The Battle of Chickamauga
For thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers, their hopes hinge on controlling Chattanooga—the “gateway” to the Confederacy. Yet, in mid- September, they meet in the peaceful farm fields of north Georgia, along a tranquil creek named Chickamauga.
Siege of the City Begins
Rosecrans’s army withdraws into Chattanooga while Confederates occupy key ground surrounding the city, including Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The stage is set to starve the Union Army into submission. They and the remaining residents endure a hungry month before General Ulysses S. Grant and reinforcements arrive to help open a supply line into the city. The Battles for Chattanooga would soon commence.
September 18, 1863
Surprise, confusion, and hard fighting replace the well-laid plans of General Bragg, who hoped to block LaFayette Road and cut the Union’s route to Chattanooga. As darkness falls, Bragg is still confident he can continue his plans and stop the Union Army in the morning. However, General Rosecrans moves his troops north throughout the night, a move that could turn the tide of battle.
September 19, 1863
Early in the morning, Union troops stumble into Confederates, who they presumed to be farther south. Both sides exchange fire all morning, leaving fields and woods littered with dead and wounded soldiers. The fighting spreads southwest, yet neither side has gained a clear advantage. During the night, Confederate reinforcements arrive, while Union troops fortify their positions.
September 20, 1863
Fighting begins when Confederates attack Union fortifications on the battlefield’s northern end. This forces Rosecrans to shift troops, accidentally creating a gap in the center of his line. By chance, Confederates swarm through, sweeping away Rosecrans. Retreating Union soldiers led by General George Thomas make a heroic stand on Horseshoe Ridge, but only darkness saves their army.
After their defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, Union forces retreat into Chattanooga, while the Confederate Army of Tennessee surrounds and besieges the city. In late October 1863, Union troops use the cover of darkness to silently float past Confederates on Lookout Mountain. Then, in a rare night battle near Wauhatchie, they win control of Lookout Valley and secure their new supply route across Moccasin Bend, known as the “Cracker Line.” Chattanooga is still up for grabs.
November 23, 1863
Thousands of Union soldiers march out of Chattanooga. Like a great blue wave, they crash around Confederate-held Orchard Knob, a small hill between the city and Missionary Ridge. The Southerners flee, providing General Grant a strategic view of his next goal, the ridge. During the night, Bragg reinforces his line on Missionary Ridge.
November 24, 1863
The Union intends to take Missionary Ridge but mistakenly assaults a hill to the north. They discover their mistake too late to attack the ridge that day. Their diversionary tactic—attacking fog-enshrouded Lookout Mountain— becomes the famous “Battle Above the Clouds” that sweeps the Confederates off the mountain and toward Missionary Ridge.
November 25, 1863
Confederates successfully defend both ends of Missionary Ridge. Grant orders an attack against entrenchments centered at the base of the ridge. Finding little resistance there, and without orders, the recently defeated Army of the Cumberland continues charging up the rocky slopes and forces Bragg’s army from the summit. Confederate troops retreat south into Georgia.
The War Continues
The rivers, rails, and roads of Chattanooga are firmly in Union hands. The city is transformed into a supply and communications base for Gen. William T. Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign, which will begin in the spring. Disheartened Confederates wonder: Is the fall of Chattanooga truly “the death knell of the Confederacy”?
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park was established in August of 1890.
Chickamauga Battlefield Park is located at 3370 LaFayette Road
Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742
Chickamauga Battlefield is open from sunrise to sunset. Effigy Paranormal has obtained permission from National Parks to be on site any time we have collected data outside of normal hours. DO NOT trespass on the battlefield or any other site. Always obtain written permission!
Coming soon, data and analysis from several visits...