The capture of Chattanooga followed a campaign in which there was little fighting but much maneuvering. On June 23, Rosecrans marched his troops out of their camp in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Bragg, who hoped his defensive line could keep Rosecrans out and protect the rich agricultural resources of south central Tennessee, had his army arrayed northwest of Tullahoma.
When Rosecrans moved his army to Bragg’s right flank, the Confederates found themselves in a dangerous position and so Bragg pulled his forces further south to Tullahoma. But Rosecrans then feinted toward Chattanooga, forcing Bragg to give up Tullahoma and retreat into Chattanooga. At the cost of only 560 Yankee casualties, Rosecrans had taken south central Tennessee from Bragg.
Approaching Chattanooga from the west on September 8, Union forces began crossing Lookout Mountain above the city. Again, Bragg was outmaneuvered and was forced to leave Chattanooga with only minor skirmishing. On September 9, triumphant Union troops entered the city.
Bragg finally gathered his troops and dug in his heels in northern Georgia, just south of Chattanooga. The two armies collided again at Chickamauga on September 19 and 20, when Bragg finally sent Rosecrans in the other direction. The Union force then retreated back into Chattanooga.