Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hold The Union And Buy Some Time

Maj Gen Patrick Cleburne
To gain a little time, the Confederates held up Hooker’s Union forces on November 26th 1863 at the Battle of Ringgold Gap.

Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s troops were stretched out for over 15 miles after the Battle at Missionary Ridge. Union Major General Joseph Hooker was right behind them. Looking to gain a little time, Bragg chose Major General Patrick Cleburne. As Bragg went through the city of Ringgold he sent orders to Cleburne to cover the Confederate retreat until they could reorganize in Dalton, Georgia.

At 3 am on November 26th 1863 as Cleburne and his men marched towards Ringgold, they passed through the gap where the Western and Atlantic Railroad drops towards Atlanta. Cleburne had men and two cannons placed in that gap, where they could watch the Union troops approaching. The Confederate troops held their fire until the Union troops were in the gap. The volley sent a withering fire and the soldiers retreated. Hooker decided to try the flanks of Confederate force, but Cleburne anticipated this and moved his troops, repulsing the Union attacks. The Battle continued for five hours.

Bragg had by this time reorganized at Dalton, Georgia and sent orders to Cleburne to join him there. Cleburne with just 4100 Confederate soldiers held off Hooker’s 12,000 Union troops. Although Hooker reported his losses at less than 500 men, descriptions of the battlefield indicate losses were higher. General Ulysses S Grant noted this on the bottom of report filed by Hooker.


Mark Dolan said...

Where did you find this great picture of Cleburne?

LivingInVermont said...

I'm sorry to say I don't remember, but I know it was online.