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Catoosa County
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Name Derivation

Catoosa County was named for Catoosa Springs, also known as Coffee Springs. The name Catoosa is said to come from a chief of the Cherokee Nation. The springs are an alkaline-saline mixture with calcic-magnesic, chalybeate and sulphuretted.


Catoosa County was the 99th Georgia County, created on December_5, 1853 from Walker County and Whitfield County. These counties were originally part of the Cherokee Nation and never ceded to the United States. The Cherokee Nation was removed from the land in 1838.

Early History

In 1807 a group of Cherokee Indians turned back the workers of Colonel Elias Earle in present-day Catoosa County. Earle's men were traveling to the confluence of Chickamauga Creek and the Tennessee River to build an early iron furnace.

One of the stories behind Three Notch Road is that Winfield Scott's troops marked the road with three notches for the removal. The city of Ringgold was known as Taylor's Crossroads until 1847, named for a mixed blood Cherokee who ran an inn along the Old Federal Road in Catoosa County. Taylor's Ridge, east of the city, still bears his name. President James Monroe spent the night of May_26, 1819 in the inn.

Major Samuel Ringgold may not be well known today, but in the middle 1800's his name was associated with the Battle of Palo Alto, but he first came to the attention of Georgians during the Nullification Crisis. General Scott, positioned off-shore at Charleston during the crisis, ordered Ringgold to take men and assist in fighting a fire in Charleston. The action defused a potentially volatile situation. On May_8, 1846, Ringgold established light artillery positions around the Mexican army near Palo Alto and was mortally wounded during an exchange.


Catoosa County's story from 1850 until the middle of the 20th century revolved around the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Completed to Chattanooga, Tennessee on May_9, 1850, the railroad gave Catoosa County access to lucrative markets throughout Georgia and the United States. A year after founding the county, Ringgold was made the county seat. The first county courthouse was built in 1856.

Ringgold Depot in the early 20th century
Work began on Old Stone Church, east of Ringgold, in 1847 and was completed by a Presbyterian congregation in 1849. During the Civil War the church served as a hospital for both the Confederate and Union forces. In 1849 the Western and Atlantic (known as the "State Line" locally) completed the Ringgold Depot, one of the few antebellum depots remaining in the state. Troops under James Longstreet arrived here to fight at Chickamauga

Civil War

The Western and Atlantic made Catoosa a major target of the Union Army in 1862 and 1863. The Great Locomotive Chase passed Ringgold Depot on April_12, 1862 before ending three miles north of the station. In September, 1863 William S. Rosecrans intended to strike the Western and Atlantic south of Ringgold, severing Braxton Bragg's Georgia supply line. Bragg withdrew from Chattanooga to protect the railroad, and struck the Union forces as they came out of gaps in Lookout Mountain. The battle of Chickamauga was fought in Walker and Catoosa County on September_19, 1863 and September_20, 1863 and ended in a victory for the Confederate forces.

Following the Confederate loss during the Battle of Chattanooga, Union commander Ulysses S. Grant ordered Joseph Hooker to advance on Bragg's retreating army. Bragg chose Patrick Cleburne for rear guard duty. Cleburne selected Ringgold Gap, between the Stone Cjurch and Ringgold Depot as the best defensive location. He soundly defeated Hooker's 20th Corps in spite of Hooker outnumbering the Rebels 4 to 1.

Grant and his friend William Tecumseh Sherman wintered in Catoosa County while they prepared for the Atlanta Campaign. One frequently told story revolved around Grant and Sherman being served lunch at a farmhouse. When Grant offered to pay for the food the woman asked for Confederate money. Grant told Sherman, "She doesn't sound defeated to me." At the start of the Atlanta Campaign cavalry skirmishes occurred in the Catoosa Springs area the county.

Battlefield Dedication

The U. S. Congress decided to commemorate the Battle of Chickamauga on August_19, 1890, and began to acquire land in Catoosa and Walker County. One of the first uses of the new park was to train soldiers at Camp George Thomas before shipping them off to Cuba to fight in the Spanish-American War. In 1903 Fort Oglethorpe was created to replace the smaller Camp Thomas.

Rail Accident

On September_12, 1906 seven trainmen were killed in Catoosa County when Engineer C. H. Clemons on the northbound Western and Atlantic No. 8 locomotive ran past a switch where he had been told to stop. His train plowed into the W&ARR No. 13 Locomotive, killing Clemons, No. 13's engineer, C. W. Fisher and Conductor T. Y. Whitehead, all of Atlanta. Four other men were also killed.

Hessian Flies

On October 23, 1917 fast spreading Hessian Flies (barley midge) were found in a single field in Catoosa County, touching off a statewide scare. The flies damage wheat crops and are easily prevented by burning fields after harvesting, but the agricultural agents were fighting a losing battle. By December, local wheat reached an 89% infestation level while crops south of Atlanta showed a 25% infestation.


In Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1914 proponents urged cobbling local routes together to form the Dixie Highway. The road proved a boon to the county and became more important as the United States upgraded the road to create U. S. 41 starting in 1924 and officially completed on November 4, 1929. Originally passing through downtown Ringgold the road was also known as Peachtree Trail, Battlefield Route or Peacock Alley.

In 1969 I-75, part of the Eisenhower Interstate System, was completed in Catoosa County

Unusual Weather

On March 14, 2002, heavy fog rolled into Ringgold, enveloping nearby I-75 in Catoosa County and dropping visibility to less than 200 feet. As the result of a single accident involving 2 tractor-trailers more than 125 vehicles were involved in one of the largest chain reaction automobile accidents in the United States. See Death on I-75

Seven tornadoes struck Cattoosa County, including an EF-5 tornado that struck downtown Ringgold on April 27, 2011 as part of a much larger system that spawned tornadoes throughout the Eastern United States from April 25 to April 28.


Catoosa County, Georgia

County: Catoosa County
Other Links
Atlanta Campaign
Before Chickamauga
Catoosa County
Chattahoochee National Forest
Death on I-75
Old Federal Road
Route of the Western and Atlantic Railroad
Western and Atlantic Railroad

Catoosa County

North Georgia Counties

Article Links
Atlanta Campaign
Battle of Chattanooga
Braxton Bragg
Catoosa County, Georgia
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Cherokee Nation
Death on I-75
Great Locomotive Chase
James Longstreet
Joseph Hooker
Lookout Mountain
Nullification Crisis
Old Federal Road
Samuel Ringgold
Ulysses S. Grant
Walker County
Western and Atlantic Railroad
Whitfield County
William S. Rosecrans
William Tecumseh Sherman
Winfield Scott
iron furnace

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