Monday, December 10, 2007

Brown's Ferry

I had originally intended to start posts about Chattanooga in late November to coincide with the anniversary of the culminating battles in the campaign to clear Chattanooga. Instead I still had some things to do for Chickamauga plus other life related things got in the way. Now I'm back and am changing gears to Chattanooga.

On the morning of October 27th the Union captured Brown's Ferry and began the efforts to raise the siege of Chattanooga. The first step in raising the siege was to get the men supplied again. Bragg did not have a super tight control on Chattanooga but it was pretty effective. Grant was given command of the Western theater on October 16th and soon arrived in Chattanooga to take care of the largest problem in his command. Soon after his arrival steps were taken to open a reliable supply line (previously most supplies had to come in over a tortuous route through the mountains north of Chattanooga). Taking Brown's Ferry, in conjunction with a move by Hooker from Bridgeport into Lookout Valley, would secure a reliable supply line. Once the supply line was secured Grant's men and animals could regain their strength and munitions could also be brought in so that in the near future his men could fight to clear the city of Bragg's army.

So around 3 am on October 27th a select group of men from Hazen's brigade floated down the river on pontoons, came ashore at Brown's Ferry, secured a beachhead, and built a pontoon bridge so that more brigades could cross the river and expand the the bridgehead. Later they would move south towards the tip of Lookout Mountain and meet up with Hooker's force coming down Lookout Valley.

The view from the Confederate side of the river at Brown's Ferry. The land across the river is Moccasin Bend, parts of which are now owned by the park service. When I was there in fall 2006 there was only very limited access and no trail maps. Apparently though there are some very well preserved entrenchments on Moccasin Bend and I look forward to seeing them on a future visit.

1 comment:

P Davis said...

While in Chattanooga for a wedding this past weekend, I toured the Lookout Valley area and located Hooker and Howard's HQ* on the side of Elder Mountain, and took the Brown's Ferry Road to a gate just above the water. Just curious to know how you obtained permission of the (apparent) owners to explore such areas.
iampdavis2 at comcast dot net

* as yet unconfirmed but likely spots.