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Publisher's Summary

"I know Mr. Davis thinks he can do a great many things other men would hesitate to attempt. For instance, he tried to do what God failed to do. He tried to make a soldier of Braxton Bragg." - General Joseph E. Johnston

Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War and its biggest battles, particularly Gettysburg, Antietam, and Shiloh, all of which involved Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant. But the second biggest battle of the entire war mostly gets overlooked among casual listeners, despite the fact it represented the last great chance for the Confederates to salvage the Western theater. In mid-September, the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans had taken Chattanooga, but rather than be pushed out of the action, Army of Tennessee commander Braxton Bragg decided to stop with his 60,000 men and prepare a counterattack south of Chattanooga at a creek named Chickamauga. To bolster his fire-power, Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent 12,000 additional troops under the command of Lieutenant General James Longstreet, whose corps had just recently fought at Gettysburg in July.

On the morning of September 19, 1863, Bragg's men assaulted the Union line, which was established in a wooded area thick with underbrush along the river. That day and the morning of the next, Bragg continue to pummel Union forces, with the battle devolving from an organized succession of uncoordinated assaults into what one Union soldier described as "a mad, irregular battle."

Late that second morning, Rosecrans was misinformed that a gap was forming in his front line, so he responded by moving several units forward to shore it up.

©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors

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