1863 September 20th

September 20 1863 Sunday

Battle of Chickamauga, GA (CWSAC Decisive Battle – Confederate Victory)

Chickamauga Campaign

Chickamauga, Georgia. At 5 am, Confederate Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk was awakened on the cold and foggy battlefield, expecting his subordinate Lieutenant-General Daniel Harvey Hill to attack on the right at dawn around 6 am, in order to open the day’s offensive. The intention was that this would be the start of successive attacks progressing leftward, en echelon, along the Confederate line, so as to drive the Union army southwards and away from its escape routes through the Rossville Gap and McFarland’s Gap.

General Braxton Bragg was impatient for a prompt start but when no firing had commenced Bragg sent a staff officer to demand an explanation from Polk. The officer returned by 7 am to report that Polk’s front was inactive and that Polk was anxious for Hill to begin the action. Polk had sent new written orders which reached Hill about 6 am but Hill responded with various reasons to delay the attack. Hill had not been able to locate either the army headquarters or his corps commander’s headquarters overnight and he had not received the orders requiring his corps to attack at dawn. His men were not deployed or in the right positions for the attack. Polk decided to bypass Hill and sent an order direct to his division commanders, Major-General John Cabell Breckinridge and Major-General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, to attack immediately. The order arrived at about 7.30 am when Hill was with his two division commanders. Even after hearing this demand to go into action immediately, Hill replied with reasons for a further delay, including the need for readjustments to the alignment of his units, reconnaissance of the enemy line, and the issuing breakfast rations to his men. Bragg rode to Hill himself and was given an explanation by Hill that he had only just received his orders. Neither Bragg nor Polk, who arrived soon afterward, was able to expedite the action. Bragg was forced to accept the postponement. Hill finally sent Breckinridge forward at 9.30 am and Cleburne at 9.45 am, nearly four hours later than Bragg had intended. Taken as a whole, the performance of the Confederate right wing was a poor exhibition of command and staff incompetence.

On the Union side, Brigadier-General Absalom Baird reported before dawn to XIV Corps commander Major-General George Henry Thomas that his line stopped short of the intersection of the Lafayette and McFarland’s Gap Roads, and that he could not cover it as far as the Reed’s Bridge Road without weakening his line critically. Thomas reported the problem to army headquarters and requested that Brigadier-General James Scott Negley’s division of XIV Corps be moved from the XX Corps sector to rejoin its own corps in order to correct this problem. Thomas emphasised the vulnerability of the open left flank and the urgency for Negley to protect the gap. Rosecrans ordered Negley to reinforce Thomas immediately and continued to ride on an inspection of the lines. When Rosecrans met Thomas in person he agreed with his assessment about the danger to the left flank and said that he had already directed Major-General Alexander McDowell McCook of XX Corps to replace Negley’s division in the line so that Negley could be ready to depart at dawn to occupy that extension to the line. However, as Rosecrans rode back to his headquarters, he found that Negley had not yet been relieved and had not moved. Negley said that he was still in position because he could not abandon his place in the line without creating a gap in the line. Frustrated by the delay and anxious to strengthen his threatened left flank, at about 8 am Rosecrans told Major-General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden to move Brigadier-General Thomas Joseph Wood’s division of XXI Corps from reserve to replace Negley’s division. Once replaced by Wood, Negley could then begin his two-mile march to the left flank. Riding onwards Rosecrans then found McCook and asked why he had delayed in obeying the order to relieve Negley as originally intended.

Once again Rosecrans rode to Negley’s line and found him still stationary and awaiting relief. Wood’s division had not arrived from the reserve. Rosecrans peremptorily ordered Negley to send his reserve brigade to Thomas and to send the other two out brigades of the line as soon as Wood arrived. Rosecrans was even more abrupt with Wood when he ordered Wood to expedite his relief of Negley’s remaining two brigades.

As Wood’s first brigade entered the line and Negley’s remaining two brigades moved out to the north, the first Confederate attack of the day began on the threatened Union left flank, at about 9.45 am. The late start to the Confederate advance was significant because Thomas’ defenders had found the time to build some formidable obstacles in the few hours after dawn. At 9.30 am, Breckinridge’s three Confederate brigades under Brigadier-General Benjamin Hardin Helm, Brigadier-General Marcellus Augustus Stovall, and Brigadier-General Daniel Weisiger Adams moved forward, left to right, in a single line. Helm’s “Orphan Brigade” was the first to contact the end of Thomas’ breastworks and Helm was mortally wounded while attempting to motivate his Kentuckians forward to assault the strong position. Breckinridge’s other two brigades made better progress, pushing at first into the empty space beyond the Union left. Bragg’s aim to turn the extreme left flank of the Union army was being achieved. However, two Union brigades were on the way to oppose their advance: one was from Brigadier-General Richard William Johnson’s Union division which Thomas had shifted across when it was clear that Negley was delayed and the second was the first of Negley’s brigades to arrive (under Brigadier-General John Beatty). The two Union brigades had no time to prepare their defence line or build breastworks as they attempted to occupy a line of a length more appropriate to a full division.

Having discovered the open left flank of the Union line, Breckinridge realigned his two brigades (Adams and Stovall) to straddle the Lafayette Road to move southwards, threatening the rear of Thomas’ salient at Kelly field. They came up against the two newly-arrived Union brigades and began to push them back. Thomas called up more reinforcements: one brigade under Colonel Ferdinand Van Derveer arrived from Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan’s division. They charged Stovall’s men, driving them back. Adams’ Brigade was stopped by Colonel Timothy Robbins Stanley, who arrived fortuitously with the second brigade of Negley’s division. Adams was wounded and left behind on the field as his men retreated to their starting position. Rosecrans sent for yet another brigade, this time from the division of Brigadier-General Horatio Phillips Van Cleve from in reserve.

Cleburne’s division advanced a little later to Breckinridge’s south and they met heavy resistance at the breastworks defended by the divisions of Baird, Johnson, Major-General John McAuley Palmer, and Major-General Joseph Jones Reynolds. Thomas had more all or part of more than six division defending the salient against the onslaught of Hill’s two divisions, leaving Rosecrans with only four divisions for the rest of his line. Cleburne’s veteran Confederates attacked aggressively, and Brigadier-General Lucius Eugene Polk’s brigade broke through the Union outposts and made a temporary lodgement in the centre of the Union defences. He reported the prospect of success but by the time Polk the wing commander received the message from his nephew, the brigade had been ejected. Confederate Brigadier-General James Deshler was killed in the same attack.

Despite this setback to Cleburne’s division, Polk decided to activate the planned advance en echelon and ordered the next division in line, under Major-General Benjamin Franklin Cheatham, to go forward. Confusion in the dense woods made it difficult to know the exact location of the lines of battle, and part of Major-General Andrew Peter Stewart’s division overlapped with Cleburne’s left. As Cheatham’s division moved up from reserve it was delayed by having to pass through some of Stewart’s troops in their front. The bungled attack failed to reach the Union breastworks.

At about 10.45 am, the two Confederate divisions of Major-General William Henry Talbot Walker’s Corps were committed. Brigadier-General States Rights Gist’s brigade, commanded by Colonel Peyton Colquitt, moved to fill the gap between Breckinridge and Cleburne but Colquitt was killed and his brigade suffered severe casualties in a brief and unsupported advance. Walker brought the remainder of his division forward to rescue the survivors of Gist’s brigade. On Walker’s right flank, Colonel Daniel Chevilette Govan’s brigade of Brigadier-General St John Richardson Liddell’s Division was sent to support Breckinridge, but the brigade was forced to retreat as Stovall’s and Adams’ men fell back in the face of a Union counterattack.

Even the dismounted cavalry of Brigadier-Nathan Bedford Forrest was drawn in to supplement the attack but to no avail. Although there was no breakthrough, the Confederate attacks had built up heavy pressure all along the Union left flank, drawing in reserves and reinforcements from all points to resist the tide. For the most part, the Union troops fought from their breastworks and lost comparatively low casualties, whereas the attacking Confederate brigades were severely reduced. The five divisions of Polk’s Wing were fought to a standstill and the onus passed to Lieutenant-General James Longstreet’s Wing on the left to commence its attack.

Impatient that his attack was not progressing against the Union left, Bragg issued a peremptory order at about 11 am but it was based on incomplete information. His order required all of his commanders to advance at once. Longstreet received Bragg’s order but did not act immediately. Longstreet had spent the morning attempting to arrange his lines so that his veteran brigades from the Army of Northern Virginia would be in the front line, but these movements had resulted in the same kind of confusion that had plagued Cleburne earlier. When Longstreet was finally ready, he had successfully amassed a concentrated striking force, commanded by Major-General John Bell Hood. Hood led three divisions with eight brigades arranged in five lines. In the lead, Brigadier-General Bushrod Rust Johnson’s division straddled the Brotherton Road in two echelons. They were followed by Hood’s division commanded by Major-General Evander McIver Law, and two brigades of Major-General Lafayette McLaws’ division, currently commanded by Brigadier-General Joseph Brevard Kershaw. The sixth and final brigade of from the Army of Northern Virginia, along with the Corps artillery under Colonel Edward Porter Alexander, arrived too late to join the Army of Tennessee in the battle of Chickamauga.

