Chickamauga- A Hollow Victory

The bloodiest two days in the Civil War were an unnecessary battle.  Braxton Bragg’s tactical victory rang hollow throughout the Confederacy.

  • Bragg failed to achieve his two primary strategic goals; capturing Chattanooga and destroying the Army of the Cumberland.  On September 21, Rosecrans and his army were in firm possession of the city. 
  • Bragg’s casualties were horrendous when weighed against the empty result of controlling the battlefield.  The Army of Tennessee suffered over 18,000 men killed, wounded, or captured.  These were losses the Confederacy could not endure. 
  • Bragg’s ineffectual command structure suffered even more following the battle- 7 general officers were lost in the two days of fighting. 
  • Bragg squandered the numerical superiority afforded him by the inter-department transfer of Longstreet’s troops to the West.  Such an effort was becoming increasingly difficult with the transportation network squeezed by Federal occupation. 
  • The failure to exploit the battlefield gains was a major detriment to the morale of the men.  D. H. Hill described it best….  “But after Chickamauga, with the sullenness of despair and without the enthusiasm of hope. That barren victory sealed the fate of the Southern Confederacy.”800px-Braxton_Bragg

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