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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rosecrans on the move

Before Confederate General Braxton Bragg was fully aware of it, Rosecrans's army had crossed the Cumberland Plateau on August 16th, and moved to the Tennessee River. On the 29th, 3 Federal corpsThomas's, McCook's, and Stanley'scrossed the river near Stevenson and many miles south of Chattanooga.

The evening of August 31st, Bragg received a report that the main force of Rosecrans’s army was crossing the Tennessee River at points 22 and 32 miles southwest of Chattanooga. Unopposed on today's date in 1863, large Federal forces were now in the Wills Valley, west of Lookout Mountain. Part of the Union army was reported to be moving south in the valley, and perhaps would cross the mountain at Winston’s Gap, 42 miles from Chattanooga, in an attempt to cut off the Confederate supply line from Atlanta. Learning of this threat to the rear of his army, Bragg will abandon Chattanooga on September 8, and the next day the Federals will occupy the city.

Great Grandfather's division's commanding general, Patrick Cleburne, advised the army's commander-in-chief, Gen. Braxton Bragg, that he should attack and crush the enemy corps facing him. However, Bragg did not agree and passed up an important opportunity.

Sources: Pat Cleburne: Confederate General, Howell & Elizabeth Purdue; Muster Roll of the 32nd Mississippi Infantry; Official Records, Vol. 30, Pt. 4

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