Louie [Wanda Muir]
Chattanooga, Tenn.,Oct. 6, 1898.Dear Louie,We have had a very interesting day in the grand hickory and oak woods on the hills and river bottoms within ten miles of Chattanooga, and along the battlefields of Missionary Ridge and Chickamauga where some of the most terrible battles of the war were fought. The Government has made 30 or 40 miles or more of firm roads along which we drove in a carriage with a guide. The Chickamauga National Park is 12 miles square and the positions of the armies are marked by hundreds of monuments, most of them by the different states in memory of their generals and regiments. All Missionary Ridge is marked in the same way, showing the points of attack of the divisions and corps.So also is Lookout Mountain, while the National Cemetery with its thousands of graves is a beautiful place -- low-rolling hills all covered with neatly kept lawns fresh and green. The natural trees, oaks of many kinds, beech, chestnut, elm, ash, hickory, etc make a beautiful effect, only slightly marred by a few foreign ornamental shrubs. The great Chickamauga battlefield is also a place of low-rolling, forested hills and smooth shallow valleys. Thousands of the buried dead are only marked by a number on a neat low marble post.Some 60,000 volunteers were encamped here this summer. The last of them we saw marching to the cars this afternoon -- all except one regiment left to guard the National Park, while we cannot get a tenth of a regiment to guard all the forests of the nation.It has been very hot for the last three or four days here and in Alabama, but I stand it as well as Canby or Sargent. Tomorrow we go back to Alabama at Huntsvilie to botanize a day or two. Then we start for Lexington, Kentucky, and thence to New York, where I hope to get a lot of letters. We will reach N, Y. about the 11th. I sent a postal to Johnson letting him know this. Page expects me to stop a good while at Boston -- says that many there want to see me -- and Sargent is going to take me to Hunnewell's, etc. I think I may make a short run into the White Mountains or up to Lake Champlain to see the woods in their autumn colors. I would like to go home by New Orleans and the Southern Pacific if the Yellow fever is frozen out in time, This is doubtful. Even traveling hereabouts we are compelled to carry health certificates and have them stamped at every place we stop at.The trip thus far has been not only pleasant though hard, but very instructive. I've learned to know I don't know how many trees and shrubs and flowers. It is now about 9 o'clock. Canby and Sargent are upstairs working with their plants. Rain is pouring and there is a dazzling lot of lightning. I must try to get a good sleep tonight, as it has been unmercifully broken lately.Goodnight, Louie and Wanda and Helen darlings, goodnight. Love to Maggie.[Envelope addressed to Mrs. John Muir, Martinez, California.Postmarked Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct, 6, 1898, 9:30 P.M.]4602479
Original letter dimensions: 24 x 15 cm.
Reel 10, Image 0351