Battle of Chattanooga
Leadership Program

“It indeed looked as if two options were available: One to starve, the other to surrender or be captured.”

Major General Ulysses S. Grant upon arriving in Chattanooga, October 1863

In the fall of 1863, an entire Union army was trapped in the strategically important southern town of Chattanooga, Tenn. If the Confederates could force a Union surrender, their dream of an independent country might soon be realized. Recognizing this, the Lincoln administration immediately dispatched the hard-charging Ulysses S. Grant to break the rebel siege. A combination of Confederate leadership dysfunction, Grant’s bold actions and unexpected events ultimately led to a Federal victory. The stunning events at Chattanooga, which served as a springboard to Grant’s future presidency, were a major catalyst to ending the Civil War just 17 months later.

The Delivery

The program is delivered onsite in Chattanooga over the course of one day.  We travel by executive transportation to major historical areas, including Lookout Mountain, Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge. By standing in the actual footsteps of history, the format is highly memorable and enriching.  The day concludes with an after action review to ensure each group and participant departs with immediate actions for implementation back in the work environment.  With a focus on maximum participant engagement, the session can be used in conjunction with:

  • Annual Strategic Planning
  • Team Building
  • New Employee Onboarding
  • Ongoing Professional Development & Training
  • Creative or Strategic Ideation Sessions
  • Sales Meetings
  • Customer Events

The Need

No matter the industry, organizations of all sizes need to have strategic alignment, effective communication and the ability to resolve conflict. Moreover, every organization needs to engage its employees at every level to achieve their ultimate objectives.

Who Should Attend

With its focus on leadership, team building and communication, the program is most applicable for executives, managers and rising leaders.  However, the program can be customized to meet any group, team or set of individuals regardless of their title, role or experience.

The Benefits

Participants will learn new communication and leadership concepts that can further benefit their existing skill sets. The program is a compelling platform that can help organizations focus on critical leadership and team-building elements such as:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Resource Allocation
  • Resiliency
  • Adaptability
  • Clarity of Mission
  • Effective Communication
  • Employee Engagement


Matt Spaulding is a 25-year veteran of the communications industry and president of Spaulding Communications, a strategic PR and communication training firm he founded in 2002.  He is a former instructor of business communication at Georgia State University and an approved speaker for Vistage, a global executive coaching and leadership training services firm. A 12th generation American whose relatives served in every major American conflict, Spaulding has led public and private group tours on urban battlefields in Atlanta, Chattanooga and Princeton, N.J.

The Materials

Each participant will receive a Battle of Chattanooga Program Booklet several weeks in advance of a session. Each booklet contains the elements needed for a successful engagement, including: Case studies on key leaders and situations; a Strategic Overview that sets the historical context; maps; and bios of every historical figure discussed.  The full day’s agenda with each stop and business discussion points can be provided upon request.

Special Effectiveness

The Washington Leadership Program has proven to be highly effective for:

Leadership Teams
– Supports strategic planning

Rising Leaders
– Supports next-level readiness

Sales Force Teams
– Supports communication


Lookout Mountain

A majestic site, it is here where the Confederate leadership dysfunction reached its zenith.  We explore the Confederate army’s lack of strategic alignment from President Jefferson Davis down to generals Braxton Bragg and James Longstreet.

We review the strained dynamic between Bragg and his number-two commander, Longstreet, and what, if anything, could have been done to repair their relationship.   

Orchard Knob

Serving as Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s headquarters, it is from this spot that Grant ordered a hasty and poorly communicated order — a suicide mission for his men to attack the heavily fortified Missionary Ridge directly in front of them.

We dig deep to understand what motivates decisions, how to weigh options and what happens when decisions are made quickly and under stress. 

Missionary Ridge

A Confederate strategic advantage, Missionary Ridge offered a commanding view of the Union army trapped in downtown Chattanooga. Fortified with cannon at the top and rifle pits at the base, it was an imposing prospect should the Union attempt an attack on it. Yet Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s preoccupation with other personal priorities created a distraction where attention to details were overlooked. 

We discuss how teams and organizations can easily lose focus and their strategic advantage.  We delve into the role of team morale and the “sunk cost fallacy.”

Praise for Matt Spaulding’s Communication and Leadership Training

“I would highly recommend Matt and Spaulding Communications to any organization looking to provide communication training for its people. Matt is an engaging presenter who is a true expert at the subject matter.”

Marc Koretzky
Chief Operating Officer
Complete Benefit Alliance

“Matt’s one-hour Chaos to Clarity presentation provided some great tips and was an excellent primer to get me and my team thinking about how we can be better communicators with each other and with our partners. We look forward to continuing our leadership journey with Matt’s good guidance.”

Alice Rolls
Executive Director
Georgia Organics

“A great presentation! Thank you!”

Abbie King
Farm to School Coordinator
Georgia Organics

“Great value in the information that was shared. I’ll be adding many of these tips to my communication skills.”

Popeye’s Women’s Leadership Forum

“Multiply him and distribute him throughout the university. This would be the only way to improve over what he presently offers our school.”

Matt Spaulding’s GSU Business Communication Course

“Mr. Spaulding is a perfect match for this course. Were time and money of no issue, I would take this course (and with him as the instructor) again just for the added learning benefit.”

Matt Spaulding’s GSU Business Communication Course

“I thoroughly enjoyed the information shared. Personally, it gave me encouragement and insight on the intention of being a leader and how best to communicate with the owner and my staff.”

Elisa Iannilli
General Manager
Decatur CoWorks

“Thank you.  That was truly an awesome event. Let’s talk about our next training session with you ASAP!”

Jeff Wolber
Vice President, Head of Sales

“Thanks again for a great day. It was great to not only learn more about our own history, but to also learn how that actually works and plays a role into how we function and work everyday in the business world.”

Steven Zaharek
Eastern Regional Manager

“This was an excellent primer for our annual strategic planning meeting. Thank you!”

Executive with a leading international consumer products company

Hotel Reservations

The beautiful Chattanoogan Hotel serves as our HQ and meeting space for the program.  For more, visit

Further Support

After a one-day program is complete, we offer additional training or individual coaching to ensure the lessons learned are turned into long-term results for your team and participants.

Download a Case Study

Get an inside look at how the historical events are utilized to bring leadership and effective communication into the workplace. Download a Washington Program case study now


If you’re ready to schedule a training program for your team or organization, contact us at: or 404-270-1010.

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