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Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on Lookout Mountain
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on Lookout Mountain, 1863. Grant is in the lower left corner.
Courtesy National Archives.

Lifting the Siege—The Battle of Chattanooga (continued)

SHERMAN MOVES. During the night of November 23-24, Sherman began to carry our his role in the drama. He selected Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith's brigade to man the pontoon boats, concealed in North Chickamauga Creek, to cross the Tennessee River and secure a bridge head near the mouth of the South Chickamauga Creek. During the hours of darkness the brigade landed at its designated place. A few soldiers stopped at the mouth of the creek, surprising and capturing the pickets there. The remaining troops landed and prepared to build bridges across the Tennessee River and South Chickamauga Creek. By early afternoon they had finished the bridge across the river, and Sherman's forces were across and ready to attack. Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis' Division (Fourteenth Corps), which had guarded the pontoons, also crossed and became part of Sherman's force.

Sherman attacked and seized the north end of Missionary Ridge at 4 p. m. against only Confederate outpost opposition. To his surprise, Sherman found a deep and wide ravine separating the north end of the ridge from Tunnel Hill immediately southward, his real objective. Cleburne's Division of Confederate troops had hurried to Tunnel Hill only an hour or two before Sherman seized the north end of Missionary Ridge, and they were busily engaged entrenching there when Sherman arrived across the ravine from them. Sherman did not attack Tunnel Hill that afternoon, but entrenched where he was.

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