This is the fourth issue of a five-issue series on the Chickamauga Campaign. Over the previous three, B&G has taken you from the opening of the campaign in August 1863; the Union army crossing the Tennessee River at several locations; the Confederates missed opportunity at McLemores Cove, to the two armies colliding on September 18 at the bridges and fords of Chickamauga Creek. Dr. William Glenn Robertsons articles on the campaign are the most thorough in print.
The movements of William S. Rosecrans Army of the Cumberland and Braxton Braggs Army of Tennessee over a vast region of mountains and rivers, with tenuous supply lines over vulnerable rail networks and beanpole-and-cornstalk bridges across deep gorges all factored into the mix, the only thing more difficult than launching such a campaign is trying to describe it in words. In this, Dr. Robertson has been masterful, making the campaign come alive and sustaining the pace of complex events in an exciting and highly readable fashion.
Now the battle begins. Inauspiciously, a small Union force on the far left of Rosecrans position, thinking it has trapped a lone Confederate brigade on the west side of the Chickamauga, calls for assistance. This leads to the first shots of the battle, as most of Braggs army, not just a single brigade, is already west of the creek. From this action, more units are fed into the fight, and the battle grows.
Dr. Robertson, Deputy Director of the Combat Studies Institute, U. S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, knows the Chickamauga battlefield well from many years of leading young Army officers across the ground in his instructive Staff Rides. Blue & Gray has long been a supporter of the Armys Staff Rides of Civil War battlefields, supplying copies of background text and maps.
The Driving Tour in this issue is a version of the Chickamauga Staff Ride that the Army uses to study the fighting on the first day of the battle. Theres lots of walking, but if you really want to see the battlefield, its the only way it can be done. I thought if it was good enough for the United States Army, it will satisfy the hardcore battlefield trampers in the ranks of Blue & Gray.