Following the Battle of Stones River, the armies of Braxton Bragg and William Rosecrans sat 30 miles apart in central Tennessee for six months, idle except for cavalry raids on each other's supply lines. Bragg, who had been defeated at Perryville and Stones River, was now the most maligned general in the Confederacy. The soldiers of his Army of Tennessee resented his severe discipline, his officers questioned his competence, and the public despised him for his retreats. It was said that Bragg retreated whether he won or lost; a Confederate joke had it that he would never get to heaven because the moment he was invited to enter he would fall back.
As winter changed to spring, Rosecrans, too, drew criticism--for his failure to take his Army of the Cumberland on the offensive. Despite goading from the Union high command, it was not until June that Rosecrans bestirred himself. When he did, to the surprise of many, Rosecrans acted with boldness and confidence. Maneuvering skillfully, he threatened to outflank Bragg and forced the Confederates to retreat again, this time to Chattanooga.
Geography and the Southern rail system dictated that Chattanooga, an otherwise unremarkable settlement of 3,500 people, play a key role in the War. But when the Federal troops closed around this transportation hub on September 6, 1863, the Confederates evacuated it without a fight. Again Bragg was outmaneuvered and had to move his army south or risk being cut off.
Convinced that the Confederates were fleeing, Rosecrans swiftly pursued them into Georgia. But rather than retreat, Bragg stood and fought at Chickamauga Creek , inflicting a stunning blow and sending the Federals reeling. Bragg declined to pursue the Union army. His men were exhausted and both sides had suffered heavy casualties--the Rebels lost 18,454 and the Yankees 16,179 in the bloodiest two days of the War. When Rosecrans' forces withdrew into Chattanooga, Brag bottled them up and severed their supply lines, imposing a state of siege.
Now it was Rosecran's turn to be discredited. Remarking that the general was "stunned and confused, like a duck hit on the head," Lincoln relieved him of command and placed the perilous situation in the hands of the North's most trusted leader, Ulysses S. Grant. Losing no time, Grant launched assaults that cleared the Confederates for m their positions on the heights of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The South would never recover from the loss of Chattanooga, which brought Bragg's dismissal and opened the gateway to the Confederate heartland.
Source: "Echoes of Glory, Civil War Battle Atlas" published by Time Life Books.
|Battle Timeline||Presents the timeline of the campaign from Sept 26, '63|
|Battle Map||Shows where the lines were.|
|Battles of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge||A very good description of these battles with a definite Union slant. Taken from "The Army Of The Cumberland" By Henry M. Cist, Brevet Brigadier-General U. S. V.|
|Campaign Summary||Great campaign description written by a fine modern day historian.|
|The "Cracker Line" Operations||One of the finest "supply efforts" in any war.|
|The Battle of Lookout Mountain||Description of this part of the campaign.|
|The Battle of Missionary Ridge||Description of one of the most famous battles in the war.|
|Missionary Ridge--Triune Disaster||From "Reminiscences Of The Civil War" By John B. Gordon, Maj. Gen., CSA|
|Summary of the Principal Events||From the Official Records, a list of the actions from Nov. 23 thru Nov. 27, 1863.|
|Order of Battle (Confederate)||The organization of the Confederate forces commanded by Braxton Bragg.|
|Order of Battle (Union)||The organization of the Union forces commanded by U.S. Grant.|
Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (Overall Chattanooga Campaign)
Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas (Overall Chattanooga Campaign)
Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman (Overall Chattanooga Campaign)
Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen (Action at Brown's Ferry)
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker (Action at Wauhatchie)
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker (Overall Chattanooga Campaign)
Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs (Action at Missionary Ridge)
Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan (Action at Missionary Ridge)
Brig. Gen. William F. Smith (Action at Brown's Ferry)
Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas (Action at Brown's Ferry)
Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne (Action at Missionary Ridge)
General Braxton Bragg (Action at Missionary Ridge)
Brig. Gen. E. McIver Law (Action at Brown's Ferry)
Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson (Overall Chattanooga Campaign)
This page last updated 12/07/02