||Following the Battle of Stones River (Dec. 31, 1862-Jan. 2,
1863), Union forces under Gen. William S. Rosecrans fortified at Murfreesboro while
Confederate forces under Gen. Braxton Bragg fell back to positions around Tullahoma, TN.
June, to prevent Bragg from reinforcing the Rebel defenses at Vicksburg, MS, Rosecrans
moved southeast to engage Bragg. In a series of brilliant flanking maneuvers, Rosecrans
forced Bragg south of the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. Crossing the Tennessee River at
Bridgeport and threatening the Confederate supply lines, the Yankees forced Bragg to
retreat from Chattanooga (Sept. 7) into northwest Georgia.
Rosecrans believed that the Rebel army was in full retreat, but Bragg was planning an
ambush. Rebel forces would destroy the units of Rosecrans' army as they emerged piecemeal
from the mountain passes. However, these plans did not succeed due to the slow reaction of
Bragg's commanders and the alertness of Gen. Thomas. He had his scouts checking the
Now both armies began to concentrate their forces near Lee and Gordon's Mill, close to
West Chickamauga Creek.