Today I was invited to hunt near an old creek in Central KY. The spot looked promising but ended up offering only wheat pennies and this neat Spanish-American War Era find. This is a 1898 Camp Geo. H. Thomas Chickamauga Park Georgia Souvenir Medal. How it got to Kentucky is anyone’s guess. But people were at the camp from all parts of the region, so I’m assuming a Kentucky soldier brought it back with him.
This medal came in three varieties, and is made out of Bronze. It has “Schwaabs” stamped on the back, barely visible under magnification. It was located in a frequently flooded area and would have eventually been destroyed by water.
A bit about the camp….
“…..Chickamauga Park, near Chattanooga, Tenn., was the point of concentration for the regular troops which were gathered for the war with Spain. It was the initial camp where the mobilization took place, and from which soldiers and supplies were dispatched to seacoast towns within easy striking distance of Cuba. When orders went out from army headquarters at Washington for the movement of the regulars to Chickamauga a thrill of soldierly pride swelled the breast of every man who wore Uncle Sam’s blue uniform, and there was a hasty dash for the new camp. There is nothing an army man, officer or private, dislikes so much as inactivity. Fighting, especially against a foreign foe, suits him better than dawdling away his time in idleness, and word to “get to the front” is always welcome.
For nearly three weeks troops poured into Chickamauga on every train. They came from all parts of the country, and from every regiment and branch of the service. There were “dough-boys” and cavalrymen, engineers and artillerymen; some regiments were there in force, others were represented by detachments only. There were companies and parts of companies, squadrons and parts of squadrons, batteries and parts of batteries. It was a bringing together of Uncle Sam’s soldier boys from all conceivable sections of the country.
The camp was well named. “Camp George H. Thomas” they called it, in memory of old “Pap,” the hero of Chickamauga, and men and officers alike took a very visible pride in being residents of the tented city. The establishment of the community at Camp Thomas was much like the establishment of a colony in an unsettled land, in so far as domestic conveniences were concerned. Everything had to be taken there, and each regiment, which was a small canvas town in itself, had to depend entirely upon its own resources….”
And I’ll leave you with a bit of Chickamauga trivia… More American soldiers died in training on the Chickamauga Battlefield during the Spanish American War than died during that four month long war.
I found a couple other varieties of this medal on the web and here are those photos in case they get deleted. These are not my finds and were found online.