feeling which naturally grows out of such a contest."
The next day, the veterans from both armies traveled to Crawfish Spring, a place all of them remembered well from the battle, for what has been termed the largest barbecue to ever be held in the country. About five hundred yards from the depot a ten acre field was set up for the event. Military bands were present to provide entertainment and thirty tables, each 250 feet long, were set up to hold the food. J. R. Treadway of Rome, Georgia had been hired to provide the 12,000 pounds of meat -- coming from 428 hogs, cattle, goats, and sheep. The men consumed 12,000 loaves of bread, 300 pounds of butter, 65 pounds of pepper, and 1,200 pounds of salt. Following the meal there was a ceremonial smoking for peace. The men were provided with pipes made from wood taken from Snodgrass Hill and having stems made from river cane cut from the banks of West Chickamauga Creek. Some 85 pounds of tobacco was used in this exercise.
While the men smoked, there were speeches. The first to address the group was John B. Gordon, former Major-General with the Army of Northern Virginia and current Governor of Georgia. He delivered a speech praising the valor of the veterans of both armies and spoke of a spirit of reconciliation. He was followed by former Major-General William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland during the battle and currently a congressman from the State of California. Loud applause from the veterans of both armies greeted both speeches.
The delegates who had been selected to organize the Park planning commission met at a church near the battlefield. All present were enrolled as members of the Chickamauga Memorial Association and incorporators were selected "as nearly as possible in proportion to the troops" each state had in the battle. John T. Wilder was selected as president of the body and Joseph Wheeler, the former Confederate cavalry commander was made vice-president. Rather than simply putting up monuments as the men had done at Gettysburg, the Chickamauga Memorial Association determined to make their effort a formal national effort and began drafting legislation to the effect that would be presented to the Federal congress.
While the members of the Association discussed plans for the park, the rest of the men walked out over the battlefield. At first, they were small groups of men, usually those who had fought together in the same company during the battle. They sought out the places in which they had been engaged and looked for the spot where remembered comrades had fallen. The groups grew larger as the Confederate veterans encountered Federal veterans who had taken part in the same action on that part of the field. These encounters brought on spirited discussion of the fighting, with both sides providing explanations of why they were there and how they performed. In this way, many long unanswered questions and several tactical mysteries were cleared up.
At the end of the day, the delegates announced the formation of the Chickamauga Memorial Association. Membership in the group included the incorporators, the governors of the various states with troops present at the battle, the president and secretary of the Southern Historical Society, and the U. S. Secretary of War. Voting membership was open to any veteran or non-veteran for a onetime payment of $5.00. The announced objective of the Association was to preserve the battlefield and memorialize the valor of its soldiers.
During the following winter the intense public interest shown in the project as the result of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland's massive campaign led the Association to seek Federal funding for the project. Henry V. Boynton realized that an enlargement of his original idea that had only centered on Chickamauga was practical and the concept was extended to include the approach roads as well as Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and other features of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaign. Boynton drew up a bill addressing these points and delivered it to Ohio Congressman Charles H. Grosvoenor, who had served as a Federal colonel during the battle at Chickamauga. The congressman introduced the bill in Congress with a strong personal endorsement. The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives after only 23 minutes of discussion and rushed to the Senate on the same day. That body, including seven members who had fought at Chickamauga, quickly considered and passed the Bill without opposition. As passed, the Bill provided an initial appropriation of $125,000.00 to implement the work. That night, Tennessee congressman H. Clay Evans, a Wisconsin veteran and Wilder's right hand man in Chattanooga, hand carried to Bill to President Benjamin Harrison, who had served with William T. Sherman during the Georgia campaign. Without hesitation, the president signed the bill and it became law.
In this manner, the nation's first National Military Park came into being. Five years later, Gettysburg gained the same recognition. The members of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, however, were smug in their knowledge that Chickamauga had been the first. Three weeks after the act was passed, on September 8, 1890, the Secretary of War appointed a national commission for the park made up of Joseph S. Fullerton, Alexander P. Stewart and Sanford C. Kellog. Fullerton served as chairman and conducted the negotiations regarding land acquisition. Stewart, who had been a Confederate division commander during the battle, was in charge of construction. Kellog, a regular army man still on duty, served as secretary. Boynton was appointed assistant in historical work. The duties of the commission involved the opening and repair of roads for the park, the definite placements of battle lines, and the acquisition of property. Hundreds of veterans from both armies were closely consulted for positions during the battle, and plans were made for monuments to be erected by the states from which the various units came.
