William Rosecrans

William Rosecrans

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William Starke Rosecrans (September 6, 1819 – March 11, 1898) was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer. He gained fame for his role as a 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...

 general during 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...

. He was the victor at prominent Western Theater
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:...

 battles, but his military career was effectively ended following his 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...

 in 1863.

Rosecrans was a graduate of West Point
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 who served as a professor at the Academy and in engineering assignments before leaving the Army to pursue a career in civil engineering. At the start of the Civil War, leading troops from Ohio, he achieved early combat success in western Virginia. In 1862 in the Western Theater, he won the battles of Iuka
Battle of Iuka
The Battle of Iuka was fought on September 19, 1862, in Iuka, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. In the opening battle of the Iuka-Corinth Campaign, Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans stopped the advance of the army of Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price.Maj. Gen. Ulysses S...

 and Corinth
Second Battle of Corinth
The Second Battle of Corinth was fought October 3–4, 1862, in Corinth, Mississippi. For the second time in the Iuka-Corinth Campaign, Union Maj. Gen. William S...

 while under the command of Maj. Gen. 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...

. His brusque, outspoken manner and willingness to quarrel openly with superiors caused a professional rivalry with Grant (as well as with Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin McMasters Stanton was an American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln Administration during the American Civil War from 1862–1865...

) that would adversely affect Rosecrans's career.

Given command of 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:...

, he fought against 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...

 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...

 at Stones River
Battle of Stones River
The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro , was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War...

, and later outmaneuvered him in the brilliant Tullahoma Campaign
Tullahoma Campaign
The Tullahoma Campaign or Middle Tennessee Campaign was fought between June 24 and July 3, 1863, during the American Civil War. The Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. William S...

, driving the Confederates from Middle Tennessee. His strategic movements then caused Bragg to abandon the critical city of Chattanooga, but Rosecrans's pursuit of Bragg ended during the bloody Battle of Chickamauga, where his unfortunately worded order mistakenly opened a gap in the Union line and Rosecrans and a third of his army were swept from the field. Besieged in Chattanooga, Rosecrans was relieved of command by Grant.

Following his humiliating defeat, Rosecrans was reassigned to command the Department of Missouri, where he opposed Price's Raid
Price's Raid
Price's Missouri Expedition, also known as Price's Raid, was an 1864 Confederate cavalry raid through the states of Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. While Confederate Major General Sterling Price enjoyed some successes during this campaign, he was decisively beaten at the Battle...

. He was briefly considered as a vice presidential running mate for Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 in 1864. After the war he served in diplomatic and appointed political positions and in 1881 was elected to Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, representing California.

Early life and career


Rosecrans was born on a farm near Little Taylor Run in Kingston Township
Kingston Township, Delaware County, Ohio
Kingston Township is one of the eighteen townships of Delaware County, Ohio, United States. The 2000 census found 1,603 people in the township.-Geography:Located in the northeastern part of the county, it borders the following townships:...

, Delaware County, Ohio
Delaware County, Ohio
Delaware County is a fast-growing suburban county in the state of Ohio, United States, within the Columbus, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the United States Census Bureau's 2004 population estimates, Delaware County's population of 142,503 made it the fastest growing county in...

, the second of five sons of Crandall Rosecrans and Jemima Hopkins. (The first child, Chauncey, died in infancy.) Crandall was a veteran of the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, in which he served as adjutant
Adjutant
Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO , normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.An Adjutant...

 to General William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

 and then subsequently ran a tavern and store as well as a family farm. One of Crandall's heroes, General John Stark
John Stark
John Stark was a New Hampshire native who served as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He became widely known as the "Hero of Bennington" for his exemplary service at the Battle of Bennington in 1777.-Early life:John Stark was born in Londonderry, New...

, was the inspiration for William's middle name. Rosecrans descended from Harmon Henrik Rosenkrantz, who arrived in New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam was a 17th-century Dutch colonial settlement that served as the capital of New Netherland. It later became New York City....

 in 1651, but the family name changed spelling during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. His mother was the former widow of Timothy Hopkins, a relative of Stephen Hopkins
Stephen Hopkins (politician)
Stephen Hopkins was an American political leader from Rhode Island who signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as the Chief Justice and Governor of the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and was a Delegate to the Colonial Congress in Albany in 1754 and to the...

, the Colonial Governor of Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 and a signer of the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

.

William had little formal education in his early years, relying heavily on reading books. At the age of 13 he left home to work as a store clerk in Utica, and later Mansfield, Ohio. Unable to afford college, Rosecrans decided to try for an appointment to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

. He interviewed with Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Alexander Harper
Alexander Harper
Alexander Harper was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.Born near Belfast, Ireland, Harper immigrated to the United States and settled in Zanesville, Ohio. He pursued preparatory studies, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1813, and commenced practice in Zanesville. He served as member of the...

, who had been reserving his appointment for his own son, but was so impressed by Rosecrans that he nominated him instead.

Despite his lack of formal education, Rosecrans excelled academically at West Point, particularly in mathematics, but also in French, drawing, and English grammar. It was at the Academy that he received his nickname, "Rosy," or more often, "Old Rosy." He graduated from West Point in 1842, fifth in his class of 56 cadets, which included notable future generals, such as 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...

, D.H. Hill, Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. Buell led Union armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh and Perryville. The nation was angry at his failure to defeat the outnumbered...

, and Earl Van Dorn
Earl Van Dorn
Earl Van Dorn was a career United States Army officer, fighting with distinction during the Mexican-American War and against several tribes of Native Americans...

