Chickamauga & Chattanooga
Scenario Eight:
Assault on Chattanooga
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
February 2016

Following his bloody victory at Chickamauga, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg appears to have believed the Union would abandon Chattanooga without a fight and retreat toward Nashville. The Union commander, William S. Rosecrans, was personally shattered by the defeat and Bragg’s assumption was not without foundation.

Bragg fumbled.

Rosecrans recovered.

But contrary to expectations, the Union Army of the Cumberland stood at Chattanooga and furiously began fortifying the city to withstand a Confederate attack. Bragg’s Army of Tennessee arrived two days after the Union forces and occupied the heights south of town without opposition, and settled into what contemporaries termed the “Siege of Chattanooga.”

The siege wasn’t much of a siege, as the Confederates were unable to cut all communications and the Federals failed to starve. Brig. Gen. William F. “Baldy” Smith, demoted after clashes with his superior Ambrose Burnside in Virginia and transferred to the Western theater, organized an efficient supply system. Using the Tennessee River and a mule route, the “cracker line” not only fed the Army of the Cumberland, it brought in weapons, ammunition and reinforcements to bring it back up to strength. The besieging force had an equally difficult time feeding itself and had fewer reinforcements on which to draw, and so over time the relative balance of strength turned in the Union’s favor.

Some Confederate generals counseled Bragg to launch an immediate assault on Chattanooga after the victory at Chickamauga. Unsure his army was up to the task, Bragg did not want to rack up more casualties for an objective he believed could be won without fighting.

With the hindsight of history, we can see that perhaps Bragg should have rolled the dice. Or maybe not. This scenario lets us explore the alternatives.


Use the Chattanooga map.

Victory Conditions

Union Decisive Victory: Inflict at least 25 losses on the Confederates, while suffering no more than 15 losses yourself. No Confederate unit occupies an area in or adjacent to Chattanooga or area 238.

Union Minor Victory: No Confederate unit occupies an area in or adjacent to Chattanooga or area 238.

Confederate Minor Victory: Inflict at least 20 losses on the Union while suffering no more than 10 losses yourself.

Confederate Decisive Victory: Suffer no more than 20 losses. Confederate units occupy or were the last to pass through all areas in or adjacent to Chattanooga plus area 238.

Any other result is a draw.

Historical Result


Union Setup

In or adjacent to area 265: A. McCook (XX Corps), 1/XX infantry (D), 1/XX artillery (B), 2/XX infantry (E), 2/XX artillery (B), 3/XX infantry (E), 3/20 artillery

In or adjacent to area 279: Thomas, 1/XIV infantry (F), 1/XIV artillery, 2a/XIV infantry (E), 2/XIV artillery (B), 3a/XIV infantry (F), 3 artillery (B)

In or adjacent to Chattanooga: Rosecrans, Army of the Cumberland HQ, Wilder mounted infantry (B), Wilder artillery, Crittenden, 1/XXI infantry (C), 1/XXI artillery (B), 2/XXI infantry (E), 2/XXI artillery (B), 3/XXI infantry (D), 3/XXI artillery (B), 2b/IV infantry (C), 2a/IV artillery

In any Union-occupied area: E. McCook (1/Cav), Crook, 1/1/Cav, 2/1/Cav, 3/1/Cav, 1/2/Cav, 2/2/Cav, Cav artillery

Union artillery ammunition: 30

Union reinforcements: None

Confederate Setup

Area 288: Longstreet (I Corps), 1a/I infantry (E), 1a/I artillery, 2a/I infantry (C), 2a/I artillery, 3/I infantry (D), 3/I artillery, Buckner (V Corps), 1/V infantry (F), 2a/V infantry (B), 2b/V infantry (B), 2a/V artillery, 2b/V artillery

Area 291: Bragg, Army of Tennessee HQ, Reserve artillery, Hill (III Corps), 1/III infantry (B), 1/III artillery, 2/III infantry (B), 2/III artillery,

Area 332: Polk, 1a/II infantry (D), 1a/II artillery, 1b/II infantry (D), 1b/II artillery, 2a/II infantry (B), 2a/II artillery, 2b/II infantry (C), 2c/II artillery

At any Confederate entry area: Forrest, Wheeler, 1/M/Wheeler, 2/M/Wheeler, 1/W/Wheeler, 2/W/Wheeler, W artillery, 1/P/Forrest (C), 2/P/Forrest, 1/A/Forrest (B), 2/A/Forrest, Forrest artillery

Confederate reinforcements: None

Confederate artillery ammunition: 30

Length of Battle

12 turns, lasting from 0700 to 1800, September 22nd, 1863.

Scenario Special Rules

1. In addition to his own units, Thomas may activate units from any other corps if he is stacked with or adjacent to them.

2. Reduce Rosecrans’ and Bragg’s ratings both to 3-0-3.

3. Confederate reinforcements may be held off the map to enter on a later turn.

Assault Chattanooga! Order Chickamauga & Chattanooga right now!

Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and award-winning journalist, he has published over 100 books, games and articles on historical subjects. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold. Leopold has a very fine nose.