To the left of Longstreet’s concentrated strike force was Major-General Thomas Carmichael Hindman’s division. Brigadier-General William Preston’s division of Major-General Simon Bolivar Buckner’s corps was in reserve behind Hindman. Thus, four divisions of the six divisions in Longstreet’s Wing with 16,000 of his 25,000 men were closely concentrated. He had no doubts that an attack by this large, compact and mostly fresh force would achieve a crushing success whenever it attacked. He prompted Bragg that an advance by this column of attack, in a dense and concentrated simultaneous attack, as opposed to the sequential attacks previously launched en echelon, would be a force that could decide the battle. Longstreet’s advice came too late because Bragg’s general order to attack had already reached the next division in line to continue the attack en echelon. This was Stewart’s division, part of Longstreet’s Wing.

Stewart received the command and immediately ordered his division forward without consulting Longstreet. Stewart’s brigades under Brigadier-General Henry Delamar Clayton, Brigadier-General John Calvin Brown, and Brigadier-General William Brimage Bate, along with Wood’s brigade of Cleburne’s division, attacked across the Poe field. Surprised by Stewart’s unauthorised and unsuccessful advance, Longstreet deferred giving the order for the remainder of his wing to attack. He held back the impetuous Hood who wanted to attack immediately alongside Stewart. Stewart’s attack went towards the breastworks west of the Poe Field where Reynolds’ Union division was posted west of the Lafayette Road. Brannan’s Union division was manning the line on Reynolds’ right and Wood’s division was on Brannan’s right. Brannan was astride the Lafayette Road with Reynolds west of the road and Wood about a hundred yards beyond it in some dense protective woodland. Stewart’s men fixed Brannan’s right flank and pushed back Van Cleve’s division into Brannan’s rear, momentarily crossing the Lafayette Road. The Confederate attack made little more progress and against heavy fire from the Union defences and then a Union counterattack drove Stewart’s division back to its starting point.

Although the disjointed Confederate attacks on the Union left petered out from exhaustion towards noon, they had caused great commotion throughout Rosecrans’ army. Thomas continued to send staff officers to seek aid from fellow generals along the line. Rosecrans felt that Stewart’s attack, weak as it was, showed further evidence that the Confederate offensive was relentlessly focused against his left and he sought to meet Thomas’ demands for help. As early as 10 am Van Cleve’s division was already on its way from the reserve, and McCook was alerted to prepare his troops for a rapid march from the right to the left at short notice. An order came at 10.30 am for McCook to send two of Major-General Philip Henry Sheridan’s brigades at once, with the third following as soon as the XX Corps front had been reduced sufficiently in length for Brigadier-General Jefferson Columbus Davis division to hold the line after their departure. This now put eight divisions on Thomas’ sector and only two divisions, one from McCook’s XX Corps and one from Crittenden’s XXI Corps, on the right sector.

Brannan’s reserve brigade was already marching north to aid Thomas but at about 10 am he was visited by one of Thomas’ staff officers asking for additional assistance. Brannan knew that if his entire division were withdrawn from the line, it would expose the flanks of the neighbouring divisions to either side, so he sought Reynolds’ advice. Reynolds agreed to the proposed movement of Brannan’s two other brigades but sent word to Rosecrans warning him of the possibly dangerous situation that would result. However, Brannan remained in his position on the line, apparently wishing for Thomas’ request to be approved by Rosecrans before he left. The staff officer believed that Brannan was now in motion and that a void must exist in the part of the line he had vacated. A similar vacuum was reported by another aide who described a “chasm” between Reynolds and Wood where Brannan should be. Receiving the message at his location at the western end of the Dyer field, Rosecrans assumed that Brannan had left the line. He wanted Wood’s division to fill the hole that was created before the dangerous error was exposed. His chief of staff Major-General James Abram Garfield, who knew that Brannan was actually still in line, was too busy writing orders for parts of Sheridan’s and Van Cleve’s divisions to support Thomas. Rosecrans’ order was instead written by Major Frank Bond, his senior aide-de-camp, a competent officer but inexperienced at order-writing. As Rosecrans dictated, Bond wrote the following order to Wood: “The general commanding directs that you close up on Reynolds as fast as possible and support him.” This contradictory order was not reviewed by Rosecrans and was sent to Wood directly, bypassing his corps commander Crittenden. Wood was perplexed by Rosecrans’ order, which he received around 10:50 am. Since Brannan was still on his left flank, Wood would not be able to “close up on” Reynolds while Brannan’s division was in the way. Therefore, the only possibility for Wood to comply was to withdraw his division from the line, march around behind Brannan and form up again behind Reynolds. This was a dangerous move, leaving an opening in the line, but Wood had already been severely berated only an hour earlier that day for not promptly obeying an order, and he was not inclined to question another. Wood could not find Crittenden, so he spoke with McCook, claiming later that McCook agreed to fill the resulting gap by sidling northwards with other units of XX Corps. McCook maintained that he had not enough units to spare to cover a division-wide hole, although he did send Colonel Hans C Heg’s brigade to partially fill the gap. The sequence of misunderstandings opened a brief but substantial void in the defences.

Wood withdrew his division back out of the line and set out across Brannan’s rear towards Thomas’ sector. He rode ahead to find his intended new location in support of Reynolds, but Thomas expressed surprise that he was on his way. Reynolds had held his positions easily against the attacks of Stewart’s Confederates and was no longer under pressure. Thomas did suggest that as Wood was in motion, he might continue onwards to the far left of the line where Baird’s division was thought to be at the end of its tether. Thomas took responsibility for changing Wood’s orders and Wood’s division marched off northwards. In attempting to fill a non-existent gap, Rosecrans had inadvertently created a real “chasm” a quarter of a mile wide. Just as had been reported inaccurately an hour earlier.

After detailed preparation and meticulous staff work, Longstreet finally gave the order for his massed column of attack to move forward at 11:10 am. Johnson’s division proceeded due west through dense woods and crossed the Brotherton field. Johnson’s objective, purely by coincidence, was precisely the point where Wood’s division was pulling out of the line. Within ten minutes, Johnson’s own brigade on the left, commanded by Colonel John S Fulton, crossed the Lafayette Road and advanced directly into the gap. The brigade on Fulton’s right, under Brigadier-General Evander McNair, encountered opposition from Brannan’s division (parts of Colonel John M Connell’s brigade) but was also able to push through easily. Hindman’s division on the left met stronger resistance. Ahead of Johnson, the few Union soldiers in the vacant sector ran in panic from the massed onslaught emerging from the woods. The Confederates vaulted the empty breastworks and saw the rear of Wood’s retreating division disappearing in the distance. A quick charge struck the exposed column from behind and captured a six-gun battery. Much of Colonel George P Buell’s Union brigade at the rear of the column shattered into fragments under the shock and Johnson’s troops pressed onwards for almost half a mile. Fugitives could be seen running for safety in the Union rear, fleeing along the Dry Valley Road which curved to the north and west. Hood told Johnson to keep going. At the far side of the Dyer field, several Union batteries of the XXI Corps reserve artillery went into action, but they were without infantry support. Although the Confederate infantry hesitated briefly under this artillery fire, Brigadier-General John Gregg’s brigade (commanded by Colonel Cyrus Sugg) outflanked the guns on their right and attacked in concert with Colonel James Sheffield’s brigade (commanded by Colonel William Perry) and Brigadier-General Jerome Bonaparte Robertson’s brigade. They overran and captured 13 of the 26 guns lined along the open ridge.

Wood’s division had only two brigades as Brigadier-General George Day Wagner was detached, holding Chattanooga. Wood managed to halt Colonel Charles Garrison Harker’s brigade at the head of his column. He turned it around and sent it back with orders to counterattack the Confederates. Law’s division continued past Brannan’s swinging defences and battered a brigade from Van Cleve’s division that had been cut off as it was marching north to Thomas’ front. Harker’s brigade arrived on the flank of the Confederate attackers, forcing them to retreat. The brigades of McNair, Perry, and Robertson became intermingled as they ran for shelter in the woods east of the field and they took up a defensive posture while they reformed.

Hood ordered Kershaw’s brigade to attack Harker and then raced to rally Robertson’s brigade. As he reached his former unit, Hood was wounded severely in his right thigh. The wound necessitated a field amputation of his leg and was predicted to be almost certainly fatal. Harker conducted a fighting withdrawal under pressure from Kershaw, retreating to Horseshoe Ridge near the tiny house of George Washington Snodgrass. Finding a good defensible position there, Harker’s men were able to resist the multiple assaults, beginning at 1 pm, from the brigades of Kershaw and Brigadier-General Benjamin Grubb Humphreys. These two brigades had no assistance from their nearby fellow brigade commanders because Perry and Robertson were attempting to reorganise their brigades after they were routed into the woods. Confederate Brigadier-General Henry Lewis Benning’s brigade of McLaws’ division had turned north after crossing the Lafayette Road, in pursuit of two brigades of Brannan’s division. They dislodged the Union defenders and Brannan’s division had to hinge back on its left flank, where it adjoined Reynolds’ solid line where Stewart’s division was ready to rejoin the offensive.

