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Confederate Army of Tennessee
The Army of Tennessee was formed in November 1862. It was the principal Confederate Army in the western United States during the American Civil War. It is named after the State of Tennessee, and it is not to be confused with the Army of the Tennessee, which was a Union Army, named for the Tennessee River.
From its creation, the army was commanded by General Braxton Bragg, who fought Union Major General William Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland to a draw at the Battle of Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. He was, however, forced to withdraw from Murfreesboro and fall back on Tullahoma.
In the summer of 1863, an offensive by Rosecrans was begun, which is generally known as the Tullahoma campaign, after the Confederate headquarters. Union forces gradually forced Bragg to fall back into northern Georgia, abandoning the important railroad hub of Chattanooga. However, reinforced by James Longstreet's corps from the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee was able to inflict a significant defeat on Rosecrans at Chickamauga in September 1863, advancing to besiege Chattanooga. The Army of the Cumberland was, however, reinforced by the troops of Grant's Army of the Tennessee, which combined with the Army of the Cumberland to inflict a significant defeat on Bragg at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, forcing Bragg to abandon the siege of Chattanooga and withdraw again into northern Georgia.
Shortly thereafter, Bragg was dismissed and replaced as commander of the Army by Joseph E. Johnston, who was much better liked by both troops and high level subordinates than the sour Bragg. In the 1864 campaign, Johnston faced the combined northern armies of William T. Sherman, whose task was to advance on Atlanta. Johnston, who felt the continued existence of his army was more important than protecting territory, tended to avoid battle with Sherman, executing a skillful withdrawal which caused impatience among the Confederate leadership in Richmond, particularly President Jefferson Davis, who had never gotten on well with Johnston. Following Sherman's outflanking of Johnston at the Chattahoochee River, forcing Johnston back on Atlanta itself, Johnston was replaced by General John Bell Hood.
Hood's tenure as commander proved disastrous. After several unsuccessful attempts to force Sherman's withdrawal from Atlanta, the city fell to union troops on September 2, 1864. Hood now, instead of continuing to parry against Sherman's forces, turned west and headed back north into Tennessee, allowing Sherman to turn south unopposed for the March to the Sea. In the meanwhile, Hood was faced in Tennessee by the army's old enemy, the Army of the Cumberland, under George H. Thomas, as well as the Army of the Ohio under John Schofield. On November 30, 1864, Hood was mauled in an attack on Schofield's smaller army at the Battle of Franklin, losing almost a quarter of his troops, but continued to advance north into central Tennessee, where he attempted to besiege Nashville. On December 15, Thomas's troops launched their attack, almost completely annihilating the Army of Tennessee in the most decisive tactical engagement of the war.
Thereafter, the Army of Tennessee ceased to be an effective fighting force, although its remnants were thereafter largely sent to the Carolinas to provide some opposition to Sherman's continuing advance in that area.
Major Battles and Campaigns
- Confederate Heartland Offensive (Bragg)
- Battle of Murfreesboro (Bragg)
- Chickamauga Campaign (Bragg)
- Battle of Chattanooga (Bragg)
- Atlanta Campaign (Johnston, relieved/Hood)
- Franklin-Nashville Campaign (Hood)
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