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The First Gun at Chickamauga
"The First Gun at Chickamauga." Confederates open fire on Union cavalry at Reed's Bridge.
A. R. Waud wartime sketch. From Brown, The Mountain Campaign in Georgia.

The Battle of Chickamauga

Chafing over the failure of his subordinate commanders to strike the divided units of Rosecrans' army and wishing to seize the initiative, General Bragg had his troops do an "about face." Turning northward, he planned an all-out attack on General Crittenden who had been following in his rear since the evacuation of Chattanooga and was now at Lee and Gordon's Mills. General Bragg moved his troops northward on the east side of the Chickamauga Creek. His plan was to cross the Chickamauga north of Lee and Gordon's Mills, seize the roads leading to Chattanooga, bear down on Crittenden, and crush this corps or drive it back into the Union center in McLemore's Cove. By turning the Union left in this manner, he hoped to force Rosecrans back into the mountains and to reoccupy Chattanooga.

Maj. Gen. John B. Hood (Longstreet's Corps) and Brig. Gen. Bushrod Johnson's troops were to cross at Reeds Bridge and turn left; Walker's Corps to cross at Alexander's Bridge; Buckner to cross at Tedford's Ford; Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk's Corps to cross at Lee and Gordon's Mills; and Hill's Corps to cover the Confederate left.

Bragg did not seem to suspect that Rosecrans had guessed his intentions, and was hurriedly moving to support Crittenden and deploying his troops so as to protect the roads to Chattanooga.

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