The best view of the Chickamauga Battlefield might be from the top deck of a red double decker bus.
Rufus Marye, owner of Chattanooga Double Decker, will be offering guided tours of the battlefield Sept.16-22 in his signature tour bus.
The hourlong tour will be fully narrated and promises to give the "absolute best views" of the entire battlefield park.
Marye, a self-proclaimed Civil War buff, originally offered to donate the bus for tours during the November celebrations of the Battle of Chattanooga.
Then, a light bulb went off in his head.
"I thought maybe I could do something with Chickamauga, too," he said.
Marye, like many, has familial ties to the Civil War. Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate soldier noted for his humanitarian aid of Union soldiers near Marye’s Heights in Fredericksburg, Va., served on land that belonged to Marye's ancestors. Kirkland was known from that point on as "The Angel of Marye Heights."
Kirkland then came back to fight and would eventually die during the Battle of Chickamauga.
What: Bus tour of Chickamauga Battlefield
When: Sept. 16-22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 3370 Lafayette Road
How much: $20 for adults, $10 for children
For more information: Click here
"It’s kind of cool," Marye said. "Those were my ancestors. It just really hits home."
Marye went back and forth with park officials over the suggested script and was finally able to obtain a license as a commercially selected vendor of the park.
Marye’s tour focuses primarily on the final day of the battle.
"It took weeks," Marye said. "The script went through at least three drafts before it was finished."
He will have the entire script memorized.
"I have to know it because I’m driving a bus," he said.
The tour begins with an introduction to the battle and will include one stop at Wilder Tower for guests to stretch their legs.
Tours start at the Chickamauga visitors center and are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Tours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16-22. A complete list of available tours is available here.
There are a number of events scheduled to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in the Chattanooga area.
The focus of September surrounds the Battle of Chickamauga—fought Sept. 19-20 in 1863—which was the second-bloodiest battle of the war behind Gettysburg. A full-scale re-enactment is scheduled for Sept. 21-22 and is expected to include more than 5,000 Union and Confederate re-enactors.
Updated @ 5:16 p.m. on 9/10/13 for clarity.
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