By the morning of September 18th the two opposing armies were facing each other along Chickamauga Creek near Lee and Gordon’s Mill, with the Union left near the Mill, and the Confederate right slightly south at Pea Vine Church near Glass Mill.
During the early morning hours General Bragg issued detailed orders to his corps commanders. The basics of the plan were to march north of the Union army, cross Chickamauga Creek, and attack the Union left flank. This would force the Union army south into McLemore’s Cove where it could be trapped and destroyed.
The fighting started when an improvised Confederate division under Brigadier General Bushrod Johnson, consisting of units available from the train station at Ringgold, attempted to move toward Reed’s Bridge. It was intercepted and slowed by the Union cavalry brigade of Colonel Robert Minty. To the south at Alexander Bridge, the Lighting Brigade of mounted infantry commanded by Colonel John Wilder contested the advance of the Confederate Reserve Corps.
As the sounds of fighting to the north intensified, General Rosecrans shifted units north to meet the threat. He ordered his own Reserve Corps near Rossville to send help to Minty at Reed’s Bridge. He also ordered the Fourteenth Corps to leapfrog north of Lee and Gordon’s Mill to the Widow Glenn House, but General Thomas eventually decided to continue the march further into the night toward the Kelly House along the Lafayette Road. This would end up placing Federal units farther north and beyond Bragg’s right flank.
Although the Union brigades put up a good fight, the Confederates won the struggle for the two bridges across Chickamauga Creek. The Army of Tennessee consolidated around the area west and northwest of Thedford’s Ford, where General Bragg established his headquarters.
This section will have maps and pictures eventually, detailing the actions of the day. However, the sections for September 19th and 20th will be finished first!
All images, text, and video © Historic Imagination
Optimized for viewing at 1024 x 768 or better