The Battle of Chickamauga Creek

What happened at the battle of Chickamauga Creek and how did it affect the outcome of the war or proceeding battles?

The battle of Chickamauga Creek was part of the Chickamauga Campaign and started on September 19, 1863 and was carried on to the 20. This battle took place in both Catoosa and Walker counties in the Northwest corner of Georgia. On the Union’s side was Major General William S. Rosecrans as principal commander along with Major General George H. Thomas; they commanded the army of Cumberland. The Confederate states had the help of General Braxton Bragg and Lieutenant General James Longstreet, who controlled the Army of Tennessee.

On August 16, 1863, Rosecrans moves to Chattanooga controlling a strong force of 60,000 men from the Union Army of Cumberland. Bragg, however is out numbered with around 44,000 men who are stationed at Chattanooga. Rosecrans reaches the Tennessee River at Stevenson, Alabama four days later. He and his army are now only 35 miles away from Chattanooga. After two weeks of resting Rosecrans crossed the river and marched his men to the Chattanooga and North Georgia area. Two thirds of the forces are sent to cut off the enemy's supplies. The rest of the army controlled by Major General Thomas L. Critteden is ordered to go directly to the city.
Then on the 9th of September, Confederate troops abandoned the city of Chattanooga. Rosecrans then tries to catch the Rebs from escaping from what he thought was a retreat. Now Rosecrans' army is in a highly vulnerable and unstable position because of the large gaps that were miles wide between each group, and if one corp. was in trouble they were on their own.
On September 10 Bragg attacked Thomas's 14th corpes. which were located in the center of the group. Rosecrans realized the danger and had his forces come together to try and avoid future attacks which took a couple days. Later when Longstreet's reinforcements came on September 18, Bragg orders an attack on the union. To get to the Unions main defense line, the Confederate troops had to move forward and cross the Chickamauga Creek, what the Natives called the "River of Death."

The Confederates wanted to "envelop" the northern flank of the line, overnight; however Thomas' corps extended the line on the northern side. The fighting lasted over the whole day as more forces arrived, McCook's 20th Corps, to be exact who came in the afternoon. Then later during the night Longstreet came with two additional brigades.
The following day Bragg had had his army divided into two sections. Their plan of action is the same. One the other hand the Union had retreated into a stronger position. After attacking from left to right continuously, Longstreet sees a large gap in the Unions' line. Some of the Rebs start to flood into this gap thus making it wider. Longstreet sees an opportunity and disobeys Bragg's orders; he drives his men to the right and inward to rid of Rosecrans and the Union's entire right flank. Now Thomas is left in command and is greatly outnumbered. Just as it seemed over more Union troops arrived over Snodgrass Hill commanded by Major General Gorden Granger, together the line held firm. The Union defenders believed they would hold the position at all costs. Bragg had also refused Longstreet's request for reinforcement
troops. By the time darkness settled Thomas and his men were forced to withdraw.


The Battle of Chickamauga Creek is considered a Confederate victory because of the Union withdraw. The win for the Confederate Army helped their cause because this was a win after so few others. Both sides had tremendous losses. The Union lost approximately 16,000 of nearly 60,000 (26.66%). The Confederates had an estimated casualty rate of 18,000 of 66,000 (27.27%). General Thomas was given the title "Rock of Chickamauga" because of his defense of the position.