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Battle of Missionary Ridge

Battle of Missionary Ridge

Overview
The Battle of Missionary Ridge was fought November 25, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign
Chattanooga Campaign
The Chattanooga Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in October and November 1863, during the American Civil War. Following the defeat of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Union Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chickamauga in September, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen...

 of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Following the Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 victory in the Battle of Lookout Mountain
Battle of Lookout Mountain
The Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought November 24, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker assaulted Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and defeated Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson....

 on November 24, Union forces under Maj. Gen.
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 assaulted Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge is a geographic feature in Chattanooga, Tennessee, site of the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a battle in the American Civil War, fought on November 25, 1863. Union forces under Maj. Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and George H...

 and defeated the Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 Army of Tennessee
Army of Tennessee
The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater...

, commanded by Gen. Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was...

.

In the morning, elements of the Army of the Tennessee
Army of the Tennessee
The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It should not be confused with the similarly named Army of Tennessee, a Confederate army named after the State of Tennessee....

 commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman attempted to capture the northern end of Missionary Ridge, Tunnel Hill, but were stopped by fierce resistance from the Confederate divisions of Maj.
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Encyclopedia
The Battle of Missionary Ridge was fought November 25, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign
Chattanooga Campaign
The Chattanooga Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in October and November 1863, during the American Civil War. Following the defeat of Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Union Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chickamauga in September, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen...

 of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Following the Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 victory in the Battle of Lookout Mountain
Battle of Lookout Mountain
The Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought November 24, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker assaulted Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and defeated Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson....

 on November 24, Union forces under Maj. Gen.
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 assaulted Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge is a geographic feature in Chattanooga, Tennessee, site of the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a battle in the American Civil War, fought on November 25, 1863. Union forces under Maj. Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and George H...

 and defeated the Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 Army of Tennessee
Army of Tennessee
The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater...

, commanded by Gen. Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was...

.

In the morning, elements of the Army of the Tennessee
Army of the Tennessee
The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It should not be confused with the similarly named Army of Tennessee, a Confederate army named after the State of Tennessee....

 commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman attempted to capture the northern end of Missionary Ridge, Tunnel Hill, but were stopped by fierce resistance from the Confederate divisions of Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne, William H.T. Walker, and Carter L. Stevenson
Carter L. Stevenson
Carter Littlepage Stevenson, Jr. was a career military officer, serving in the United States Army in several antebellum wars and then in the Confederate States Army as a general in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Early life and career:Stevenson was born to a prominent family in...

. In the afternoon, Grant was concerned that Bragg was reinforcing his right flank at Sherman's expense. He ordered the Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Cumberland
The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, to move forward and seize the Confederate line of rifle pits on the valley floor, and stop there to await further orders. The Union soldiers moved forward and quickly pushed the Confederates from the first line of rifle pits but were then subjected to a punishing fire from the Confederate lines up the ridge.

At this point, the Union soldiers continued the attack against the remaining lines, seeking refuge near the crest of the ridge (the top line of rifle pits were sited on the actual crest rather than the military crest
Military crest
Military crest is a term in military science that refers to, "An area on the forward or reverse slope of a hill or ridge just below the topographical crest from which maximum observation and direct fire covering the slope down to the base of the hill or ridge can be obtained."The military crest is...

 of the ridge, leaving blind spots). This second advance was taken up by the commanders on the spot, but also by some of the soldiers who, on their own, sought shelter from the fire further up the slope. The Union advance was disorganized but effective; finally overwhelming and scattering what ought to have been, as General Grant himself believed, an impregnable Confederate line. In combination with an advance from the southern end of the ridge by divisions under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

, the Union Army routed Bragg's army, which retreated to Dalton, Georgia
Dalton, Georgia
Dalton is a city in Whitfield County, Georgia, United States. It is the county seat of Whitfield County and the principal city of the Dalton, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of both Murray and Whitfield counties. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 33,128...

, ending the siege of Union forces in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

.

Background



After their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga
Battle of Chickamauga
The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19–20, 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia called the Chickamauga Campaign...

, the 40,000 men of the Union Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Cumberland
The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

 under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans
William Rosecrans
William Starke Rosecrans was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union general during the American Civil War...

 retreated to Chattanooga. Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee
Army of Tennessee
The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater...

 besieged the city, threatening to starve the Union forces into surrender. Bragg's troops established themselves on Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge is a geographic feature in Chattanooga, Tennessee, site of the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a battle in the American Civil War, fought on November 25, 1863. Union forces under Maj. Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and George H...

 and Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain
thumb|right|See seven statesLookout Mountain is located at the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Georgia, the northeast corner of Alabama, and along the southern border of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Lookout Mountain, along with Sand Mountain to the northwest, makes up a large portion of the...

, both of which had excellent views of the city, the Tennessee River
Tennessee River
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names...

 flowing through the city, and the Union's supply lines. The only supply line that was not controlled by the Confederates was a roundabout, tortuous course nearly 60 miles long over Walden's Ridge from Bridgeport, Alabama
Bridgeport, Alabama
Bridgeport is a small city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. At the time of 2000 census the population was 2,728. Bridgeport is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.-History:...