. He was commissioned a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 second lieutenant in the prestigious Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

, reflecting his high academic achievement. At his graduation, he met Anna Elizabeth (or Eliza) Hegeman (1823–1883) of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and immediately fell in love. They were married on August 24, 1843. Their marriage lasted until her death on December 25, 1883. They had eight children.

Rosecrans was assigned to duty at Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe
Fort Monroe was a military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, engineering sea walls. After a year, he requested assignment as a professor at West Point, where he taught engineering and served as post commissary and quartermaster. Although West Point was a strong bastion of Episcopalianism
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

, during this assignment he converted
Religious conversion
Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert's previous religion. Changing from one denomination to another within the same religion is usually described as reaffiliation rather than conversion.People convert to a different religion for various reasons,...

 to Catholicism. He wrote about this decision to his family, who had raised him in the Methodist
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 faith, which inspired the youngest of his brothers, Sylvester Horton Rosecrans
Sylvester Horton Rosecrans
Sylvester Horton Rosecrans was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Columbus from 1868 until his death in 1878.-Biography:...

, to convert as well. Sylvester would become the first bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus
Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus is a Roman Catholic diocese in the Ecclesiastical Province of Cincinnati covering 23 counties in Ohio. The episcopal see of the diocese is situated at Columbus, Ohio. The diocese was erected on March 3, 1868 by Pope Pius IX out of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati...

.

Although most of the officers in his graduating class fought in the Mexican-American War, the War Department
United States Department of War
The United States Department of War, also called the War Department , was the United States Cabinet department originally responsible for the operation and maintenance of the United States Army...

 retained Rosecrans at West Point. From 1847 through 1853 he served on engineering assignments in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

, Bedford, Massachusetts
Bedford, Massachusetts
Bedford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is within the Greater Boston area, north-west of the city of Boston. The population of Bedford was 13,320 at the 2010 census.- History :...

, and (on temporary assignment to the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

) at the Washington Navy Yard
Washington Navy Yard
The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Southeast Washington, D.C. It is the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy...

. During this period, Rosecrans sought several civilian jobs as an alternative way to support his growing family, now with four children. He applied for a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute
The Virginia Military Institute , located in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state-supported military college and one of six senior military colleges in the United States. Unlike any other military college in the United States—and in keeping with its founding principles—all VMI students are...

 in 1851, losing the position to fellow West Pointer Thomas J. Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

.

Rosecrans suffered a period of failing health and resigned from the Army in 1854, moving into civil fields. He took over a mining business in Western Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 (today West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

) and ran it extremely successfully. He designed and installed one of the first complete lock and dam systems in Western Virginia on the Coal River
Coal River (West Virginia)
The Coal River is a tributary of the Kanawha River in southern West Virginia. It is formed near the community of Alum Creek by the confluence of the Big and Little Coal Rivers, and flows generally northward through western Kanawha County, past the community of Upper Falls and into the Kanawha...

; today recognized as the Coal River Locks, Dams, and Log Booms Archeological District
Coal River Locks, Dams, and Log Booms Archeological District
Coal River Locks, Dams, and Log Booms Archeological District is a national historic district and historic archaeological site located on the Coal River in Boone, Lincoln, and Kanawha County, West Virginia. It consists of an underwater resource depicting the navigation and transportation system used...

. In Cincinnati, he and two partners built one of the first oil refineries west of the Allegheny Mountains
Allegheny Mountains
The Allegheny Mountain Range , also spelled Alleghany, Allegany and, informally, the Alleghenies, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range of the eastern United States and Canada...

. He obtaining patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s for many inventions, including the first kerosene lamp successfully to burn a round wick, and a more effective method of manufacturing soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

. While Rosecrans was president of the Preston Coal Oil Company, in 1859, he was burned severely when an experimental "safety" oil lamp exploded, setting the refinery on fire. It took him 18 months to recover, and the resulting facial scars gave him the appearance of having a perpetual smirk. As he concluded recovering from those burns, the Civil War began.

Civil War


Just days after Fort Sumter
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

 surrendered, Rosecrans offered his services to Ohio Governor William Dennison, who assigned him as a volunteer aide-de-camp to 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...

 George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

, the general commanding all Ohio volunteer forces at the beginning of the war. Promoted to the rank of colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

, Rosecrans briefly commanded the 23rd Ohio Infantry
23rd Ohio Infantry
The 23rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during much of the American Civil War. It served in the Eastern Theater in a variety of campaigns and battles, and is remembered with a stone memorial on the Antietam National Battlefield not far from Burnside's...

 regiment, whose members included Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th President of the United States . As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction and the United States' entry into the Second Industrial Revolution...

 and William McKinley
William McKinley
William McKinley, Jr. was the 25th President of the United States . He is best known for winning fiercely fought elections, while supporting the gold standard and high tariffs; he succeeded in forging a Republican coalition that for the most part dominated national politics until the 1930s...

, both future presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

. He was promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 in the regular army, ranking from May 16, 1861.
His plans and decisions proved extremely effective in the West Virginia Campaign. His victories at Rich Mountain
Battle of Rich Mountain
The Battle of Rich Mountain took place on July 11, 1861, in Randolph County, Virginia as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War.-Background:...

 and Corrick's Ford
Battle of Corrick's Ford
The Battle of Corrick's Ford took place on July 13, 1861, on the Cheat River in western Virginia as part of the Operations in Western Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War. By later standards the battle was a minor skirmish...

 in July 1861 were among the very first Union victories of the war, but his superior, Maj. Gen. McClellan, received the credit. Rosecrans then prevented, by "much maneuvering but little fighting," Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd
John B. Floyd
John Buchanan Floyd was the 31st Governor of Virginia, U.S. Secretary of War, and the Confederate general in the American Civil War who lost the crucial Battle of Fort Donelson.-Early life:...

 and his superior, Gen. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, from recapturing the area that became the state of West Virginia. When McClellan was summoned to Washington
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 after the defeat suffered by Federal forces at the First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run
First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas , was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, near the City of Manassas...

