The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Battle of Missionary Ridge

What did they find at the top?

Eighteen-year-old Arthur MacArthur (1845–1912) was destined for great things. He later became a major-general in the Regular Army and military governor of the Philippines. But as great as his own success was, it paled in comparison to that of his son, Douglas MacArthur, who later became governor of the Philippines, Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific, and Supreme Overlord of the Allied Occupation of Japan. Would the son’s life and career have been so sparkling had the father not been a hero at such an early age? That is one of the questions that cannot be answered, but can only be pondered.

As they cleared the last brow and stood atop Missionary Ridge, the Federals realized they had won. The few remaining Confederates surrendered on the spot; the others had fled. The moment was sublime: most of the men never forgot their feelings as they mounted that ridge.

Bragg’s army was broken to pieces. They had not suffered great battle casualties, but their morale was completely gone. Nine weeks earlier, they had won a great battle. Eight weeks earlier, they had occupied a series of mountain positions too strong to be assailed. Now they were on the run. Sam Watkins expressed it thus: “I felt sorry for General Bragg. The army was routed, and Bragg looked so scared. Poor fellow, he looked so hacked and whipped and mortified and chagrined at defeat.” Once on the run, the Confederates did not stop for almost two days.


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