Thomas's assault on Orchard Knob had told Bragg something as well. Clearly Grant was about to launch his offensive program. No time remained to carry out the right-flank strategy before the Union attack, and Bragg's choices now were simple: he could retreat toward Atlanta, admitting the failure of the whole six months' effort to hang on to Middle and East Tennessee, or he could prepare to fight a defensive battle in the positions he now held around Chattanooga. The choice was not as simple as it might have appeared, for Bragg did not like to fight defensive battles, avoided them whenever possible, indeed had never taken part in one since he was a captain commanding a battery of artillery in the Mexican War, and that was sixteen years before. Still, the alternative was unthinkable, so all that remained to Bragg was to practice an unfamiliar style of warfare and prepare to receive Grant's attack.
He took immediate steps to do so, sending orders to