Saturday, December 26, 2009
Battle of Chickamauga - Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
On September 19-20, 1863, Confederate and Union armies collided in northern Georgia in one of the most violent battles in American history. By the time it was over, the Battle of Chickamauga had cost the two armies more than 34,000 men killed, wounded or missing in action.
The site of the massive engagement is now preserved as part of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, which is located in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Chickamauga Battlefield is the largest unit of the park and is located just south of Chattanooga at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
The battle developed when the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Braxton Bragg, moved to intercept the Union Army of the Cumberland, led by General William S. Rosecrans. The two armies had waved a campaign of maneuver for several months as Rosecrans advanced on Bragg with an army of 60,000 men. The Confederate general had a much smaller force of 43,000, but held his army intact and withdrew down through Tennessee to North Georgia.
The tide of the campaign turned, however, when General James Longstreets Corps from the Army of Northern Virginia arrived in Georgia to reinforce Bragg. Now at the head of an army similar in size to that of Rosecrans, the Confederate general turned on the Federal army along the west bank of Chickamauga Creek.
The battle began on the morning of September 19, 1863, and for two days the two armies mauled each other on a battlefield that was heavily wooded in place. One the first day, Bragg pushed back the Union lines for more than one mile. Then, on the second day, he started a hammering attack on the Federal left flank that forced Rosecrans to begin shifting troops in that direction. In doing so, the Federals accidentally opened a gap in their lines. When Longstreet's Division attacked, Confederate soldiers led by General John Bell Hood stormed through the gap and pierced the Union lines. The Federal army crumbled and the Confederates won one of the most complete tactical victories of the war.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/chickamauga.