. Heavy rains began to fall in late September, washing away long stretches of the mountain roads. On October 1, Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler
Joseph Wheeler
Joseph Wheeler was an American military commander and politician. He has the rare distinction of serving as a general during war time for two opposing forces: first as a noted cavalry general in the Confederate States Army in the 1860s during the American Civil War, and later as a general in the...

's Confederate cavalry intercepted and severely damaged a train of 800 wagons—burning hundreds of the wagons, and shooting or sabering hundreds of mules—at the start of his October 1863 Raid
Wheeler's October 1863 Raid
Wheeler's October 1863 Raid was a large cavalry raid in southeastern Tennessee during the American Civil War. Maj. Gen...

 through Tennessee to sever Rosecrans's supply line. Toward the end of October, Federal soldiers' rations were "four cakes of hard bread and a quarter pound of pork" every three days.

The Union government sent reinforcements: Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

 with 15,000 men in two corps from the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 in Virginia and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman with 20,000 men from Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg is a city in Warren County, Mississippi, United States. It is the only city in Warren County. It is located northwest of New Orleans on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, and due west of Jackson, the state capital. In 1900, 14,834 people lived in Vicksburg; in 1910, 20,814; in 1920,...

. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies, designated the Military Division of the Mississippi
Military Division of the Mississippi
The Military Division of the Mississippi was an administrative division of the United States Army during the American Civil War that controlled all military operations in the Western Theater.-History:...

; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas
George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War, one of the principal commanders in the Western Theater....

.

Thomas launched a surprise amphibious landing at Brown's Ferry on October 27 that opened the Tennessee River by linking up his Army of the Cumberland with Hooker's relief column southwest of the city, thus allowing supplies and reinforcements to flow into Chattanooga over what was called the "Cracker Line". In response, Bragg ordered Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

 to force the Federals out of Lookout Valley. The ensuing Battle of Wauhatchie
Battle of Wauhatchie
-References:* Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988. ISBN 0-8129-1726-X. First published 1959 by McKay.* Cozzens, Peter. The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994. ISBN 0-252-01922-9.* Korn, Jerry, and...

 (October 28–29) was one of the war's few battles fought exclusively at night. The Confederates were repulsed, and the Cracker Line was secured.

Sherman arrived with his 20,000 men of the Army of the Tennessee
Army of the Tennessee
The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It should not be confused with the similarly named Army of Tennessee, a Confederate army named after the State of Tennessee....

 in mid-November. Grant, Sherman, and Thomas planned a double envelopment of Bragg's force, with the main attack by Sherman against the northern end of Missionary Ridge, supported by Thomas in the center and by Hooker, who would capture Lookout Mountain and then move across the Chattanooga Valley to Rossville, Georgia
Rossville, Georgia
Rossville is a city in Walker County, Georgia, United States. The city of Rossville was named after Cherokee Indian Chief John Ross, who resided there until being forced to relocate with his people to Oklahoma in the Indian Removal. Chief John Ross' log cabin home is still located in the city and...

, and cut off the Confederate retreat route to the south.

On November 23, Sherman's force was ready to cross the Tennessee River. Grant ordered Thomas to advance halfway to Missionary Ridge on a reconnaissance in force to determine the strength of the Confederate line, hoping to ensure that Bragg would not withdraw his forces and move in the direction of Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, U.S.A., behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County. It is the largest city in East Tennessee, and the second-largest city in the Appalachia region...

, where Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

 was being threatened by a Confederate force under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

. Thomas sent over 14,000 men toward a minor hill named Orchard Knob and overran the Confederate defenders. Grant changed his orders and instructed Thomas's men to dig in and hold the position.

Surprised by Thomas's move and realizing that his center and right might be more vulnerable than he had thought, Bragg quickly readjusted his strategy. Bragg assigned Col. Warren Grigsby's brigade of Kentucky cavalry to picket the Tennessee river northeast of Chattanooga and ordered Brig. Gen. Marcus Joseph Wright
Marcus Joseph Wright
Marcus Joseph Wright was a lawyer, author, and a Confederate general in the American Civil War. He was agent for collection of Confederate records for War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, a U.S. War Department publication.-Early life:Wright was born in Purdy,...

 to bring his brigade of Tennessee infantry from Cleveland, Tennessee, by train to Chickamauga Station. He recalled all units he had recently ordered to Knoxville if they were within a day's march. Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's division returned after dark from Chickamauga Station, interrupting the process of boarding the trains. Bragg began to reduce the strength on his left by withdrawing Maj. Gen. William H. T. Walker
William H. T. Walker
William Henry Talbot Walker was an American soldier. He was a career United States Army officer who fought with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and also served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War...

's division from the base of Lookout Mountain and placing them on the far right of Missionary Ridge, just south of Tunnel Hill. He assigned Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee
William J. Hardee
William Joseph Hardee was a career U.S. Army officer, serving during the Second Seminole War and fighting in the Mexican-American War...

 to command his now critical right flank, turning over the left flank to Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson
Carter L. Stevenson
Carter Littlepage Stevenson, Jr. was a career military officer, serving in the United States Army in several antebellum wars and then in the Confederate States Army as a general in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Early life and career:Stevenson was born to a prominent family in...

