The Battle of Chickamauga
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Under unity of command, Union Major General William S. Rosecrans, first established the Mass of a decisive place and time in which to strike the Confederate forces that occupied the forest near Reed's Bridge on the north to General Lee and to Gordons Mill on the south, roughly following Chickamauga Creek. The evening of September 18th, 1863 was to begin the offensive which lasted two days. Their objective was to destroy Reed's Bridge on the north and advance to Chattanooga.
The Battle of Chickamauga and The Confederacy
The Confederacy was enforced by the 19th Alabama, which consisted of mainly farmers, shopkeepers and common everyday folk from northeastern Alabama. They had been fighting since September of 1861 and had seen action in major battles such as Shiloh. General William S. Rosecrans' Army had been secured at Chickamauga since June with roughly 60,000 men.
On the Confederate side of the Civil War, General Braxton Bragg's army consisted of 40,000 men, with the promise of reinforcements on the way from Northern Virginia. General Bragg was an experienced military man with an impressive career already behind his name. General Bragg had the advantage in resources and reinforcements as the day of attack drew closer. He concentrated his men in LaFayette but due to miscommunication, the men were dispersed throughout the dense forest with orders to attack General George Thomas' corps, once as he crosses Steven's Gap and again as he marches into McLemore's Cove. Neither attack occurred. What was accomplished was strategic positioning that surprised the Confederate troops that were on their way to Chattanooga to secure the Western and Atlantic railroad.
Battle of Chickamauga and the Weakening Confederacy
The Confederacy was weakening as the fall of 1963 approached due to the following:
- The railways were in poor condition
- Reinforcements were late in arriving to Chickamauga
- General Longstreet himself was not present for the first day of battle, due to delays in movement
The Confederate army had little chance against Rosecrans' newly reinforced troops from General Simon Bolivar Buckner's Corps who had failed to defend Knoxville. General Johnston from Mississippi added 9,000 men along with Brigadier Generals Gregg and McNair who contributed 2,500 men to Bragg's cause at Chickamauga.