Hindman’s division attacked the Union line to the south of Hood’s column did not hit a gap but encountered considerably stronger numbers, two whole divisions under Sheridan and Davis. However, just as Wood’s division had been caught in motion, these two divisions were also in marching formation as they obeyed their orders to move into the void left by Wood. The Confederate brigade on the right, commanded by Brigadier-General Zachariah Cantey Deas, drove back two brigades of Davis’ division and broke them into a rout. Colonel Bernard Laiboldt’s brigade of Sheridan’s division was also infected by the panic and ran. Sheridan’s two remaining brigades under Brigadier-General William Haines Lytle and Colonel Nathan Walworth checked the Confederate advance on a slight ridge west of the Dyer field near the Widow Glenn House. Lytle ordered a counter charge to gain time, but he was killed by the first Confederate volley. His leaderless men fled to the west, joining the growing mobs on the Dry Valley Road. McCook’s Corps had disintegrated, and McCook, Sheridan, and Davis were all swept away amid the human wreckage.

Hindman deployed his artillery and shelled the crowds fleeing along the Dry Valley Road and gathered another seventeen guns captured or found abandoned during his advance. Within an hour he had also collected 1,100 Union prisoners. Union resistance at the southern end of the battlefield had evaporated. Sheridan’s and Davis’ divisions fell back to the escape route at McFarland’s Gap, taking with them elements of Van Cleve’s and Negley’s divisions. Hindman’s left brigade under Brigadier-General Arthur Middleton Manigault crossed the field east of the Widow Glenn’s house, which was now burning from shell fire. Union Colonel John Thomas Wilder’s mounted infantry brigade, advancing from its reserve position, launched a strong counterattack with its Spencer repeating rifles, driving Manigault around and through what became known as “Bloody Pond”. Having nullified Manigault’s advance, Wilder decided to press onwards to attack the flank of Hood’s column. Although comparatively few in number, they could cause great disruption. However, at that moment, Assistant Secretary of War Charles A Dana found Wilder and excitedly proclaimed that the battle was lost and demanded to be escorted to safety in Chattanooga. In the time that it took for Wilder calm down Dana and to assign a small detachment to escort him back to safety, the opportunity for a successful attack was lost and he ordered his men to withdraw to the west. Longstreet committed a brigade from Preston’s division in reserve to hasten Wilder’s departure.

At McFarland’s Gap, some Union units had reformed around Negley, Sheridan, and Davis. Sheridan decided that he should go to Thomas’ aid but, rather than going directly from McFarland’s Gap, he would take a circuitous route northwest to the Rossville Gap and then south on the Lafayette Road. At about 3 pm, Sheridan’s 1,500 men, Davis’ 2,500 men, Negley’s 2,200 men, and about 1,700 men of other detached units were clustered at or near McFarland’s Gap, just three miles away from the vitally important Horseshoe Ridge. These three senior commanders were exceptions in their determined stand as the majority of units on the right were retreating in disorder. Rosecrans, Garfield, McCook, and Crittenden, after attempting briefly to rally the retreating units, soon joined the mad rush to safety. The provost marshal of the XIV Corps met Crittenden at the Gap and offered him the services of 1,000 men he had been able to round up during the retreat. Crittenden refused the command and continued his personal flight. Under the influence of Garfield, Rosecrans also decided to hasten to Chattanooga where he could reorganise the retreating men and prepare the city defences. As a result, the army commander, two of his three corps commanders and four of his ten division commanders abandoned the field with the conviction that the day was lost. Similar discretion was shown by many junior officers and the panic permeated down to the enlisted men. Rosecrans sent Garfield to Thomas with orders to take command of whatever forces remained at Chickamauga. Thomas was given discretion whether to stand and fight or to withdraw to Rossville. Rosecrans rode on to the city and reoccupied his former headquarters building, which he had left eleven days before, at about 3.30 pm. Dana arrived half an hour later and sent a grim and unsettled account of the defeat, suggesting that the army had suffered a catastrophe and the only organised force to be rescued was retreating through Rossville Gap under the command of Thomas.

In fact, the entire Army of the Cumberland had not fled. Thomas was not retreating but was earning his sobriquet of the “Rock of Chickamauga”. Thomas’ four divisions still held their lines around Kelly Field and a strong defensive position was attracting stragglers and resolute men from the right flank to join the defence of Horseshoe Ridge. Negley had been deploying artillery there on orders from Thomas to protect his position at Kelly Field (although Negley inexplicably faced his guns to the south instead of the northeast). Retreating men rallied in random groups and began hastily to erect breastworks from felled trees. The first formed unit to arrive was the 82nd Indiana Infantry commanded by Colonel Morton Hunter, part of Brannan’s division. Brannan himself arrived at Snodgrass Hill at about noon and implored his men to rally around Hunter’s firm line. More units and remnants continued to collect on Horseshoe Ridge and extended the line. The new line added up to the equivalent of two divisions, made up of parts of Brannan’s, Wood’s, Van Cleve’s and Negley’s divisions. Thomas added troops from his own strong line facing Polk’s quiescent wing, including a brigade from Palmer’s division and another from Johnson’s division. The new position had great natural strength, heavily wooded and steeply sloped.

Longstreet arrived at the front to find that the attacks of Johnson, Law. and Hindman had all achieved remarkable success. Aware that the Union left wing remained in place in front of Polk, pinned down by attacks earlier in the day, Longstreet realised that his own wing should now wheel to the right and northwards to advance into its exposed rear. Longstreet saw that the whole Union army teetered on the verge of annihilation, and he decided that the fleeing troops heading along the Dry Valley Road and through McFarland’s Gap could be left to the pursuit of Major-General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry. Wheeler’s troopers had skirmished below Lee and Gordon’s Mill all day but then forced a crossing at Glass’ Mill three miles south of the main battle. The Union cavalry screen was forced to retreat, and Wheeler was summoned to follow the Dry Valley Road through Crawfish Springs and to harry the ruined Union southern flank.

Longstreet then began to realign his infantry for the final blow. Law’s and Kershaw’s (McLaws’) divisions on the right had already turned in the desired direction as they followed up the retreat of Brannan’s right flank. Preston’s division now held the pivot of the line and Longstreet sent for Johnson and Hindman to bring their divisions back from their advanced positions for the next stage of the advance. The redeployment was inevitably difficult and slow in the dense woodlands and broken terrain and involved a lot of marching for some troops. Preston had three miles to cover to reach his next position. All of the attacking commands had become dispersed and disorganised during their attack and pursuit, and they all needed to be reorganised and re-supplied. Nearly six hours of daylight remained, and Longstreet expected to be able to circulate his orders and place is men for at least one more crushing blow before it was too dark. While the troops rallied, reformed, ate, and replenished their ammunition, Longstreet scouted the Union defences which had coalesced in a line perpendicular to the Lafayette Road, facing south. It extended along the steep and irregular slopes of an eastern spur of Missionary Ridge called Snodgrass Hill. Longstreet was joined by Johnson and they agreed that this was now the key to the remaining Union defence. He brought up twelve guns from Buckner’s artillery reserve and placed them where they could enfilade Thomas’ original line to the north and the new line to the west.

As Longstreet distributed instructions for the redirected attack, he received a message from Bragg to attend a conference in the woods west of the Lafayette Road. Longstreet met Bragg and reported the rout of the Union right and the capture of forty guns. He also described the intended right-wheel that would bring him into the rear of the Union left wing. Longstreet suggested that Polk’s forces could pin the enemy to the front and release some fresh troops to strengthen Longstreet’s gathering forces. Bragg appeared disappointed that his original plan of attack had failed while Longstreet improvised a victory by his own plan. Bragg replied that nobody from Polk’s Corps retained the capacity for a further offensive and he rode away to set up his headquarters at Reed’s Bridge, far from the critical point of Longstreet’s proposed attack.

After Longstreet returned at 2 pm from his depressing conference with Bragg he learned about a probing attack by two brigades of Kershaw’s division. At about 1 pm, Kershaw’s 2nd South Carolina Infantry had prompted one of the epic defensive stands of the entire war. Stanley’s Union brigade, driven to the area by Govan’s earlier attack from the east, had taken up a position on the portion of the ridge immediately south of the Snodgrass house, where they were joined by parts of Harker’s brigade on their left and Brigadier-General William Babcock Hazen’s brigade (the force sent earlier from Palmer’s division). Most importantly for the Union defence, one of the regiments that Brannan had requested from Negley’s division was the 21st Ohio Infantry. This unit was armed with five-shot Colt revolving rifles, and its heightened firepower saved the right flank of the position. This group of intermingled units beat back the initial probing assaults from Kershaw and Humphreys and then three full-scale attacks. The Confederates gave up the attempt and awaited the right moment for the launch of Longstreet’s final advance.

