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Chapter 45: Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.

On August 20th the bloody battle of Chickamauga was fought and our troops slept inside the intrenchments of the enemy. A month later Brigadier-General William Preston who was a gallant figure in the fight, was sent to Mexico, with authority to recognize and treat with the new Emperor Maximilian.

The defeat of Rosecrans's army at Chickamauga was complete, but the failure to promptly follow up the victory rendered it a barren one to the Confederates.

Bragg's army remained on the field of battle twenty-four hours, burying the dead and collecting arms, before the advance was begun, and then, moving slowly, found Rosecrans behind earthworks in and around Chattanooga.

Bragg immediately posted his army along Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and planned to drive Rosecrans out of Chattanooga, or to starve him into surrender.

In this situation, General Grant was assigned [450] to the command in Tennessee. On October 23d he arrived at Chattanooga.

By his own report he found Rosecrans practically invested. Army supplies had to be hauled over almost impassable roads for sixty to seventy miles. The artillery horses and mules were starving.

Grant's first movement was to supply the army by a shorter route, and to that end he captured “Lookout Mountain.”

The Confederate force, rendered weaker by detaching Longstreet to Knoxville, was overpowered by its multitudinous assailants, and after a bloody battle retreated during the night toward Tunnel Hill.

General Grant pursued but a short distance beyond Chattanooga.

This disaster depressed the hopes of the Confederates greatly; misfortunes had of late crowded so thick upon them. General Bragg felt, like Sidney Johnston, that success should be in a measure the test of a military man's merit, and he asked to be relieved. The President knew that General Bragg was both an able general and a devoted patriot, and after granting the request he invited him to be his Chief of Staff, or, in citizen's phrase, military counsel at Richmond.

The President cast his eyes over the roster of gallant and educated soldiers, to get a successor [451] for General Bragg, and found in General Hardee all the needful qualities for the command of the army of the West. His was a character, both moral and physical, which compelled the respect and won the affection of those he commanded, and both the President and General Bragg were much disappointed by General Hardee's declining the position. He said the responsibility was so great that he had no confidence in his being able to meet it as ably as some other man might. His declension was so positive that there was no appeal from it, and General Joseph E. Johnston, on December 16, 1863, was directed to personally take command.

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