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[274] further until the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad was repaired as far as Stevenson and Bridgeport, and storage depots established at these and neighboring places. Consequently it was not until August 16th that the movement over the Cumberland Mountains began. Rosecrans had the choice of approaching Chattanooga from the north side of the river, a seventy-mile march through a rough, mountainous country, ill supplied with water and forage, or of crossing the Tennessee on the southwest and moving on the town over Sand and Lookout Mountains. He chose the latter for all but a small portion of his force, although it was the more hazardous.

Between August 29th and September 4th Crittenden, Thomas, and McCook got their corps over at various places between Shellmound and Caperton's Ferry. General Granger, with the reserve corps, took charge of the rear. When Crittenden received orders for crossing the river he was commanded to leave the brigades of Hazen and Wagner behind to threaten Chattanooga from the north. For some days Wagner had been shelling the town, and Bragg, fully expecting the early approach of the Army of the Cumberland from this direction, had concentrated his forces at and above Chattanooga. Rosecrans, consequently, was able to accomplish the difficult crossing of the Tennessee without interference.

He found the Confederates in possession of the north end of Lookout Mountain and decided to dislodge his adversary by endangering his line of communication from the south and east. McCook on the Federal right was sent across Lookout Mountain at Winston's Gap, forty-six miles south of Chattanooga to occupy Alpine, east of the mountains. Thomas went to McLemore's Cove, east of Missionary Ridge, while Crittenden, on the left, was stationed in Lookout Valley to keep his eye on Chattanooga. The cavalry was sent forward to destroy the Western and Atlantic Railroad near Dalton, Georgia. On September 8th, before all these moves had been accomplished, Bragg abandoned his stronghold.

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