, General-in-Chief Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

 suggested that McClellan turn over the West Virginia command to Rosecrans. McClellan agreed and Rosecrans assumed command of what was to become the Department of Western Virginia.

In late 1861 Rosecrans planned for a winter campaign that would capture the strategic town of Winchester, Virginia
Winchester, Virginia
Winchester is an independent city located in the northwestern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the USA. The city's population was 26,203 according to the 2010 Census...

, turning the Confederate flank at Manassas
Manassas, Virginia
The City of Manassas is an independent city surrounded by Prince William County and the independent city of Manassas Park in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Its population was 37,821 as of 2010. Manassas also surrounds the county seat for Prince William County but that county...

, and he traveled to Washington to obtain McClellan's approval. McClellan disapproved, however, telling Rosecrans that putting 20,000 Union men into Winchester would be countered by Confederates moving an equal number into the vicinity. He also transferred 20,000 of Rosecrans's 22,000 men to serve under Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Lander
Frederick W. Lander
Frederick West Lander was a transcontinental United States explorer, general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and a prolific poet.-Birth and early years:...

, leaving Rosecrans with insufficient resources to do any campaigning. In March 1862 Rosecrans's department was converted to the Mountain Department, which was given to political general John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

, leaving Rosecrans without a command. He served briefly in Washington, where his opinions clashed with newly appointed Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin McMasters Stanton was an American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln Administration during the American Civil War from 1862–1865...

 on tactics and Union command organization for the Shenandoah Valley campaign against Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

, and Stanton became one of Rosecrans's most vocal critics. One of Stanton's assignments for Rosecrans was to act as a guide for Brig. Gen. Louis Blenker
Louis Blenker
Louis Blenker was a German and American soldier.-Life in Germany:He was born at Worms, Germany. After being trained as a goldsmith by an uncle in Kreuznach, he was sent to a polytechnical school in Munich. Against his family's wishes, he enlisted in an Uhlan regiment which accompanied Otto to...

's division (Frémont's department) in the Valley, and Rosecrans became intimately involved in the political and command confusion in the campaign against Jackson in the Valley.

Western Theater


Rosecrans was transferred in May 1862 to the Western Theater
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:...

 and received the command of two divisions (the Right Wing) of Maj. Gen. John Pope's
John Pope (military officer)
John Pope was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He had a brief but successful career in the Western Theater, but he is best known for his defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the East.Pope was a graduate of the United States Military Academy in...

 Army of the Mississippi
Army of the Mississippi
Army of the Mississippi was the name given to two Union armies that operated around the Mississippi River, both with short existences, during the American Civil War.-1862:...

. He took an active part in the siege of Corinth
Siege of Corinth
The Siege of Corinth was an American Civil War battle fought from April 29 to May 30, 1862, in Corinth, Mississippi.-Background:...

 under Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck. He received command of the entire army on June 26, and in July added the responsibility of commanding the District of Corinth. In these roles, he was the subordinate of Maj. Gen. 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...

, who commanded the District of Western Tennessee and 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....

, from whom he received direction in the Iuka-Corinth campaign in September and October 1862.

Iuka



Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price
Sterling Price
Sterling Price was a lawyer, planter, and politician from the U.S. state of Missouri, who served as the 11th Governor of the state from 1853 to 1857. He also served as a United States Army brigadier general during the Mexican-American War, and a Confederate Army major general in the American Civil...

 had been ordered 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...

 to move his army from Tupelo
Tupelo, Mississippi
Tupelo is the largest city in and the county seat of Lee County, Mississippi, United States. It is the seventh largest city in the state of Mississippi, smaller than Meridian, and larger than Greenville. As of the 2000 United States Census, the city's population was 34,211...

 toward Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, in conjunction with Bragg's Kentucky offensive. Price's army settled in Iuka and awaited the arrival of Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn
Earl Van Dorn
Earl Van Dorn was a career United States Army officer, fighting with distinction during the Mexican-American War and against several tribes of Native Americans...

's army. The two generals intended to unite and attack Grant's lines of communication in western Tennessee, which would prevent Buell's reinforcement if Grant reacted the way they expected, or might allow them to follow Bragg and support his Northern invasion if Grant acted more passively.

Grant did not wait to be attacked, approving a plan proposed by Rosecrans to converge on Price with two columns before Van Dorn could reinforce him. Grant sent Brig. Gen. Edward Ord
Edward Ord
Edward Otho Cresap Ord was the designer of Fort Sam Houston, and a United States Army officer who saw action in the Seminole War, the Indian Wars, and the American Civil War. He commanded an army during the final days of the Civil War, and was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Confederate...

 with three Army of the Tennessee divisions (about 8,000 men) along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad to move upon Iuka from the northwest. Rosecrans's army would march in concert along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, swinging into Iuka from the southwest, closing the escape route for Price's army. Grant moved with Ord's headquarters and had little tactical control over Rosecrans during the battle.

