Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lookout Mountain

Location: Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Tennessee

Features: Scenic mountain park, trails, monuments

History:  Today's post date marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Lookout Mountain.  Chattanooga was a vital strategic location for the South and the region had seen much campaigning in recent months.  Gen. U.S. Grant was placed in overall command of Union forces in the West to finally conclude this operation.  Grant devised a plan to take Chattanooga by first attacking Lookout Mountain.  On November 24, 1863 troops under "Fighting Joe" Hooker successfully attacked and secured the Mountain.  The next day more battle followed on Missionary Ridge which secured Chattanooga for the Union.

Traveler's Notes:  Another often visited Civil War location, the Chickamauga-Chattanooga Park offers beautiful natural settings steeped in history.

View of Chattanooga from Lookout Mountain

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tecumseh Monument

Location: Thamesville, Ontario, Canada

Features: Stone monuments on highway wayside

History:  During the War of 1812, Tecumseh lead an alliance of Native American tribes who joined with the British in the goal of preventing future American encroachments on their territory.  These hopes were dashed when the British were defeated at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813 and Tecumseh was killed.  The site of his death is marked by this monument.

Traveler's Notes:  Photographed August 2012

Resources:  TecumsehBattle_of_the_Thames

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address Memorial

Location: Gettysburg Soldiers' National Cemetery

Features: Monument on cemetery grounds

History:  Today's post marks the date 150 years ago on November 19, 1863 when Lincoln gave his famous speech at the new Soldiers' National Cemetery.  The Battle of Gettysburg was a mere five months past when Lincoln dedicated this ground to those who died and were buried on the gentle slope of the very hill where the Union cause was saved.  This monument was placed in 1912.

Traveler's Notes:  Gettysburg remains the inspiration for all my historical travels.  After 25 years of nearly annual pilgrimages to the battlefield, it never fails to provoke an emotional sense of awe, reverence and connection.  For me, no other place so singularly and physically demonstrates our relationship to those who have come before and the importance of understanding how their actions shaped our lives.  Lincoln's words accurately describe this pervasive sense of reciprocity that lingers at Gettysburg to this day.

Resources:  Gettysburg_AddressGettysburg_National_Cemetery

Monday, November 18, 2013

U-505 German U-Boat

Location: Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Features: Tour of U-505 interior and exterior, exhibits and displays on U-boat history and operations, museum also contains vintage aircraft and NASA spacecraft.

History:  The U-505 was captured by the US Navy on June 4, 1944 along with her crew, codebooks and Enigma machine.  After the war, the Navy donated the submarine to the Museum of Science and Industry here in Chicago.

Traveler's Notes:  This was always my favorite part of the MSI, having visited it several times from childhood on.  This is my first visit to the sub since the 2005 restoration.  The submarine was brought inside the museum to protect it from the elements that were damaging the hull.  The new exhibition hall is exceptional, with many hands-on activities demonstrating the workings a U-boat.  Sadly, I did not get to view the interior on this November 2013 visit as the tours were sold out for the day, a testimony to its enduring popularity with visitors.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Immaculate Conception Church World War One Memorial

Location: Salem, Massachusetts

Features: Monument

History: Immaculate Conception Church was the first Catholic Church in Salem, est. 1826.  The monument was built in 1920.

Traveler's Notes:  Photographed October 2013


Memorial Circle World War I Monument

Location: Augusta, Maine

Features: Monument

History: Unknown

Traveler's Notes: Photographed October 2013

Resources: None

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kiwanis Veterans Memorial Garden

Location: Laishley Park, Punta Gorda, Florida

Features: Marker plaques and memorial bricks dedicated to local veterans arrayed about a beautiful garden, fountain and gazebo

History: History of memorial unknown.  Punta Gorda was leveled by Hurricane Charley in 2004; the garden and memorials would have been dedicated since that time.  There is also a monument dedicated to the Hurricane and the moment it's winds stopped the downtown clock.

Traveler's Notes:  Laishley Park sits just outside our friend's home along Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda.  I came across the Memorial while taking a stroll along the waterfront in August 2010.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bunker Hill Monument

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Features:  Monument on battleground remnant park, climbing tour access to top of obelisk during operating hours, statues and placards, Bunker Hill Museum

History:  In the early days of the American Revolution, Colonial militia put the British controlled city of Boston under siege.   On June 13, 1775, British forces attacked the Colonials at Bunker and Breed's Hills on the Charlestown peninsula.  The Colonial troops repelled several assaults on their positions, causing considerable losses to the British.  The British eventually stormed and won the hills, but would never underestimate the resolve of the colonial militia again.
The Bunker Hill Monument actually sits on Breed's Hill, where the main colonial defensive position was located.  The construction of the monument has a long and controversial history.  The monument was expensive and construction was halted several times due to lack of funding.  The oversight Association had to sell off most of the land on Breed's Hill to cover the expense of finishing the project in 1842.  Only the hill's summit survives now as the park upon which the monument stands.

