Monday, November 25, 2013

November 24 - 30, 1863

Compiled by Jim Hachtel, President 

Gen. William T. Sherman Memorial Civil War Roundtable

November 24, 1863 - The Union forces continue to pour rounds into the ruins of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. In the past week, more than 1,600 shots were fired.

November 24, 1863 - Early this morning, General Joseph Hooker marched his three divisions to the base of Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee and they began to scale the 1,100 foot mountain. Their activity is shrouded by fog and the Confederate opposition is out-manned. General Carter L. Stephenson requests reinforcements but General Braxton Bragg fails to respond. Around 2:30 pm, Bragg orders a retreat and General Stephenson directs that bridges should be burned during the retreat. By 8:00 pm, Hooker reaches the Craven Farm, about halfway up the mountain and places a Federal flag at this point. The flag is first observed by Union leadership at daybreak the next morning when the fog is gone. The battle is forever known as the "Battle above the Clouds.”

November 24, 1863 - General William T. Sherman moves his forces to what he thinks is the north end of Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga. Unaware that he is on a parallel ridge separated by a wide ravine, General Bragg is forewarned that an attack is coming.

November 25, 1863 - Another 799 rounds pound Fort Sumter's crumbling walls, with little effect.

November 25, 1863 - General Ulysses S. Grant leads 64,000 men against General Bragg's 46,000 Confederates while General Sherman, with 16,000 men, assaults the Confederate right anchored on Missionary Ridge. Sherman attacks piecemeal and makes little progress against General R. Patrick Cleburne's division. This clash moved from Missionary Ridge toward Tunnel Hill where Cleburne, nearly out of ammunition, mounts a bayonet charge, scattering tired Union forces. General Grant generates diversions to prevent General Bragg from transferring reinforcements to the right. There is a pause in activity around midday.

In the afternoon, General Hooker is ordered to attack Bragg's left and rear by moving from Lookout Mountain to Rossville Gap. Hooker is delayed rebuilding a bridge over Chickamauga Creek so General Grant directs General George Thomas to demonstrate in front of Confederate rifle pit on Missionary Ridge, primarily to hold Bragg's Confederates until the flank attack succeeds. General Thomas' 20,000 troops, led by Generals Thomas Wood and Phillip Sheridan, raise cheers and ultimately overrun the lightly held rifle pits and stand victorious at the crest of the ridge. This "Miracle of Missionary Ridge" ruptures Bragg's center and the stranglehold of Chattanooga ends.

November 25, 1863 - General Grant is slated to receive promotion to lieutenant general. General Thomas and his troops feel somewhat vindicated for their humiliation in the loss at Chickamauga Creek two months earlier.

November 26, 1863 - Generals William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas pursue the Confederate Army fleeing south through Rossville Gap.

November 26, 1863 - General George Meade's Army of the Potomac is on the move, crossing the Rapidan River with General William H. French commanding the lead element. French takes the wrong road causing enough delay for the Army of Northern Virginia to block the path. General Meade has lost the element of surprise and General R. E. Lee has time to prepare for the enemy's attack.

November 27, 1863 - General John H. Morgan and several of his officers stage a daring escape from the State Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. They have been in the penitentiary since they were captured at Salineville, Ohio on July 26th.

November 27, 1863 - At Ringgold Gap, Georgia, Confederates led by General Patrick R. Cleburne mount an effective rear-guard action as the Army of Tennessee falls back to Dalton, Georgia. Holding off a Union force of at least twice his size, Cleburne's force inflicts heavy losses on the Union and ample time for the Confederates to entrench at Dalton.

November 27, 1863 - General William Sherman is ordered to provide relief to Knoxville, currently under siege. Sherman sends two divisions of the IV Corps commanded by General Gordon Granger.

November 28, 1863 - General Lee holds a strong defensive position along Mine Run Creek suggesting that no Union attack by General Meade's Army of the Potomac can succeed.

November 28, 1863 - General Braxton Bragg, humiliated by his loss at Chattanooga and hated by his subordinates, submits his resignation to President Jefferson Davis.

November 28, 1863 - General Sherman marches to the aid of General Ambrose E. Burnside at Knoxville. Parts of the Union XI, XIV, and XV Corps are involved.

November 28, 1863 - General James Longstreet plans an attack on Fort Saunders in an attempt to capture Knoxville. Evening fog forces him to cancel the assault but Longstreet sends sharpshooters forward to cover the pending attack, alerting the firmly entrenched Union defenders.

November 29, 1863 - President Lincoln, recently back from Gettysburg, recovers from a mild case of smallpox. His son Tad also recovered.

November 29, 1863 - The Confederates attack Fort Saunders at 6:00 am in unusually cold weather. Without prior reconnaissance, the southern troops are surprised when they encounter telegraph wire strung at knee level from tree to tree, steep ditches filled with icy water surrounding the works, and the need for ladders. Longstreet’s siege of Knoxville ends. Longstreet plans his withdrawal upon receiving word of Bragg's defeat at Chattanooga.

November 30, 1863 - General Gouverneur K. Warren urges General George Meade to drop his planned attack on Confederates along Mine Run. Meade's planned Mine Run Campaign never materializes.

November 30, 1863 - President Davis grants General Braxton Bragg's request to be relieved of command of the Army of Tennessee at Dalton, Georgia. General William J. Hardee is appointed temporary commander.