Chronological History of the American Civil War
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Sunday, September 13, 1863 : General Robert E. Lee (CSA) had sent General Longstreet (CSA) and his troops from Virginia toward Chattanooga. Sensing a change in Lee's lines, General George Meade (U.S.) pushes the Union’s Army of the Potomac to the Rapidan River, Virginia. In Rodney, Mississippi, the captain of the U.S.S. Rattler felt things are safe enough in the area to allow his men to attend local church services. He was wrong, as a group of Confederate cavalry interrupted the service, captured the seamen, and hustled them off for a restful stay in prisoner-of-war camp. Monday, September 14, 1863 : General Rosecrans (U.S.) continued to concentrate his forces, as he was trying to catch General Braxton Bragg (CSA) since he abandoned Chattanooga. Bragg (CSA) for the last week had been trying to lure the Union Army into a full scale battle. By now General Rosecrans (U.S.) was just wanting to gather his troops together and go back to Chattanooga. More skirmishes at La Fayette, Georgia, and Somerville, Raccoon and Robertson's Fords, and Rapidan Station in Virginia, as General Meade’s Army of the Potomac (U.S.) moves against General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (CSA). A small skirmish at Henderson, Tennessee. Tuesday, September 15, 1863 : Bragg (CSA) plans for an attack on September 18 th . However, chaotic communications within the Confederate camp meant that there were delays in getting this information to the generals in the field. In Washington, President Lincoln still defends his decision to suspend citizen’s their rights according to the United States Constitution, the “writ of habeas corpus.” This is the right of an arrested person to know what charges are being brought, and of the obligation of the state to produce evidence that the person charged was the one who committed the offense. It was one of the shining lights of our constitution’s freedoms, was swept again under the rug. Due to the existence of a “state of rebellion”, wrote Abraham Lincoln, the right would be suspended in cases of people arrested by military authorities whenever they deemed fit. Wednesday, September 16, 1863 : General William Rosecrans (U.S.) army had taken Chattanooga four days ago, but the Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army was nowhere close to defeat. The Southern forces were strung out on a roughly north-south line on the east side of a ridge called Lookout Mountain. Rosecrans’ army was scattered and vulnerable, especially the men with Major General George H. Thomas (U.S.) to the south near LeMoyne Cove. Thomas could have easily been isolated and defeated, but the orders to do so never got delivered to General Thomas C. Hindman (CSA). The man carrying the orders, a French soldier-of-fortune known as Major Nocquot, was not available to testify at the court-martial of Hindman, as he had disappeared. Some $150,000 in Army funds went missing around the same time, but in all the confusion no connection was ever proved. Thursday, September 17, 1863 : Confederate General Braxton Bragg, who had defended Tennessee so well for the Confederacy, that he was now backed up into northern Georgia. He had a chance for the last week to attack Rosecrans' exceedingly scattered forces. Although several orders had admittedly been issued, for one reason or another no actual attacks had taken place. By now, the Union troops were about all gathered together again. Bragg had no option but to attack the whole army at one time. The best plan, he could come up with was a thrust at the Federal right, to cut off their line of retreat to Chattanooga.
Unfortunately for Bragg, this idea had occurred to Rosecrans as well. The major ingredients in the bloodiest battle of the war in the Western Department (Chickamauga) have begun to gel. Friday, September 18, 1863 : General Bragg (CSA) issued his orders to attack. As Bragg marched north, his cavalry and infantry fought with Union cavalry and mounted infantry, which were armed with Spencer repeating rifles. On the Union side, Rosecrans swung Major General George H. Thomas’ (pictured) men far to the northeast to guard the right flank and the roads to Chattanooga. Saturday, September 19, 1863 : Both General. Bragg, (CSA) and
General Rosecrans, (U.S.) knew that they were going to have a major battle today; they just didn’t know exactly when, because neither knew exactly where the other one was. The matter was settled, when
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