. Bragg's concern for his right proved justified and his decisions were fortuitous. In the center, Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge
John C. Breckinridge
John Cabell Breckinridge was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Kentucky and was the 14th Vice President of the United States , to date the youngest vice president in U.S...

 ordered his men to begin fortifying the crest of Missionary Ridge, a task that Bragg had somehow neglected for weeks. Unable to decide whether to defend the base or the crest of the Ridge, the divisions of Brig. Gens. William B. Bate
William B. Bate
William Brimage Bate was the governor of Tennessee from 1883 to 1887 and subsequently a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1887 until his death...

 and J. Patton Anderson were ordered to move half of their divisions to the crest, leaving the remainder in the rifle pits along the base. James L. McDonough wrote of the upper entrenchments, "Placed along the physical crest rather than what is termed the military crest
Military crest
Military crest is a term in military science that refers to, "An area on the forward or reverse slope of a hill or ridge just below the topographical crest from which maximum observation and direct fire covering the slope down to the base of the hill or ridge can be obtained."The military crest is...

 ... these works severely handicapped the defenders."

November 24 was dark, with low clouds, fog, and drizzling rain. Sherman's force crossed the Tennessee River successfully in the morning then took the set of hills at the north end of Missionary Ridge, although he was surprised to find that a valley separated him from the main part of the ridge. Alerted by Grigsby's cavalry that the enemy had crossed the river in force, Bragg sent Cleburne's division and Wright's brigade to challenge Sherman. After skirmishing with the Confederates, Sherman ordered his men to dig in on the hills he had seized. Cleburne, likewise, dug in around Tunnel Hill.

At the same time, Hooker's command succeeded in the Battle of Lookout Mountain
Battle of Lookout Mountain
The Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought November 24, 1863, as part of the Chattanooga Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker assaulted Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and defeated Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson....

 and prepared to move east toward Bragg's left flank on Missionary Ridge. The divisions of Stevenson and Cheatham retreated behind Chattanooga Creek, burning the bridges behind them.

On the night of November 24, Bragg asked his two corps commanders whether to retreat or to stand and fight. Cleburne, concerned about what Sherman had accomplished, expected Bragg to retreat. Hardee also counseled retreat, but Breckinridge convinced Bragg to fight it out on the strong position of Missionary Ridge. Accordingly, the troops withdrawn from Lookout Mountain were ordered to the right wing to assist in repelling Sherman.

Opposing forces


Grant's Military Division of the Mississippi
Military Division of the Mississippi
The Military Division of the Mississippi was an administrative division of the United States Army during the American Civil War that controlled all military operations in the Western Theater.-History:...

 assembled the following forces at Chattanooga:
  • The Army of the Tennessee
    Army of the Tennessee
    The Army of the Tennessee was a Union army in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, named for the Tennessee River. It should not be confused with the similarly named Army of Tennessee, a Confederate army named after the State of Tennessee....

    , commanded by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, consisting of the XV Corps under Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair, Jr., and the 2nd Division of the XVII Corps under Brig. Gen. John E. Smith
    John E. Smith
    John Eugene Smith was a Swiss immigrant to the United States, who served as a Union general during the American Civil War.-Early life:Smith was born in Berne, Switzerland in 1816. His father had served under Napoleon Bonaparte and emigrated with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after the...

    .
  • The Army of the Cumberland
    Army of the Cumberland
    The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

    , commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, consisting of the IV Corps under Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger
    Gordon Granger
    Gordon Granger was a career U.S. army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Chickamauga.-Early life & Mexico:...

    , and the XIV Corps under Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer
    John M. Palmer (politician)
    John McAuley Palmer , was an Illinois resident, an American Civil War General who fought for the Union, the 15th Governor of Illinois, and presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party in the 1896 election on a platform to defend the gold standard, free trade, and limited...

    .
  • The command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
    Joseph Hooker
    Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

    , consisting of the XI Corps under Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard
    Oliver O. Howard
    Oliver Otis Howard was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War...

     and the 2nd Division of the XII Corps under Brig. Gen. John W. Geary
    John W. Geary
    John White Geary was an American lawyer, politician, Freemason, and a Union general in the American Civil War...

    . (Starting with the Battle of Lookout Mountain, Hooker also commanded divisions detached from the IV and XV Corps.)


Bragg's Army of Tennessee
Army of Tennessee
The Army of Tennessee was the principal Confederate army operating between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. It was formed in late 1862 and fought until the end of the war in 1865, participating in most of the significant battles in the Western Theater...

 had the following forces available in Chattanooga:
  • Hardee's Corps, under Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee
    William J. Hardee
    William Joseph Hardee was a career U.S. Army officer, serving during the Second Seminole War and fighting in the Mexican-American War...

    , consisting of the divisions under Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson
    John K. Jackson
    John King Jackson was an American lawyer and soldier. He served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, mainly in Florida and the Western Theater of the conflict...

     (Cheatham's Division), Brig. Gen. J. Patton Anderson (Hindman's Division), Brig. Gen. States Rights Gist
    States Rights Gist
    States Rights Gist was a lawyer, a militia general in South Carolina, and a Confederate Army brigadier general who served during the American Civil War. A relative of several prominent South Carolinians, Gist rose to fame during the war but was killed before its end at the Battle of Franklin on...

     (Walker's Division), and Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner
    Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr.
    Simon Bolivar Buckner fought in the United States Army in the Mexican–American War and in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He later served as the 30th Governor of Kentucky....

