The Civil War Trust is an organization which exists to raise funds to save Civil War battlefields. In their August newsletter on line, I read some interesting facts about the Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 18-20, 1863, 150 years ago next month.
The major players in this battle were General Braxton Bragg of the Confederacy, against Union Major General William Rosecrans.
The tide of the battle turned on an amazing blunder on the part of the Union command. Rosecrans, believing a gap existed in his line, ordered Brig. Gen. Thomas Wood’s division to fill the gap. Wood knew the order was a mistake, as there was actually no gap in the Federal line, but moving his division would instead create one. Unfortunately, Gen. Wood had been berated twice already for not following orders, so he did as he was told, even though he knew it was going to be a devastating move on the part of the Union force.
And indeed, this did open up a hole for the Confederates, and Gen. Longstreet’s men bulled their way through the gap that Wood had inadvertently created. The article says: “…Union resistance at the southern end of the battlefield evaporated as Federal troops, including Rosecrans himself, were pushed off the field”.
Thanks to this error on the part of Rosecrans, Bragg’s victorious Confederates now occupied the heights surrounding Chattanooga, blocking Federal supply lines. But Bragg committed a huge error too, I think, because he failed to pursue Rosecrans. Thus,
fighting would resume less than two months later in the battle for Chattanooga, and it would not be a pretty outcome for the Confederates.