Today, September 20, 1863: Confederate Victory at Battle of Chickamauga

On November 6, 1860, the southern slave states realized their worst nightmare when Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. One of the key issues of the election that year was slavery and the election of Lincoln meant the probable end of slavery.

On December 20, 1860 South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union.

In January 1861, six more southern states seceded from the Union.

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On February 8-9, 1861, the Confederate States of America is formed in Montgomery, Alabama and includes all of the states that seceded.

On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis, a Democrat from Mississippi, was elected as President of the Confederate States of America. Davis had previously served as a US Representative from Mississippi from 1845-1846; US Senator from Mississippi from 1847-1851 and again from 1857-1861 when he was elected President of the Confederacy. During the gap in Senate terms, Davis served as Secretary of War from 1853-1857 under President Franklin Pierce.

Just a note for you trivia buffs, both Lincoln and Davis were born in Kentucky, making the Blue Grass State the only state in history with 2 simultaneously serving Presidents.

On March 4, 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th and first Republican President of the United States.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War between the Union and Confederacy began when southern troops attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

On September 9, 1863, Union General William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland drove Confederate General Braxton Bragg and his Confederate Army of Tennessee out of Chattanooga. Bragg and the Confederates retreated south into Georgia and Rosecrans decided to pursue them.

On September 18, 1863 Rosecrans and Bragg’s troops began to fight once more.

On September 19, 1863, near the town and creek named Chickamauga, the Union and Confederates began to fight in earnest. With Rosecrans were Union Generals Gordon Granger and George Thomas. With Bragg were Confederate Generals James Longstreet and John Bell Hood.

On this day, September 20, 1863, Bragg and his fellow Confederates scored a major victory over the Union troops at Chickamauga, Georgia. Longstreet arrived about mid-day with eight fresh brigades and they plowed through a gap in the Union line. Rosecrans, and nearly a third of his Union forces, ending up fleeing off the battlefield forever branding Rosecrans as a coward. Thomas and his troops continued to hold off repeated attacks by the Confederates at Horseshoe Ridge. His efforts earned him the nickname ‘The Rock of Chickamauga.’ Thomas’s efforts to hold off the Confederate attacks allowed the remaining Union troops to withdraw that night and head back to Chattanooga.

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. However, the outcome was a stunning victory for the Confederates.


Sources for the above includes: Chickamauga; Battle Of Chickamauga; Confederates Score A Victory At The Battle Of Chickamauga; Battle of Chickamauga; The Battle of Chickamauga; Chickamauga; Civil War Timeline; Chickamauga – An Introduction

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