The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Battle of Chickamauga

Had Bragg won?

Beyond any doubt. At a huge expense of life, he had shattered the Army of the Cumberland, and if he acted quickly, he might have recaptured Chattanooga. Indeed, his cavalry leader, General Nathan Bedford Forrest, urged him to take that action. Bragg was so stunned by the casualties, however, that his natural pessimism took hold. If he had won, it was at too great a cost. Several days passed before Bragg gave the order to advance, and that short window of time was enough for the Federals to keep hold of Chattanooga. Bragg and his men advanced unopposed almost to the town itself, but they had to be content with seizing Lookout Mountain to the southwest and Missionary Ridge, which ran from southwest to northeast in an angle that curved past Chattanooga. Bragg’s tardy follow-up to his victory did not lessen the blow in official Washington, however. Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton resolved to drop everything else, if need be, and make sure that Chattanooga remained in federal hands.


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