Commissioner A. P. Stewart, a math teacher who was called "Old Straight," addressed his duties with the same systematic attention to detail that he had shown when he led his division during the battle. He improved all the approach roads leading to the park, building bridges and stone culverts as needed. In March, 1893, he suffered an accident near Crawfish Springs while inspecting the railroad bridge there. A special report to the Chattanooga Times stated: "This afternoon [March 30, 1893] about 4 o'clock Gen. Stewart, while crossing the trestle over Crawfish Springs lake was run upon by the rear of a freight train on the Central of Georgia railroad and was struck in the left shoulder, knocking him off the trestle. He fell about twelve feet, landing on the right hand and side, sustaining a collis fracture and badly lacerating ligaments in both shoulders and wrist. His recovery depends upon the extent of internal injuries. He is now resting quietly under the influence of opiates." General Stewart recovered and went on to become the first Park Superintendent of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Although some of the monuments were not yet built and a few more years would be required to acquire the Lookout Mountain property, the Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge aspects of the park were far enough to completion for Congress to declare a formal dedication and grand opening, appropriating $20,000.00 to cover the expenses of the event that was scheduled for September 18, 19, and 20, 1895. Preparations for this tremendous celebration were made by Secretary of War Daniel S. Lamont, with a joint committee of the two houses of Congress. Vice-President Adlai E. Stevenson, nine United States senators, twenty-three congressmen, numerous high ranking military men, several governors, and many other high officials were present for the three day event.
"The day of September 18 was devoted to the dedication of state monuments. These exercises were participated in by the governors of the various states interested and their staffs, together with the state monument commissions. At the same time there were numerous regimental and several brigade reunions and large assemblages of the national guard in connection with these state distinctions. On the evening of September 18 the Society of the Army of the Cumberland, within which the park project had originated and under whose auspices it was brought to the attention of congress, held its annual reunion. While this enormous gathering of fully 10,000 was not a part of the official dedication, but as the executive and congressional representatives attended and participated with the governors of many states and their staffs, and a large and most distinguished company of Union and Confederate veterans and representatives of all the army societies were present, it seems proper to incorporate a statement of this notable assemblage which virtually opened the national pageant of the park dedication."
"The dedication of the Chickamauga portion of the park took place [on] Sept. 19 in an extensive natural amphitheater at the foot of Snodgrass hill. Here a grandstand for the speakers and official participants, having a seating capacity of 2,000, had been erected and decorated with the national colors, while seats were provided around the amphitheater for a vast assembly. A conservative estimate placed the number of visitors in the park at not less than 40,000 and probably 50,000 persons. An immense audience gathered about the grandstand and on the slopes of Snodgrass hill, while many were spread through the park, preferring to visit the grounds of their former movements. Upon the platform were gathered distinguished representatives of the three co-ordinate branches of the government, noted Union and Confederate veterans, representatives of all the great army and patriotic societies of the nation, distinguished citizens and fifteen governors of states with their staffs. The regular orations were delivered by Senator John M. Palmer of Illinois and Senator [former Governor] John B. Gordon of Georgia. Following these speakers, Lieut. Gen. Schofield and Gen. James Longstreet made brief addresses."
The founders of the park wanted to emphasize their wartime accomplishments and stressed that this would be a National Military Park, under the control of the War Department, as opposed to a Natural Park controlled by the Department of Interior. They had no way of knowing that this would produce something of a conflict with visitation due to the fact that the War Department felt that a Military Park should be available for current military use. During the Spanish American war, the park became Camp Thomas, a major staging area for troops going to Cuba.
Wilder and the other Society of the Army of the Cumberland investors in the land company knew that the greatest wealth generated from mineral deposits is limited by the extent of the deposits, and that even the largest deposits all eventually get mined out. This being the case, diversity in commercial activity at Chickamauga was encouraged. The most lasting alternative that came into being was the Crystal Springs Bleachery. Before the war a New England man moved south to establish a textile mill. His name was Daniel Ashley Jewell, and he purchased a cotton mill that was known as the Rock Mill. He later added a bag plant and built a company store for his workers. The small community in central Georgia that grew up around his mill is still called Jewell. His sister subsequently married a Colonel W.L.L. Bowen. Jewell and his brother-in-law reorganized the bag company and it became the Bowen-Jewell Bag Company. Soon after, Colonel Bowen's nephew, A. S. Bowen, joined the company as a salesman. The company's best customers were the large grain mills in east Tennessee. For this reason, it was determined to move the company to the Chattanooga area in 1905.
