“I move to Vicksburg tonight & tomorrow".
Chattanooga is located where the Tennessee River cuts a gap in the Cumberland Mountains. In 1863, it was one of only two places where good railroads linked the western and eastern Confederacy. The second was Atlanta, Georgia, and the capture and control of Chattanooga and environs would leave Atlanta vulnerable to attack....
Chattanooga is located where the Tennessee River cuts a gap in the Cumberland Mountains. In 1863, it was one of only two places where good railroads linked the western and eastern Confederacy. The second was Atlanta, Georgia, and the capture and control of Chattanooga and environs would leave Atlanta vulnerable to attack.
On September 9, 1863, fearing that he would be trapped in Chattanooga, Confederate commander Braxton Bragg evacuated the city and Union forces under William Rosecrans entered. Convinced that Bragg was beaten, and that he would face no serious fighting, Rosecrans quickly decided to pursue Bragg and secure the area. But Bragg was anything but beaten; in fact he had been reinforced. The resulting Battle of Chickamauga was one of the great Confederate victories of the war. On Sept. 20 1863 Union survivors of the disaster began to stream into Chattanooga. Rosecrans was totally paralyzed by the events (Lincoln remarked that he was "stunned and confused, like a duck hit on the head”), and did not even realize that six of his divisions continued to maintain a position on the battle field most of that day. During the night and early the next day Union forces were in various degrees of demoralization. On Sept. 23 Rosecrans told all that would listen that his Army of the Cumberland would retreat into Chattanooga and to please send help. On September 24, without firing a shot, Rosecrans withdrew all his men into the inner defenses of Chattanooga, giving up strong positions on Lookout Mountain outside the city that were quickly taken by Bragg. Although building good defensive positions, the Union supply lines into Chattanooga were tenuous and subject to Confederate cavalry raids, while Bragg in effect laid siege to the Union forces.
Responding rapidly to a potentially devastating situation, on the evening of September 26 Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton ordered Joseph Hooker with 15,000 men from the Army of the Potomac to reinforce Chattanooga. Ulysses S. Grant was also ordered to send 20,000 men under his chief subordinate William T. Sherman from Vicksburg, Mississippi to Memphis, there to assemble for movement to Chattanooga. As Sherman reported, “On the 22d day of September, I received a telegraphic dispatch from General Grant, then at Vicksburg, commanding the Department of the Tennessee, requiring me to detach one of my divisions to march to Vicksburg, there to embark for Memphis, where it was to form part of an army to be sent to Chattanooga to re-enforce General Rosecrans…On the 23d of September, I was summoned to Vicksburg by the general commanding…” There he would be shown “several dispatches from the General-in-Chief, which led him to suppose he would have to send me and my whole corps to Memphis and eastward, and I was instructed to prepare for such orders.”
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages, “Camp on Big Black," September 26, 1863, to U.S. Army ordinance inspector Captain Stephen Carr Lyford in Washington, DC, reporting that he has been ordered to move immediately to reinforce General Rosencrans, saying that he is leaving Vicksburg and will proceed to Memphis. He also discusses his frustration that arms and munitions are not being provided to commanders in the field when needed, and he must trust to luck. "I was very glad to hear of you through your letter of Sept. 16, received last night. I feared your health might have become seriously affected by the miasmatic cause which has cost us dear down here. I can't imagine why Gen'l Ripley should fly up at an offer to you of a major’s commission, unless he is so jealous of his officers that he thinks they reflect back on their special corps by preferring advancement in another. Human nature is the same in all corps, and the ordnance should permit honor & advancement similar to what is offered in other branches of service. I am glad to hear from you that such is now contemplated. We should have a good ordnance officer with each Army Corps in the field. The improvements in arms and munitions developed by the experience of the arsenals should be made manifest in the only place where they are useful, viz in actual battle. Battles have been lost for want of a distribution of ordnance at the right time, and the want of…knowledge of the actual and prospective wants of the army. I wish I had I wish I had a good old fashioned ordnance sergeant…I am now ordered to reinforce Rosecrans by Memphis, Corinth, Tuscumbia &c & you can imagine that I ought to have a good ordnance officer along. But as heretofore will trust to luck.
“I was somewhat provoked by a combination just consummated. The very day I came in from Jackson. Knowing that all my batteries had fired their fair proportion of shot, and had axles, tins, etc strained, with horses much worn etc, I ordered all the batteries to be overhauled and requisitions made for new guns, horses…This was done two months ago, and I have been waiting daily for new guns & materials to repair all my batteries. Today for the first time I am notified my requisitions…can be filled tomorrow. But one division is already on its way up the River. Another will embark today & second & a third…after this losing the only chance we are ever likely to have to put our batteries in order after all the service & exposure of near two years constant work. I do think there has been want of energy on the part of the ordnance dept. in this matter. I could keep my batteries in good order if materials for repairs were within reach at suitable times. The ordnance dept. has done wonders and I appreciate this labor and difficulties and would only suggest that more attention be given the arms etc of the troops in the field rather than at the arsenals which are as near perfect as can be. I hope you will be encouraged in your department, but should you get tired and want a field of action, I will always welcome you wherever I may be. I cannot but prefer such as you, whom I see to the front rather than others of whom I hear at the arsenals. Do all you can to have your corps largely represented with the ‘Armies in the Field.’
“I move to Vicksburg tonight & tomorrow will be steaming up for Memphis, & thence east by any means afforded by the Railroad…" With a carte-de-visite photograph of him, unsigned. A fascinating letter, one which in addition to its other points shows how Sherman ran his command from the inside, and the difficulties he had to deal with.
Things worked out as Union leaders planned. Hooker arrived by rail from Virginia with two army corps, and Sherman came from Missisippi with a large force. Grant arrived in Chattanooga late in October and was put in charge of the situation. In a colossal blunder, Bragg responded to the increase in opposing forces by dividing his own and sending Longstreet up the Tennessee Valley to attack Burnside at Knoxville, more than 100 miles away. Confederates occupied Missionary Ridge on the east side of the city, and Grant determined to take it. Three successive phases of the battle then took place in late November: Orchard Knob was fought on the 23rd, Lookout Mountain on the 24th, and Missionary Ridge on the 25th. The climax came when during the fighting on the 25th, Union forces took Missionary Ridge and broke the Confederate lines. Most of Bragg’s army fled, not stopping for thirty miles. Chattanooga and environs were secured, and the Confederate east-west rail system destroyed.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services