We want to share a couple pieces of history from Mile 6 (“Brown’s Ferry”) on the Chattajack course. Once you’ve completed the 180 degree turn around Moccasin Bend and you’re on the straight-away heading into the gorge you’ll reach this point. It was named after Cherokee leader, John Brown.
Trail of Tears
178 years ago this is where many members of the Cherokee and Creek Nations were forced to cross the Tennessee River on their way to Oklahoma.
American Civil War
25 years later Brown’s Ferry had critical significance in the American Civil War. Union Forces had penetrated the South as far as Chattanooga but the Confederates were too much to handle. The Confederate Army defeated the Yankees a few miles outside of Chattanooga in the Battle of Chickamauga (36,000 deaths). This defeat left Union forces trapped in Chattanooga and hunkered down for a cold winter. Confederate soldiers didn’t have the strength to wipe out remaining 30,000 Union soldiers so instead they planned to starve them by cutting off supplies. Winters in Chattanooga can be brutal especially without gore-tex, synthetic gear, down sleeping bags, and all the other swag we have now to make outdoor living comparable to the Ritz.
The Yankee’s ultimately wouldn’t have lasted much longer. They were starving and had enough ammunition for 1 day of battle. Abraham Lincoln learned of the predicament and sent resources in hopes of holding on to the Chattanooga position. The Battle of Brown’s Ferry ensued between Confederate sharpshooters and 2 union brigades. Union forces won then used floating pontoon boats to form a bridge across the Tennessee River. The most basic resource trapped Union soldiers needed was crackers because they were literally starving. With the pontoon bridge in place the “Cracker Line” was complete.
This is one of the most critical turning points for the Union during the Civil War especially in the western theater. The 30,000 Union soldiers now had food, ammunition, and resources for the elements. Chattanooga became a logistical diamond (railroads) aiding in the next step, taking Atlanta.
So….Throw an extra stroke or shaka, eat a gel, check your HR, or take a moment at Mile 6! Cool story and people who helped make our country what it is.