In the process of familiarizing themselves with the local political and business leaders, Jewell and Bowen came to know several members of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland and other influential men in the region. A number of these individuals offered to invest in the enterprise as stockholders. It was then decided to build a permanent mill in the area, and Jewell and Bowen began looking for a suitable location with a reliable supply of water. Chickamauga, with the two springs -- Crystal and Crawfish -- seemed the ideal place. The men had heard that Gordon Lee, the owner of the springs was proud of his sharp business dealings and had sold Crystal Spring several times, only to immediately repossess it as soon as the first payment was missed. Bowen dressed himself in his worst clothes and attempted to look like a less than affluent rural man. He approached Lee and discussed buying the land. When a price had been quoted, he told Lee to have his attorney draw up the papers and he would return to work out the terms of purchase. When he came back, he was wearing his normal clothing and had his attorney with him. Rather than seeking terms, he paid in cash, and Lee had no choice but to give up the property.
A bleachery and cotton mill were built and these plants were incorporated as the Crystal Springs Bleachery Company. The first officers were D. A. Jewell, president; T. G. Montague, vice-president, and A. S. Bowen Sr., secretary-treasurer; and Arthur Yates, superintendent. The stockholders were made up of some of the leading business men of Chattanooga.
The Crystal Springs Bleachery has had almost a century of success. During the 1920s the main bleachery building was constructed, new machinery installed, and production diversified. Dyeing and mercerizing were added. When Mr. Bowen died in 1923, D. A. Jewell was elected to replace him. Upon the death of Mr. Jewell in 1935, his son, D. A. Jewell Jr. replaced him and ran the plant for twenty-eight years. He was succeeded as company president by his brother, Houston Jewell. At his death in 1967 C. Callaway Jr. was elected president. During the late 1960s, when many of the South's textile mills merged, it seemed advisable for Crystal Springs Textiles to do the same. On April 1, 1969, Dan River Mills bought all of the stock of current stockholders, and continued operations. Twenty years later there was a trend to relocate southern textile mills to Mexico and Central America due to the availability of cheaper labor. It was feared that this would happen to the mill at Chickamauga. Numerous local residents appealed to Frank Pierce, former mayor, and he took over operation of the mill in person. The mill is doing well with a variety of clients, including Disney Land and Disney World.
The property joining the Crystal Springs Bleachery, owned by the Davenport family, is called the Crystal farms. The Davenport brothers were sons of a Confederate officer at Valley Head, Alabama who migrated to the Chattanooga area after the war. They, and their children operated a number of successful business ventures in that area. One of the sons, Rodolphus B. Davenport Jr., better known as "Rody", developed a successful hosiery mill at the close of World War I in Chattanooga. In 1932, he had the idea, as a sideline, to open a small restaurant that would offer a popular food item, the hamburger, for five cents under spotlessly clean conditions. His wife suggested the name Krystal Klean, which was shortened to Krystal, and a small crystal ball was used as a decorative item on top of the building. The first building was pre-fabricated of chrome and steel in Chicago and assembled at Seventh and Cherry Streets in Chattanooga. This small beginning proved to be more profitable and longer lasting than any of the other Davenport business activities. The company is still going strong today and has more than 140 company owned restaurants and 44 franchises located in Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
The area around Crawfish Springs is a municipal park, established by the city of Chickamauga, Georgia. Now fitted with electricity, picnic tables, and a gazebo, the spring area is open to the public and is a popular site for concerts and weddings. It open to the public at any time.
References: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
Archive and files, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Raymond Evans, The Civil War in Walker County
Significant Views: While there are excellent views of the spring from the grounds of the municipal park, the view from Cove Road is seriously blocked the old water tank.
Setting: Although developed as a municipal park, the spring is within the city limits of Chickamauga, Georgia and in an urban environment.
Documented Structures, Sites and Features: The spring is a part of a municipal park operated by the city of Chickamauga.
Presumed Wartime Features: This area was the staging area and hospital depot for the Army of the Cumberland during the Battle of Chickamauga. There were numerous Federal hospitals located here.
Original Terrain: The establishment and growth of the town of Chickamauga had dramatically changed the terrain from its wartime appearance.
Related Sites: Gordon-Lee House and Lee and Gordon's Mills.
Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail – Crawfish Spring # 26