While Ord advanced toward Iuka on the night of September 18, Rosecrans was late, having farther to march over roads mired in mud; furthermore, one of his divisions took a wrong turn and had to countermarch to the correct road. That night he notified Grant that he was 20 miles away, but planned to start marching again at 4:30 a.m. and should reach Iuka by midafternoon on September 19. Considering this delay, Grant ordered Ord to move within 4 miles of the town, but to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates. Rosecrans's army marched early on September 19, but instead of using two roads as originally planned, it followed only one of them. Rosecrans was concerned that if he used both roads, the halves of his divided force could not realistically support each other if the Confederates attacked.
Rosecrans was within two miles (3 km) of the town on September 19, pushing back Confederate pickets, when his lead element was struck suddenly by a Confederate division. Fighting, which Price later stated he had "never seen surpassed," continued from 4:30 p.m. until after dark. A fresh north wind, blowing from Ord's position in the direction of Iuka, caused an acoustic shadow
Acoustic Shadow
An acoustic shadow is an area through which sound waves fail to propagate, due to topographical obstructions or disruption of the waves via phenomena such as wind currents. A gobo refers to a movable acoustic isolation panel and that makes an acoustic shadow. As one website refers to it, "an...

 that prevented the sound of the guns from reaching him, and he and Grant knew nothing of the engagement until after it was over. Ord's troops stood idly while the fighting raged only a few miles away.

During the night both Rosecrans and Ord deployed their forces in the expectation of a renewal of the engagement at daylight, but the Confederate forces had withdrawn. Price had been planning this move since September 18 and Rosecrans's attack merely delayed his departure. The Confederates used the road that the Union army had not blocked, meeting up with Van Dorn's army five days later. Rosecrans's cavalry and some infantry pursued Price for 15 miles, but owing to the exhausted condition of his troops, his column was outrun and he gave up the pursuit. Grant had partially accomplished his objective—Price was not able to link up with Bragg in Kentucky, but Rosecrans had not been able to destroy the Confederate army or prevent it from linking up with Van Dorn and threatening the critical railroad junction at Corinth.

The Battle of Iuka marked the beginning of a long professional enmity between Rosecrans and Grant. The Northern press gave accounts very favorable to Rosecrans at Grant's expense. Some rumors circulated that the reason Ord's column did not attack in conjunction with Rosecrans was not that the battle was inaudible, but that Grant was drunk and incompetent. Grant's first report of the battle was highly complimentary to Rosecrans, but his second, written after Rosecrans had published his own report, took a markedly negative turn. His third statement was in his Personal Memoir, where he wrote "I was disappointed at the result of the battle of Iuka—but I had so high an opinion of General Rosecrans but I found no fault at the time."

Corinth



Price's army joined Van Dorn on September 28. Van Dorn was the senior officer and took command of the combined force. Grant became certain that Corinth was their next target. The Confederates hoped to seize Corinth from an unexpected direction, isolating Rosecrans from reinforcements, and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. Grant sent word to Rosecrans to be prepared for an attack, but despite the warning from Grant, Rosecrans was not convinced that Corinth was necessarily the target of Van Dorn's advance. He believed that the Confederate commander would not be foolhardy enough to attack the fortified town and might well instead choose to strike the mobile and Ohio railroad and maneuver the Federals out of their position.

On the morning of October 3, three of Rosecrans's divisions advanced into old Confederate rifle pits north and northwest of town. Van Dorn began his assault at 10 a.m. as a planned double envelopment, in which he would open the fight on Rosecrans's left, in the hope that Rosecrans would weaken his right to reinforce his left, at which time Price would make the main assault against the Federal right and enter the works. The Confederates forced their way through a temporary gap in the line about 1:30 p.m., and the whole Union line fell back to within half a mile of the redoubts.

So far the advantage had been with the Confederates. Rosecrans had been driven back at all points, and night found his entire army except pickets inside the redoubts. Both sides had been exhausted from the fighting. The weather had been hot (high of 94°F) and water was scarce, causing many men to nearly faint from their exertions. Rosecrans's biographer, William M. Lamers, reported that Rosecrans was confident at the end of the first day of battle, saying "We've got them where we want them" and that some of the general's associates claimed that he was in "magnificent humor." Peter Cozzens, however, suggested that Rosecrans was "tired and bewildered, certain only he was badly outnumbered—at least three to one by his reckoning." Army of the Tennessee historian Steven E. Woodworth portrayed Rosecrans's conduct in a negative light:
On the second day of battle, the Confederates moved forward at 9 a.m. to meet heavy Union artillery fire, storming Battery Powell and Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting occurred. A brief incursion into the town of Corinth was repulsed. After a Federal counterattack recaptured Battery Powell, Van Dorn ordered a general retreat. At 4 p.m., reinforcements from Grant under the command of Brig. Gen. James B. McPherson
James B. McPherson
James Birdseye McPherson was a career United States Army officer who served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

 arrived from Jackson. But the battle of Corinth had effectively been over since 1 p.m. and the Confederates were in full retreat.
Once again, Rosecrans's performance during the second day of the battle has been the subject of dispute among historians. His biographer, Lamers, paints a romantic picture:
Peter Cozzens, author of a recent book-length study of Iuka and Corinth, came to the opposite conclusion:
Rosecrans's performance immediately after the battle was lackluster. Grant had given him specific orders to pursue Van Dorn without delay, but he did not begin his march until the morning of October 5, explaining that his troops needed rest and the thicketed country made progress difficult by day and impossible by night. At 1 p.m. on October 4, when pursuit would have been most effective, Rosecrans rode along his line to deny in person a rumor that he had been slain. At Battery Robinett he dismounted, bared his head, and told his soldiers, "I stand in the presence of brave men, and I take my hat off to you."

