West Point in the Making of America






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Panels 1-11 | Panels 12-22 | Panels 23-32

Panel 12, Hard Earned Victory
Panel 12   Hard Earned Victory
The fighting swayed back and forth across Stones River. Following a bloody repulse on January 2, Bragg lost his nerve and left the field to the badly shaken Army of the Cumberland. Rosecrans had lost 13,000 men, but kept his grip on middle Tennessee. Stones River would stand as one of the war’s hardest fought battles—and one of the least known.

Panel 13, Foraging for Food
Panel 13   Foraging for Food
With the Confederates on the defensive, the Federal Army turned its attention to the ever-present problem of food. Farmers of the region already had learned the bitter lesson that pigs and chickens were fair booty, no matter which uniforms the foragers wore.

Panel 14, Recovery for the Army of the Cumberland
Panel 14   Recovery for the Army of the Cumberland
Battle and disease took a steady toll of the Army of the Cumberland. The field hospital at Murfreesboro was crude by modern standards, but hundreds of men owed their lives to the care and shelter it provided.

Panel 15, Onward to Chattanooga
Panel 15   Onward to Chattanooga
By late spring of 1863, the Army of the Cumberland was ready to move again, this time against the Confederate positions around Tullahoma and Shelbyville, which barred the road to Chattanooga. One of Rosecrans’s brigades chased away the Confederate defenders of Liberty Gap and opened the way for an army corps to close in on Tullahoma. More than anything else, the troops and the artist remembered the rain that fell day after day.

Panel 16, Bragg’s Retreat
Panel 16   Bragg’s Retreat
Confederate General Bragg had to weaken the left of his line around Shelbyville to bolster his position at Tullahoma. Shelbyville was captured from the Confederate rear guard after a brief fight in the rain on June 27. Bragg, dangerously threatened on his right flank, gave up Tullahoma and pulled back to Chattanooga.

Panel 17, Crossing the Tennessee River
Panel 17   Crossing the Tennessee River
Rosecrans rested his muddy army for a few weeks and on August 16 moved again. Early in September the Blue troops crossed the Tennessee west of Chattanooga and climbed the mountain barrier, which loomed beyond the river. The Army of the Cumberland was relieved to find that Bragg would not contest the river crossing.

Panel 18, Surrendering Chattanooga
Panel 18   Surrendering Chattanooga
Once across the river, Rosecrans’s men climbed Sand Mountain and from its heights looked down on miles of marching troops and white-topped wagon trains. Braxton Bragg, thoroughly outmaneuvered, gave up Chattanooga without a fight and withdrew into north Georgia to await the reinforcements being sent to him by an alarmed government in Richmond.

Panel 19, Beneath Lookout Mountain
Panel 19   Beneath Lookout Mountain
The Army of the Cumberland was about to face its greatest test, but at peaceful Little River Falls, beneath Lookout Mountain, the troops found time to bathe and wash Tennessee’s dust from their uniforms.

Panel 20, Division of the Union Army
Panel 20   Division of the Union Army
To get into position to strike at Bragg, Rosecrans sent some of his troops and wagon trains through the widely separated passes of Lookout Mountain. This division of the Union Army was a dangerous maneuver in the face of the Confederates, who grew stronger with every passing day. Happily for the Federals, Bragg did not know how badly scattered the Army of the Cumberland was.

Panel 21, The Gray Army Strikes
Panel 21   The Gray Army Strikes
Rosecrans reassembled his army just in the nick of time in heavy woodlands a dozen miles south of Chattanooga. No sooner had the Federals reunited than the Gray army struck—a little after dawn on September 19, 1863. The opposing armies grappled for position in the thick woods and gradually the fight for the Union left flank drew in more and more troops from each side.

Panel 22, Holding on to Chattanooga
Panel 22   Holding on to Chattanooga
By the end of the first day every Federal unit had seen action. The Army of the Cumberland was badly mauled but still held the vital road to Chattanooga. Even the men in the ranks could tell that tomorrow’s fight would decide the issue.

Panels 1-11 | Panels 12-22 | Panels 23-32

Smithsonian National Museum of American History

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