Battle of Chickamauga 

US #2975 – Click the image to read about all the subjects on this sheet.

On September 20, 1863, the first major battle fought in Georgia, the bloody Battle of Chickamauga, came to a close.

Union General William S. Rosecrans had previously had great success in his Tullahoma Campaign and hoped to push Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee, out of Chattanooga.  Rosecrans consolidated his forces and forced Bragg to flee Chattanooga.  Bragg then assembled his troops in Lafayette, Georgia, and prepared to retake Chattanooga.

US #216 – Garfield was promoted and received a citation for his service at Chickamauga.  Click image to order.

Bragg followed the Union army and engaged them in a small fight at Davis’ Cross Roads.  He then received reinforcements from John Bell Hood’s Virginia division and Bushrod Johnson’s Mississippi division.  Early in the morning of September 18, Bragg marched his troops to the Chickamauga Creek, aiming to separate the Union troops from Chattanooga.  Bragg’s men then crossed the river, though his arrival wasn’t a surprise – Rosecrans had seen them marching toward his position and called in reinforcements.

US #2013 – Walker performed surgery near the front line at Chickamauga. Click image to order.

Though there was some small skirmishing on the 18th, the battle began in full force after dawn on September 19th.  All day, Bragg’s men launched vicious attacks but could not break through the Union line.  Then, at 11:00 that night, General James Longstreet arrived with a massive force that gave the Confederates the upper hand.

The battle began again at 9:30 the next morning, September 20, with a large Confederate attack on the Union left flank.  As the battle continued, Rosecrans believed a gap had formed in his line and ordered Thomas Wood’s division to fill it.  However, the gap didn’t exist and when they left their positions to obey his orders, they actually created a large gap in the line.  The Confederates used this mistake to their advantage and flooded the line, rushing the Union troops from the field.

Union General George H. Thomas then worked to consolidate the fleeing Union troops and establish a defensive position.  Though the Confederates brought the battle to them, the Union troops held their position.  Thomas was then known as “The Rock of Chickamauga” for his leadership.  Rosecrans was later relieved of his command and Thomas took control of the Army of the Cumberland.

Item #20101 – Commemorative cover marking Longstreet’s 166th birthday. Click image to order.

Though Bragg had succeeded in the driving the Union troops from the field, Rosecrans and the Union Army still held Chattanooga.  But the Confederates would then occupy the heights surrounding the city, blocking their supply lines.

Antigua #2538-39 – Set of 2 Antigua sheets includes a scene from Chickamauga as well as James Longstreet, a general from the battle. Click image to order.

Chickamauga was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, with the highest number of casualties in the Western theater.  In fact, it had the second-highest number of casualties after Gettysburg, with about 16,000 Union and 18,000 Confederate soldiers killed, wounded, missing, or captured.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
Share this Article


  1. The Civil War (or the War Between the States) was the biggest waste and most unnecessary
    war ever fought by the U.S. The South (like the Japanese) thought they could hold off long
    enough to make the other side sue for peace. Both made the mistake of over estimating
    their abilities (Industrial and man power) and under estimating the resolve of the other
    side. The North had a HUGE advantage in manpower, industry, railroad capacity. communications and eventually would wear down the enemy. As Clark Gable said
    in ‘”Gone With the Wind” all the South had were Cotton, Slaves and arrogance.

  2. Thank you Mystic for today’s article. A lesson that all of us should have knowledge of and understand the impact it had on our nation.

  3. Recently history is being erased by removing memorials to southern combatants, and especially the officers like Lee, Jackson, Stewart, Longstreet, Hood etc. Such a set of stamps would no longer be issued with these Confederates on the issued sheets. But there were many Southerners who fought simply for their State, and for pride, not for slavery or any political issue. These are the grunts of all wars. They bare the burden while the higher up political types watch from a safe place. Remember the gallant and brave, but also listen to Bob Dylan’s song, “Masters of War”.

  4. Ulysses Grant commented, and this is a paraphrase as best that I can recall, that the South assembled one of the finest armies ever put together, but they fought for one of the worst causes for which a people ever fought. A direct quote from his memoir states that, “The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery.”

  5. Thank you Mystic for the great history lesson, and every day as well. This one subject stirs more comments that most any other. It is not difficult to imagine another ‘civil war’ is brewing today. Just wait unit next year. 2024. Its coming, do not bet against it. In the future i wonder what the commerative stamps will be ?

  6. The battle of Chickamauga demonstrated how the railroads changed warfare. Elements of the Army of Northern Virginia were transferred to Georgia and reinforced the CSA in the field and turned the battle into a Northern Federal Army defeat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *