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Chickamauga Campaign

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The late summer and early autumn of 1863 were desperate times for the South.  General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania had been repelled at Gettysburg.  The Mississippi River was completely in Federal hands following the surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. General William Rosecrans had driven General Braxton Bragg’s army south from Middle Tennessee to the outskirts of Chattanooga but did not advance across the Tennessee River which allowed Bragg to rest his exhausted army.

 

This unexpected reprieve was the result of Rosecrans’ decision to replenish his supplies and study the best avenues of advance to get at Bragg’s positions around Chattanooga.  Rosecrans crossed the Tennessee River from August 29 – September 4 and pushed south into Georgia.  In danger of being trapped, Bragg abandoned the city on September 8.

 

Rosecrans pushed his corps south into Georgia. Bragg avoided any major action until troops from Mississippi and a portion of General James Longstreet’s corps from Virginia arrived.  Now armed with reinforcements, Bragg attacked the Federal army on the Chickamauga Creek.  In the war’s second bloodiest engagement, the Battle of Chickamauga provided a much-needed victory for the South.   Federals straggled into Chattanooga.  Bragg pursued and settled his army upon the high ground overlooking Rosecrans’ army, placing it in a state of siege.

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