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21 Readings About the Great Battles of the Civil War #11--Battle of Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain

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Battle of Lookout Mountain


Battle of Chattanooga

       The North won three of the most important battles of the Civil War in 1863. Two of these Union victories occurred in early July in Gettysburg, Pa., and, after a long siege, in Vicksburg, Miss. In the fall the third crucial engagement was staged in the area around Chattanooga, Tenn.

        The campaign began on Sept. 19, 1863. General Rosecrans' Union army at Chickamauga, Ga., was routed by General Bragg's Confederates. Rosecrans fell back to Chattanooga. Bragg occupied Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. Confederate troops then cut off the Union army from its supply base at Bridgeport, Ala., downstream on the Tennessee River.

        To aid the trapped Federals the government sent reinforcements to Chattanooga--General Sherman with an army from Vicksburg and General Hooker with 15,000 men from Virginia. General Grant was put in supreme command. He immediately replaced Rosecrans with Gen. George H. Thomas.

        On October 27 and 28 Grant's command cleared the Tennessee River of Confederates west of Lookout Mountain. This reopened the road to Bridgeport. East of the city Union troops seized Orchard Knob on November 23. The next day Grant sent Hooker to attack Lookout Mountain. This seemed foolhardy because the mountain sides were steep and choked with vegetation. In addition, a thick fog had gathered, giving the conflict the name "battle above the clouds."

         Hooker attacked vigorously. He had about 9,000 men against a defending force of less than 2,000. By afternoon the lower slopes had been taken. Bragg then abandoned Lookout Mountain to meet a new threat on his right flank--Sherman was attacking Gen. William J. Hardee at the north end of Missionary Ridge.

         Sherman was stopped and Hooker prevented from joining in the attack on Gen. John C. Breckinridge. By the afternoon of November 25 the Union offensive had stalled completely. To help Sherman's attack from the north, Grant ordered Thomas to capture a line of rifle pits at the western foot of the ridge. Thomas' men won their objective. Then, instead of halting as ordered, they continued the attack up to the top of the ridge. The surprised Union generals could only follow, and the equally surprised Confederates on the crest broke ranks and fled. Soon Bragg's entire army was in headlong flight to the south. This victory gave the North control of the railroads centered in Chattanooga. The South now had only one east-west route--through Atlanta. During the series of battles the Union army, which consisted of some 56,000 men, suffered 5,815 casualties. The Confederates, with about 41,000 men, lost 6,687 killed, wounded, or missing.

From Wikepedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chattanooga_Campaign

Chattanooga Campaign/ Battle of Lookout Mountain

Grant and Bragg.jpg

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Braxton Bragg, commanding generals of the Chattanooga Campaign.

Date September 21 November 25, 1863
Location Chattanooga, Tennessee
Battle of Lookout Mountain
Lookout mountain.jpg

Battle of Lookout Mountain, 1889 lithograph by Kurz and Allison.


November 24, 1863


Chattanooga, Tennessee


Union victory


United StatesUnited States (Union)

Confederate States of AmericaCSA (Confederacy)

Commanders and leaders

Joseph Hooker

Carter L. Stevenson

Units involved

Military Division of the Mississippi




Casualties and losses

408 total

1,251 total
1,064 captured/missing

A Letter published in the N.Y. Times from the Battle of Chattanooga.

November 15, 1863

From a private letter to the Toledo Blade, from Lieut. GUNN, Fourteenth Ohio, the following extract is made:

It is true, they overpowered us at Chickamauga and drove us back to Chattanooga; but they did not whip us by a long ways. We gave them as good as they sent, notwithstanding they outnumbered us three to one. Their intention was to get us across the mountains and then cut off our supplies and pitch into our little army and capture it before we could get reinforcements. But in this they were foiled. Instead of capturing the Army of the Cumberland and holding Chattanooga, they lost Chattanooga and did not capture the Army of the Cumberland -- got more of their men killed than they killed of ours, and lost everything that they had thought to gain. Old ROSY's head is too long for BRAGG. On the 19th day of September the rebel army was six miles nearer Chattanooga than the Army of the Cumberland, but Gen. ROSECRANS managed to engage them on their le[???], so that they were compelled to draw reinforcements from their right to support it, when he took the advantage of them and swung his right, to the rear, and, advancing his left drove the rebels from their position so far that the little Army of the Cumberland was now between Chattanooga and the grand rebel army. Old BRAGG was cut off instead of ROSECRANS, and after two days' hard fighting the Army of the Cumberland fell back on Chattanooga. The army is now strongly fortified, and bids defiance to the Southern Confederacy combined.

Our battle flag was shot down five times during the fight. Two corporals of my company were shot down while carrying that glorious emblem of liberty. One of them was shot down three times before he would give it up. Every shot went through his body. Either of them would have proved fatal. He fell to the earth for every shot, but still rising to his feet, would wave the flag on high, and shout to his comrades to rally round it. He was the bravest man I ever saw. He lived but one short hour after he was shot. Peace to bis beloved ashes. Our flag was literally shot to pieces."

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