Johnson’s Confederates advanced against the western end of the ridge, seriously threatening the Union flank. But as they reached the top of the ridge, they found that fresh Union reinforcements had arrived ahead of them. Throughout the day the sounds of battle had filtered three miles north to McAfee’s Church, where the Reserve Corps of Major-General Gordon Granger was stationed to protect the escape route of Rossville Gap. At about 11 am, Granger lost patience and sent reinforcements south without orders to do so and at the risk of a court-martial. The two brigades of Major-General James Blair Steedman’s division and the brigade of Colonel Daniel McCook made up the entire available force of the Corps. Steedman’s two brigades set out within half an hour to cover the four miles to join Thomas while the third under McCook remained in place to maintain the defence of Rossville Gap at the McDonald House. As Steedman’s men marched, they were harassed by Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s dismounted cavalrymen and artillery. At about noon two batteries brought them under flanking fire and the division had to deploy to drive off the harassing guns and cavalrymen. After the column reformed for the march, the enemy cavalrymen resumed their harassment, so Granger sent for McCook to take over the defence of this vulnerable flank while Steedman’s two brigades continued onwards through fields and woods. They also brought a battery with them and a supply of much-needed rifle ammunition. Steedman was delayed slightly by Negley’s division passing across their front but finally reached the Union lines in the rear of the Horseshoe Ridge position just as Johnson was starting his attack. Granger sent Steedman’s inexperienced men into Johnson’s path at the double-quick. Within twenty minutes the two Union brigades had lost one-fifth of their number, eventually being reduced to half before sundown. Several attacks and counterattacks shifted the lines back and forth as Johnson received more and more reinforcements. McNair’s Brigade (now commanded by Colonel David Coleman), and Deas’ and Manigault’s brigades from Hindman’s division strengthened the Confederates but many of these men were exhausted. Van Derveer’s Union brigade arrived from the Kelly Field line to beef up the Union defence. Confederate Brigadier-General Patton Anderson’s brigade (Hindman’s Division) unsuccessfully attempted to assault the hill in the gap between Johnson’s and Kershaw’s divisions.

Summoned to a meeting with Bragg, Longstreet again asked the army commander for reinforcements from Polk’s wing, before he committed his own last reserve, Preston’s division. Bragg told Longstreet that the battle was in the process of being lost, which Longstreet found inexplicable, considering the startling success of his assault. Bragg believed that Longstreet’s success on the southern end of the battlefield was merely driving his opponents along their escape route towards Chattanooga and that the opportunity to isolate and destroy the Army of the Cumberland had evaporated. After the repeated delays in the morning’s attacks, Bragg had lost confidence in his generals on the right wing and now he refused to send reinforcements to Longstreet.

Longstreet finally deployed the three brigades of Preston’s division and they advanced at about 4 pm. They advanced en echelon with two brigades in the front and one in reserve against Brannan’s defences. They advanced to within eighty yards of the improvised Union works and began to exchange volleys for nearly an hour. The comparatively green troops of Brigadier-General Archibald Gracie and Colonel John H Kelly endured the test of fire, earning the admiration of Law’s veterans to their left and Stewart’s to the right. They lost heavy casualties but pinned down the Union defenders. Breckinridge managed to deploy twelve guns to add their fire to the attack. They made several attempts to assault Horseshoe Ridge, from around 4:30 pm. Longstreet later wrote that twenty-five assaults were launched against Snodgrass Hill.

At about this time, Thomas received an order from Rosecrans to take command of the army on the field and announced that a general retreat would begin. Thomas knew that he could not disengage in daylight under such heavy pressure and maintained his resistance. By 5 pm, however, the threat from Preston’s division had been increased by growing activity from Confederates to other side and Thomas began a gradual withdrawal, starting from his left flank and then from his right. Thomas’ divisions at Kelly Field and Reynolds’ division were the first to withdraw at 5.30 pm, followed by Palmer’s, and finally by Johnson’s divisions. Each division broke off the fight gradually from south to north and marched behind its neighbour to the left and then made a side-step towards McFarland’s Gap and Rossville. As the Confederates saw the Union soldiers withdrawing, they renewed their attacks, threatening to surround Johnson’s and Baird’s divisions. Johnson’s division managed to escape relatively unscathed. Baird’s and Steedman’s divisions would have to be the last to move and would form the rearguard. Reynolds was leading the withdrawal but when he reached the extreme left on the Lafayette Road, he found that Baird had been outflanked by the Confederates of Liddell’s division. Instead of marching for safety, he deployed again and blocked the advance, allowing the following divisions to continue onwards behind his troops. Baird lost a significant number of prisoners.

Thomas left Horseshoe Ridge to rally the troops and organise resistance further back, leaving Granger in charge, but Granger departed soon afterwards, leaving no one to coordinate the last phase of the withdrawal. Finally, Brannan and Steedman, along with the mingled brigades that had reinforced them, disengaged from west to east. The Confederates redoubled their efforts and Preston committed his last reserve brigade and they broke through to strike the flank of Brannan’s division. Three Union regiments that had been attached from other units (the 22nd Michigan Infantry, the 89th Ohio Infantry, and the 21st Ohio Infantry) were caught without sufficient ammunition and used their bayonets until they were surrounded and forced to surrender. Brannan and Steedman managed to withdraw the rest of their divisions, abandoning their dead and wounded.

As daylight faded, the Union defenders improvised their escape and the battle degenerated into a race to reach the passes. The last Union resistance was provided by two regiments that counter-marched after replenishing their ammunition and they held out until after dark against the disorganised Confederate pursuers.

Thomas gradually withdrew the remainder of his units to positions around Rossville Gap after darkness fell. Most of the demoralised army continued in a moonless night to Chattanooga. Thomas’ determination to maintain the Union position until ordered to withdraw, while his commander and peers fled, earned him the nickname Rock of Chickamauga, derived from a portion of a message that Garfield sent to Rosecrans, “Thomas is standing like a rock.” Garfield met Thomas in Rossville that night and wired to Rosecrans that the troops were tired and hungry, and nearly out of ammunition, but that Thomas urged Rosecrans to rejoin the army and lead it against the disorganised enemy. Rosecrans, physically exhausted and psychologically beaten, remained in Chattanooga.

The Confederate Army of Tennessee camped for the night, cheering a victory despite their fatigue, and unaware that the Union army was slipping from their grasp. Longstreet called a halt, but only long enough to prepare for the resumption of an aggressive pursuit as quickly as possible. Polk also began to push his scouts forward and he rode to Bragg’s headquarters with excited reports of the disastrous rout of the Union army. He roused Bragg from sleep but could not persuade him to order a pursuit. Nobody gave Bragg an explicit report that his army had achieved a crushing victory, assuming that Bragg must be aware of his success and the opportunity. Bragg saw only the danger of a blind advance into the fortified bastion of Chattanooga. Despite the insistence of his subordinates, Bragg did not order a pursuit because he believed his troops were in a state of chaos, terribly depleted by casualties and incapable of an effective advance. Many of Bragg’s troops had arrived hurriedly at Chickamauga by rail, and without wagons to transport their supplies, and many of the artillery horses had been injured or killed during the battle. Furthermore, the Tennessee River was now an obstacle to the Confederates and Bragg had no pontoon bridges to make a crossing. These factors swayed Bragg to take a cautious approach. Although the Confederates had driven Rosecrans from the field, Bragg failed to press the advantage to destroy the Union army and regain control of eastern Tennessee.

Union losses were reported as 16,170 (1,657 killed, 9,756 wounded and 4,757 captured or missing), Confederate losses were 18,454 (2,312 killed, 14,674 wounded, and 1,468 captured or missing). Nine Confederate generals were dead or wounded, as was one Union general. These were the highest losses of any battle in the Western Theatre during the war and the second-highest in any battle of the war. (CWSAC Decisive Battle – Confederate Victory)

Idaho Territory. Expedition to Fort Lapwai and The Meadows ended.

Kentucky. Expedition from Paducah to McLemoresville, Tennessee, began.

Louisiana. Skirmish at Morgan’s Ferry on the Atchafalaya River.

Missouri. Skirmish at Hornersville.

North Carolina. Incident at Indiantown.

Tennessee. Expedition from Paducah, Kentucky, to McLemoresville began.

Tennessee. Incident at Washington,

Tennessee. Skirmish at Carter’s Depot

Tennessee. Skirmish at Zollicoffer.

Virginia. Incident at Culpeper Court House.

West Virginia. Skirmish at Shaver Mountain near Buckhannon.

Union Organisation

USA: Charles Garrison Harker promoted Brigadier-General USV 10 April 1864 to rank from 20 September 1863.

