It will, therefore, be seen that on the morning of September 19, the bulk of the Confederate army lay east of Chickamauga
This was a position fraught with great jeopardy for General Bragg
been such a man as General Lee
, or Jackson
, he would have made use of it. The battle was now near at hand.
With forces opposed, of numbers, courage and other qualities and aspirations, which assured that it would be one of the most sanguinary and obstinate of the war.
had effectives, located as we have shown, not to exceed 38,000 bayonets, 7,500 cavalry and 150 cannon.
's Corps, while Thomas
with his corps occupied the Chattanooga
road to the left of Crittenden
, and McCook
was at Crawfish Spring
On the morning of the 20th, Forrest
was ordered to develop the enemy on the extreme right, and was assured of prompt support.
moved swiftly to Jay
's Saw Mill
, when he encountered a heavy Federal column, which he boldly attacked and brushed back some five or six hundred yards, where he observed two strong lines in battle array, nearly due west of Reed's Bridge.
He sent an officer to headquarters with the information, and requested that his left should be re-enforced.
It was now about 10 o'clock A. M. The Federals threw forward a line of skirmishers, and it may be said that this was the overture of the battle of Chickamauga
The conflict became warm and was maintained with pertinacity on both sides.
drove back the Federal
line until it formed a junction with McCook
's Corps and Reynold
's Division of Thomas
The battle thus far had been confined to an arena scarcely a mile and a half in length, the whole face of which was an undulating plateau covered with an oak forest and dense undergrowth.
The Federals had thrown up earthworks, from which they now poured forth a hot torrent of musketry fire, as well as grape, canister and shell from numerous batteries.
The attacking Confederate force thus far consisted of two small cavalry divisions, about 3,000 rifles and eight guns.
In a short time Walker
's Division, 5,000 strong, and sixteen guns, was sent to the support of Forrest
, but about this time Forrest
discovered that the enemy was overlapping his lines and he fell back.
In the meantime events were culminating.