chapter  9
16 Pages

The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns

On 23 June, 1863 the Federal Army moved out of its fortifications at Nashville and slipped past the flank of the Confederate forces around Tullahoma and Shelbyville, impelling the Southerners into a rapid retreat to protect their lines of supply.1 Bragg fell back on Chattanooga, leaving the Federals in possession of Middle Tennessee and much of the eastern region of the state so highly prized by President Lincoln. The almost bloodless Tullahoma campaign ended as swiftly as it had begun, but its brevity did not disguise the seriousness of the defeat Bragg had suffered and morale among the troops was deeply shaken. As the army fell back in late June, John E. Magee, an NCO in Stanford's battery and a prolific diarist, observed that 'every person wondering where we are going to - all down on Bragg for leaving Tenn. - some few Tennessee boys deserting'.2 Two weeks later, as the news of Vicksburg and Gettysburg began to filter through, many among the ranks continued to attack Bragg, 'most believe we could have whipped them at Tullahoma, and blame Bragg for retreating', Magee remarked, 'all confidence in Gen[era]l Bragg is lost, and I do not believe this army can win a victory under his superintendence'.3 Another soldier, Daniel Kelly, was more succinct, simply noting that 'the soldiers of this army are now very much dissatisfied with their Gen[eral]'..