Harker, Charles Garrison / New Jersey / Born 2 December 1837 Swedesboro, New Jersey / KIA Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia 27 June 1864
USMA 1 July 1858 16/27 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 September 1854 / 2nd US Infantry 1 July 1858 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 9th US Infantry 15 August 1858 / 1st Lieutenant USA 15th US Infantry 14 May 1861 / Captain USA 24 October 1861 / Colonel USV 65th Ohio Infantry 11 November 1861 / Brigadier-General USV 10 April 1864 to rank from 20 September 1863 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1858 / WIA Resaca 14 May 1864
20th Brigade 6th Division Army of the Ohio 29 September 1862-24 October 1862 / 20th Brigade 6th Division II Corps Army of the Ohio 24 October 1862-5 November 1862 / 3rd Brigade 1st Division Left Wing XIV Corps Army of the Cumberland 5 November 1862-9 January 1863 / 3rd Brigade 1st Division XXI Corps Army of the Cumberland 9 January 1863-17 February 1863 / 3rd Brigade 1st Division XXI Corps Army of the Cumberland 17 March 1863-9 October 1863 / 3rd Brigade 2nd Division IV Corps Army of the Cumberland 10 October 1863-27 June 1864

USA: Brigadier-General William Haines Lytle was killed at Chickamauga, Georgia.

Lytle, William Haines / Ohio / Born 2 November 1826 Cincinnati, Ohio / KIA Chickamauga, Georgia 20 September 1863
1st Lieutenant USV 2nd Ohio Infantry 18 September 1847 / Captain USV 21 December 1847 / Mustered Out USV 25 July 1848 / Lieutenant-Colonel Ohio Militia 1855 / Major-General Ohio Militia 19 September 1857 / Colonel USV 10th Ohio Infantry 3 May 1861 / Brigadier-General USV 29 November 1862 / WIA Carnifex Ferry 10 September 1861 WIA & CIA Perryville 8 October 1862 Exchanged 4 February 1863
17th Brigade 3rd Division Army of the Ohio 2 December 1861-22 December 1861 / 17th Brigade 3rd Division Army of the Ohio 21 March 1862-19 August 1862 / 17th Brigade 3rd Division Army of the Ohio23 August 1862-29 September 1862 / 17th Brigade 3rd Division I Corps Army of the Ohio 29 September 1862-8 October 1862 / 1st Brigade 3rd Division XX Corps Army of the Cumberland 12 April 1863-20 September 1863

Commander in Chief: President Abraham Lincoln

Vice-President: Hannibal Hamlin

Secretary of War: Edwin McMasters Stanton

Secretary of the Navy: Gideon Welles

North Atlantic Blockading Squadron: Samuel Phillips Lee
South Atlantic Blockading Squadron: John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren
West Gulf Blockading Squadron: David Glasgow Farragut
East Gulf Blockading Squadron: Theodorus Bailey
Pacific Squadron: John Berrien Montgomery
Mississippi River Squadron: David Dixon Porter
Potomac Flotilla: Andrew Allen Harwood

General–in-Chief: Henry Wager Halleck

Department of the Cumberland: William Starke Rosecrans

  • Army of the Cumberland: William Starke Rosecrans
    • XIV Corps Cumberland: George Henry Thomas
    • XX Corps Cumberland: Alexander McDowell McCook
    • XXI Corps Cumberland: Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
    • Reserve Corps Cumberland: Gordon Granger
    • Cavalry Corps Cumberland: Robert Byington Mitchell temporary

Department of the East: John Adams Dix

Department of the Gulf: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks

  • District of Port Hudson: George Leonard Andrews
  • District of Pensacola: William Cune Holbrook
  • District of La Fourche: Henry Warner Birge
  • District of Key West and Tortugas: Charles Hamilton
  • Defences of New Orleans: Edward Griffin Beckwith
  • Army of the Gulf: Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
    • XIII Corps Gulf: Edward Otho Cresap Ord
    • XIX Corps Gulf: William Buel Franklin

Middle Department: Robert Cumming Schenck

  • District of Delaware: Daniel Tyler
  • District of the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Henry Hayes Lockwood
  • VIII Corps Middle: Robert Cumming Schenck

Department of the Missouri: John McAllister Schofield

  • District of St Louis: William Kerley Strong
  • District of Southeast Missouri: Clinton Bowen Fisk
  • District of Southwest Missouri: John McNeil
  • District of Northeast Missouri: Thomas Jefferson McKean
  • District of North Missouri: Odon Guitar
  • District of Central Missouri: Egbert Benson Brown
  • District of Rolla: Thomas Alfred Davies
  • District of Nebraska Territory: Thomas Jefferson McKean
  • District of the Frontier: James Gilpatrick Blunt
  • District of the Border: Thomas Ewing
  • Army of Arkansas: Frederick Steele

Department of the Monongahela: William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks

Department of New Mexico: James Henry Carleton

  • District of Arizona: Joseph Rodman West

Department of the Northwest: John Pope

  • District of Minnesota: Henry Hastings Sibley
  • District of Wisconsin: Thomas Church Haskell Smith
  • District of Iowa: Benjamin Stone Roberts
  • District of Dakota: Alfred Sully

Department of the Ohio: Ambrose Everett Burnside

  • District of Kentucky: Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
  • District of Eastern Kentucky: George W Gallup
  • District of Western Kentucky: Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
  • District of Illinois: Jacob Ammen
  • District of Indiana: John Smith Simonson
  • District of Ohio: Jacob Dolson Cox
  • Army of the Ohio: Ambrose Everett Burnside
    • IX Corps Ohio: Ambrose Everett Burnside
    • XXIII Corps Ohio: George Lucas Hartsuff

Department of the Pacific: George Wright

  • District of the Humboldt: Stephen Girard Whipple
  • District of Oregon: Benjamin Alvord
  • District of Southern California: James Freeman Curtis
  • District of Utah: Patrick Edward Connor

Department of the Potomac: George Gordon Meade

  • Army of the Potomac: George Gordon Meade
    • I Corps Potomac: John Newton
    • II Corps Potomac: Gouverneur Kemble Warren
    • III Corps Potomac: William Henry French
    • V Corps Potomac: George Sykes
    • VI Corps Potomac: John Sedgwick
    • XI Corps Potomac: Oliver Otis Howard
    • XII Corps Potomac: Henry Warner Slocum
    • Cavalry Corps Potomac: Alfred Pleasonton

Department of the South: Quincy Adams Gillmore

  • X Corps South: Quincy Adams Gillmore

Department of the Susquehanna: Darius Nash Couch

  • Lehigh District: Franz Sigel

Department of the Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant

  • District of West Tennessee: Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
    • Sub-District of Memphis: James Clifford Veatch
  • District of Eastern Arkansas: Napoleon Bonaparte Buford
  • District of Northeast Louisiana: John Parker Hawkins
  • Army of the Tennessee: Ulysses Simpson Grant
    • XV Corps Tennessee: William Tecumseh Sherman
    • XVI Corps Tennessee: Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
      • Left Wing XVI Corps Tennessee: Grenville Mellen Dodge
    • XVII Corps Tennessee: James Birdseye McPherson

Department of Virginia and North Carolina: Benjamin Franklin Butler

  • District of North Carolina: John James Peck
    • Sub-District of Albemarle: Henry Walton Wessells
    • Sub-District of the Pamlico: Josiah Pickett
    • Sub-District of Beaufort NC: Charles Adam Heckman
    • Defences of New Bern: Innis Newton Palmer
  • District of Virginia: Henry Morris Naglee
    • Sub-District of Yorktown: Isaac Jones Wistar
  • Army of North Carolina: John James Peck
    • XVIII Corps North Carolina: John Gray Foster

Department of Washington: Samuel Peter Heintzelman

  • District of Alexandria: John Potts Slough
  • District of Washington: John Henry Martindale
  • XXII Corps Washington: Samuel Peter Heintzelman

Department of Western Virginia: Benjamin Franklin Kelley

  • Army of the Kanawha: George Crook

District of St Mary’s: Gilman Marston

Confederate Organisation

CSA: Major-General Lafayette McLaws assumed temporary command of I Corps (Northern Virginia), succeeding Major-General John Bell Hood.

