"The Battle of Chattanooga"
Sept 21, 1863
Unable to hold lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Rosecrans withdraws his forces to
Chattanooga. Braggs Confederates occupy Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.
Sept 25 - Oct. 24, 1863
To aid Rosecrans, Federal XI and XII Corps of Army of the Potomac are transferred 1,233
miles by rail from Culpeper to Chattanooga.
Oct. 23, 1863
Grant is given overall command in the west, and arrives in Chattanooga.
Oct. 26 - 27, 1863
Gen. Smith and 3,500 men sail down the Tennessee River and march across Moccasin
Point to Brown's Ferry, chase-off Confederate Pickets and erect a pontoon bridge.
Oct. 28 - 29, 1863
At Wauhatchie, Longstreet's troops attack Federal XI Corps, but fail to drive them frome the
newly-opened Union supply route from Bridgeport, nicknamed the "Cracker Line."
Nov 23 - 24, 1863
Grant sends Sherman and Hooker to envelop the flank of the Confederate position.
Nov 24, 1863
Bragg loses Lookout Mountain to Hooker's forces. Hooker proceeds to Rossville to
threaten Bragg's left and rear.
Nov 25, 1863
Sherman's troops attack Confederate right at Tunnel Hill, but repulsed by Cleburne's and
Nov 25, 1863
Four divisions of Thomas' Corps advance up Missionary Ridge and rout the Confederate
Center, while Hooker attacks their left. Bragg's Army is defeated and retreats deep into
Source: "The Atlas of the Civil War" edited by James M. McPherson
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 from 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.