The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Siege of Chattanooga

What was the situation that Grant found on arriving at Chattanooga?

The top commanders were in a state of depression and uncertainty. Major-General George Thomas already knew he had been appointed commander of the Army of the Cumberland, a force that was in a low state of morale. General Joseph Hooker was on the way, as was General William T. Sherman. Between them, these forces would outnumber Braxton Bragg’s Confederates; even so, Grant did not await their arrival. Assessing the situation in a matter of hours, he decided to force the Confederate hand.

Grant did not devise the plan himself; it was developed by one of the colonels of the Army of the Cumberland. But it was ambitious, even daring. One division of Federals would attack the Confederates around the base of Lookout Mountain, while another would float downstream on pontoons, to quickly establish a bridge across the Tennessee River. If all went well, a new supply line would be created that would cut the present time in half.


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