McLaws, Lafayette / Georgia / Born 15 January 1821 Augusta, Georgia / Died Savannah, Georgia 24 July 1897
USMA 1 July 1842 48/56 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 July 1838 / 6th US Infantry 1 July 1842 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 7th US Infantry 16 March 1844 / 1st Lieutenant USA 16 February 1847 / Captain USA 24 August 1851 / Resigned USA 23 May 1861 / Major ACSA Infantry 16 March 1861 / Assistant Quartermaster 18 April 1861-June 1861 / Colonel PACS 10th Georgia Infantry 17 June 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 25 September 1861 / Major-General PACS 23 May 1862 / No Record of Parole / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1842 / WIA Texas 1845
1st Brigade Army of the Peninsula 3 October 1861-10 November 1861 / 2nd Division Army of the Peninsula 10 November 1861-10 April 1862 / McLaws’ Division Magruder’s Command Army of Northern Virginia 12 April 1862-May 1862 / 2nd Division Right Wing I Corps Army of Northern Virginia May 1862-July 1862 / McLaws’ Division defences of Richmond July 1862-26 August 1862 / McLaws’ Division I Corps Army of Northern Virginia 26 August 1862-20 September 1863 / I Corps Northern Virginia 20 September 1863-17 December 1863 / Defences of Savannah 18 May 1864-17 December 1864 / Third Sub-District of South Carolina 1 August 1864-17 October 1864 / Fifth Sub-District of South Carolina 17 October 1864-22 January 1865 / McLaws’ Division Army of Tennessee January 1865-26 May 1865 / Fifth Sub-District of South Carolina 10 April 1865-10 May 1865

CSA: John Bell Hood promoted Lieutenant-General PACS 1 February 1864 to rank from 20 September 1863.

Hood, John Bell / Kentucky / Born 1 June 1831 Owingsville, Kentucky / Died New Orleans, Louisiana 30 August 1879
USMA 1 July 1853 44 /52 Infantry / Cadet USMA 1 July 1847 / 4th US Infantry 1 July 1853 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 2nd US Cavalry 3 March 1855 / 1st Lieutenant USA 18 August 1858 / Resigned USA 16 April 1861 / 1st Lieutenant ACSA Cavalry 16 March 1861 / Captain ACSA 16 March 1861 / Colonel PACS 4th Texas Infantry 30 September 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 6 March 1862 to rank from 3 March 1862 / Major-General PACS 10 October 1862 / Lieutenant-General PACS 1 February 1864 to rank from 20 September 1863 / General PACS (Temporary) 18 July 1864 Unconfirmed Reverted Lieutenant-General PACS 24 January 1865 to rank from 20 September 1863 / Paroled Natchez, Mississippi 31 May 1865 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1853 / WIA Devil’s River, Texas 20 July 1857 WIA Gaines’ Mill 27 June 1862 WIA Gettysburg 2 July 1863 WIA Chickamauga 20 September 1863
Hood’s Brigade Whiting’s Division Army of the Potomac 20 February 1862-14 March 1862 / Hood’s Brigade Whiting’s Division Army of Northern Virginia 14 March 1862-April 1862 / Hood’s Brigade 5th Division Army of Northern Virginia April 1862-May 1862 / 2nd Brigade 1st Division Left Wing Army of Northern Virginia May 1862-June 1862 / 1st Brigade 1st Division Left Wing Army of Northern Virginia June 1862-27 June 1862 / Hood’s Brigade Whiting’s Division I Corps Army of Northern Virginia July 1862-August 1862 / Hood’s Division I Corps Army of Northern Virginia August 1862-17 February 1863 / Hood’s Division I Corps Department of North Carolina 17 February 1863-4 May 1863 / Hood’s Division I Corps Army of Northern Virginia 4 May 1862-2 July 1863 / Hood’s Division I Corps Army of Northern Virginia 18 September 1863-19 September 1863 / I Corps Northern Virginia 19 September 1863-20 September 1863 / II Corps Tennessee 9 February 1864-18 July 1864 / Department of Tennessee 18 July 1864-15 August 1864 / Army of Tennessee 18 July 1864-23 January 1865 / Department of Tennessee and Georgia 15 August 1864-23 January 1865

CSA: Brigadier-General Daniel Weisiger Adams was captured at Chickamauga, Georgia.

Adams, Daniel Weisiger / Kentucky / Born 31 May 1821 Frankfort, Kentucky / Died New Orleans, Louisiana 13 June 1872
2nd Lieutenant Mississippi Militia / Lieutenant-Colonel PACS 1st Louisiana Infantry 13 March 1861 / Colonel PACS 30 October 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 23 May 1862 / Paroled Meridian, Mississippi 9 May 1865 / WIA Shiloh 6 April 1862 WIA Perryville 8 October 1862 WIA Stones River 31 December 1862 WIA & CIA Chickamauga 20 September 1863
1st Brigade 1st Division II Corps Army of Tennessee January 1862 / 2nd Brigade 2nd Division II Corps Army of Mississippi 9 March 1862-29 March 1862 / 1st Brigade 2nd Division II Corps Army of Mississippi 6 April 1862 / 2nd Brigade 2nd Division Left Wing Army of Mississippi 13 August 1862-20 November 1862 / 2nd Brigade 2nd Division II Corps Army of Tennessee 20 November 1862-12 May 1863 / Adams’ Brigade Breckinridge’s Division Army of Mississippi May 1863-July 1863 / Adams’ Brigade Breckinridge’s Division Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana July 1863-August 1863 / Adams’ Brigade Breckinridge’s Division D H Hill’s Corps Army of Tennessee 28 August 1863-20 September 1863 / District of Northern Alabama 27 July 1864-24 September 1864 / District of Central Alabama 24 September 1864-11 March 1865 / District of Alabama 11 March 1865-4 May 1865 / District of Southern Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana 3 February 1865-13 March 1865 / District of Alabama 11 March 1865-4 May 1865

CSA: Brigadier-General Benjamin Hardin Helm was mortally wounded at Chickamauga, Georhia.

Helm, Benjamin Hardin / Kentucky / Born 2 June 1831 Bardstown, Kentucky / DOW Chickamauga, Georgia 21 September 1863
USMA 1 July 1851 9 42 Dragoons / Cadet USMA 1 July 1847 / 2nd US Dragoons 1 July 1851 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 31 March 1852 / Resigned USA 9 October 1852 / Major USA Paymaster USA 27 April 1861 Declined / Assistant Inspector-General Kentucky Militia 1861 / Colonel PACS 1st Kentucky Cavalry 5 October 1861 / 1st Lieutenant USA Cavalry 19 October 1861 / Brigadier-General PACS 14 March 1862 / Brevet 2nd Lieutenant USA 1 July 1851 /MWIA Chickamauga 20 September 1863
Cavalry Army of Kentucky October 1861 / 3rd Brigade Reserve Corps Army of Mississippi April 1862-June 1862 / 2nd Brigade 1st Division Army of the West July 1862-5 August 1862 / 4th Brigade 1st Division II Corps Army of Tennessee 30 January 1863-May 1863 / Helm’s Brigade Breckinridge’s Division Hardee’s Corps Army of Tennessee May 1863-August 1863 / Helm’s Brigade Breckinridge’s Division D H Hill’s Corps Army of Tennessee August 1863-20 September 1863

CSA: Colonel James Deshler (Brigadier-General unconfirmed) was killed at Chickamauga.

Deshler, James / Alabama / Born 18 February 1833 Tuscumbia, Alabama / KIA Chickamauga, Georgia 20 September 1863
USMA 1 July 1854 7/46 Artillery / Cadet USMA 1 July 1850 / 2nd Lieutenant USA 3rd US Artillery 1 July 1854 / 10th US Infantry 3 March 1855 / 1st Lieutenant USA 17 September 1858 / Dropped from rolls USA 15 July 1861 / Captain Artillery Virginia Militia 28 May 1861 / Captain ACSA Artillery July 1861 / ADC (H R Jackson) 13 July 1861-21 July 1861 / ADC (E Johnson) December 1861 / Colonel PACS 1862 / Assistant Adjutant-General August 1862 / Brigadier-General PACS 28 July 1863 to rank from 23 July 1863 Unconfirmed / WIA Alleghany Summit 13 December 1861 CIA Arkansas Post 11 January 1863 Exchanged June 1863
Chief of Artillery Army of the Northwest July 1861 / Chief of Artillery Department of North Carolina April 1862-June 1862 / Assistant Adjutant-General Trans-Mississippi Department August 1862 / 2nd Brigade 2nd Division II Corps Trans-Mississippi Army December 1862 / Deshler’s Brigade Cleburne’s Division D H Hill’s Corps Army of Tennessee September 1863

Commander in Chief: President Jefferson Finis Davis

Vice-President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Secretary of War: James Alexander Seddon

Secretary of the Navy: Stephen Russell Mallory

Military Adviser to the President: Vacant

Military Division of the West: Joseph Eggleston Johnston

  • Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana: William Joseph Hardee
    • Gulf District: Dabney Herndon Maury
    • Army of Mississippi: William Joseph Hardee

Department of Henrico: John Henry Winder

Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia: William Henry Chase Whiting

Department of Northern Virginia: Robert Edward Lee

  • Army of Northern Virginia: Robert Edward Lee
    • II Corps Northern Virginia: Richard Stoddert Ewell
    • III Corps Northern Virginia: Ambrose Powell Hill
    • Cavalry Corps Northern Virginia: James Ewell Brown Stuart
  • Valley District: John Daniel Imboden

