Before the Battle of Chickamauga began, Union forces set up a field hospital at what was described as a "beautiful spring" on Col. A.C. Cloud's property near what is now Old LaFayette Road.
Cloud Springs field hospital cared for at least 1,000 soldiers during the first day of fighting on Sept. 19, 1863. Confederate artillery shelled it by mistake in the confusion of battle, and Union soldiers later accused Southern troops of robbing and otherwise abusing the wounded left behind when the North retreated.
Aside from Cloud Springs Road, there's little left to commemorate the site's history.
That's likely to change. Plans are afoot to erect a memorial where Cloud Spring's water still flows from a concrete pipe into a basin at the parking lot of Joy Carpets Inc., at LaFayette Road and White Street in Fort Oglethorpe.
"We want to highlight where the spring is and put some things up," Mayor Lynn Long said during a recent meeting with Joy Carpets owners Joy and Denis Dobosh, City Councilman Louis Hamm, city historian Gerry Depken and Jim Ogden, historian for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
Erecting a light yellow hospital flag (the red cross wasn't used during the Civil War), an interpretive kiosk and benches were some ideas discussed.
Denis Dobosh would like to move the Civil War cannon now at the city's fire station to the spring, but Hamm and Depken resisted the notion.
Dobosh said he'd consider paying for some of the improvements to highlight the spring's history. He got interested in the spring after a longtime employee told him about a former ice factory that used its water.
The Doboshes cleaned up the basin where spring water flows. Even in the hottest part of the summer, "it never went dry," Joy Dobosh said.
Fort Oglethorpe has begun a "refresh" process to improve the appearance of LaFayette Road, the city's entrance to the Chickamauga Battlefield.
The plan calls for a bike lane between the battlefield and Battlefield Parkway.
"If they do the bike trail, the bikers can stop [at the spring] and rest," Joy Dobosh said.
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...