On November 19-20, 1863, Union General William Rosecrans, Commander of the Army of the Cumberland, met the Confederate forces of General Braxton Bragg and his Army of Tennessee, at Chickamauga. The battle was a Confederate victory. The 2 days of fighting at Chickamauga was costly for both sides with the Union losing around 16,000 dead, wounded or missing and the Confederates losing about 18,500 dead, wounded or missing. It turned out to be two of the bloodiest days of the Civil War.
Rosecrans was forced to retreat to Chattanooga where Bragg and his Confederate forces held them under siege.
On November 23, 1863, Union General Grant attacks the Confederate troops of Bragg that had held Chattanooga under siege. The battle lasted for 3 days. In a surprising and unauthorized move, Union troops reportedly charged up Missionary Ridge yelling ‘Chickamauga! Chickamauga!’. Their surprise attack caught the Confederate by surprise, sweeping them their impregnable position.
On this day, November 24, 1863, the Battle of Lookout Mountain took place as part of the three-day battle for Chattanooga. Union General Joseph Hooker, under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, was held up in Chattanooga with about 80,000 Union troops. Confederate General Carter Stevenson, under the command of General Braxton Bragg, under the command of General William T. Sherman, had laid siege to Chattanooga with about 50,000 troops.
Lookout Mountain is a prominent plateau standing about 1,100 in elevation that overlooks Chattanooga and the Tennessee River and the Georgia state line. Two Confederate brigades had occupied Lookout Mountain as part of their siege on Chattanooga.
Even though the Confederate forces had destroyed Baldy Smith’s Bridge crossing the river, about 10,000 Union troop still managed to cross the river and were prepared to attack the 1,000 Confederate troops on Lookout Mountain.
The morning was shrouded with fog causing many, in the years that followed, to refer to the Battle of Lookout Mountain as the Battle Above the Clouds.
About 10am, Union forces attacked Confederates at Craven’s Farm. After 2 hours of heavy fighting, the Union forces pushed the Confederates back from Craven’s Farm about 400 yards up the slope to Lookout Mountain.
What Stevenson failed to know at the time was the Union had broken the Confederate code, so when Stevenson sent a message to Bragg with their plans, it was intercept by the Union army. Knowing the Confederate plans, Hooker was ordered to test the Confederates at Lookout Mountain and he did.
Slowly, amidst fierce fighting, the Union soldiers slowly made their way up Lookout Mountain. A sudden surge by Union soldiers overwhelmed the Confederate troops and captured Lookout Mountain, after Stevenson received orders to abandon Lookout Mountain.
The Battle of Lookout Mountain was a decisive Union victory.
Sources for the above includes: Today, November 23, 1863: Battle of Chattanooga; Battle of Lookout Mountain; Battles for Chattanooga: Lookout Mountain – November 24, 1863; Battle of Lookout Mountain; Battle of Lookout Mountain, 24 November 1863; The Battle of Lookout Mountain – Chattanooga, Tennessee; Battle of Lookout Mountain; Lookout Mountain; The Battle of Lookout Mountain;