Tour the Chickamauga Battlefield in One Day

A Civil War itinerary with all the key sites

If you have one day for your trip, spend it exploring the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and the nearby historic sites to learn more about the crucial role the battles played in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns of late 1863. If you make it to all of the sites on this one day tour of the Chickamauga Battlefield, you can visit the National Military Park, the Gordon-Lee Mansion, and the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center and Clisby Austin House.

Before you go:


Stop #1: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park 

Time: 4 – 7 hours


Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans forced Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army out of Chattanooga, but Bragg was determined to reoccupy the city. In late September, the two armies met near Chickamauga Creek. Confederate reinforcements exploited a gap in the Union line, forcing the Federals to withdraw to Chattanooga, where they remained until late November. 

What to do:

Start at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center:

  • Find out what Ranger Programs are scheduled for that day.
  • Tour the Visitor Center exhibit.

Tour the Battlefield. You have several options: 

  • Take the 7-hour self-guided auto tour.
  • Hike one of the 5 designated battlefield trails.

Don't miss:

  • Reed’s Bridge – Bragg’s Confederate forces crossed here on the morning of September 18, skirmishing with Union calvary.
  • Brotherton Farm – 11,000 Confederates from Longstreet’s corps poured through this gap in the Union line, driving the Federals back toward Chattanooga.
  • Snodgrass Hill – Union commander George Thomas consolidated the scattered Union forces and made a determined stand on this hill. His troops were able to hold off repeated Confederate assaults until nightfall, and then withdrew to Chattanooga.


Stop #2: Gordon-Lee Mansion

Time: 30 minutes


Prior to the Battle of Chickamauga, the Gordon-Lee Mansion served as headquarters to the Union Army of the Cumberland's Gen. William Rosecrans. Seven division hospitals were set up on site during the battle until the mansion was captured by the Confederate Army of Tennessee's Gen. Joseph Wheeler on the second day of the battle and used as a hospital for the Confederate army.

What to do:

  • Tour the house and grounds.


Stop #3: Tunnel Hill Heritage Center and Clisby Austin House

Time: 1 hour


Throughout the war, the tunnel was a major link in the supply line of the Confederate armies until 1863. In April 1862, the tunnel played a role in the Great Locomotive chase, when Union soldiers attempted to cut the important rail line. In 1864, Sherman occupied Tunnel Hill and set up his headquarters in the nearby Clisby Austin House, where he planned the Atlanta Campaign.

What to do:

  • Tour the tunnel and visit the museum.
  • The Austin House is a private residence, but you may view it from outside the fence.

Related Battles

Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga, TN | November 23, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Estimated Casualties
Catoosa County and Walker County, GA | September 18, 1863
Result: Confederate Victory
Estimated Casualties

The Battlefields Today