The Battle above the Clouds
From November 23 through November 25, 1863, the third and final Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee took place. After being defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia, which took place on September 18-20, Union Maj. General Rosencrans’ forces retreated to Chattanooga, and Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee pursued. Bragg arranged his troops so that the Yankees were surrounded, and therefore, under seige.
President Lincoln quickly put Maj. General Ulysses S. Grant in charge of his army in the West. Grant replaced Rosencrans with Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. After several blunders occurred on both sides, the Federals came out victorious. Even though Grant lost more men, the Yankees managed to drive off the Rebels, which opened the door for Atlanta’s capture, and ultimately, Sherman’s March to the Sea.
Nathan Bedford Forrest had reported to Bragg that the Yankees were in full retreat, and told him the Confederates should cut them off, but Bragg didn’t listen. During the battle, Forrest’s favorite mount, Highlander, was shot in the neck. To prevent his horse from bleeding out, Forrest plugged the hole with his finger and continued fighting until he could ride out of danger. Once he removed his finger, the loyal steed staggered, fell, and died.