Battle of Chickamauga

William Starke Rosecrans, American soldier, (1872). Rosecrans (1819-1898) was a Union general during the American Civil War. He fought at the Battle of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. He was also an inventor, businessman, diplomat and politician.
William Starke Rosecrans, American soldier, (1872). Rosecrans (1819-1898) was a Union general during the American Civil War. He fought at the Battle of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. He was also an inventor, businessman, diplomat and politician. Print Collector / Contributor / Getty Images

Dates:

September 18-20, 1863

Other Names:

None

Location:

Chickamauga, Georgia

Key Individuals Involved in the Battle of Chickamauga:

Union: Major General William S. Rosecrans, Major General George H. Thomas
Confederate: General Braxton Bragg and Lt. General James Longstreet

Outcome:

Confederate Victory. 34,624 casualties of which 16,170 were Union soldiers.

Overview of the Battle:

The Tullahoma Campaign during the American Civil War had been devised by Union Major General William Rosecrans and was carried out between June 24-July 3, 1863.

Through his efforts, the Confederates were pushed out of the middle of Tennessee and the Union was able to begin its move against the key city of Chattanooga. After this campaign, Rosecrans moved into position to push the Confederates from Chattanooga. His army consisted of three corps which split up and headed for the city by separate routes. By early September, he had consolidated his scattered troops and actually forced General Braxton Bragg's army out of Chattanooga to the South. They were pursued by the Union troops. 

General Bragg was set on reoccupying Chattanooga. Therefore, he decided to defeat part of the Union forces outside the city and then move back in. On September 17th and 18th, his army marched north, meeting Union cavalry and mounted infantry armed with Spencer Repeating rifles. On September 19, the main fighting occurred. Bragg's men tried unsuccessfully to break through the Union line.

Fighting continued on the 20th. However, a mistake happened when Rosecrans was told that a gap had formed in his army's line. When he moved units to fill the gap, he actually created one. Confederate General James Longstreet's men were able to exploit the gap and drive about a third of the Union army from the field.

Rosecrans was included in the group and Union Major General George H. Thomas took over command. 

Thomas consolidated forces on Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge. Although the Confederate troops assaulted these forces, the Union line held until nighttime. Thomas was then able to lead his troops from the battle, allowing the Confederates to take Chickamauga. The battle was then set for the Union and Confederate troops in Chattanooga with the North occupying the city and the South occupying the surrounding heights. 

Significance of the Battle of Chickamauga:

Even though the Confederates won the battle, they did not press their advantage. The Union army had retreated to Chattanooga. Instead of focusing their attacks there, Longstreet was sent to attack Knoxville. Lincoln had time to replace Rosecrans with General Ulysses Grant who brought in reinforcements.

 

Source: CWSAC Battle Summaries

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Kelly, Martin. "Battle of Chickamauga." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2016, thoughtco.com/battle-of-chickamauga-p2-104420. Kelly, Martin. (2016, August 29). Battle of Chickamauga. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-of-chickamauga-p2-104420 Kelly, Martin. "Battle of Chickamauga." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-of-chickamauga-p2-104420 (accessed November 20, 2017).