The battle of Lookout Mountain occurred 160 years ago today, helping to eventually drive back Confederate forces out of Tennessee following their victory at Chickamauga. Major General Joseph Hooker commanded three division of United States soldiers in the attack, one from the XII Corps sent west from the Army of the Potomac in Virginia, one from the IV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland, and one from the XV Corps of the Army of the Tennessee sent east from Vicksburg. These 10,000 men attacked up Lookout Mountain and drove off several Confederate brigades under Major General Carter L. Stevenson. Because of the smoke of battle and fog that day, the battle quickly bore the name ‘Battle Above the Clouds.’
But what does it look like to fight a battle above the clouds? It is quite possible due to weather and geography to have this type of weather phenomenon occur. Just such an occurrence happened to me earlier this summer.
I have been atop Lookout Mountain before, viewing Chattanooga’s distinct geography below. It was a different mountain in a different state however, where I was encapsulated in fog. Earlier this year, my wife and I took a trip to the northeast. We toured Boston before driving to Acadia National Park in Maine. There, we had the chance to go atop Cadillac Mountain. As we made our way atop the mountain, the fog set in. At its summit, my wife was at first upset we could not take in the beautiful views below, though we quickly became engrossed in the fog experience.
I almost immediately began thinking of Lookout Mountain and the ‘Battle Above the Clouds.’ Not even 50 yards away, I could see people disappearing in the fog. I took some time to think about how the soldiers scaling Lookout Mountain encountered similar circumstances. It may have been a different mountain in a different state with different plants, trees, and animals atop, but I made a connection on Cadillac Mountain with those US soldiers in Tennessee 160 years ago.
Here are some photos I took atop Cadillac Mountain. Perhaps they can give readers a small glimpse into what the troops fighting at Chattanooga dealt with as they battled atop Lookout Mountain.