Braxton Bragg was a beaten man in the summer of 1863.
For months he sad idly by while his opponent, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, reformed, resupplied, and refitted the Army of the Cumberland. Bragg did little to interfere with Rosecrans’s efforts.
Near the end of June, Rosecrans began maneuvering around Bragg… carrying out one of the great campaigns of the Civil War.
In just 11 days, Rosecrans had outmaneuvered, outflanked, and out-generaled Bragg completely out of Eastern Tennessee – losing only 560 soldiers in the process.
It was not one of the large scale blood baths that drew showy headlines- but it did accomplish one of Lincoln’s principal goals- liberate the strongly pro-union Eastern Tennessee.
Sadly, people do remember the horrendously bloody battle which followed Rosecrans’s strategic masterstroke.
The Chaplain of Bragg’s army summarized the mood best when he addressed his commander, “My dear general, I am afraid you are thoroughly outdone.”
Bragg could only agree.