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Chattanooga campaign,Aug.-Nov., 1863, military encounter in the American Civil War. Chattanooga, Tenn., which commanded Confederate communications between the East and the Mississippi River and was also the key to loyal E Tennessee, had been an important Union objective as early as 1862 (see Buell, Don CarlosBuell, Don Carlos,
1818–98, Union general in the Civil War, b. near Marietta, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1841. Buell was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in the Civil War (May, 1861), helped organize the Army of the Potomac, and took command of the Dept. of Ohio (Nov.
..... Click the link for more information. ). In 1863, the Union general William RosecransRosecrans, William Starke
, 1819–98, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Kingston, Ohio. He served in the army from 1842 to 1854 and in Apr., 1861, rejoined as a volunteer. He became aide-de-camp to Gen. George B.
..... Click the link for more information. , commanding the Army of the Cumberland, forced Braxton BraggBragg, Braxton,
1817–76, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War, b. Warrenton, N.C. A graduate of West Point, he fought the Seminole and in the Mexican War was promoted to lieutenant colonel for distinguished service at Buena Vista.
..... Click the link for more information. to withdraw his Confederate army from middle Tennessee (June-Aug.) and maneuvered him out of Chattanooga (Aug. 16–Sept. 8). Deceived into believing that Bragg was retreating upon Atlanta, Rosecrans pursued and was trapped by the Confederates at Chickamauga Creek, c.12 mi (20 km) S of Chattanooga. Strengthened by James Longstreet's corps, which had traveled some 650 mi (1,050 km) from Lee's army through Virginia and the Carolinas to join him, Bragg routed the Union right at the Battle of Chickamauga (Sept. 19–20). He could not crush the Union left under George H. ThomasThomas, George Henry,
1816–70, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Southampton co., Va. He served in the Seminole War and in the Mexican War. Later he taught at West Point and served in Texas.
..... Click the link for more information. , however; Thomas held off the enemy until Rosecrans ordered him to withdraw to Chattanooga. Bragg then took up a position extending along Missionary Ridge across Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Mt. and laid siege to the town. In a historic movement, Joseph Hooker and two corps from the Army of the Potomac circled nearly 1,200 mi (1,900 km) via Indianapolis to bolster the Union forces. But Rosecrans had lost control of the situation, and an alarmed federal administration at Washington called for U.S. GrantGrant, Ulysses Simpson,
1822–85, commander in chief of the Union army in the Civil War and 18th President (1869–77) of the United States, b. Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant.
..... Click the link for more information. , who arrived at Chattanooga on Oct. 23, 1863. Generals W. F. Smith and Joseph Hooker executed a coup (Oct. 26–29) that restored a sorely needed supply line on the Tennessee River, so Grant was ready to move by late November. Sherman, who had brought up reinforcements from Vicksburg, commanded the left; Thomas, the center; and Hooker, the right. Bragg's forces had been weakened by the departure of Longstreet on an unsuccessful expedition to Knoxville. On Nov. 24, Hooker drove the Confederates from Lookout Mt. in the Battle above the Clouds. On Nov. 25, Sherman could make no headway against Missionary Ridge from its northern end, so Grant ordered the center to advance. Thomas's men—Philip Sheridan conspicuous among them—displayed great courage and boldness, proceeding to carry Bragg's position at the top; there Hooker's forces joined them in routing the Confederates. By nightfall Bragg was in full retreat to Georgia. The victory left Chattanooga in Union hands for the rest of the war.
See study by M. H. Fitch (1911); F. Downey, Storming of the Gateway (1960, repr. 1969).
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