TheBattle of Chickamauga
TheBattle of Chickamauga
TheBattle of Chickamauga took place in 1863 and marked the finaloffensive efforts by the union army in northwest Georgia andsoutheastern Tennessee. The battle was fought between the Armyof Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland1.The battle was significant in the civil war era because it marked themost significant union defeat of the confederate army in the westernbattle front. In addition, the Battle of Chickamauga had the secondhighest number of casualties compared to other civil warbattlefronts. The discussion of the Battle of Chickamauga willexplore the cause, the course and the results of the battle in thecivil war period of the American history.
Thebattle began because of the movement of the union army in thesoutheast from Murfreesboro. As a result of the success in theTennessee state, the union army thought that the side could expandtowards Chattanooga. The move was successful and led to the desire bythe union to move further and take over Tennessee. ConqueringTennessee was significant in their plan to match towards Atlanta andfurther south2.As a result of the win in Chattanooga, the union side focused oncapturing the entire state and focused on Chickamauga as the frontierthat would open their way towards the plan of occupying the largersouth. These movements sparked the defense of the confederate army inTennessee to organize a stronger defense.
Thebattle was further caused by the strategic importance of the largerregion of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. The region was an importanteconomic hub, especially because of the rail line in Chattanooga thatwent to Knoxville and Nashville towards Atlanta, the focus of theunion plan. The region was also an important economic hub formanufacturing coke and iron that was located in the Tennessee River.In addition, the Tennessee River is a navigable river, which made themovement and transportation effective if the union had taken over thestate3.Moreover, for the union to move towards Atlanta, Chattanooga andChickamauga offered the best defensive position because of thelocation between Missionary Ridge, Stringer`s Ridge, the LookoutMountain, Raccoon Mountain and the Missionary Ridge.
Thewar broke on 19thSeptember 1863 after the confederate government requested their armyto resume the offensive against the union army. The war started withthe confrontation between The Union Army of the Cumberland and TheConfederate Army of Tennessee. In terms of manpower, The ConfederateArmy of Tennessee, commanded the upper hand with sixty five thousandmen compared to the sixty thousand men that The Union Army of theCumberland commanded. The Confederate Army of Tennessee was led byGen. Braxton Braggwhile the Armyof the Cumberland was led by Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans. The war wasfought in the Chickamauga mountainous region as the two armies wereseparated by The Cumberland Plateau4.
Theorganization of the antagonist side of the battle was marked bystrong unions on both sides of the armies. The army men of the twosides composed of trained military soldiers and volunteers for thewarring antagonists. For instance, the army of Tennessee wasorganized into wings that attacked on different sides of thebattlefront. In addition, the leadership of the warring sides wasstrong enough to withstand the fighting of the opponent, in a bid towin the battle. Because of the strong leadership, both sides foughton the first day and continued the fight for the second day5.Despite being assaulted heavily during the first day, the confederatearmy resumed the battle the next day which matched to defeat theunion.
Onthe second day of the battle, the Bragg and his army strategized towin the next day due to the advantages that saw the defeat of theunion. Led by Rosecrans, the union army was faced with logisticalchallenges and problems with the mountainous landscape. In additionto the challenges, Bragg led the confederate army to attack the unionin random manners that gave the union army less chance to respond6.Moreover, the confederate government gave support to Bragg and hisarmy by getting reinforcement from Mississippi and Virginia. Thereinforcement army from Virginia consisted of two divisions of theFirst Corps, Army of Northern Virginia led by Lt. Gen. JamesLongstreet7.
Thedefeat of the union army in the Battle of Chickamauga led to thebattles of Chattanooga, which made them stronger to suppress the armyof Tennessee. The defeat gave the union army a chance to withdrawfrom the Chickamauga region towards the Chattanooga region andformulate stronger defensive positions. While the union army wasdefeated at the Battle of Chickamauga, the defeat did not prevent theUnion from preparing to match forward towards Atlanta. The fight thatbroke after the Battle of Chickamauga led to the opening of theunion’s plan towards Atlanta in 1864. In the current day, thehistory of the events of the Battle of Chickamauga is preserved asthe Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park by theNational Park Service.
Tucker,Glenn. Chickamauga:Bloody Battle in the West.Dayton, OH: Morningside House, 1972
White,William Lee. Bushwhackingon a Grand Scale: , September 18–20, 1863.El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2013
Woodworth,Steven E., ed. TheChickamauga Campaign.Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010
1 Tucker, Glenn. Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West. Dayton, OH: Morningside House, 1972
2 White, William Lee. Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: , September 18–20, 1863. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2013
3 White, William Lee. Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: , September 18–20, 1863. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2013
4 Woodworth, Steven E., ed. The Chickamauga Campaign. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010
5 Woodworth, Steven E., ed. The Chickamauga Campaign. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2010
6 Tucker, Glenn. Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West. Dayton, OH: Morningside House, 1972