From the last days of September through October 1863, Gen. Braxton Bragg’s army laid siege to the Union army under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans at Chattanooga, cutting off its supplies. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George Thomas. A new supply line was soon established. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November, and the Federals began offensive operations.
On November 23-24, Grant began offensive operations. Grant ordered Thomas to advance from the city and take a string of hills near the foot of Missionary Ridge. The next day, Hooker was ordered to take Lookout Mountain. Crossing the Tennessee River, Hooker’s men found that the Confederates had failed to defend a defile between the river and mountain. Attacking through this opening, Hooker’s men succeeded in pushing the Confederates off the mountain. As the fighting ended around 3:00 PM, a fog descended on the mountain, earning the battle the name “The Battle above the Clouds.”
On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and carried the seemingly impregnable Confederate position on Missionary Ridge. One of the Confederacy’s two major armies was routed. The Federals held Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the Lower South,” which became the supply and logistics base for Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign.
The victory at Chattanooga cost Grant 753 killed, 4,722 wounded, and 349 missing. Bragg’s casualties were listed as 361 killed, 2,160 wounded, and 4,146 captured and missing. In addition, the battle decimated the Army of Tennessee and forced Confederate President Jefferson Davis to relieve Bragg and replace him General Joseph E. Johnston. The Battle of Chattanooga is sometimes known as the Third Battle of Chattanooga in reference to the engagements fought in the area June 1862 and August 1863.