Diary of Orrin Brown—Oct 27, 1864

October 1864 map

Diary of Orrin Brown, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Thursday–Oct. 27th

It rained last night verry hard for a while but our mess kept pretty dry but there was lots of them that had no tent and got a good soaking when we got out this morning we found our dusty Camp Ground verry muddy. There were 50 of our squad called out to work on the street and I among them, we worked till about 2 Oclock then came back to camp washed up and went to writing my journal, there is about 400 troops here at headquarters about ready to start for the front, went down town and tried to buy some bread for supper but could not get any.

Cat and Mouse

After Chickamauga (I just like to say that word, emphasis on the first sylable ala Buggs Bunny, “Chicamauga!”), Bragg laid siege to Rosecrans’ federal forces in Chattanooga.  Rosecrans was relieved of duty and Grant and Sherman, fresh off a successful campaign to open up the Mississippi River and cleave the West from the Confederacy, went to work.  Through October and November 1863, they rebuilt supply lines and brought in reinforcements. Bragg squabbled with his lieutenants on the hills over the city and was routed back into Georgia where he resigned to be replaced by Joseph Johnston.

Lincoln promoted Grant to the newly created rank of Lt. General (previously held only by George Washington), and Grant left to take command of the entire Union Army. Sherman then took responsibility of the Army west of the mountains.  While Grant began his historic match against Lee in Virginia, Sherman began preparations for his Atlanta Campaign.    He had James B. McPherson’s Army of Tennessee (Sherman’s previous command), John M. Schofield’s Army of Ohio, and George H. Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, with about 100,000 men under command.  Johnston’s Army of Tennessee was commanded by William J. Hardee, John Bell Hood, Leonidas Polk, and Joseph Wheeler with about 50,000 men.

Sherman moved out of Chattanooga the beginning of May. driving Johnston down the rail line toward Atlanta.  Johnston would make a defensive stand, Sherman would try to flank, Johnston would withdraw, on thru May and June they danced.  When Sherman failed to dislodge dug-in positions on Kennesaw Mountain, he just went around and laid siege to the city.  In mid-July, Johnston was replaced by Hood.  The Confederate cavalry raided Union supply lines; the Union cavalry raided Confederate supply lines. At the end of August, Sherman took control of the last railroad line supplying the city and on 1 September 1864, Hood evacuated Atlanta.

After a visit from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Hood moved back toward Chattanooga, attempting to lure Sherman out of the city and into the open.  Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest was also making a nuisance of himself by raiding into western Tennessee and Kentucky from his base in northern Mississippi. Although Hood had some success along the drawn out line at Resaca and Dalton, Sherman was able to split his command and secure the rail corridor from points north.

Which brings us to the scene young Pvt Brown found in Chattanooga at the end of October, 1864.



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