     (detached November 22 to Knoxville).
  • Breckinridge's Corps, commanded by Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge
    John C. Breckinridge
    John Cabell Breckinridge was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Kentucky and was the 14th Vice President of the United States , to date the youngest vice president in U.S...

    , consisting of the divisions of Maj. Gens. Patrick R. Cleburne, Alexander P. Stewart
    Alexander P. Stewart
    Alexander Peter Stewart was a career United States Army officer, college professor, and a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

    , Carter L. Stevenson
    Carter L. Stevenson
    Carter Littlepage Stevenson, Jr. was a career military officer, serving in the United States Army in several antebellum wars and then in the Confederate States Army as a general in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Early life and career:Stevenson was born to a prominent family in...

    , and Brig. Gen. William B. Bate
    William B. Bate
    William Brimage Bate was the governor of Tennessee from 1883 to 1887 and subsequently a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1887 until his death...

     (Breckinridge's Division). During the battle, Cleburne's division operated under Hardee's control.


On November 5, Bragg had seriously weakened his forces by sending Longstreet's Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

, with the divisions of Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws
Lafayette McLaws
Lafayette McLaws was a United States Army officer and a Confederate general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 and Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins
Micah Jenkins
Micah Jenkins , was a Confederate general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded by friendly fire at the Battle of the Wilderness.-Early life:...

 (Hood's Division), against Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside was an American soldier, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from Rhode Island, serving as governor and a U.S. Senator...

 near Knoxville
Knoxville, Tennessee
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, U.S.A., behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County. It is the largest city in East Tennessee, and the second-largest city in the Appalachia region...

. On November 22, Bragg had further weakened his forces by ordering the division of Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner
Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr.
Simon Bolivar Buckner fought in the United States Army in the Mexican–American War and in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He later served as the 30th Governor of Kentucky....

 to reinforce Longstreet at Knoxville.

Battle



On November 25, Grant's plan concentrated on the attack by Sherman against Bragg's right flank at Tunnel Hill. He gave a supporting role to Thomas:
Grant had no particular expectation for Hooker other than to divert Bragg's attention by continued demonstrations on Lookout Mountain. However, Thomas wanted support on his flank and called Hooker to cross the valley and demonstrate against Bragg's left flank directly at the Rossville Gap.

Sherman at Tunnel Hill


In a letter to his brother, Sherman wrote:
Sherman had about 16,600 men in the three divisions of Brig. Gens. Morgan L. Smith, John E. Smith
John E. Smith
John Eugene Smith was a Swiss immigrant to the United States, who served as a Union general during the American Civil War.-Early life:Smith was born in Berne, Switzerland in 1816. His father had served under Napoleon Bonaparte and emigrated with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after the...

, and his foster brother and brother-in-law Hugh Ewing, and three regiments of Col. Adolphus Buschbeck
Adolphus Buschbeck
Adolphus Buschbeck commanded the 27th Pennsylvania in the Army of the Potomac and a brigade in that army and later in the Army of the Cumberland during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's brigade from the XI Corps; Hardee had about 9,000 Confederates in the divisions of Cleburne and Walker with another 4,000 soon to arrive in Stevenson's division. Sherman also had Jefferson C. Davis
Jefferson C. Davis
Jefferson Columbus Davis was an officer in the United States Army who served in the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Modoc War. He was the first commander of the Department of Alaska, from 1868 to 1870...

's division guarding his rear; likewise Hardee had Benjamin F. Cheatham
Benjamin F. Cheatham
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham , known also as Frank, was a Tennessee aristocrat, California gold miner, and a General in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, serving in many battles of the Western Theater.-Early years:Cheatham was born in Nashville, Tennessee on a plantation...

's division in reserve. However, at dawn, when Sherman initially planned to attack, he was opposed by three small brigades under Cleburne—about 4,000 men—and only the Texas brigade of Brig. Gen. James A. Smith was actually positioned on Tunnel Hill. But seemingly unnerved by his incorrect positioning, Sherman delayed well past his orders to attack at dawn. He selected just two brigades from Ewing's division to attack. Brig. Gen. John M. Corse
John M. Corse
John Murray Corse was an American politician and soldier who served as a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

 would approach from the north, Col. John M. Loomis from the northwest, across the open fields between the railroads.

Sherman ordered Corse's brigade, with a detachment from Joseph A.J. Lightburn
Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn
Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn was a farmer, soldier and Baptist Minister, most famous for his service as a Union general during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's brigade, to attack along the narrow length of Tunnel Hill. Col. John M. Loomis's brigade, supported by Bushbeck, would move across the open fields on the west of the ridge while Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith's brigade would move through the valley on the east side of the ridge. The brigades of Brig. Gen. Charles L. Matthies
Charles L. Matthies
Charles Leopold Matthies was a Prussian soldier, revolutionary and Union Army officer during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of brigadier general.-Biography:...

 and Col. Green B. Raum were held in reserve to follow up any successful attack; the brigades of Cols. Joseph R. Cockerill
Joseph R. Cockerill
Joseph Randolph Cockerill was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.Born in Loudoun County, Virginia, Cockerill moved to Scott Township, Ohio, in 1837 and settled in Youngstown.He attended the public schools.He taught school....

 and Jesse I. Alexander would hold the heights seized the day before.

