The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaigns – Christopher L. Kolakowski

The Civil War Sesquicentennial Series

This series of short books by the History Press detail a single battle or campaign in the Civil War in an inexpensive format.  Often these are the smaller or less covered actions that don’t take the hundreds of pages needed to break new ground in a massively covered action like Gettysburg.

Rosecrans vs Bragg

This book covers the actions of the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans versus the Confederate Army of the Tennessee under Braxton Bragg.  Bragg had turned the previous commander of the Cumberland Army, Buell, out of the state of Tennessee in the fall of 1862 and invaded Kentucky.  After the checking of that invasion, Bragg managed to move to a position at Murfreesboro threatening Nashville and Buell was sacked.

At the end of the year, Rosecrans advanced to attack Bragg at Stones River outside of Murfreesboro.  Bragg attacked first and pushed the Union Army back, but lost steam and after standing idle for a day, tried to take a hilltop position that was covered by a large battery of Union guns.  The resulting casualties led Bragg to fall back a short distance to Tullahoma, covering Chattanooga.

The battle was one of the most savage in the war, with the highest percentage of loss per man engaged in the war.  After the battle, the Army of the Cumberland sat in place for 6 months while the Administration in Washington lost patience with Rosecrans.

The Tullahoma Campaign

In late June, Rosecrans advanced again in an attempt to force the passes between his location and the Rebel Army.  In a well-planned offensive, he forced the passes with light losses and had Bragg reeling.back to Tullahoma while he concentrated on his flank.  Bragg then decided to fall back out of Tennessee without a battle to the city of Chattanooga.  The entire campaign cost about 350 casualties.

Aftermath

Having cleared the state of Tennessee, Rosecrans the n began a second flanking maneuver to take Chattanooga.  This again worked to perfection, but then he got too greedy.  He drove south towards Atlanta, while Bragg was being reinforced from all corners of the South including troops from Lee in Virginia.  After some scrambling he was cornered at the battle of Chickamauga and defeated,  Lincoln then sacked Rosecrans and put U.S. Grant in charge of restoring the situation.

This is a nice little book on a pair of campaigns that often get overlooked, with a surprising amount of detail for the size.

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