Civil War in Tennessee: Controlling the Rivers and the Rails
Controlling the river and railroad junction at Chattanooga was important to both North and South during the war. As a Confederate general noted, Chattanooga "commands important passes into Georgia and Alabama, and would enable the enemy...to cut off completely the communications between the eastern and western parts of this State." Union forces advanced from Middle Tennessee in the summer of 1863, took control of Chattanooga, and marched into Georgia in September. Defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga, about eight miles south of the Tennessee border (Exit 1), the Union army retreated to Chattanooga, which the Confederate army besieged. Separate Federal attacks on November 24-25 pushed Confederate forces from Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge (Exit 3) and into Georgia.