Living History area behind the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center on Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22 at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Named Camp Thomas as a tribute to General George H. Thomas and his gallant stand during the 1863 battle, Chickamauga Battlefield served as a training camp for up to 70,000 troops during the short three months it was in operation. Volunteers flocked to the recruiters’ calls and vowed to “Remember the Maine” and fight for a nation that was quickly becoming an influence on the world stage. However, very few of the troops who trained at Camp Thomas saw actual combat, but many died during the conflict from epidemics of disease that swept through the camp. Their final resting places can be found in the Chattanooga National Cemetery alongside other Civil War soldiers.
These “Boys of 98” are scarcely remembered today, but it was the battles of that long ago war that began the rise of American power. Camp Thomas provided the space needed to train those boys to become soldiers in a nation that had not long been reunited from costly Civil War battles fought beneath their very feet.