Camp Forrest, Georgia established

December 4th, 1917

~ This is the probable approximate date for the establishment of Camp Forrest at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia (located south of Chattanooga, Tenessee).

Camp Forrest should not be confused with Camp Forrest of WW II fame (and origin), which was located further away from Chattanooga (in Tullahoma, Tennessee) toward the northwest.  The original Camp Forest was in Georgia.  The second Camp Forrest was in Tennessee.  Both camps were named to honor Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, hero of the Battle of Chickamauga, upon which battleground Fort Oglethorpe was built.

“On the morning of the September 19, 1863, General Nathan B. Forrest drew first blood when he engaged a Union regiment at Jay’s Mill. The fight at the mill was ferocious. It was close-quartered and hand-to-hand, but, around 1 p.m., Forrest fell back to regroup. The battle had attracted divisions in both Union and Southern armies. They marched towards the site and shortly after 1:30 the Battle of Chickamauga was engaged.  The Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, 1863 was the bloodiest two-day battle of the Civil War.”

“On August 19, 1890, Congress authorized the establishment of four National Military Parks.  On September 18-20, 1895, the first National Military Park in America, the Chickamauga National Military Park, was dedicated outside Chattanooga to preserve the land and honor those who had fought and died there.  Since the purpose would be to maintain the park in its historic condition, they noted there had scarcely been any change in the roads, fields, and forests.”

“Close to 1,400 monuments were built to mark the battlefield contributions of the Union and Confederate veterans from the states represented in the battle.”

“Anticipating military needs to house thousands for training, Congress legislated in May 1896 that the army could use all military parks with their vast acreage as training grounds.  Fort Oglethorpe was soon established.”

“During world War I, Fort Oglethorpe became the site of three camps (Greenleaf, McClean and Forrest) which extended onto battlefield land to the south of the post. Wooden barracks were erected among the monuments honoring Union and Confederate units from the Civil War and trench and war games were conducted there.  Infantry and engineers were trained at Camp Nathan B. Forrest.  When the (first ?) World War ended, most of the 1,600 temporary buildings constructed on the Battlefield were removed.”