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Introduction In the last summer months of 1862, the Confederacy was riding the crest of a wave that had the potential of fulfilling the dream of independence. West of the Appalachian Mountains, General Braxton Bragg led his Army of the Mississippi north from Chattanooga through middle Tennessee into Kentucky . There he joined with Major General Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky, which had captured the Kentucky capital, Frankfort, and installed a proSouthern governor. Maintaining an army on the Ohio River would bring the South three major strategic advantages. First, Kentucky would become part of the Confederacy, if not through secession, then through occupation. This would provide access to additional food, livestock, and horses. Second, a Confederate Kentucky would be a strategic buffer on Tennessee’s northern border and protect the critically important “Heartland.” Third, Confederate forces on the Ohio River would interdict a vital major river transportation route between the eastern and western Union. However, before these advantages could be realized, Union and Confederate armies fought the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862. After Perryville, Bragg retreated from Kentucky, and by mid-December his and Smith’s armies were now combined into the Army of Tennessee, which was located in defensive positions near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In that month a Union army from Nashville maneuvered against Bragg. The clash of these two armies at Stones River from December 31, 1862, through January 2, 1863, forced Bragg back into middle Tennessee.1 In the far West a small army under the command of Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley marched from west Texas into New Mexico, then north 2 Introduction toward Colorado. Repelled by a Union force at Glorieta Pass, near Santa Fe, in late March, Sibley retreated back to Texas. This ended the Confederacy’s only serious attempt to expand its borders on the southwest frontier.2 In March 1862 Major General George McClellan used sea power to outflank the Confederate army in northern Virginia and landed on the Peninsula . Although conducting a slow advance, by June his army was on the outskirts of Richmond. General Robert E. Lee had been newly appointed to command the Confederate army around Richmond. This force, which Lee had renamed the Army of Northern Virginia, unleashed a turning movement against McClellan that drove him away from Richmond and eventually caused his army to depart the Peninsula. Lee followed this with a brilliant campaign of maneuver that transferred the center of conflict to northern Virginia. At the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), he soundly defeated Union Major General John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Capitalizing on his success, on September 4 his army crossed the Potomac River into Maryland. Once his line of communication to the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia was secured, Lee planned to advance into Pennsylvania by way of the Cumberland Valley. One of Lee’s objectives was to influence the 1862 U.S. congressional elections in favor of politicians more sympathetic to the Confederacy and against the war. This was not to be. Thirteen days after beginning the invasion, Lee’s army fought the Army of the Potomac near Antietam Creek in the bloodiest day in American history. Although the Battle of Antietam was a tactical draw, Lee ended his invasion; his army recrossed the Potomac River and returned to Virginia.3 The year 1862 was the only time the Confederacy conducted multiple invasions of Northern territory. The next year the strategic situation was different. Two of the South’s main armies, both in the Western Theater, were on the strategic defense. Only in the East did the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia assume an offensive posture. On this army alone rode the hopes of a favorable political situation gained by a tactical victory on the battlefield. The summer of 1863 was a pivotal period in the Civil War. In the western region, along the Mississippi River, Major General Ulysses Grant was victorious at Vicksburg. His success reopened the Mississippi River to uninterrupted traffic and cut off that part of the Confederacy west of the river. In Tennessee and northern Georgia, the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Major General William S. Rosecrans, conducted a masterful campaign of maneuver. Rosecrans maneuvered General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee out of middle Tennessee, captured the vital railroad hub at Chattanooga, and pursued his opponent into northern Georgia. When Introduction 3 Rosecrans allowed his army to become spread out in the mountainous terrain , Bragg turned and tactically defeated his pursuers along Chickamauga Creek. Rosecrans...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781572337886
Related ISBN
9781572337459
MARC Record
OCLC
721194568
Pages
216
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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