Chickamauga, believed to be a Cherokee word for ‘River of Death’, lived up to this sobriquet when the Union Army of the Cumberland and Confederate Army of Tennessee engaged in bloody combat at Chickamauga Creek, Georgia, on 19 September 1863. The Union commander, Major General Rosecrans, launched an offensive at Chickamauga as part of a campaign to force the Confederates out of Chattanooga. Between 10–12 September 1863, Rosecrans mobilized his forces near Missionary Ridge, with XXI Corps stationed at Brown’s Ferry. Here they pursued the Confederates, who were under General Braxton Bragg. The Union army fanned out and crossed Lookout Mountain. Bragg, determined to reclaim Chattanooga, attacked isolated Union units in McLemore’s Cove, but was unsuccessful. Rosecrans, alarmed by the Confederate attack, concentrated his forces at West Chickamauga Creek. Early in the morning on 19 September, Bragg’s men assaulted the Union line, precipitating the battle of Chickamauga.
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