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Editor’s Letter: Missionary Ridge

The following is the Editor’s Letter from Missionary Ridge, Volume 29, #6

Missionary Ridge

The topography in the Chattanooga area makes any campaign study fun and fascinating and tricky: a twisting river with numerous shallows; creeks narrow and deep; mountains and high ridges with gaps and rugged slopes; intermittent swamps and farmland and town features; treacherous roads and trails; railroads and tunnels and beanpole-and-cornstalk bridges—it’s an engineer officer’s nightmare. After five issues on the Chickamauga Campaign and one on the Tullahoma Campaign, one might think I’d be worn out with Chattanooga. But I just can’t stop mappin’ the place.

Combined with the human element, for example, the different personality characteristics between, say, William S. Rosecrans and Ulysses S. Grant, Braxton Bragg and James Longstreet, William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas, and Pat Cleburne and any division commander who isn’t Pat Cleburne, there are so many variables that Chattanooga is a wargamer’s paradise.

Sorting it all out for us in this issue featuring Missionary Ridge is the redoubtable Wiley Sword, he with the unforgettable and perfectly suited name for a military historian. He talks about meeting the famed combat historian Brig. Gen. S. L. A. Marshall back when Wiley was writing his classic Shiloh: Bloody April (1974). The general thought the name was too perfect—surely a nom de plume, doubling as a nom de guerre—and asked him what his real name was. No, that’s his name.

Marshall wrote in his Foreword to Wiley’s Shiloh book: “Though it is said that the pen is mightier than the sword, that is not the whole truth. All depends on who is wielding either. In this novel instance, however, in which Sword wields the pen, much comes forth that military professionals and scholars, and probably the critics, should delight to ponder.”

Contributing to this Missionary Ridge sesquicentennial project as principal tour guide was Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP Historian Jim Ogden. He made sure no stone was left unturned for the hardcore battlefield tramper. With this issue in hand, you should be able to enjoy an informative and comprehensive touring experience of Missionary Ridge and related actions, including Sherman vs. Cleburne at Tunnel Hill.


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