The River of DeathBook - 2004
By the Autumn of 1863 the Confederacy was in dire straits. In a colossal gamble, Confederate President Jefferson Davis stripped forces from the major Confederate armies to reinforce the Army of Tennessee in a last ditch attempt to crush the Union. On September 19, the Confederates attacked the Union army along Chickamauga Creek south of Chattanooga. On the second day of bloody fighting the entire Union right collapsed and the army retreated headlong for Chattanooga - all except General George H. Thomas' Corps. Fighting on doggedly until nightfall, they delayed the confederate advance, saving the Union cause and earning Thomas the title of Rock of Chickamauga.
By the Autumn of 1863 the tide of war appeared to be running heavily against the Confederacy. Lee's attack into Maryland had been halted at Gettysburg and he had fallen back into Virginia to lick his wounds; in the Mississippi Valley Vicksburg, the last Confederate hold on the river, had fallen to the tenacious Grant, and in the mountains around Chattanooga in eastern Tennessee General Rosecrans' Union Army of the Cumberland was pausing after driving out the Confederate Army of the Tennessee without a shot being fired. Confederate commander General Braxton Bragg had been out-manoeuvred but was far from beaten. Reinforced by troops from Mississippi and Virginia on 19th September he attacked the Union army along Chickamauga creek south of Chattanooga. Chickamauga is an Indian name meaning 'river of death' and this was to prove to be the bloodiest two days of the war. For the first day Union lines held but on the second a gap appeared in the Union lines into which General J. Longstreet marched. The entire Union right collapsed and the army retreated headlong for Chattanooga, all except General George H. Thomas' Corps who fought on doggedly until nightfall delaying the confederate advance, saving the Union and earning his fame as the Rock of Chickamauga.