Chattanooga September 21 November 251863

After Chickamauga, the Confederate Army of Tennessee followed the Federals to Chattanooga. Unable to hold Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge - which overlooked the city - General Rosecrans established his defenses on the valley floor. When the Confederates occupied the two mountain ridges, Rosecrans's only access to his supply base at Stevenson, Alabama, was a long, tortuous wagon road over Walden's Ridge. Within a month, the Army of the Cumberland was in danger of being starved out of Chattanooga. In haste, the Lincoln administration transferred troops from Mississippi and Virginia to reinforce the Army of the Cumberland. Given overall command in the Chattanooga area, General U.S. Grant replaced Rosecrans with General Thomas, and ordered General Sherman's and General Hooker's units to assist Thomas in breaking Bragg's siege of Chattanooga.

Long before Chickamauga, the Confederate Army of Tennessee had been noted for factional squabbling within its command structure. By October, virtually the only point of agreement among the army's semor commanders was their dislike for General Bragg. Even after Bragg forced the departure of Generals Polk and D.H. Hill, dissension continued to be fueled by General Longs-treet. Matters came to a head when Longstreet failed to prevent the Federals from opening a direct supply line to Chattanooga, at the battle of Wauhatchie on October 28 Rather than break openly with Longstreet, Bragg permitted him to take his corps north to besiege the Federal garrison at Knoxville, Tennessee.

Reduced in strength, Bragg's army lost Lookout Mountain to Hooker on November 24, and concentrated on Missionary Ridge for a final stand. The following day, Grant sent Sherman and Hooker to envelop the flanks of the new Confederate position. With their attacks stalled, Grant asked Thomas to mount a demonstration in the center of the Federal line. Anxious to eradicate the stain of Chickamauga, the Army of the Cumberland turned the demonstration into a smashing attack, which gained the crest of Missionary Ridge and shattered Bragg's army. Federal losses were only 5,815, while Confederate casualties were not much larger at 6,667. Chattanooga, however, was irretrievably lost to the Confederacy. After briefly pursuing Bragg's army into northern Georgia, the Federals returned to Chattanooga; both sides ceased operations for the winter.

Nov 23-24: Grant sends Sherman and Hooker to envelop the flanks ol Confederate position

Unpopular with both his officers and men, Gen. Braxton Bragg (above) was argumentative, irritable and extremely critical of his subordinates. His friendship with Jefferson Davis and the reputation which he gained during the Mexican War, ensured his commission as a brigadier general at the outbreak of hostilities. Despite his less attractive characteristics, Grant would later call him " remarkably intelligent and well-informed".

Owing his appointment to his political background rather than to proven military ability, the initial Northern confidence in the abilities of William Starke Rosecrans (above) rapidly began to decline. Though conscientious and well-intentioned, Rosecrans lacked .. the resolution and decisiveness essential in a„generai' officer. His replacement by the capable GeoFge Thomas came as a relief to his subordinates^"

(j ) Sept 21: Unable to hold lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.

Rosecrans withdraws his forces to Chattanooga

Çzj Sept 25-Oct 24: To aid Rostcrans, Federal XI and XII Corps of Anny ol the Potomac arc transferred 1:253 miles by rail from Culpcper toCluiUanooga

' 2 \ Sept 21: Bragg's Confederates occupy Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge

Having positioned Gen. Hooker at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Gen. Grant was able to succor the besieged Chattanooga with food and supplies sent by rail and steamboat from Bridgeport. Although the needs of __

Thomas's beleaguered army could not be met in full, the establishment of this tortuous supply route did prevent actual starvation and in itself constituted a masterpiece of military transportation (below).

rÄ Oct 26-27, night: On Smith and 3,rM men sail down Tennessee Riverj march across Moccasin P^irrtio B Ferry, chase-off Coidt^ra&e$tkf:ts and erect pontoon bridj

'At y?ini$tciue. Longstreet's troops nttacmdcral XI Corps. but fail to drive lilt ra from the itewlv-opciicd Union supply route Trout Bridgeport, nick-n tinted tlte "Cracker-line"

Nov 23-24: Grant sends Sherman and Hooker to envelop the flanks ol Confederate position

On 23: (.nuiL given overall command in dre west, anises in Chattanooga

To Bridgeport Vrwm Army tiailhetld àT

Stevenson

Nvrih

Chickamauga Creek y!

Chickapszt orFtfar's Isl

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment