Monday, September 30, 2013

September 29, 1863 (Thursday): The Railroads Race to Save Rosecrans

Civil War Railroad (Library of Congress)

CHATTANOOGA, September 29, 1863.
Colonel INNES:
    Strain every nerve to send through Hooker's corps. The troops must come through to Bridgeport. Let me know how soon [we may expect] those two companies of engineers. We need them much. Notify Colonel Scott, at Louisville, of your preparations, and General Morgan of your trains to Stevenson and Bridgeport in full time for him to make all needful arrangements for promptly unloading.


NASHVILLE, September 29, 1863.
     Four trains of troops will arrive here at about 5 this evening; they will be forwarded without change of cars. Innes wishes to know to what point to send them. I presume you intend they shall go to Bridgeport. If you have any orders to give send them to me care of Captain Dickson. I do not know who commands the advance.
     Innes has no orders from you where to send them. There will be more here to-morrow and day after.

    C. GODDAR.

NASHVILLE, September 29, 1863-10.45 p.m.
     Three thousand of Howard's (Eleventh) corps have passed through here to-night; will reach Bridgeport to-morrow morning about 10. Howard's chief of staff is here. Simmons has made arrangements to feed them. Seven thousand more will be down to-morrow and remainder next day. Hooker will be here to-morrow night, and will want detailed orders for disposition of the troops. In Hooker's order to Howard he tells him to let the men understand they are going to Mobile.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 3, Page 928.

Bragg had an opportunity to turn the usual narrative in the west.  Where large bodies of Confederates had been surrendered at Fort Donelson and Vicksburg, at Chattanooga there was a chance to turn the tables.  With his officers deeply dissatisfied with him, and terrain (in his belief) not suited to an attack he chose to lay siege to Chattanooga with the hopes of bagging Rosecrans.  But the rail would ultimately save Rosecrans, as Halleck and the high command in Washington quickly sent relief west.  Had Bragg been more aggressive, and been aware of Rosecrans demoralization, he would have (and perhaps should have) made an attempt to strike before help could arrive.


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