BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA
The Civil War was in full swing after the Confederate Army earned a victory in northwest Georgia at Chickamauga in September of 1863. The victory forced The Union forces to retreat to the ever crucial railroad junction at Chattanooga where siege was laid by Confederate General Braxton Bragg. Recognizing that this was an important territory to control, President Lincoln sent his best to Chattanooga to defend it when he ordered Ulysses S. Grant to the junction. After his arrival, Grant was able to refortify the city, and open supply lines that had been closed from Bragg’s siege. Both sides began preparing for the imminent fighting that would be a turning point one way or the other in the battle for Tennessee.
The Union army had spent over a month on the defense leading up to late November, when General Grant changed the tide as he ordered General Thomas to go on the offensive and attack the center of the Confederate Line on November 23. The simple plan was a success as the Confederate forces were driven back to Missionary Ridge, and losing Orchard Knob in the process. This successful venture mixed with General Hooker’s capture of Lookout Mountain the next day lead to what is now known as the Battle of Missionary Ridge, which be considered a surprising and unlikely victory for the Union forces based on them not having the natural defense of the Mountain.
The battle would commence on November 25, as the Union side was going for their third victory in three days. Once again, the Union strategy of attacking the center of the Confederate lines was a massive success. There was mass confusion from the Confederate side in terms of their purpose. Many soldiers thought their goal was to defend their artillery bases, while others thought that a retreat up the mountain was the plan. Due to this disorganization on the confederate side, the Union forces were able to march to the top of the Mountain and force Bragg to retreat away from the Chattanooga area. General Grant had the opportunity to pursue the Rebel army, which could have crippled their forces by a large amount, but chose to count himself fortunate for simply maintaining Chattanooga. The victory would be the stepping stone that the Union army needed to continue southeast on their pursuit. A little over a year later, General Sherman (who took over the control after Grant was promoted) had lead his troops to the Capture of Atlanta and Savannah by the end of 1864.
All in all, the Union forces suffered 5,800 casualties during the battle of Chattanooga, with the Confederate side suffering between 6,600 and 8,000 troops in addition to losing 40 Confederate guns from their artillery base that were captured by Union forces. General Bragg would resign after the embarrassing defeats citing that he has lost the confidence of his troops during the fighting.