Army of the Cumberland



Rosecrans once again found that he was a hero in the Northern press. On October 24 he was given command of the XIV Corps (which, because he was also given command of the Department of the Cumberland, would soon be renamed 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:...

), replacing the ineffectual Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. Buell led Union armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh and Perryville. The nation was angry at his failure to defeat the outnumbered...

, who had just fought the inconclusive Battle of Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, against 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...

, but was accused of moving too cautiously. Rosecrans was promoted to the rank of major general (of volunteers, as opposed to his brigadier rank in the regular army). The promotion was applied retroactively from March 21, 1862, so that he would outrank fellow Maj. Gen. Thomas; Thomas had earlier been offered Buell's command, but turned down the opportunity out of a sense of personal loyalty. Grant was not unhappy that Rosecrans was leaving his command.

In his role as an army commander, Rosecrans became one of the most well-liked generals in the Union Army. He was known to his men as "Old Rosy", not only because of his last name (the source for that nickname at West Point), but because of his large red nose, which was described as "intensified Roman". As a devout Catholic, he carried a crucifix on his watch chain and a rosary in his pocket, and he delighted in keeping his staff up half the night debating religious doctrine. He could swing swiftly from bristling anger to good-natured amusement, which endeared him to his men.

Stones River




Rosecrans's predecessor, Buell, had been relieved because of his desultory pursuit of Confederate General 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...

 following the Battle of Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

. And yet Rosecrans displayed similar caution, remaining in Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 while he reprovisioned his army and improved the training of his cavalry forces. By early December 1862, General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck had lost his patience. He wrote to Rosecrans, "If you remain one more week in Nashville, I cannot prevent your removal." Rosecrans replied, "I need no other stimulus to make me do my duty than the knowledge of what it is. To threats of removal or the like I must be permitted to say that I am insensible."
In late December, Rosecrans began his march against 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...

, encamped outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Murfreesboro is a city in and the county seat of Rutherford County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 108,755 according to the United States Census Bureau's 2010 U.S. Census, up from 68,816 residents certified during the 2000 census. The center of population of Tennessee is located in...

. The Battle of Stones River
Battle of Stones River
The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro , was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War...

 was the bloodiest battle of the war, in terms of percentages of casualties. Both Rosecrans and Bragg planned to attack the other's right flank, but Bragg moved first, early in the morning of December 31, driving the Union army back into a small defensive perimeter. As he realized the severity of the surprise attack, Rosecrans demonstrated the nervous hyperactivity for which he was known in battle. He personally rallied his men along the line, and gave direct orders to any brigades, regiments, or companies he encountered. Disregarding his own safety, he rode back and forth at the very front of his line and sometimes between his men and the enemy. As Rosecrans raced across the battlefield directing units, seeming ubiquitous to his men, his uniform was covered with blood from his friend and chief of staff, Col. Julius Garesché, beheaded by a cannonball while riding alongside.

The armies paused on January 1, but the following day Bragg attacked again, this time against a strong position on Rosecrans's left flank. The Union defense was formidable and the attack was repulsed with heavy losses. Bragg withdrew his army to Tullahoma
Tullahoma, Tennessee
-Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 18,655 people, 7,717 households, and 5,161 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 88.1% White, 7.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races...

, effectively ceding control of Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee is a distinct portion of the state of Tennessee, delineated according to state law as the 41 counties in the Middle Grand Division of Tennessee....

 to the Union. The battle was important to Union morale following its defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg
Battle of Fredericksburg
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside...

 a few weeks earlier, and President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 wrote to Rosecrans: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over."

Tullahoma



Rosecrans's XIV Corps was soon redesignated 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:...

, which he kept in place occupying Murfreesboro for almost six months, spending the time resupplying and training, but also because he was reluctant to advance on the muddy winter roads. He received numerous entreaties from President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton, and General-in-Chief Halleck to resume campaigning against Bragg, but rebuffed them through the winter and spring. A primary concern of the government was that if Rosecrans continued to sit idly, the Confederates might move units from Bragg's army in an attempt to relieve the pressure that Union Maj. Gen. 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...

 was applying to 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,...

. Lincoln wrote to Rosecrans, "I would not push you to any rashness, but I am very anxious that you do your utmost, short of rashness, to keep Bragg from getting lost to help Johnston against Grant." Rosecrans offered an excuse that if he started to move against Bragg, Bragg would likely relocate his entire army to Mississippi and threaten Grant's Vicksburg Campaign
Vicksburg Campaign
The Vicksburg Campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. The Union Army of the Tennessee under Maj. Gen....

 even more; thus, by not attacking Bragg, he was helping Grant. Frustration with Rosecrans's excuses led Halleck to threaten to relieve him if he did not move, but in the end he merely protested "against the expense to which [Rosecrans] put the government for telegrams."

On June 2, Halleck telegraphed that if Rosecrans was unwilling to move, some of his troops would be sent to Mississippi to reinforce Grant. Rosecrans sent a questionnaire to his corps and division commanders in the hopes of documenting support for his position—that Bragg had so far detached no significant forces to Mississippi, that advancing the Army of the Cumberland would do nothing to prevent any such transfer, and that any immediate advance was not a good idea. Fifteen of the seventeen senior generals supported most of Rosecrans's positions and the counsel against advancing was unanimous. The only dissenter was the newly assigned chief of staff, Brig. Gen. James A. Garfield, who recommended an immediate advance, but historian Steven E. Woodworth opines that he may have been "most concerned with the [political] impression his statement would make in Washington." On June 16, Halleck wired a blunt message: "Is it your intention to make an immediate movement forward? A definite answer, yes or no, is required." Rosecrans responded to this ultimatum: "If immediate means tonight or tomorrow, no. If it means as soon as all things are ready, say five days, yes." Seven days later, early in the morning of June 24, Rosecrans reported that the Army of the Cumberland began to move against Bragg.

