A View from Above the Clouds

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.’

The battle of Lookout Mountain quickly gained 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.

Emerging Civil War enters the clouds atop Cadillac Mountain in Maine.

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.

Just as the view of Confederates
Just as the view by Confederates atop Lookout Mountain was obstructed by fog, my view from atop Cadillac Mountain into the valley below was likewise obstructed.
The view atop Cadillac Mountain was obstructed by fog to the point that people not even 50 yards away were engrossed by it. The troops fighting atop Lookout Mountain likely encountered similar visibility issues.
Fog engrosses a trail atop Cadillac Mountain.
Another view from atop Cadillac Mountain looking down through fog into the valley below.
My wife Brittany, standing triumphant atop Cadillac Mountain, peers below into the fog.

5 Responses to A View from Above the Clouds

  1. Excellent comparison of Tennessee moutain fog with Maine coastal mountain fog! Did you hike up Cadillac via the South Ridge Trail? That photo showing the fog in the valley suggests this route, but I could be mistaken. You do not get a similar view when cutting across the ravine between Dorr Mountain, which is just to the east. Thank you for the post!

    1. Thanks Brian. We did not do the hike up Cadillac Mountain (drove up instead), but did take the trail down for a bit to see what we could find. Great place to visit.

      1. You can hike Cadillac via trails approaching the summit from north, east, south, and west, the latter a very steep ascent from Bubble Pond. It connects with the South Ridge Trail perhaps a mile or so from the summit. Glad you got to explore Acadia!

  2. We’ve camped on the land side of the island, and witnessed the fog in downtown Bar Harbor. Beautiful location.

  3. Cadillac Mountain is just one of many treasures at Acadia NP. I visited on a bright clear day. Thanks for suggesting an image of Lookout Mountain.

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