Almanac: The Battle of Missionary Ridge (November 25, 1863)
The Battle of Missionary Ridge was a significant engagement that took place during the American Civil War. It occurred on November 25, 1863, during the Chattanooga Campaign in Tennessee, and was a pivotal moment in the Union Army's efforts to lift the Confederate siege of Chattanooga and open a supply line into the city.
The Union Army, commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant, was besieged in Chattanooga by Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Grant devised a plan to break the siege and defeat the Confederates. As part of this plan, Major General William T. Sherman launched a diversionary attack on the Confederate right flank at Tunnel Hill, while the main assault was to take place on the Confederate center, known as Missionary Ridge.
The Union assault on Missionary Ridge was initially met with stiff resistance, as Confederate forces held strong defensive positions on the crest of the ridge. However, due to a miscommunication among Confederate commanders, a gap opened in the Confederate line, and Union forces under General George H. Thomas were able to exploit it and gain a foothold on the ridge. Despite being ordered to hold their position, the Union troops, inspired by the leadership of General Thomas, pressed forward and gradually pushed the Confederates off the ridge.
The Union victory at Missionary Ridge was a turning point in the Chattanooga Campaign. It broke the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, forced General Bragg to retreat, and opened a supply line into the city. It also boosted Union morale and provided a significant strategic advantage to General Grant, who would go on to become the overall commander of Union forces and eventually lead them to victory in the Civil War.
The Battle of Missionary Ridge was marked by valor and bravery on both sides, with notable actions by individual soldiers and commanders. It is remembered as a crucial engagement of the Civil War and a key moment in the Union Army's efforts to regain control of the strategically important city of Chattanooga.
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VIEW ART: The 2nd Minnesota Regiment at Missionary Ridge