Written by Kalie Shaw
To find the 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, it’s best to make use of a GPS. The museum is tucked away from the main road, sitting inside a plain-looking building on the edge of Chickamauga Battlefield and — as the diorama inside will tell you — directly across from a repurposed officer’s house. The most distinct thing about this building is the large sign on the front displaying the name of the museum.
Inside, a narrow hallway with a wall-mounted mural and a long timeline explains the history of the Fighting 6th cavalry unit that was previously stationed in Fort Oglethorpe. There are two main rooms that hold plenty of a handful of exhibits. Much of the collection is made up of personal items from the veterans of the Fighting 6th. However, there are plenty of fun surprises like life-sized war horses and a decommissioned tank.
The museum’s newest exhibit is The Triple Victory of the 6888th. Curated by Program Coordinator, Molly Sampson, the exhibit details the first black unit of the Women’s Army Corps to be sent overseas.
Undergoing training in the south during the peak of Jim Crow meant that these soldiers faced discriminatation at every turn. The women of the 6888th were persecuted for their race and their gender.
Sampson explained that commanding officer Charity Adams told her unit they had to be “above reproach,” that “everyone is expecting them to fail,” and that their performance must be “of the highest level because everybody is watching them and… doesn’t expect much of them.”
The 6888th proved everyone who doubted them wrong.
Their original mandate gave them six months to clear two years worth of backlog in a military post office. By reinventing the sorting system and making logistical changes, the women of the 6888th did the work in three months. They then went on to repeat their success two more times before the end of the war.
Sorting mail may seem like an unimportant job, but the women of the 6888th knew how crucial it was to be successful at it. Good morale among soldiers is important for a successful military campaign, and mail from home is one of the best ways to do it.
The 6888th’s success paved the way for other women and marginalized groups to serve their country and communities in a greater capacity than may have been possible otherwise.
Meet The Storyteller
Kalie Shaw is an audio editor based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She works primarily editing podcasts, but also has recently begun work as a sound producer on a short film. In her free time, Shaw likes to cuddle with her cat Clementine, enjoy a nice cup of coffee and discover her new favorite podcast. View her portfolio and reach out to her on her webpage, https://kalieshaw.myportfolio.com/.