With Ulysses S. Grant on the scene in Chattanooga, Tenn., federal forces in late October 1863 quickly began resupplying and adding new troops in the city besieged by Confederate forces on high ground nearby.
This week 150 years ago in the Civil War saw skirmishing at scattered locations in Tennessee, and Confederate and Union forces sized each other up as major fighting appeared to be only a matter of time.
The New York Times, among leading East Coast publications, lauded Grant’s rise to the new Military Division of the Mississippi — in command of three armies.
“The first work of Gen. Grant will doubtless be to combine these armies, as far as possible, into one active body,” the The Times reported. “This army, massed and properly handled ... were it wielded and directed by one strong hand, guided by a broad brain, could trample out any Southern army, or march to any point, or achieve any object in the Confederacy.”
That one strong hand for the Union would be found in Ulysses S. Grant. In the fall of 1863, he was beginning to unify the huge fighting force in a bid to smash through Confederate defenses and lay the groundwork for later campaigns against Atlanta and beyond.