Tennessee Thunder: A Tale of Two Armies

Tennessee Thunder: A Tale of Two Armies - Daniel F. Korn

Tennessee Thunder: A Tale of Two Armies


Everyone has heard of Gettysburg, but for sheer ferocity of fighting, it is tough to match the horrendous stories of what happened in the fight for Tennessee in the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga. This is the story of two very different armies, and their equally different commanders. The Union Army of the Cumberland, led by the charismatic, but excitable William Starke Rosecrans against the Confederate Army of Tennessee, and its hot-tempered and irascible commander; Braxton Bragg. As 1862 ends, and the birth of a new year of the war looms on the horizon, an end to the bloodletting is nowhere in sight. It was a year that had just seen the April horrific fight at Shiloh, the incredible ineptness of McClellan in the Peninsula /Seven Days Campaign, the September bloodbath known as Antietam, and President Lincoln's launch of a huge gamble in the Emancipation Proclamation, all followed by the near disaster for the Union at Fredericksburg. It would be followed by a year that would see death, destruction, and a level of ferocity in warfare on a scale never before seen on the American continent. Of all the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army's repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg. It dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee. Names such as the Dragons Teeth, Slaughter Pen, the Round Forest, and the Orphans Brigade would enter the American lexicon. The battle was very important to Union morale, as evidenced by Abraham Lincoln's letter to General Rosecrans: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over." The Confederate threat to Kentucky and Middle Tennessee was gone, and Nashville was secure as a major Union supply base for the rest of the war.

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Everyone has heard of Gettysburg, but for sheer ferocity of fighting, it is tough to match the horrendous stories of what happened in the fight for Tennessee in the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga. This is the story of two very different armies, and their equally different commanders. The Union Army of the Cumberland, led by the charismatic, but excitable William Starke Rosecrans against the Confederate Army of Tennessee, and its hot-tempered and irascible commander; Braxton Bragg. As 1862 ends, and the birth of a new year of the war looms on the horizon, an end to the bloodletting is nowhere in sight. It was a year that had just seen the April horrific fight at Shiloh, the incredible ineptness of McClellan in the Peninsula /Seven Days Campaign, the September bloodbath known as Antietam, and President Lincoln's launch of a huge gamble in the Emancipation Proclamation, all followed by the near disaster for the Union at Fredericksburg. It would be followed by a year that would see death, destruction, and a level of ferocity in warfare on a scale never before seen on the American continent. Of all the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army's repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg. It dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee. Names such as the Dragons Teeth, Slaughter Pen, the Round Forest, and the Orphans Brigade would enter the American lexicon. The battle was very important to Union morale, as evidenced by Abraham Lincoln's letter to General Rosecrans: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over." The Confederate threat to Kentucky and Middle Tennessee was gone, and Nashville was secure as a major Union supply base for the rest of the war.

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