Corse drove off the Confederate skirmish line and seized some half-built defensive works at the north end of Tunnel Hill. Continuing over the crest of the hill, Corse charged Cleburne's main position but was repulsed. After several attempts, Sherman gave up on attacking from Corse's position and the fighting shifted to the west side of the ridge. Loomis had advanced to the railroad in front of the ridge where he skirmished with Walker's division. Bushbeck, followed by Matthies and then Raum were sent up the west slope of Tunnel Hill between Loomis and Corse. Cleburne's salient began to feel the pressure and it came close to breaking. Hardee fed in reinforcements from Stevenson's division, and Cleburne ordered a general counterattack. Charging down the hill at 4 p.m., the Confederates routed Sherman's men, which was too tired and low on ammunition to resist, and captured numerous Federal prisoners.
Sherman's attack came to a halt, a tactical failure in which he lost almost 2,000 casualties but committed only a fraction of his available force in a direct assault on a strong position, rather than attempting to outflank Bragg. Military historian David Eicher called this Sherman's "worst experience as a commander, first miscalculating the terrain and then stumbling through a prolonged, unsuccessful, and needless attack." On the other hand, Steven E. Woodworth judged that "Cleburne was in fine form today, deftly shifting troops around his hilltop position and skillfully judging when and where to launch limited counterattacks—often leading them himself."

An alternative view has been expressed by B. H. Liddell Hart
Basil Liddell Hart
Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart , usually known before his knighthood as Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, was an English soldier, military historian and leading inter-war theorist.-Life and career:...

, who contends that Sherman did not commit his entire force because he was expecting Bragg to attack him to dislodge the Union force from a threatening position. He "gave the Confederates several hours in which to attack them and when he saw that they showed no signs of accepting the invitation, he made it more pressing by launching three brigades against their position. But his real desire is unmistakably established by the fact that he kept three brigades to hold his own ridge, with five more in reserve behind."

Thomas's assault on the Confederate center



At around 2:30 p.m., Grant spoke with Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood
Thomas J. Wood
Thomas John Wood was a career United States Army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War.-Early life and career:...

, a classmate of his from West Point. "General Sherman seems to be having a hard time," Grant observed. "It seems as if we ought to go help him." He decided to send Wood's and Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's divisions against the Confederate rifle pits at the base of the ridge, hoping to concern Bragg and relieve the pressure on Sherman. Grant suggested his idea to Thomas, but personal relations between the two generals were chilly during the campaign and Thomas rebuffed Grant's idea—he had no intention of attacking until he was assured that Hooker was successfully attacking the enemy's flank. Meanwhile, IV Corps commander Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger
Gordon Granger
Gordon Granger was a career U.S. army officer and a Union general during the American Civil War. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Chickamauga.-Early life & Mexico:...

 was nearby, completely absorbed in the activities of a battery of artillery.

Irritated, Grant asked Thomas to order Granger to "take command of his own corps. And now order your troops to advance and take the enemy's first line of rifle pits." At 3 p.m. Thomas passed the order to Granger, but incredibly, Granger ignored the order and resumed commanding the battery of artillery. After a further scolding from Grant, Granger finally issued orders to Wood and Sheridan. Messengers also went to Brig. Gens. Absalom Baird
Absalom Baird
Absalom Baird was a career United States Army officer who distinguished himself as a Union Army general in the American Civil War. Baird received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his military actions-Early life:...

 and Richard W. Johnson
Richard W. Johnson
Richard W. Johnson was an American soldier, born in Kentucky.-Early career:He graduated at West Point in 1849 and up to the time of the Civil War was employed chiefly on frontier service. In 1861 he was commissioned colonel in the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry and soon afterward became a brigadier general...

 of Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer
John M. Palmer (politician)
John McAuley Palmer , was an Illinois resident, an American Civil War General who fought for the Union, the 15th Governor of Illinois, and presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party in the 1896 election on a platform to defend the gold standard, free trade, and limited...

's XIV Corps, ordering them to move upon hearing the rapid, successive discharge of six artillery pieces.

Thomas deployed 23,000 men in four divisions with brigades in line—from left to right (north to south), the divisions of Baird (brigades of Col. Edward H. Phelps, Col. Ferdinand Van Derveer
Ferdinand Van Derveer
Ferdinand Van Derveer was a lawyer and a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

, and Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin), Wood (brigades of Brig. Gens. Samuel Beatty
Samuel Beatty (general)
Samuel Beatty was an American soldier, sheriff, and farmer from Ohio. He was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In 1866, he was awarded the brevet grade of major general of volunteers....

, August Willich
August Willich
August Willich , born Johann August Ernst von Willich, was a military officer in the Prussian Army and a leading early proponent of Communism in Germany. In 1847 he discarded his title of nobility...

, and William B. Hazen), Sheridan (brigades of Brig. Gen. George D. Wagner
George D. Wagner
George Day Wagner was an Indiana politician, farmer, and soldier, serving as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. His controversial actions at the Battle of Franklin in 1864 overshadowed his positive performance earlier in the war.-Early life and career:Wagner was born in...

, Col. Charles G. Harker
Charles Garrison Harker
Charles Garrison Harker was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was killed in action at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in northern Georgia during the Atlanta Campaign...