The Tullahoma Campaign
Tullahoma Campaign
The Tullahoma Campaign or Middle Tennessee Campaign was fought between June 24 and July 3, 1863, during the American Civil War. The Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. William S...

 (June 24 – July 3, 1863) was characterized by flawless maneuvers and very low casualties, as Rosecrans forced Bragg to retreat back to Chattanooga
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...

. Tullahoma is considered a "brilliant" campaign by many historians. Abraham Lincoln wrote, "The flanking of Bragg at Shelbyville, Tullahoma and Chattanooga is the most splendid piece of strategy I know of." Union Cavalry Corps commander David S. Stanley
David S. Stanley
David Sloane Stanley was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War and a recipient of America's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Battle of Franklin.-Early life:...

 wrote, "If any student of the military art desires to make a study of a model campaign, let him take his maps and General Rosecrans's orders for the daily movements of his campaign. No better example of successful strategy was carried out during the war than in the Tullahoma campaign."

Rosecrans did not receive all of the public acclaim his campaign might have under different circumstances. The day it ended was the day Gen. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 launched the ill-fated Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander,...

 and lost the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

. The following day, Vicksburg surrendered to Grant. Secretary Stanton telegraphed Rosecrans, "Lee's Army overthrown; Grant victorious. You and your noble army now have a chance to give the finishing blow to the rebellion. Will you neglect the chance?" Rosecrans was infuriated by this attitude and responded, "Just received your cheering telegram announcing the fall of Vicksburg and confirming the defeat of Lee. You do not appear to observe the fact that this noble army has driven the rebels from middle Tennessee. ... I beg in behalf of this army that the War Department may not overlook so great an event because it is not written in letters of blood."

Chickamauga



Rosecrans did not immediately pursue Bragg and "give the finishing blow to the rebellion" as Stanton had urged. He paused to regroup and study the logistically difficult choices of pursuit into the mountainous regions to the west and south of Chattanooga. When he was ready to move, he once again maneuvered in a way to disadvantage Bragg. The Confederates abandoned Chattanooga and withdrew into the mountains of northwestern Georgia. Rosecrans threw aside his previous caution under the assumption that Bragg would continue to retreat and began to pursue with his army over three routes that left his corps commanders dangerously far apart. At the Battle of Davis's Cross Roads on September 11, Bragg came close to ambushing and destroying one of Rosecrans's isolated corps. Realizing the threat at last, Rosecrans issued urgent orders to concentrate his army and the two opponents faced each other across West Chickamauga Creek.
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...

 began on September 19 with Bragg attacking the not fully concentrated Union army, but he was unable to break through Rosecrans's defensive positions. On the second day of battle, however, disaster befell Rosecrans in the form of his poorly worded order in response to a poorly understood situation. The order was directed to 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:...

, "to close up and support [General Joseph J.] Reynolds
Joseph J. Reynolds
Joseph Jones Reynolds was an American engineer, educator, and military officer who fought in the American Civil War and the postbellum Indian Wars.-Early life and career:Reynolds was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky...

's [division]," planning to fill an assumed gap in the line. However, Wood's subsequent movement actually opened up a new, division-sized gap in the line. By coincidence, a massive assault 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...

 had been planned to strike that very area and the Confederates exploited the gap to full effect, shattering Rosecrans's right flank.
The majority of units on the Union right fell back in disorder toward Chattanooga. Rosecrans, Garfield, and two of the corps commanders, although attempting to rally retreating units, soon joined them in the rush to safety. Rosecrans decided to proceed in haste to Chattanooga in order to organize his returning men and the city defenses. He sent Garfield to Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas with orders to take command of the forces remaining at Chickamauga and withdraw.

The Union army managed to escape complete disaster because of the stout defense organized by Thomas on Horseshoe Ridge, heroism that earned him the nickname "Rock of Chickamauga." The army withdrew that night to fortified positions in Chattanooga. Bragg had not succeeded in his objective to destroy the Army of the Cumberland, but the Battle of Chickamauga was nonetheless the worst Union defeat in the Western Theater. Thomas urged Rosecrans to rejoin the army and lead it, but Rosecrans, physically exhausted and psychologically a beaten man, remained in Chattanooga. President Lincoln attempted to prop up the morale of his general, telegraphing "Be of good cheer. ... We have unabated confidence in you and your soldiers and officers. In the main, you must be the judge as to what is to be done. If I was to suggest, I would say save your army by taking strong positions until Burnside joins you." Privately, Lincoln told John Hay
John Hay
John Milton Hay was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.-Early life:...

 that Rosecrans seemed "confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head."
Although Rosecrans's men were protected by strong defensive positions, the supply lines into Chattanooga were tenuous and subject to Confederate cavalry raids. Bragg's army occupied the heights surrounding the city and laid siege upon the Union forces. Rosecrans, demoralized by his defeat, proved unable to break the siege without reinforcements. Only hours after the defeat at Chickamauga, Secretary Stanton ordered 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...

 to travel to Chattanooga 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. Maj. Gen. 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...

 was ordered to send 20,000 men under his chief subordinate Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, 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 September 29, Stanton ordered Grant to go to Chattanooga himself, as commander of the newly created 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:...

