Civil War comes to life at School House program
By Julia Green
Saturday, Sept. 20 marked the 145th anniversary of the conclusion of the Battle of Chickamauga, a Civil War battle that signaled the end of a Union offensive in Tennessee and Georgia. Because the Union advance was stopped, the battle was considered a Confederate victory, though it was one of the deadliest of the war, claiming over 34,000 lives.
Traveling historian Charles Slater of Margaretville was joined by Jim Hitchcock as Abraham Lincoln and Ron Galley as Confederate soldier James Thadeus Holtzclaw at a Civil War program at the Stone School House in Dunraven on Saturday, the focus of which was the Battle of Chickamauga.
Following the annual meeting and luncheon, the presentation began. After showing a video re-enactment of the battle, Slater recounted how his great-grandfather and great-uncle were captured exactly 145 years ago to the day. Both were transferred to Libby Prison, a Confederate Prison in Richmond, VA, which was infamous for the harsh conditions under which soldiers from the Union Army were held. His great-grandfather survived, though his great-uncle succumbed to dysentery. Following the Battle of Chickamauga, approximately 200 wounded prisoners were transferred to the prison in Richmond.
James Thadeus Holtzclaw also fought in the Battle of Chickamauga, after being commissioned into the Confederate Army by President Jefferson Davis as a major while wearing the same uniform donned by Galley at Saturday’s event. He became a brigadier general in 1865 and served under famous generals John Hood and Joseph Johnston. Holtzclaw survived the war and died in 1895.
Walton resident James Richardson is a direct descendant of Holtzclaw, and in fact had ancestors in both the Union and Confederate armies.
The Stone School House was built in 1820 and remodeled in 1860.