Following the victory at Muphreesboro, the competing armies in Tennessee became embroiled in a series of battles that ended in the attempt to take Chattanooga on the border with Georgia. It had been the intention of the Union forces, lead by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, to take over control of the Tennessee River at the 'heart' of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi. On the border of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, the Tennessee River was the lifeline to the front lines of the whole war.

Seeing the importance of the location, Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg had determined to hold on to Lookout Mountain and the strategic city in the valley below. Keeping Generals James Longstreet and Simon Buckner close at hand, Bragg was able to hold off the forces of the Union's "Army of the Tennessee" after General Grant had been hindered from leading reinforcements from the western front because of a serious injury due to his horse bucking him to the ground. The force he had sent had been only what he could afford as the war in the west had begun to accelerate.

Having successfully defended its supply lines on the Tennessee River in battles in late October, 1863, the Confederate "Army of Tennessee" went on to defeat the Union forces that had attempted to take Chattanooga. On November 24, Bragg used the cover of a dense afternoon fog to quietly move his troops to more secure positions higher up the mountain. That night, a lunar eclipse allowed a much needed respite of darkness for about an hour. When the eclipse was over, under the light of a full moon, the Confederate troops counterattacked the surprised Union forces in a rare night-time raid. The rout of the encamped enemy forces resulted in the capture of Brig. Gen. John W. Geary along with about 900 others. In all, 630 Union soldiers died while only 192 Confederates lost their lives.

After this battle, the remaining Union troops were withdrawn from Tennessee. Within months, the military government, lead by former US Senator from Greeneville, Andrew Johnson, had been forced out of the state. From his office-in-exile in Charleston, WV, Johnson curried favor with President Lincoln through his advocacy for an aggressive war to overthrow "those traitorous aristocrats" who owned slaves. Tennessee, though, saw no more major battles in the latter part of the war.

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