Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 15, 1863

August 15, 1863

---The Chickamauga Campaign -- At long last, after much prodding and cajoling from Washington, Maj. Gen. William Starke Rosecrans begins to move his Army of the Cumberland in the final leg of maneuvers designed to force Bragg and the Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga.  This plan has already partially worked, since Bragg has already moved some of his troops down into Georgia.  Chattanooga, the most crucial rail hub on the most viable rail route over the Appalachians, is on the Tennessee River in a bowl of a valley surrounded by mountains, and Bragg knows that the army that gets trapped in there will have very few choices for maneuver or retreat.  Today, Rosecrans issues orders for all three of his infantry corps, two divisions of cavalry, and reserve units to advance on a variety of routes through the mountains of Tennessee and northern Alabama, in hopes of encircling Bragg’s Rebels completely.

Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland, about 60,000 strong, is organized as follows:

XIV Corps:  Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, almost 23,000 men in 4 divisions:
Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird
Maj. Gen. James S. Negley
Brig. Gen. John M. Brannan
Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds

XX Corps:  Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook, with over 13,156 men in 3 divisions:
Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis
Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson
Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan

XXI Corps:  Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, with 14,660 men in 3 divisions:
Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood
Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer
Brig. Gen. Horatio P. Van Cleve

Reserve Corps:  Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, with 7,372 men in two divisions:
Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman
Col. Daniel McCook (one brigade)

Cavalry Corps:  Brig. Gen. Robert B. Mitchell, with 10,078 men in 2 divisions:
Brig. Gen. George Crook
Col. Edward M. McCook

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, with his old IX Army Corps, is put in command of the Department of East Tennessee, and is beginning his advance from Kentucky down into the Appalachians, through the Cumberland Gap, and down into the Tennessee River Valley, with the object of capturing Knoxville and liberating the mostly-Unionist population of East Tennessee from Confederate repression.

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