Chickamauga: Viniard Field

Chick-17thMichiganThe last phase of the battle on September 19—at least during daylight—came toward the south end of the battlefield: a back-and-forth slugfest across the fields and through the forests around the Viniard Farm. The woods around thefarm were some of the darkest and thickest on the field, making it difficult for soldiers to see their opponents until they were mere feet apart.

“It was a horrible slaughter,” a Georgian later recalled. “The field seemed to be covered with dead and wounded.”

The 13th Michigan (whose monument is pictured above), was one of the units engaged. During the fight, they moved forward, “delivering a destructive fire into the enemy’s massed columns.”

Making his first appearance on the battlefield that day, Union Brig. Gen. Phillip Sheridan threw his men into the thick of the fight. “Make way for Sheridan,” his men cried as they pushed through other Federals nearly fought out. When they were eventually repulsed and came streaming back, the men they’d earlier passed called out to them: “Make way for Sheridan!”

After the fight, Union Brig. Gen. William Carlin rode across the battlefield. “My poor horse waited for me to dismount; then lay quietly down in the dusty LaFayette Road and died without a struggle,” he recalled. “Removing the saddle with the help of one of my men, I seated myself upon it, and then gave way to a long, hysterical crying spell, which I could not stop till I had it out.”

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Text adapted from material in Lee White’s Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamaugapart of the Emerging Civil War Series.

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