We're back from our trip to Chattanooga, TN and the Chickamauga Battlefield. It was an amazing trip. To recap, my father, brother, and I took my 89 year old grandfather to see the battlefield where his great uncle (his grandmother's brother) died in battle on September 20th, 1863. My grandfather was named for Private George A. Schumpert, C.S.A., and thus are my father (Jr.) and myself (III). None of us really knew much about this battle or it's significance in the Civil War, so we listened to an audio book on the long drive there. It was a good primer.
Chickamauga Battlefield is part of the National Park Service and is the oldest and largest Battlefield in the U.S. Almost 40 thousand soldiers fought there in this 2 day battle and almost 30% of them were killed, making it one of the bloodies battles of the war. Our relative, Private George Adam Schumpert was with the South Carolina 19th Infantry Regiment, Company D, C.S.A. which fought at Chickamauga under Brig. Gen. Arthur Manigault's Brigade. His body was never returned home and no one in our family knows where it was finally laid to rest.
Once we arrived at the park's visitor center we introduced ourselves to the rangers, who earlier in the week I had alerted of our trip by email. They provided us with a park map, on which they marked the points of interest to us, plus some details about the whereabouts of his brigade. Later on, when no one else showed up for the 10AM tour, Ranger Jim Blackwell gave us a private tour that emphasized our areas of interest. He actually took us off the normal tour route to the base of the spur of Snodgrass Hill, where his brigade attacked (and probably the place where he was killed.) The rangers were extremely helpful and made our trip more rewarding than we would have ever imagined.
The biggest surprise of the trip was the rangers' familiarity with Private Schumpert. Considering that almost 40,000 soldiers fought there, we would never have expected any specific details about our relative, a mere private. However, they told us that they knew his uniform was on display at the Atlanta Historical Center and that one of their former rangers had taken such a personal interest in Private Schumpert that he made a replica of his uniform an wore it as a re-enactor. Many Rebel soldiers had to supply their own uniforms and his was made from pillow ticking and was white a pink in color. Apparently it's also pictured in a Time Life book "Echoes of Glory", which I am diligently searching for on EBAY. The presence of this kind of artifact and the names of other rangers, museum curators, etc. may lead to even more information in the coming months.
Needless to say, this was a very rewarding trip and, most importantly, to my 89 year old grandfather it seemed to bring a sense of accomplishment and closure. Awesome!