Guide The Greatest Civil War Battles: The Battle of Lookout Mountain

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The thousand men on the western slopes were supported by artillery batteries on the top of the mountain.

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Their main defences had been built at the north western base of the mountain where they could control the road and railroad west. Another set of Confederate defences ran east from just below the summit towards Chattanooga Creek, with guns facing north towards the Tennessee River to stop river traffic. Hooker decided to bypass the western defences. His plan was greatly aided by a local weather phenomenon.

Some days a layer of fog forms about half way down the mountain. The top half of the mountain remains entirely clear, but anything below that is hidden. This is what happened on the morning of 24 November, giving the battle the alternative name of the 'Battle above the Clouds'. Hooker sent Geary's division on a march up Lookout Valley to Wauhatchie, where the creek could be forded. At the same time his other divisions moved against a bridge close to where the railroad crossed the creek.

For some time Geary's division was hidden from the view of the Confederate defenders of the mountain by the fog. They were able to overwhelm the small picket at the ford, and crossed over at about 8. Once they were on the mountain slope they were soon spotted. The Confederates formed a new line down the slope of the mountain, from the base of the palisades at the summit down to their defences in the valley.

Battle of Lookout Mountain

Geary's men did the same, and advanced towards them. Meanwhile one brigade was attacked the road bridge, and another was building a pontoon bridge about half a mile further up the creek. At around Geary's men reached this pontoon bridge, and the rest of Hooker's command was safe to cross over. The heaviest fighting of the day now started.

Between noon and 2. Here they received reinforcements and were able to hold a line.

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At the same time Hooker reported that he was short of ammunition and that his men were close to exhaustion having climbed most of a 2, foot high mountain while fighting a battle one can understand this! However, his men had achieved their main aim.


At the base of the mountain Hooker's men were now in contact with troops from Chattanooga near the mouth of Chattanooga Creek. There was no more significant fighting on Lookout Mountain. Overnight the armies camped around Chattanooga had been able to see the two lines of campfires facing each other up the slopes of the mountain, but Bragg now decided that he needed all of his men on Missionary Ridge, and so the troops on Lookout Mountain were withdrawn overnight.

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The next morning eight men from the 8th Kentucky Infantry scaled the palisades, found the Confederates gone, and raised the Stars and Stripes at the summit, surely not an encouraging sight for Bragg's men on Missionary Ridge, about to face Grant's main attack. Both sides suffered similar casualties on Lookout Mountain.

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Federal losses were 81 killed out of total casualties. About half of the Confederate troops on the western slopes of the mountain were killed or captured. In Civil War terms, Lookout Mountain was barely a battle, but its dramatic location and the famous fog have gained it a great deal of fame. It was effectively a drawn battle. While Hooker's men had cleared a route into Chattanooga Valley, that was not their main aim. Grant's plan for 25 November required Hooker's men to assault Bragg's left flank on Missionary Ridge as early as possible.

Instead, they were to be delayed crossing the valley, and arrived at Missionary Ridge far too late to play an important part in the battle. On November 23, , a reconnaissance in force by Gen. George H.

Battle Above the Clouds

Braxton Bragg deep concerns about the strength of the center of his line along Missionary Ridge. In shoring up this portion of the Confederate position, Bragg moved Gen. William H. Carter Stevenson just two brigades to hold the plateau near the Cravens House. Initially, the daunting nature of the terrain on Lookout Mountain discouraged Grant from making an attack against it.


However, on the morning of the 24th, Grant authorized Gen. Joseph Hooker to make a demonstration against the Confederate left with three divisions and to push on to Point Lookout if it became practicable. At on the 24th, with Gen. John W.

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At the Cravens House, the Mississippi brigade of Gen. Edward Walthall tried to resist the Union tide but to no avail. While Col. John C. That night Bragg held a counsel with his generals and decided to withdraw from Lookout Mountain to reinforce Missionary Ridge, giving Grant the second victory of the fight for Chattanooga. Join the opportunity to inaugurate The Lighthizer Legacy Fund by preserving acres of Civil War hallowed ground, including critical land at Shepherdstown, a key battle of the Maryland Campaign, together with acres at Chattanooga, White Oak Road, and Bentonville.

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