Department of Richmond: Robert Ransom temporary

Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

  • District of Georgia: Hugh Weedon Mercer
  • District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 1st Sub-District of South Carolina: Roswell Sabine Ripley
    • 2nd Sub-District of South Carolina: James Heyward Trapier
    • 3rd Sub-District of South Carolina: William Stephen Walker
    • 4th Sub-District of South Carolina: James Heyward Trapier
  • District of East Florida: Joseph Finegan
  • District of Middle Florida: Joseph Finegan
  • District of West Florida: John Horace Forney
  • Defences of Savannah: Jeremy Francis Gilmer

Department of Tennessee: Braxton Bragg

  • District of East Tennessee: Samuel Jones temporary
    • District of Abingdon: William Preston
  • District of Western North Carolina: Robert Brank Vance
  • Army of Tennessee: Braxton Bragg
    • Left Wing (Tennessee): Leonidas Polk
      • I Corps Tennessee: Leonidas Polk
      • II Corps Tennessee: Daniel Harvey Hill
      • Reserve Corps Tennessee: William Henry Talbot Walker
    • Right Wing (Tennessee): James Longstreet
      • I Corps Northern Virginia: Lafayette McLaws temporary
      • III Corps Tennessee: Simon Bolivar Buckner
    • Cavalry Corps Tennessee: Joseph Wheeler

Trans-Allegheny Department: Samuel Jones

Trans-Mississippi Department: Edmund Kirby Smith

  • District of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona: John Bankhead Magruder
    • Western Sub-District of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona: Hamilton Prioleau Bee
      • Sub-District of the Rio Grande: Hamilton Prioleau Bee
    • Eastern Sub-District of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona: Philip Noland Luckett temporary
    • Sub-District of Houston: Xavier Blanchard Debray
    • Northern Sub-District Texas, New Mexico and Arizona: Henry Eustace McCullough
  • District of Arkansas: Sterling Price temporary
  • District of West Louisiana: Richard Taylor
  • District of Indian Territory: Douglas Hancock Cooper interim William Steele awaited
  • Defences of Pass Cavallo: John W Glenn
  • Trans-Mississippi Army: Edmund Kirby Smith

Union Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

Major-General USA

George Brinton McClellan
John Charles Frémont
Henry Wager Halleck
Ulysses Simpson Grant

Major-General USV

Asterisk indicates concurrently Brigadier-General USA

John Adams Dix
Nathaniel Prentiss Banks
Benjamin Franklin Butler
David Hunter
Ethan Allen Hitchcock
Irvin McDowell*
Ambrose Everett Burnside
William Starke Rosecrans*
Don Carlos Buell
John Pope*
Samuel Ryan Curtis
Franz Sigel
John Alexander McClernand
Lewis Wallace
George Henry Thomas
George Cadwalader
William Tecumseh Sherman*
Edward Otho Cresap Ord
Samuel Peter Heintzelman
Erasmus Darwin Keyes
Joseph Hooker*
Silas Casey
William Buel Franklin
Darius Nash Couch
Henry Warner Slocum
John James Peck
John Sedgwick
Alexander McDowell McCook
Thomas Leonidas Crittenden
John Gray Foster
John Grubb Parke
Christopher Columbus Augur
Robert Cumming Schenck
Stephen Augustus Hurlbut
Gordon Granger
Lovell Harrison Rousseau
James Birdseye McPherson*
Benjamin Mayberry Prentiss
George Stoneman
George Gordon Meade*
Oliver Otis Howard
Daniel Edgar Sickles
Robert Huston Milroy
Daniel Butterfield
Winfield Scott Hancock
George Sykes
William Henry French
David Sloane Stanley
James Scott Negley
John McAllister Schofield
John McAuley Palmer
Frederick Steele
Abner Doubleday
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana
Richard James Oglesby
John Alexander Logan
James Gilpatrick Blunt
George Lucas Hartsuff
Cadwallader Colden Washburn
Francis Jay Herron
Francis Preston Blair
Joseph Jones Reynolds
Philip Henry Sheridan
Julius Stahel
Carl Schurz
John Newton
Gouverneur Kemble Warren
David Bell Birney
William Thomas Harbaugh Brooks
Alfred Pleasonton
John Buford
Andrew Atkinson Humphreys
Quincy Adams Gillmore

Brigadier-General USA

Brackets indicates concurrently Major-General USV

(Irvin McDowell)
Robert Anderson
(William Starke Rosecrans)
Philip St George Cooke
(John Pope)
(Joseph Hooker)
(George Gordon Meade)
(William Tecumseh Sherman)
(James Birdseye McPherson)

Brigadier-General USV

Andrew Porter
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Thomas West Sherman
William Reading Montgomery
Rufus King
Benjamin Franklin Kelley
Jacob Dolson Cox
Alpheus Starkey Williams
James Brewerton Ricketts
Orlando Bolivar Willcox
Michael Corcoran
Henry Hayes Lockwood
James Samuel Wadsworth
George Webb Morell
John Henry Martindale
Samuel Davis Sturgis
Henry Washington Benham
William Farrar Smith
Egbert Ludovicus Vielé
William Farquhar Barry
John Joseph Abercrombie
Lawrence Pike Graham
Eleazar Arthur Paine
Willis Arnold Gorman
Horatio Gouverneur Wright
William Thomas Ward
John Gross Barnard
Innis Newton Palmer
Seth Williams
George Wright
John Milton Brannan
John Porter Hatch
William Kerley Strong
Albin Francisco Schoepf
Thomas John Wood
Richard W Johnson
Adolph Wilhelm August Friedrich Von Steinwehr
George Washington Cullum
Jeremiah Tilford Boyle
Thomas Jefferson McKean
Zealous Bates Tower
Jefferson Columbus Davis
James Henry Lane
James Abram Garfield
Lewis Golding Arnold
William Scott Ketchum
John Wynn Davidson
Henry Morris Naglee
Andrew Johnson
James Gallant Spears
Eugene Asa Carr
Thomas Alfred Davies
Daniel Tyler
William Hemsley Emory
Andrew Jackson Smith
Marsena Rudolph Patrick
Isaac Ferdinand Quinby
Orris Sanford Ferry
Daniel Phineas Woodbury
Henry Moses Judah
John Cook
John McArthur
Jacob Gartner Lauman
Horatio Phillips Van Cleve
Speed Smith Fry
Alexander Asboth
James Craig
Mahlon Dickerson Manson
Edward Richard Sprigg Canby
Grenville Mellen Dodge
Robert Byington Mitchell
Cuvier Grover
Rufus Saxton
Benjamin Alvord
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford
William Sooy Smith
Nathan Kimball
Charles Devens
Samuel Wylie Crawford
Henry Walton Wessells
Milo Smith Hascall
John White Geary
Alfred Howe Terry
James Henry Carleton
Absalom Baird
John Cleveland Robinson
Truman Seymour
Henry Prince
Maximilian Weber
Jeremiah Cutler Sullivan
Alvin Peterson Hovey
James Clifford Veatch
William Plummer Benton
John Curtis Caldwell
Neal Dow
George Sears Greene
Samuel Powhatan Carter
John Gibbon
Erastus Barnard Tyler
Charles Griffin
George Henry Gordon
James Madison Tuttle
Julius White
Peter Joseph Osterhaus
Stephen Gano Burbridge
Washington Lafayette Elliott
Albion Parris Howe
Green Clay Smith
Benjamin Stone Roberts
Jacob Ammen
Fitz-Henry Warren
Morgan Lewis Smith
Charles Cruft
Frederick Salomon
John Basil Turchin
Henry Shaw Briggs
James Dada Morgan
Johann August Ernst Willich
Henry Dwight Terry
James Blair Steedman
George Foster Shepley
John Reese Kenly
John Potts Slough
Godfrey Weitzel
George Crook
Thomas Leiper Kane
Gershom Mott
Henry Jackson Hunt
Francis Channing Barlow
Mason Brayman
Nathaniel James Jackson
George Washington Getty
Alfred Sully
William Woods Averell
Alexander Hays
Francis Barretto Spinola
John Henry Hobart Ward
Solomon Meredith
James Bowen
Eliakim Parker Scammon
Robert Seaman Granger
Joseph Rodman West
Alfred Washington Ellet
George Leonard Andrews
Clinton Bowen Fisk
William Hays
Israel Vogdes
David Allen Russell
Lewis Cass Hunt
Frank Wheaton
John Sanford Mason
David McMurtrie Gregg
Robert Ogden Tyler
Alfred Thomas Archimedes Torbert
William Haines Lytle KIA
Gilman Marston
William Dwight
Sullivan Amory Meredith
Nathaniel Collins McLean
William Vandever
Alexander Schimmelfennig
Charles Kinnaird Graham
John Eugene Smith
Joseph Tarr Copeland
Charles Adam Heckman
Stephen Gardner Champlin
Edward Elmer Potter
Thomas Algeo Rowley
Henry Beebee Carrington
John Haskell King
Adam Jacoby Slemmer
Thomas Hewson Neill
Thomas Gamble Pitcher
Thomas William Sweeny
William Passmore Carlin
Romeyn Beck Ayres
William Babcock Hazen
James St Clair Morton
Joseph Anthony Mower
Richard Arnold
Edward Winslow Hinks
Michael Kelly Lawler
George Day Wagner
Lysander Cutler
Joseph Farmer Knipe
John Dunlap Stevenson
James Barnes
Theophilus Toulmin Garrard
Edward Harland
Samuel Beatty
Isaac Jones Wistar
Franklin Stillman Nickerson
Edward Henry Hobson
Ralph Pomeroy Buckland
Joseph Dana Webster
William Ward Orme
William Hopkins Morris
John Beatty
Thomas Howard Ruger
Thomas Edward Greenfield Ransom
Elias Smith Dennis
Thomas Church Haskell Smith
Mortimer Dormer Leggett
Davis Tillson
Hector Tyndale
Albert Lindley Lee
Charles Leopold Matthies
Marcellus Monroe Crocker
Egbert Benson Brown
John McNeil
George Francis McGinnis
Hugh Boyle Ewing
James Winning McMillan
James Murrell Shackelford
Daniel Ullmann
George Jerrison Stannard
Henry Baxter
John Milton Thayer
Charles Thomas Campbell
Halbert Eleazer Paine
Hugh Thompson Reid
Robert Brown Potter
Thomas Ewing
Joseph Andrew Jackson Lightburn
Thomas Greely Stevenson
Henry Hastings Sibley
Joseph Bradford Carr
Joseph Jackson Bartlett
Joshua Thomas Owen
Patrick Edward Connor
John Parker Hawkins
Gabriel René Paul
Edward Augustus Wild
Edward Ferrero
Adelbert Ames
William Birney
Daniel Henry Rucker
Robert Allen
Rufus Ingalls
Gustavus Adolphus De Russy
Alexander Shaler
Benjamin Henry Grierson
Robert Sanford Foster
Hugh Judson Kilpatrick
Alexander Stewart Webb
Alfred Napoleon Alexander Duffié
Walter Chiles Whitaker
Wesley Merritt
George Armstrong Custer
William Denison Whipple
John Converse Starkweather
Kenner Garrard
Charles Robert Woods
John Benjamin Sanborn
Giles Alexander Smith
Samuel Allen Rice
Jasper Adalmorn Maltby
Thomas Kilby Smith
Walter Quintin Gresham
Manning Ferguson Force
Robert Alexander Cameron
John Murray Corse
John Aaron Rawlins
Alexander Chambers
Alvan Cullem Gillem
James Clay Rice
John Wesley Turner
Henry Lawrence Eustis
Henry Eugene Davies
Andrew Jackson Hamilton
Henry Warner Birge
Charles Garrison Harker