, and Col. Francis T. Sherman), and Johnson (brigades of Col. William L. Stoughton
William L. Stoughton
William Lewis Stoughton was a politician and soldier from U.S. state of Michigan who served in the United States Congress, as well as serving as a general and brigade commander in the Union Army during the American Civil War.Stoughton was born in Bangor, New York. He attended Kirtland,...

 and Brig. Gen. William P. Carlin
William P. Carlin
William Passmore Carlin was a career soldier from the state of Illinois who served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and then in the postbellum United States Army...

). Each brigade consisted of two lines, one behind the other, with skirmishers leading the way.

There were about 14,000 Confederates defending the center of the ridge against which Thomas's men marched, overlapping just slightly the Union approach. From right to left (north to south) were Cheatham's division (brigades of Brig. Gens. Edward C. Walthall
Edward C. Walthall
Edward Cary Walthall was a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War and a postbellum United States Senator from Mississippi.-Biography:...

, John C. Moore
John Creed Moore
John Creed Moore was an United States Army officer and a graduate of West Point. He is known for being a Confederate brigadier general during the Civil War and his works in the educational system in Texas....

, and John K. Jackson
John K. Jackson
John King Jackson was an American lawyer and soldier. He served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, mainly in Florida and the Western Theater of the conflict...

), Hindman's division (commanded by Brig. Gen. J. Patton Anderson, brigades of Brig. Gens. Alfred J. Vaughan, Zachariah C. Deas
Zachariah C. Deas
Zachariah Cantey Deas was a prominent Southern United States cotton broker and soldier. He served as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

, and Arthur M. Manigault
Arthur Middleton Manigault
-External links:...

), Breckinridge's division (commanded by Brig. Gen. William B. Bate
William B. Bate
William Brimage Bate was the governor of Tennessee from 1883 to 1887 and subsequently a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1887 until his death...

, brigades of Brig. Gen. Joseph H. Lewis, Col. R. C. Tyler, and Brig. Gen. Jesse J. Finley
Jesse J. Finley
Jesse Johnson Finley was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida and the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. He was also a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War....

), and Stewart's division (brigades of Col. Randall L. Gibson
Randall L. Gibson
-External links:*...

, Brig. Gen. Otho F. Strahl
Otho F. Strahl
Otho French Strahl was an attorney and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was one of a small number of Southern generals who were born in the North.-Biography:...

, Brig. Gen. Marcellus A. Stovall, and Col. James T. Holtzclaw
James T. Holtzclaw
James Thadeus Holtzclaw was an Alabama lawyer, railroad commissioner, and general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He played a prominent role of several major engagements of the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater.-Early life and career:James T...

).
At about 3:40 p.m., the signal guns fired before Baird could brief Turchin. Some regimental officers claimed to get conflicting orders from the same brigadier. When asked where he was to stop, Willich told one officer, "I don't know, at Hell, I expect." Sheridan sent an orderly back to Granger inquiring whether the objective was the base or the top of the ridge, but the signal guns fired before he got an answer. Wagner, Turchin, and Carlin thought they were supposed to carry the ridge top. Most officers were guided only by what the units on either side of them did.

The 9,000 Confederates holding the rifle pits at the base of the ridge were also plagued by conflicting orders. Some were ordered to fire a volley then retreat, others to hold their ground. Those who stayed to fight were swamped by Union numbers. The Union tide was irresistible, with charging men shouting, "Chickamauga! Chickamauga!" Many of the Confederates were captured while the rest started the 5–600-foot climb to the ridge top in fear of being shot in the back. Those who escaped were completely winded by the effort and in no shape to defend themselves for several minutes.

The 100 Confederate cannons initially hit few of their enemies during the Union rush, but once the Union soldiers stopped at the rifle pits, they began to zero in on them. The Confederate riflemen also poured in their fire. Some Union unit commanders moved their men forward to get out of the worst fire. Willich's skirmishers started up the ridge without orders. Deciding that following them was preferable to being massacred in the rifle pits, Willich gave orders to advance, although several of his units were already doing so. Seeing this, Hazen and Beatty also ordered their first lines up. When Wood reached the rifle pits, the men in the second line begged him to order them up as well. Wood sent them forward.

Grant was shocked when he saw the Union troops climbing the ridge. He asked first Thomas then Granger who had given the orders. Neither general claimed responsibility, but Granger replied, "When those fellows get started all hell can't stop them." Granger then sent a courier to Wood allowing him permission to take the ridge top, if he thought it possible. Several messengers went out at about this time with differing orders, leading to more confusion.

On the far left Phelps and Van Derveer captured the rifle pits and held their position. Having negotiated some rough ground, Turchin's brigade lagged behind. But as soon as his men overran the rifle pits, the "Mad Russian" immediately urged his men up the ridge. Before Baird could send his other two brigades, he received an order to halt.

Wagner's and Harker's men started climbing soon after Wood's brigades. Wagner got halfway up before he received an order that he was to stop at the base of the ridge. He ordered his men to pull back. As they did, they suffered heavy losses from the elated Confederate defenders. Wagner's brigade suffered more casualties, around 22%, than any other brigade in the assault. When Wagner and some of Harker's men returned to the rifle pits they saw that Wood's division on their left and units of their own division on the right were still moving uphill. Disgusted that a rival division was getting ahead, Wagner sent his second line up the ridge. Sheridan soon ordered Harker back up also. To their right, Francis Sherman's brigade faced an entrenched line about one-half of the way up the ridge and had hard going. On the far right, Johnson's two brigades faced determined resistance at the rifle pits and were slow in starting up the ridge.