Traveler's Notes:  The discerning battlefield topographer will lament the urban growth that has wholly swallowed up the original hills.  Still, you can at least get some small feel of the orientation of the environs and the flow of the action.  Driving the narrow streets of Boston certainly works as a metaphorical recreation of the channeled avenue of advance that served the British so poorly that fateful day.  The Bunker Hill Museum across the street from the monument offers free admission as part of the National Parks.  It contains many excellent artifacts, dioramas and interactive maps to explain the battle and its participants.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

USS Hartford Nine Inch Gun

Location: Gaylord, Michigan

Features:  Nine Inch Gun from USS Hartford, flagship of Admiral Farragut's fleet during the American Civil War with commemorative plaque.

History:  Admiral Farragut and his squadron were instrumental in blockading the Confederate Gulf Coast ports.  He is most recognized for his role at the Battle of Mobile Bay with his "Damn the torpedoes!" response.  History of monument unknown.

Traveler's Notes:  Monument discovered while stopping for lunch in Gaylord, July 2012.  We were on our way to the 200th anniversary of the surrender of Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island during the War of 1812.

Resources:   David_FarragutUSS_Hartford_(1858)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Old Fort Western

Location:  Augusta, Maine

Features: colonial era fort, local historical makers

History:  Old Fort Western was built in 1754 on the Kennebec River as a colonial outpost.  It served as the starting point for Benedict Arnold as he organized the ill fated invasion of Quebec in 1775 during the American Revolution.

Traveler's Notes:  The Fort is situated in a scenic park overlooking the Kennebec River in downtown Augusta.  In addition to information about the Fort, many placards are located nearby as part of Augusta's "Museum In The Streets" series relating information about the city's local and natural history.

Resources:  www.oldfortwestern.orgFort_Westernexpedition_to_Quebec

Monday, November 4, 2013

American Civil War Monument, Boothbay, Maine

Location: Boothbay, Maine

Features: single monument

History: Unknown

Traveler's Notes:  Encountered by chance while driving to Maine's Atlantic coast, October 2013.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Powder House

Location: Hallowell, Maine

Features: 1820's era Powder House, cannon from HMS Boxer

History: This cannon was captured by the USS Enterprise from the HMS Boxer during the War of 1812.  This naval engagement took place off the coast of nearby Portland, Maine.  According to the placard it was converted to a field piece and now serves as a memorial to the Hallowell Light Infantry.

Traveler's Notes: This cannon was discovered by chance while wandering the beautiful historic streets of downtown Hallowell, Maine with my family in October 2013.  Hallowell is a small community adjacent to the state capitol of Augusta.  The city of Hallowell offers a series of placards, "The Museum In The Streets", relating local historical information.

Resources: Capture_of_HMS_BoxerHallowell,_Maine

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cantigny Park

Location: Wheaton, Illinois

Features: First Division Museum, Tank Park, 500 acre park with golf course, garden, McCormick Museum

History:  The park was created by Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and founder of the Tribune Media empire.  McCormick served as a Colonel in the US Army First Division during World War I and participated in the Battle of Cantigny in France.  His estate was converted to Catigny Park as a place to educate, preserve and honor his experiences.

Traveler's Notes:  I thought I would start off this blog with a major local Chicago attraction, Cantigny Park.  The First Division Museum offers first rate exhibits about the history of the unit.  There are two major set piece displays in the museum that must be experienced.  The first is a mock up of a World War I trench under attack that you can walk among the ruins.  The other is a D-Day "simulation" as you step off an invading landing craft onto the Normandy beach.  The Tank Park outside features a nice selection of armored vehicles from World War I, World War II, and modern conflicts.


Welcome to Military History Traveler

Hello, welcome to Military History Traveler.  This blog is a result of publishing too many posts about military history destinations on my historical boardgaming blog at  It is finally time to create a separate venue for these locations that I have sought out or stumbled across in my various, if limited, travels.  My intention is to provide a brief showcase of the multitude of monuments, memorials, museums, parks and battlefields that quietly pervade our landscape, standing in solitary testament to people and events that have shaped our world.  This blog is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of every site by region or conflict, but rather, I hope to maintain the sense of discovery at finding a small piece of history in the least expected place.