Among its many battles was the siege of Chattanooga. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee had pushed the Army of the Cumberland back to the city after Chickamauga, but the Union was able to break the siege eventually, which would pave the way for Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign the following year. The siege was broken with the climactic and incredible Union victory at Missionary Ridge.
After his smashing success at Vicksburg, President Lincoln put Grant in charge of the newly formed Division of the Mississippi in October 1863. Grant was in charge of the entire Union war front in the West except for Louisiana. After the Battle of Chickamauga, Confederate General Braxton Bragg had forced Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland to retreat into Chattanooga, a central railway hub, surrounded the city and kept the Union army from escaping. Only Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas and the XIV corps kept the Army of the Cumberland from complete defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga. When informed of the ominous situation at Chattanooga, Grant relieved Maj. Gen. Rosecrans from duty and placed Maj. Gen. Thomas in charge of and reorganize the besieged Army of the Cumberland. To stop the siege and go on the attack Grant, although injured from a previous horse fall in New Orleans, personally rode out to Chattanooga and took charge of the Union Army's desperate situation. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker and two divisions of the Army of the Potomac were sent by President Lincoln to reinforce the Army of the Cumberland, however, the Confederates kept the two Armies from meeting. Grant's first action was to open up a supply line to the Army of the Cumberland trapped in Chattanooga. Through an ingenious plan by Maj. Gen. William F. Smith a "Cracker Line" was formed with Hooker's Army of the Potomac located at Lookout Mountain and supplied the Army of the Cumberland with food and military weapons.
The situation at Chattanooga was urgent and Grant ordered Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and four divisions of the Army of the Tennessee to get into position to attack Bragg's right flank. A week later three Union armies, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Potomac were ready to make the final assault on Bragg's entrenched armies on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. On November 24, 1863 Maj. Gen. Hooker captured Lookout Mountain in order to draw Bragg's troops away from Missionary Ridge. On November 25, Grant began his assault on Missionary Ridge. Maj. Gen. Sherman made an attempt to attack Bragg's right flank, however, topographical difficulties and stiff Confederate resistance prevented a successful assault. The Army of the Cumberland, took matters into their own hands, stormed over Missionary Ridge, and forced Bragg to retreat in a disorganized rout. Grant, initially upset, had only ordered the Army of the Cumberland to take the rifle pits at the base of the ridge. The victory at Chattanooga increased Grant's fame throughout the country. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General, a position that had previously been given to George Washington and given to Winfield Scott as a brevet promotion. Grant was soon after given charge of the entire Union Army.
After the Chattanooga Campaign, General Grant wrote an account of the entire campaign that was preserved in The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This edition is specially formatted with maps of the campaign and pictures of the important military commanders.
|Publisher:||Charles River Editors|
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