The Confederate line first cracked at Bird's Mill Road, at about 5 p.m. One of Willich's regiments, joined by two of Hazen's, worked its way within 50 yards of the Confederate breastworks. Protected by a roll of ground, they crept closer, then with a rush they leaped over the works belonging to Col. William F. Tucker
William F. Tucker
William Feimster Tucker was a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Early life:...

's brigade. Surprised, the nearest defenders surrendered or fled for their lives. Alertly, the Union field officers swung their regiments to the right and left and began rolling up the Confederate line. Tucker bravely rallied his men, but by this time Willich and Hazen's men were flooding over the breastworks.

Since Bragg had not provided for a tactical reserve, his defenses were only a thin crust. To seal off the breach, the Southern generals were placed on the horns of a dilemma. When they found Union troops on their flank, they had to pull regiments out of their defense line for a counterattack. This weakened the main line of resistance just as the Union brigades to their front were swarming up to the crest.

Once atop the ridge, Hazen swung his brigade south. The Confederate lines in this direction were held by Brig. Gen. Alexander W. Reynolds
Alexander W. Reynolds
Alexander Welch Reynolds was a career United States Army officer and a Confederate Army general during the American Civil War, primarily fighting in the Western Theater. After the conflict he served as a staff officer in the Egyptian Army.-Early life and career:Alexander W...

's brigade, whose men had to endure a hard climb from the base of the ridge. Hit in front and flank, most of Reynolds's tired men melted away. Continuing south, Hazen flanked Col. R. C. Tyler
Robert C. Tyler
Brigadier General Robert Charles Tyler was a Confederate General. He is generally credited with being born in MD, although some claim he was born in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He served as an officer on William Walker's filibustering army...

's brigade of Bate's division out of position, allowing Wagner's brigade to reach the crest. Bate's Florida brigade was soon driven away, allowing Harker's men to reach the top. Col. Randall L. Gibson
Randall L. Gibson
-External links:*...

's brigade was defeated by Francis Sherman's men. Dogged by tough resistance and very steep slopes, Johnson's two brigades took the longest to climb the ridge, Carlin's men finally reaching the top around 5:30 p.m. Seeing that his position was hopeless, Stewart pulled the brigades of Brig. Gens. Otho F. Strahl
Otho F. Strahl
Otho French Strahl was an attorney and a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He was one of a small number of Southern generals who were born in the North.-Biography:...

 and Marcellus A. Stovall off the ridge.

Meanwhile, Willich wheeled to the north and began crushing the flank of Anderson's division. Willich's success assisted Beatty's brigade to get to the top. The two brigades first drove off Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault
Arthur Middleton Manigault
-External links:...

's men and continued rolling north. As they came up the ridge, the Union brigades of Turchin, Van Derveer, and Phelps (who was killed near the crest) added their weight to the assault against the Confederate brigades of Brig. Gens. Zachariah C. Deas
Zachariah C. Deas
Zachariah Cantey Deas was a prominent Southern United States cotton broker and soldier. He served as a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

, Alfred J. Vaughan, and John K. Jackson
John K. Jackson
John King Jackson was an American lawyer and soldier. He served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War, mainly in Florida and the Western Theater of the conflict...

. Some Confederate soldiers resisted stubbornly, but many panicked and ran when they realized that Union troops were bearing down on them from the flank. Often, the Southern infantry fled before the supporting artillerists could escape with their cannons. In this manner, Anderson's entire division and Cheatham's left flank brigades of Brig. Gens. Jackson and Moore were routed. The northward Federal advance was only stopped by the stout fighting of Walthall's brigade and nightfall. Cheatham, Gist, Stevenson, and Cleburne were able to get their divisions away more or less intact, although the Confederate soldiers were demoralized or chagrined by their defeat.

The Army of the Cumberland's ascent of Missionary Ridge was one of the war's most dramatic events. Military historians Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones contend that the Battle of Missionary Ridge was "the war's most notable example of a frontal assault succeeding against intrenched defenders holding high ground." A Union officer remembered that
By 6 p.m., the center of Bragg's line had broken completely and fled in panic, requiring the abandonment of Missionary Ridge and a headlong retreat eastward to South Chickamauga Creek. The sole exception to the panicked flight was Cleburne's command, his division augmented by two brigades from another division. As the only command not in complete disarray, it was the last unit to withdraw and formed the rearguard of Bragg's army as it retreated eastward. Only Sheridan tried to pursue beyond Missionary Ridge, but he finally gave up late that night when it was clear that he was not being supported by either Granger or Thomas.

Hooker at Rossville Gap


After Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker
Joseph Hooker was a career United States Army officer, achieving the rank of major general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Although he served throughout the war, usually with distinction, Hooker is best remembered for his stunning defeat by Confederate General Robert E...

