Tag Archives: Chickamauga

Chickamauga 150 Countdown: The Loser Part II

By Ron Fritze

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After the battle of Stones River, the Union high command again wanted Rosecrans to advance against Bragg but he demurred. Pressured to take the offensive, he finally began the Tullahoma campaign of 24 June to 3 July which used brilliant maneuvering to force Bragg out of Tennessee without any major fighting. By early September, he had forced Bragg to abandon the strategic city of Chattanooga and was closely pursuing him when it would have been an opportune time to consolidate his gains by halting in Chattanooga. Pushing ahead, he was initially surprised when Bragg turned to fight. The climax was the battle of Chickamauga on 19-20 September 1863.

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: The Loser Part I

By Ron Fritze

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William S. Rosecrans (1819-1898) commanded the Union Army of the Cumberland at the battle of Chickamauga and made the fatal mistake of pulling a division out of his battle line. Confederate forces exploited that gap to inflict a stinging defeat on the Union forces. Needless to say, this situation resulted in Rosecrans being removed as commander of the Army of the Cumberland. He was never given command of a major army again.

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: Grant on Bragg

By Ron Fritze

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During the Civil War and for years after, Grant was known for keeping his opinions about the war to himself. After he left the presidency that changed and Grant started to reminisce. In 1877 he went on a world tour with John Russell Young as the reporter who accompanied him. Over the course of months, Grant started to provide recollections of the Civil War which Young eagerly included in his newspaper columns and a later book. Then toward the end of his life, Grant was financially ruined by dishonest “friends” and needed to leave his family some money. So he wrote his famous memoirs that were completed shortly before his death. They sold well and are a classic of American writing. In Young’s book and his own memoirs, Grant revealed some telling anecdotes about Braxton Bragg as a man and a soldier. Here they are for your enjoyment. Are there any Bragg fans left out there?

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: Ambrose Bierce

By Ron Fritze

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Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?) was a journalist, satirist, and short story writer (mostly horror and thrillers) who is best known for his Devil’s Dictionary and the short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” “Owl Creek” is set in northern Alabama and may have been based on the abandoned railroad bridge a mile or two south of Elkmont. Born in Ohio, Bierce had the good fortune, like me and Abraham Lincoln, to grow up in Indiana. In 1913 he is supposed to have disappeared into Mexico during the great Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. A fictional depiction of his last days forms the plot of the film Old Gringo (1989).

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: The Winner, Part I

By Ron Fritze

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This is excerpt one from a three-part article for the Chickamauga 150 Countdown:

When it comes to Confederate military prowess, Braxton Bragg was nobody to brag about. Yes, he commanded the Army of Tennessee at the great victory at Chickamauga but the fact is, the Confederates won because of Rosecrans’ mistake and despite Braxton Bragg’s leadership.
Bragg was born in North Carolina into lower class family. His father, however, developed into a successful business man. This provided the resources for Bragg to get a good education and eventually an appointment to West Point. At West Point, Bragg graduated fifth in his class and also earned a below average number of demerits.

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: The Mistake

By Ron Fritze

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They call it the “fog of war.” It’s when unforeseen circumstances cause a battle plan to fall apart. It’s when an army’s communication breaks down during the heat of battle. It’s when generals lose track of where their troops are located. Every battle sees mistakes on both sides. Sometimes the mistakes cancel each other out. Other times, a mistake will lose a battle decisively. Chickamauga was one of those battles.

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Chickamauga 150 Countdown: The Battle

By Ron Fritze

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So what’s up with this Battle of Chickamauga? Well, it was one of the American Civil War’s major battles and the bloodiest battle fought in the Western theater of the war. Over 120,000 soldiers fought at Chickamauga. Scattered fighting occurred on 18 September 1863 followed by two days of all-out battle on 19 and 20 September. The Union army numbered 58,000 men under William Rosecrans while the Confederate army consisted of 66,000 men commanded by Braxton Bragg. It is a unique battle in that it was one of the few Civil War battles where the Southern army had numerical superiority. Also, as far as the events of the Western theater of the Civil War went, it was the only major victory for Southern forces in that theater of the war.

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