. Grant was given the option of replacing the demoralized Rosecrans with Thomas. Although Grant did not have good personal relations with either general, he selected Thomas to command the Army of the Cumberland. Grant traveled over the treacherous mountain supply line roads and arrived in Chattanooga on October 23. On his journey he encountered Rosecrans in Stevenson, Alabama, and received a briefing on the state of the Chattanooga forces, but gave no hint to Rosecrans that he had made the decision to relieve him. Grant executed a plan originally devised by Rosecrans and Brig. Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith
William Farrar Smith
William Farrar Smith , was a civil engineer, a member of the New York City police commission, and Union general in the American Civil War.-Early life:...

 to open the "Cracker Line" and resupply the army and, in a series of battles for Chattanooga (November 23–25, 1863), routed Bragg's army and sent it retreating into Georgia.

Missouri and resignation


Rosecrans was sent to Cincinnati to await further orders, but ultimately he would play no further large part in the fighting. He was given command of the Department of Missouri from January to December 1864, where he was active in opposing Sterling Price
Sterling Price
Sterling Price was a lawyer, planter, and politician from the U.S. state of Missouri, who served as the 11th Governor of the state from 1853 to 1857. He also served as a United States Army brigadier general during the Mexican-American War, and a Confederate Army major general in the American Civil...

's Missouri raid
Price's Raid
Price's Missouri Expedition, also known as Price's Raid, was an 1864 Confederate cavalry raid through the states of Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. While Confederate Major General Sterling Price enjoyed some successes during this campaign, he was decisively beaten at the Battle...

. During the 1864 Republican National Convention
1864 Republican National Convention
The 1864 Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, took place from June 7 to June 8, 1864 in Baltimore, Maryland....

, his former chief of staff, James Garfield
James Garfield
James Abram Garfield served as the 20th President of the United States, after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Garfield's accomplishments as President included a controversial resurgence of Presidential authority above Senatorial courtesy in executive...

, head of the Ohio delegation, telegraphed Rosecrans to ask if he would consider running to be Abraham Lincoln's vice president. The Republicans that year were seeking a War Democrat to run with Lincoln under the temporary name of "National Union Party." Rosecrans replied in a cryptically positive manner, but Garfield never received the return telegram. Friends of Rosecrans speculated that Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin McMasters Stanton was an American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln Administration during the American Civil War from 1862–1865...

, Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, intercepted and suppressed it.

On March 13, 1865, Rosecrans was given a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 promotion to major general in the regular army in gratitude for his actions at Stones River. He was mustered out of the U.S. volunteer service on January 15, 1866, and resigned from the regular army on March 28, 1867. On February 27, 1889, by act of Congress he was re-appointed a brigadier general in the regular army and was placed on the retired list on March 1, 1889.

Postbellum career


After the war, Rosecrans became interested in railroads and was one of the eleven incorporators of the Southern Pacific Railroad, but his valuable interests in the stock of the railroad were lost to some of the unscrupulous financiers who were his business partners. From 1868 to 1869, Rosecrans served as U.S. Minister to Mexico
United States Ambassador to Mexico
The United States has maintained diplomatic relations with Mexico since 1823, when Andrew Jackson was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to that country. Jackson declined the appointment, however, and Joel R. Poinsett became the first U.S. envoy to Mexico in 1825. The rank...

, but was replaced after just five months when his old nemesis, Ulysses Grant, became president. During this brief service, he became convinced that Mexico would benefit from a narrow-gauge railway and telegraph line from Tampico to the coast, but this venture, from 1869 through 1873, was a failure.

Rosecrans then became interested in civil administration and wrote a book, Popular Government, with a former newspaperman, Josiah Riley, which advocated registration and voting reforms. He was approached by various political parties to run for high office: governor of Ohio (Union party
National Union Party (United States)
The National Union Party was the name used by the Republican Party for the national ticket in the 1864 presidential election, held during the Civil War. State Republican parties did not usually change their name....

, 1866); governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 (Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, 1868); governor of Ohio (Democratic Party, 1869); congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Nevada (Democratic Party, 1876). He refused all of these offers because they conflicted with potentially promising business ventures, leading him to be referred to by the nickname "The Great Decliner."

In 1869, Rosecrans bought 16000 acres (64.7 km²) of Rancho San Pedro
Rancho San Pedro
Rancho San Pedro was one of the first California land grants, and the first to win a patent from the United States. The land grant was validated by the Mexican government at in 1828, and a US patent validating was issued in 1858...

 in the Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 basin for $2.50 per acre ($620/km²), a low price possibly because the land was deemed worthless for lack of a spring for water. The ranch, dubbed "Rosecrans Rancho", was bordered by what later was Florence Avenue
Florence Avenue
Florence Avenue is a west-east street in Los Angeles County that starts off as Mills Road at Janine Drive in Whittier. At Telegraph Road, it changes to Florence...

 on the north, Redondo Beach Boulevard on the south, Central Avenue
Central Avenue (Los Angeles)
Central Avenue is a major north-south thoroughfare in the central portion of the Los Angeles, California metropolitan area. Located just to the west of the Alameda Corridor, it runs from the eastern end of the Los Angeles Civic Center south, ending at Del Amo Boulevard in Carson...

 on the east, and Arlington Avenue on the west. By the time of Rosecrans's death, his son Carl was living on the estate, but most of the land had been sold parcel by parcel to support the financial needs of mining ventures in which Rosecrans invested.