's command left Lookout Mountain at about 10 a.m. and moved east, they encountered a significant obstacle. The bridge across Chattanooga Creek, about a mile from Rossville Gap, had been burned by the Confederates as they withdrew the night before and the creek was running high. Brig. Gen. Peter J. Osterhaus
Peter J. Osterhaus
Peter Joseph Osterhaus was Union Army General in the American Civil War and later served as a diplomat.-Early life:Osterhaus was born in Koblenz, Rhenish Prussia. He attended the Berlin Military Academy and after serving for some time as a Prussian Army officer, he emigrated to the United States...

 assigned a 70-man pioneer unit to start rebuilding the bridge while men of the 27th Missouri created a rickety footbridge and began crossing one by one. Hooker decided to leave his guns and wagons behind so that all of his infantry could cross first, but his advance was delayed about three hours and he did not reach Rossville Gap until 3:30 p.m.

Breckinridge was absent while the Union attack wrecked his corps. Worried about his left flank, he rode to the end of his line in the early afternoon. At 3:30 p.m., about the time Thomas launched his four-division attack on Missionary Ridge, Breckinridge visited Stewart's left flank brigade of Col. James T. Holtzclaw
James T. Holtzclaw
James Thadeus Holtzclaw was an Alabama lawyer, railroad commissioner, and general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He played a prominent role of several major engagements of the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater.-Early life and career:James T...

, whose commander pointed to the southwest where Hooker's men were busily bridging Chattanooga Creek. Concerned about Rossville Gap, which lay undefended beyond his left flank, Breckinridge ordered Holtzclaw to send a couple of regiments to hold the position. It was too late; by the time the Southerners reached the gap, the Osterhaus's division had already marched through. Lt. J. Cabell Breckinridge, the general's son and aide-de-camp, rode into a group from the 9th Iowa and was captured.

Hooker quickly faced his troops to the north and organized a three-pronged attack. He sent Osterhaus along a trail east of Missionary Ridge, Cruft onto the ridge itself, and Geary along the western face of the ridge. Holtzclaw faced his men south and put up a fight, but Cruft and Osterhaus soon began herding the outnumbered Confederates north along Missionary Ridge. Hearing a tremendous racket to the north, Breckinridge finally rode off to find out what was wrong. As Holtzclaw retreated before Hooker's command, he eventually bumped into Col. Anson G. McCook
Anson G. McCook
Anson George McCook was a brevet brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, attorney, and three-term postbellum U.S. Congressman from New York...

's 2nd Ohio of Carlin's brigade, now astride the ridge. Surrounded by superior forces on four sides, approximately 700 of Holtzclaw's men surrendered.

Aftermath


During the night, Bragg ordered his army to withdraw toward Chickamauga Station on the Western & Atlantic Railroad (currently the site of Lovell Air Field
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport
-Top Destinations:-Cargo:- Accidents and incidents:On November 27, 1973, Delta Air Lines Flight 516, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed short of the runway on approach to the airport...

) and the following day began retreating from there toward Dalton, Georgia
Dalton, Georgia
Dalton is a city in Whitfield County, Georgia, United States. It is the county seat of Whitfield County and the principal city of the Dalton, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of both Murray and Whitfield counties. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 33,128...

, in two columns over two routes. The pursuit ordered by Grant was effectively thwarted by Cleburne's defense at the Battle of Ringgold Gap
Battle of Ringgold Gap
The Battle of Ringgold Gap was fought November 27, 1863, in northwest Georgia during the American Civil War. The Confederate victory by Maj. Gen...

.

Casualties for the Union Army during the Battles for Chattanooga (Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge) amounted to 5,824 (753 killed, 4,722 wounded, and 349 missing) of about 56,000 engaged; Confederate casualties were 6,667 (361 killed, 2,160 wounded, and 4,146 missing, mostly prisoners) of about 44,000. Southern losses may have been higher; Grant claimed 6,142 prisoners. In addition, the Union Army seized 40 cannons and 69 limbers and caissons. When a chaplain asked General Thomas whether the dead should be sorted and buried by state, Thomas replied "Mix 'em up. I'm tired of States' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

."

The Confederate enthusiasm that had risen so high after Chickamauga had been dashed at Chattanooga. One of the Confederacy's two major armies was routed. The Union now held undisputed control of the state of Tennessee, including Chattanooga, the "Gateway to the Lower South." The city became the supply and logistics base for Sherman's 1864 Atlanta Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
The Atlanta Campaign was a series of battles fought in the Western Theater of the American Civil War throughout northwest Georgia and the area around Atlanta during the summer of 1864. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May...

, as well as for the Army of the Cumberland, and Grant had won his final battle in the West
Western Theater of the American Civil War
This article presents an overview of major military and naval operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Theater of operations:...

 prior to receiving command of all Union armies in March 1864.

Further reading

  • Horn, Stanley F. The Army of Tennessee: A Military History. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1941. .
  • Sword, Wiley. Mountains Touched with Fire: Chattanooga Besieged, 1863. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995. ISBN 0-312-15593-X.
  • Watkins, Sam
    Sam Watkins
    Samuel “Sam” Rush Watkins was a noted Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He is known today for his memoir Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show, often heralded as one of the best primary sources about the common soldier's Civil War experience.Watkins was born on June 26,...

    . Co. Aytch Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment or, A Side Show of the Big Show. Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House, 1882. .