Brigadier-General USA (Staff)

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs (Quartermaster-General)
Lorenzo Thomas
William Alexander Hammond (Surgeon-General)
Joseph Pannell Taylor (Commissary-General of Subsistence
Joseph Gilbert Totten (Engineers)
George Douglas Ramsay (Ordnance)

Confederate Generals

Note: Italics, awaiting confirmation of the commission

General ACSA/PACS

Samuel Cooper
Robert Edward Lee
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Braxton Bragg

Lieutenant-General PACS

James Longstreet
Edmund Kirby Smith
Leonidas Polk
Theophilus Hunter Holmes
William Joseph Hardee
John Clifford Pemberton
Richard Stoddert Ewell
Ambrose Powell Hill
Daniel Harvey Hill
John Bell Hood

Major-General PACS

Benjamin Huger
John Bankhead Magruder
Mansfield Lovell
William Wing Loring
Sterling Price
Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
Samuel Jones
John Porter McCown
Thomas Carmichael Hindman
John Cabell Breckinridge
Lafayette McLaws
Richard Heron Anderson
James Ewell Brown Stuart
Richard Taylor
Simon Bolivar Buckner
Samuel Gibbs French
George Edward Pickett
Carter Littlepage Stevenson
John Horace Forney
Dabney Herndon Maury
Martin Luther Smith
John George Walker
Arnold Elzey
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne
Franklin Gardner
Isaac Ridgeway Trimble
Jubal Anderson Early
Joseph Wheeler
Edward Johnson
William Henry Chase Whiting
Robert Emmett Rodes
William Henry Talbot Walker
Henry Heth
Robert Ransom
Alexander Peter Stewart
Jones Mitchell Withers
Stephen Dill Lee
Cadmus Marcellus Wilcox
Wade Hampton
Fitzhugh Lee
William Smith
Howell Cobb

Brigadier-General PACS

Alexander Robert Lawton
Charles Clark
Henry Alexander Wise
Henry Hopkins Sibley
John Henry Winder
Gideon Johnson Pillow
Daniel Ruggles
Roswell Sabine Ripley
Paul Octave Hébert
Albert Gallatin Blanchard
Gabriel James Rains
Thomas Fenwick Drayton
Nathan George Evans
James Heyward Trapier
Hugh Weedon Mercer
William Montgomery Gardner
William Mahone
Raleigh Edward Colston
Sterling Alexander Martin Wood
John King Jackson
Bushrod Rust Johnson
James Patton Anderson
George Wythe Randolph
Joseph Brevard Kershaw
James Ronald Chalmers
Daniel Leadbetter
William Whann Mackall
Daniel Marsh Frost
Winfield Scott Featherston
Thomas James Churchill
William Booth Taliaferro
Albert Rust
Samuel Bell Maxey
Hamilton Prioleau Bee
James Morrison Hawes
George Hume Steuart
James Edwin Slaughter
Charles William Field
Seth Maxwell Barton
Henry Eustace McCullough
Benjamin Hardin Helm
John Selden Roane
States Rights Gist
William Nelson Pendleton
Joseph Finegan
William Nelson Rector Beall
Thomas Jordan
William Preston
John Echols
George Earl Maney
Jean Jacques Alfred Alexandre Mouton
John Stuart Williams
James Green Martin
Thomas Lanier Clingman
Daniel Weisiger Adams
Louis Hébert
John Creed Moore
Ambrose Ransom Wright
James Lawson Kemper
James Jay Archer
Beverley Holcombe Robertson
St John Richardson Liddell
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Johnson Hagood
Micah Jenkins
Harry Thompson Hays
Albert Gallatin Jenkins
Matthew Duncan Ector
Edward Aylesworth Perry
John Gregg
John Calvin Brown
Alfred Holt Colquitt
Junius Daniel
Abraham Buford
William Steele
James Fleming Fagan
William Read Scurry
Francis Asbury Shoup
Joseph Robert Davis
William Henry Fitzhugh Lee
William Edmondson Jones
William Edwin Baldwin
John Crawford Vaughn
Evander McIvor Law
William Brimage Bate
Elkanah Brackin Greer
Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls
Alfred Cumming
William Stephen Walker
George Pierce Doles
Carnot Posey
Montgomery Dent Corse
George Thomas Anderson
Alfred Iverson
James Henry Lane
Edward Lloyd Thomas
Stephen Dodson Ramseur
John Rogers Cooke
Jerome Bonaparte Robertson
Evander McNair
Archibald Gracie
William Robertson Boggs
James Camp Tappan
Dandridge McRae
Mosby Monroe Parsons
John Pegram
John Sappington Marmaduke
John Austin Wharton
William Thompson Martin
John Hunt Morgan
Marcus Joseph Wright
Zachariah Cantey Deas
Lucius Eugene Polk
Edward Cary Walthall
John Adams
William Hicks Jackson
James Cantey
Camille Armand Jules Marie de Polignac
Robert Frederick Hoke
Henry Lewis Benning
William Tatum Wofford
Samuel McGowan
Marcellus Augustus Stovall
George Blake Cosby
Francis Crawford Armstrong
William Lewis Cabell
John Daniel Imboden
Alfred Eugene Jackson
Robert Brank Vance
Henry Delamar Clayton
Arthur Middleton Manigault
Douglas Hancock Cooper
John Brown Gordon
John Wilkins Whitfield
James Alexander Walker
John Marshall Jones
Thomas Green
Matthew Whitaker Ransom
Alfred Moore Scales
George Washington Custis Lee
Henry Harrison Walker
Gabriel Colvin Wharton
Francis Marion Cockrell
James Patrick Major
Samuel Wragg Ferguson
Lunsford Lindsay Lomax
Laurence Simmons Baker
Otho French Strahl
Philip Dale Roddey
Eppa Hunton
Thomas Pleasant Dockery
Benjamin Grubb Humphreys
Henry Brevard Davidson
Henry Watkins Allen
Cullen Andrews Battle
William Andrew Quarles
William Whedbee Kirkland
Goode Bryan
Matthew Calbraith Butler
Williams Carter Wickham
Robert Daniel Johnston
Abner Monroe Perrin
Alexander Welch Reynolds
Thomas Neville Waul
Edmund Winston Pettus

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