Rosecrans was elected as a Democratic congressman
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 from California's 1st congressional district
California's 1st congressional district
California's 1st congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of California and presently consists of the northern coastline and includes Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties and parts of Sonoma and Yolo counties.The district is currently...

, serving from 1881 to 1885. This was the same election
United States presidential election, 1880
The United States presidential election of 1880 was largely seen as a referendum on the end of Reconstruction in Southern states carried out by the Republicans. There were no pressing issues of the day save tariffs, with the Republicans supporting higher tariffs and the Democrats supporting lower...

 in which James Garfield was elected the president as a Republican and Rosecrans was distressed to see that Garfield's campaign literature played up his role in the war at Rosecrans's expense. Their former friendship was irretrievably broken. After Garfield's assassination, Charles A. Dana capitalized on the tragedy by publishing letters from Garfield to former treasury secretary
United States Secretary of the Treasury
The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with financial and monetary matters, and, until 2003, also with some issues of national security and defense. This position in the Federal Government of the United...

 Salmon P. Chase
Salmon P. Chase
Salmon Portland Chase was an American politician and jurist who served as U.S. Senator from Ohio and the 23rd Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as the sixth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.Chase was one of the most prominent members...

, which may have been the major factor in Rosecrans's loss of political support after Chickamauga.

Rosecrans was reelected in 1882 and became the chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee
United States House Committee on Armed Services
thumb|United States House Committee on Armed Services emblemThe U.S. House Committee on Armed Services, commonly known as the House Armed Services Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives...

, a position in which he publicly opposed a bill that would provide a pension to former Pres. Grant and his wife. Unaware of the serious financial condition that Grant's family was enduring, Rosecrans objected that some of Grant's official statements "were false, and which he knew to be false at the time he made them, and which I have shown in my official reports to be false. I cannot say to the people of this country that a business which has been conducted as to rob poor people of millions, and which, if done on a smaller scale would have sent its managers to prison, shall be considered as important when the principal manager has allowed a great name to be used as the instrument of the robbery." The bill was passed over his objections. When a bill was introduced in 1889 to restore Rosecrans's rank and place him on the retired list, a number of congressmen objected, based on Rosecrans's actions against Grant in 1885, but the bill was passed.

Although Rosecrans was mentioned on a few occasions as a possible presidential candidate, the first Democratic president elected after the war was Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

 in 1884 and newspaper stories circulated that Rosecrans was under serious consideration to be appointed his Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

, but he was appointed instead as the Register of the Treasury
Register of the Treasury
The Register of the Treasury was an office of the United States Treasury Department. In 1919, the Register became the Public Debt Service which, in 1940, became the Bureau of the Public Debt....

, serving from 1885 to 1893.
Rosecrans died at Rancho Sausal Redondo
Rancho Sausal Redondo
Rancho Sausal Redondo was a Mexican land grant in present day Los Angeles County, California given in 1837 to Antonio Ygnacio Avila by Juan Alvarado Governor of Alta California. The Spanish words, Rancho Sausal Redondo, mean a large circular ranch of pasture with a grove of willows on it...

, Redondo Beach, California
Redondo Beach, California
Redondo Beach is one of the three Beach Cities located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 66,748 at the 2010 census, up from 63,261 at the 2000 census. The city is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area.Redondo Beach was originally part of...

. He had suffered in February 1898 from a cold that turned into pneumonia. Although he appeared to recover successfully, upon hearing the news that one of his favorite grandchildren (the son of Lily and Joseph Porter Toole—the son of the first governor of Wyoming) had died of diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

, he was seized with grief and his health failed precipitously. His body lay in state in Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall, completed 1928, is the center of the government of the city of Los Angeles, California, and houses the mayor's office and the meeting chambers and offices of the Los Angeles City Council...

, his casket decorated by the headquarters flag that flew over Stones River and Chickamauga. In 1908 his remains were interred in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

.

In memoriam


Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is situated in the city of San Diego, California, on the Fort Rosecrans Military Reservation. The cemetery is located approximately 10 miles west of downtown San Diego, overlooking the bay and the city...

, in San Diego, California
San Diego, California
San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest city in California. The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, immediately adjacent to the Mexican border. The birthplace of California, San Diego is known for its mild year-round...

, is named in his honor. Major streets named after William Rosecrans include Rosecrans Avenue
Rosecrans Avenue
Rosecrans Avenue is a major west-east thoroughfare in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California, USA. It has a total length of 27.5 miles . The street is named after Union General William S. Rosecrans, who spent his later years in Southern California.-Route:Rosecrans Avenue begins at Ocean...

, a major east-west street that runs through the southern part of Los Angeles County, and Rosecrans Street
California State Route 209
State Route 209 was a state highway in the U.S. state of California, connecting Point Loma with the interchange of I-5 and I-8 in San Diego.-Route description:...

 in San Diego, which runs near the aforementioned cemetery. A simple memorial was constructed on the site of his birthplace and childhood home. Just north of Sunbury, Ohio
Sunbury, Ohio
Sunbury is a village in Delaware County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,389 at the 2010 census. The village is centered around a New England-styled traditional town square with the historic village hall located in the center of a village green...

, a large boulder surrounded by a wrought iron fence holds a plaque in memoriam and rests beside a rural road that bears his name. Fundraising is in progress for a more elaborate memorial, with the goal stated to be an equestrian statue for the highest ranking Union general to not have such an honor.

See also


  • List of American Civil War generals

External links



Retrieved on 2008-02-11