Battle of Chickamauga
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Location: Catoosa & Walker
               counties  near Fort
               Oglethorpe, GA    
Dates: September 18-20, 1863
Union Commander:  William S. Rosecrans, Major General
Confederate Commander:  Braxton Bragg, General

Battle Summary:
William S. Rosecrans was not known for his alacrity.  After a decisive victory, over several days in late 1862 and early 1863, at Stone's River, Rosecrans went into winter bivouac.  Even after the urgings of President Lincoln, in the spring of 1863, Rosecrans would not move his Army of the Cumberland.

Finally, in late June, the gargantuan Army of the Cumberland, started moving slowly to dislodge Bragg's Army of the Tennessee, at Tullahoma, TN.  This movement was quickly reported to Bragg who decided to relocate his army to northern Georgia - possibly as far as Dalton - since this would provide a better field of battle. 

Rosecrans now moved more quickly to cut off Bragg's Army.  This was described by soldiers, in the Army of the Cumberland as one of the hardest marches, over the most difficult terrain encountered thus far.

After splitting his Army of the Cumberland into three assaulting forces, Rosecrans decided to assault from the north (Crittenden), the west (Thomas) and the southwest (McCook) near a sleepy creek, called Chickamauga (appropriately meaning in the local Indian dialect: River of Blood). 

As the Union forces under Thomas approached the Chickamauga, on September 18, thinking Bragg's forces were on the other side, they were caught in a surprise attack.  The Union forces pulled back to the Lafayette Road and were determined to hold this north/south line.

During battle on the second day, James Longstreet's Corps arrived in time to join the battle.  This brought the armies close to par and allowed Bragg a little breathing room.  The battle continued to sway back, and forth, along a 2 1/2 mile front at the Lafayette Road.

On the third day, through a grievous error on Rosecrans' part, Longstreet was able to break through a hole near the center of the Union line.  Troops under Longstreet, including John Bell Hood's Texans, quickly rolled McCook's line to the north and into Thomas's corps.  With Rosecrans leading the way,  McCook's and Crittenden's corps started a piecemeal retreat towards Chattanooga.  Charles Dana, a war department informer, said he knew there was serious problems when he saw Rosecrans, a devout Catholic, "cross himself."

Left on the field, near Snodgrass hill, George Thomas's 14th Corps, was in place, to hold Longstreets's Corps, while the Army of the Cumberland retreated.  Gordon Granger's Reserve Corps also played a part in holding the Army of Tennessee in place.

Through his cool actions at Chickamauga, George Thomas earned the nickname, "Rock of Chickamauga."

Campaign: Chickamauga

Outcome: Confederate Victory

Troop Strengths
Union: 62,000
Confederate: 65,000

Casualties (estimated):
Union: 16,170 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)
Confederate: 18,454 (killed, wounded or missing/captured)

Battle Aftermath:
After their retreat into Chattanooga, the Army of the Cumberland was boxed in, between the Tennessee River, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain.  The Army of the Tennessee, for all practical purposes, had Rosecrans' army in a "strangle hold."  Food and supplies dropped until Grant, fresh from victory at Vicksburg, arrived with several corps of infantry - including William T. Sherman's corps.  Upon arrival in Chattanooga, Grant relieved Rosecrans and put Thomas in his place.  Within several days food was once again flowing into Chattanooga and Grant would go on to push Bragg's Army into Tennessee.  Chickamauga, was a huge Confederate victory, but it was the "high water" mark for the Army of Tennessee.  Bragg would win no more victories and would be relieved by Joseph Johnston in the coming months. 
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