Chronology of the Tullahoma-Chickamauga Campaign

June 24-Sept. 20, 1863

by

James F. Epperson

Bibliography:

Cozzens, Peter; This Terrible Sound.

Tucker, Glenn; Chickamauga: Bloody Battle in the West.

Connelly, T.L.; Autumn of Glory.

Time-Life Books; The Fight for Chattanooga.

At the opening of the campaign, Maj. Gen. W. S. Rosecrans's Federal Army of the Cumberland was deployed southeast of Nashville, around Murfreesboro, while Gen. Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee was deployed to the south and east along a line from Shelbyville to Wartrace, with cavalry extended as far east as McMinnville and as far west as Columbia.

June 11 Union General in Chief H. W. Halleck wires Rosecrans: "I deem it my duty to repeat to you the great dissatisfaction felt here at your inactivity."
June 24 Rosecrans wires Halleck: "The army begins to move at 3 o'clock this morning."

Willich's brigade (1/2/XX) attacks Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne's division at Liberty Gap, flanks him out of his position.

Wilder's brigade (1/4/XIV) sweeps through Hoover Gap, holds off Confederate counterattacks.

June 26 Wilder leads the rest of XIV Corps (Maj. Gen. George Thomas) to Manchester, Tennessee, turning Bragg's right flank.
June 29 Bragg's army begins to concentrate at Tullahoma.

Rosecrans's army begins to concentrate at Manchester, northeast of Tulllahoma.

June 30 Rosecrans advances on Bragg at Tullahoma, forcing the latter to retreat all the way to Chattanooga.
July 3 Rosecrans arrives in Tullahoma.
July 13 Federal engineers have repaired the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad as far as Elk River.
July 19 D.H. Hill arrives to take command of Hardee's Corps.
July 25 Railroad repaired all the way to Bridgeport, Alabama from Nashville, Tennessee.
August 16 Rosecrans begins to advance from Tullahoma.

Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside begins to advance on Knoxville from Cincinnati.

August 21 Capt. Eli Lilly's artillery battery begins to shell Chattanooga from the north side of the Tennessee River.

Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen demonstrates north and east of Chattanooga with elements of XXI Corps (Crittenden).

Bragg begins to shift his army to the north and east of Chattanooga.

August 24 Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, commanding the Confederate troops opposing Burnside's advance into East Tennessee, abandons Knoxville in the face of Burnside's advance, but remains in the general area.
August 27 Maj. Gen. W.H.T. Walker's division arrives from Mississippi to reinforce Bragg.
August 29 Brig. Gen. J.C. Davis's division of XX Corps (McCook) crosses the Tennessee at Stevenson.

Brig. Gen. John M. Brannan's division of XIV Corps crosses the river near Shellmound.

August 31 Reports reach Bragg that the Federals have crossed the river at Stevenson and have entered the mountain passes.
Sept. 2 Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan's division of XX Corps crosses the river at Bridgeport.

Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's division from Mississippi arrives to reinforce Bragg.

Maj. Gen. Joe Wheeler finally establishes a Confederate cavalry picket line on top of Lookout Mountain.

Troops from Burnside's column enter Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sept. 4 Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird's division completes the crossing of XIV Corps.

Maj. Gen. T. L. Crittenden finally gets the rest of XXI Corps across the Tennessee, west of Chattanooga.

Sept. 5 Wheeler ordered into Lookout Valley to delay the Federal advance, an order which he does not obey.
Sept. 7 Bragg retreats from Chattanooga.
Sept. 8 Maj. Gen. James S. Negley (2/XIV) seizes Steven's Gap, the main route over Lookout Mountain into North Georgia.

Buckner is ordered to join Bragg's main body at LaFayette.

Sept. 9 Bragg halts the Army of Tennessee at LaFayette, Georgia, issues orders to attack the head of XIV Corps (Negley's division) as it emerges from Steven's Gap into McLemore's Cove.

Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's Corps from the Army of Northern Virginia begins to take trains from Richmond west to join Bragg's army.

Sept. 10 Maj. Gen. T. C. Hindman and Lt. Gen. D.H. Hill fail to attack Negley at McLemore's Cove.
Sept. 11 Negley withdraws into the safety of Stevens's Gap.
Sept. 12 Bragg issues orders for Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk to attack Brig. Gen. T.J. Wood's division (1/XXI) on the 13th, at Lee and Gordon's Mill, but Polk thinks he is outnumbered and does not attack.
Sept. 15 Halleck informs Rosecrans that troops are being sent to Bragg from Virginia.
Sept. 17 The Army of the Cumberland is mostly concentrated near Lee and Gordon's Mill.

Brig. Gen. John Gregg's and Brig. Gen. Evander McNair's brigades from Mississippi, and Brig. Gen. Jerome Robertson's, Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning's and Brig. Gen. Joseph Kershaw's brigades from Virginia, arrive at Ringgold Station.

After much hesitation and vacillation, Bragg begins to move to turn Rosecrans's left and interpose between the Federals and Chattanooga.

Sept. 18 Portions of Bragg's army cross Chickamauga Creek in the face of light Union opposition and threaten Rosecrans's line of retreat to Chattanooga.
Sept. 19 First Day of the Battle of Chickamauga. Thomas, with much of XIV Corps, fails to eliminate the Confederate presence west of Chickamauga Creek. Confederate attacks score some notable successes in the Viniard Field, but are unable to exploit the gains. At the end of the day the Federal battle line roughly follows the LaFayette Road, with an outward bulge on the left flank at the Kelly Field.

Bragg orders a concerted effort to turn the Federal left flank the next morning.

Longstreet arrives at Bragg's headquarters from Virginia, after almost wandering into the Federal lines.

Sept. 20 Second Day of the Battle of Chickamauga. Polk's belated attacks on the Federal left fail to achieve a breakthrough in the morning. At about noon, Longstreet's column scores a major breakthrough in the Union right-center, sending most of two divisions and portions of several others, along with the Federal trains and Rosecrans himself, streaming back to Chattanooga. A remnant of the Federal right wing forms a ragged line on Snodgrass Hill and Horseshoe Ridge, and hold on until near nightfall to allow the army to retreat back to Chattanooga in a somewhat orderly fashion. At the end of the day, Bragg does not understand that he has won a major victory, and fails to pursue the Yankees closely.
Forces (Casualties):

US: 62,000 (16,170)

CS: 65,000 (18,454)