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In the beleaguered city: headquarters of General Thomas at Chattanooga In the parlor of this little dwelling sat Ulysses S. Grant on the evening of October 23, 1863. Muddy and rain-soaked from his long ride, he was gravely consulting with General Thomas and his officers. The Army of the Cumberland was in a serious predicament, summed up by Thomas' reply to Grant's first order from Nashville: “We will hold the town till we starve.” Grant had starved a Confederate army out of Vicksburg; and now Bragg's army, reenforced by troops from Johnston, had settled down before Chattanooga to starve out, in turn, what was then the most important Federal force in the West. Strongly posted on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain and in Chattanooga Valley to the south and southeast of the town, Bragg controlled the railroad, making it impossible for supplies to come over it from Bridgeport, Ala. Everything had to be brought into Chattanooga by wagon-trains over a roundabout route of nearly thirty miles. The passage of wagons over the roads was difficult even in good weather, and they were rapidly becoming impassable from the autumn rains. Bragg's forces had fallen upon and burned some three hundred Federal wagons, and with those that were left it was impossible to bring in more than the scantiest supplies. The men had been for weeks on half-rations; all the artillery horses had starved to death; an occasional herd of beef cattle was driven down from Nashville through the denuded country and upon arrival would be aptly characterized by the soldiers as “beef dried on the hoof.” This and hard bread were their only sustenance. Grant, now in command of all the Federal forces from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, was first confronted by the necessity of hastening the delivery of supplies. Either the Army of the Cumberland must be fed or Bragg would regain the ground that had been lost in Tennessee.

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Ulysses S. Grant (4)
Braxton Bragg (4)
George H. Thomas (3)
Joseph E. Johnston (1)
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