On November 24, 1863, General Thomas had ten thousand men of the Army of the Cumberland conduct a review on the plain below Missionary Ridge and in front of the town of Chattanooga. The Confederate artillerymen, three-quarters of a mile away, were taken by surprise when Thomas’ men made a sudden charge at the rifle pits around Orchard Knob, one of the key points of the Confederate defense. Not only did they take the rifle pits, but they surged up Orchard Knob in record time, capturing the cannon. Thomas was thrilled. He sent a message to the effect that his men had taken too much ground to give any of it back: they would hold their new position.
A lithograph by Kurz and Allison showing General Hooker’s attack on the South’s General Stevenson at Lookout Mountain.