John B. Gordon Hall
County:Walker
City:Lafayette
Type:Roadside
Now owned by the City of LaFayette, Gordon Hall is named for General John B. Gordon, a Confederate General and former governor of the state of Georgia. Construction began shortly after the Georgia Land Lottery and was completed in 1836. Gordon attended the school as a child and lived in the area.

In 1863, Braxton Bragg used the building as his headquarters from September 10-17. During that time he twice ordered his subordinates to attack the approaching Federals. Having given Chattanooga to Thomas Crittenden without a fight, Bragg was looking for an opportunity to destroy the Army of the Cumberland which at that very moment was struggling through Stevens and Winston Gap, southwest of Chattanooga. George Thomas advanced over Stevens Gap from Bridgeport, Alabama, while Alexander McCook moved through Winston from a ferry point further south on the Tennessee River. On September 9th, with the Union Army divided, Bragg ordered an attack on Thomas. Pat Cleburne would block Dug Gap and freeze the Federals in place while Thomas Hindman moved south through McLemore Cove, destroying the blues. Brilliant in its simplicity, the plan failed. George Thomas had sensed a problem, even without his cavalry, and withdrawn his men. Hindman showed up at Dug Gap and had not seen a single bluecoat. On September 13th Bragg ordered Leonidas Polk to attack Crittenden, who had taken Chattanooga unopposed and begun to turn south. Again the Confederate forces advanced and found no Union Army. Crittenden had pulled back just prior to the attack, which was delayed by a recalcitrant Polk.

Twice thwarted, Bragg blamed his commanders. Now he planned the attack at Chickamauga under an oak tree in the front yard of Gordon Hall, unaware that 120,000 men in the area were about to engage in the bloodiest two days in American History, the Battle of Chickamauga.

The oak tree became so popular after the war, especially in the 1890's when the Chickamauga-Chattanooga parks were built and dedicated, that it was nicknamed "Bragg Oak." It was a stop on some of the local tours. The Bragg Oak was struck by lightning and died in the 1950's.

Location: U. S. Hwy 27, north of downtown Lafayette
Directions: Take I-75 to exit 320, GA State Road 136, Resaca. Go west on S. R. 136 to Lafayette. At Business 27 (not the 27 bypass, which comes first), turn right. Gordon Academy is off the road to the right.
Additional information:

Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 5, 2003



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