Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns

By Steven E. Woodworth | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
We Must Force Him to Fight

As alarmed as the Confederate high command might have been about the loss of Middle Tennessee and Bragg's retreat to Chattanooga, no corresponding feeling of elation cheered the authorities in Washington. From their perspective, the Tullahoma campaign had been not so much a victory as a promising first step, and much of its strategic promise was related to other events in far-flung theaters of the war. Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg convinced Lincoln, Stanton, and Halleck that the Confederacy was finally tottering to its ruin. A few more hard blows might complete its destruction. This was no time for methodical war and set-piece campaigns; rather, the men in Washington were more eager than ever for a war of momentum, now that the momentum was all on their side.

That, however, was simply not the way William Starke Rosecrans made war. By mid-July he had once again settled into a secure base--Winchester this time, with some of the army's units at Manchester and McMinnville-- and was stockpiling supplies in preparation for a projected advance sometime in the vague future. Halleck and Stanton had also returned to their old pursuits, trying to prod Rosecrans into motion again, and another wearisome exchange of letters and telegrams ensued. Lincoln was more sympathetic toward the Army of the Cumberland's commander, yet he too remained less than satisfied. The liberation of East Tennessee was his most pressing immediate goal in that sector, and it was a task that remained to be done. To East Tennesseeans who petitioned him for prompt action to free their region of Rebel control, Lincoln wrote, "I do as much for East Tennessee as I would, or could, if my own home and family were in Knoxville." With that commitment, Lincoln, though patient, could not be indifferent to Rosecrans's seeming slowness to advance.1

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Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Maps ix
  • Series Editors' Introduction xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Chapter One - The Army Begins to Move 1
  • Chapter Two - A Nine Days' Campaign 19
  • Chapter Three - We Must Force Him to Fight 47
  • Chapter Four - Savagery and Confusion 79
  • Chapter Five - They Fought like Tigers 102
  • Chapter Six - Like a Duck Hit on the Head 129
  • Chapter Seven - The Cracker Line 150
  • Chapter Eight - I Have Never Felt Such Restlessness 169
  • Chapter Nine - Fix Bayonets and Go Ahead 180
  • Chapter Ten - I Was Never More Disgusted 206
  • Chapter Eleven - The Death Knell of the Confederacy 213
  • Notes 219
  • Bibliographical Essay 241
  • Index 243
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