In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cleburne's Division is called to Chattanooga

From Harrison and other points along the Tennessee River, Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne moved his troops, including the 32nd Mississippi Regiment, to Chattanooga. The men will march via Tyner’s Station south 13 miles to Chattanooga, arriving there about 11:00 PM on today's date, a Sunday, in 1863. Elements of Forrest's cavalry are left to guard the length of river vacated by Bragg's infantry, from Chattanooga to Blythe's Ferry.

Gen. Braxton Bragg has decided to abandon Chattanooga, moving his army south toward Rome, Georgia, where he has concluded that Gen. William S. Rosecrans's army is heading to cut his railroad communication with Atlanta. He plans to unite with Buckner's army before confronting Rosecrans. The problem for Bragg is that he doesn't actually have an idea of where his enemy is.

At present, Rosecrans's army was concealing its movements in Wills Valley, screened behind Lookout Mountain. Bragg concluded that the Federals were likely going to Rome, to sever his railroad communications with Atlanta and the South. He decides to evacuate Chattanooga and march toward Rome so as to insert his army between the Federals and the railroad. The dirt road to Rome, known as the “LaFayette road,” led through LaFayette, Georgia, a town of about 200 inhabitants, 26 miles south and slightly east of Chattanooga. The road will will factor in significantly in the coming conflict that will be the Battle of Chickamauga.

Leading the army out of Chattanooga, Cleburne's Division will be on the southward march again in the morning.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; The Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry and the 45th Mississippi Regiment, David Williamson; Autumn of Glory, Thomas Lawrence Connelly; Official Records, Vol. 30, Pt. 4; Huntsville Historical Review, Vol 26, No. 2. 1999: Transcription of Capt. Daniel Coleman Diary, Univ. North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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