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The Battle of Chickamauga (continued)

SEPTEMBER 18—PRELIMINARIES. On the morning of the 18th the three advanced brigades of Longstreet's Corps from Virginia arrived at Ringgold. One brigade immediately joined Bushrod Johnson's division as it prepared to cross Chickamauga Creek at Reed's Bridge. Union cavalry under Col. Robert H. G. Minty and mounted infantry under command of Col. John T. Wilder, guarding the bridges, offered stout resistance and delayed the crossing of the southern troops for several hours. During the skirmishing, Minty's men dismantled Alexander's Bridge and forced Walker to proceed to Lambert's Ford, a half-mile downstream. The Confederates used other fords and crossings throughout the late afternoon and night as all of Bragg's forces, except three divisions, crossed to the west side of Chickamauga Creek.

The Union forces were not idle, and during the night Rosecrans moved Thomas' corps northeastward above and back of Crittenden, so that Bragg would not outflank the Federal line. Negley's Division remained near Crawfish Springs (now Chickamauga), Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds' Division near Widow Glenn's, and Brigadier Generals Absalom Baird's and John M. Brannan's Divisions covered the roads leading to Reed's and Alexander's Bridges. General McCook's Corps moved to position in McLemore's Cove.

The situation at dawn on the 19th found the two armies facing each other over a stretch of several miles along the banks of the Chickamauga. Rosecrans had been able in a short rime to maneuver the Army of the Cumberland into position so that it interposed between Bragg and Chattanooga. His Reserve Corps under General Granger was at McAfee's Church, near Rossville. Thomas' Fourteenth Army Corps composed the Union's left a few miles south of Granger, and formed a southwesterly line to Crawfish Spring where it joined McCook, forming the right in McLemore's Cove. Crittenden's Twenty-First Army Corps remained concentrated at Lee and Gordon's Mills, somewhat in front of the other two corps, to protect the Union center.

TABLE 1.—Union Army at Chickamauga

Army of the Cumberland—MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM S. ROSECRANS

Fourteenth Army Corps——MAJ. GEN. GEORGE H. THOMAS
     1st Division—Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird
     2d Division—Maj. Gen. James S. Negley
     3d Division—Brig. Gen. John M. Brannan
     4th Division—Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds

Twentieth Army Corps—Maj. GEN. ALEXANDER McD. McCOOK
     1st Division—Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis
     2d Division—Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson
     3d Division—Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan

Twenty-first Army Corps—MAJ. GEN. THOMAS L. CRITTENDEN
     1st Division—Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood
     2d Division—Maj. Gen. John M. Palmer
     3d Division—Brig. Gen. H. P. Van Cleve

     1st Division—Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman
     2d Division—Col. Daniel McCook

     1st Division Col. Edward M. McCook
     2d Division—Brig. Gen. George Crook

TABLE 2.—Confederate Army at Chickamauga

Army of Tennessee—GEN. BRAXTON BRAGG1


     Cheatham's Division—MAJ. GEN. B. F. CHEATHAM

     Hill's Corps—LT. GEN. DANIEL H. HILL
          Cleburne's Division—Maj. Gen. P. R. Cleburne
          Breckinridge's Division—Maj. Gen. J. C. Breckinridge

     Reserve Corps MAJ. GEN. W. H. T. WALKER
          Walker's Division—Brig. Gen. S. R. Gist
          Liddell's Division—Brig. Gen. Sr. John R. Liddell


     Hindman's Division—Maj. GEN. T. C. HINDMAN

     Buckner's Corps—Maj. GEN. SIMON B. BUCKNER
          Stewart's Division—Maj. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart
          Preston's Division—Brig. Gen. William Preston
          Johnson's Division—Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson

     Longstreet's Corps—MAJ. GEN. JOHN B. HOOD
          McLaw's Division—Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw
          Hood's Division—Maj. Gen. John B. Hood,
                    Brig. Gen. E. McIver Law

     Corps Artillery2—COL. E. PORTER ALEXANDER

     Reserve Artillery, Army of Tennessee—MAJ. FELIX H. ROBERTSON

          Wharton's Division—Brig. Gen. John A. Wharton
          Martin's Division—Brig. Gen. William T. Martin
          Forrest's Corps—Brig. Gen. N. B. Forrest
          Armstrong's Division— Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong
          Pegram's Division—Brig. Gen. John Pegram

1 General Bragg's army was composed of Polk's, Hill's, Buckner's, Longstreet's (Hood's), and Walker's (Reserve) Corps of infantry, and Wheeler's and Forrest's Corps of cavalry. For the second day's fight the army was divided into two wings, General Polk commanding the right and General Longstreet the left.

2 In transit, did not take part in the battle.

Bragg's Army of Tennessee, except three divisions was concentrated on the west side of the Chickamauga from Reeds Bridge almost to Dalton's Ford, near Lee and Gordon's Mills. The divisions had been shuffled around during the night, and remained so for the first day's battle. Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry held the right flank at Reeds Bridge; then, in succession toward the left (south), were Walker's Corps; Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham's Division (Polk's Corps); Longstreet's Corps (under Maj. Gen. John B. Hood); and Buckner's Corps. On the east side of the stream and forming the right were Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's Division (Hill's Corps), preparing to cross at Tedford's Ford; Maj. Gen. T. C. Hindman's Division (Polk's Corps) opposite Lee and Gordon's Mills; and Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's Division (Hill's Corps) forming the extreme left opposite Glass' Mill. Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler's cavalry, stationed at the upper fords of the Chickamauga, held the left flank.

Neither army knew the exact position of the other as they maneuvered for position during the night. The densely wooded area, covered with tangled undergrowth, brambles and cedar thickets, prevented easy movement or good observation, and many of the officers had difficulty keeping in touch with their own commands.

The armies were so close to each other, in some instances only a few hundred yards apart, that it was inevitable a clash would soon take place, but at what point no one could say.

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