Today marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle at Orchard Knob in Chattanooga. Orchard knob is a small knoll about 100 feet high east of Chattanooga that was occupied by 600 Confederates on November 23, 1863. To take the knob 14,000 Federal soldiers advanced from their positions in a parade formation only to break and run toward the knob at the last minute taking the Confederates completely by surprise. The Confederates fired one volley before fleeing the knob and falling back to Missionary Ridge. The battle resulted in no great loss on either side, but it was a portent of bad things to come for the Confederacy. In the following days General Ulysses S. Grant and General William T. Sherman would defeat the Confederates in a series of battles that would lay the groundwork for the advance on Atlanta and ultimately Sherman’s march to the sea, thus crippling the Confederacy. After his forces seized the knob Grant realized the value of the vantage point so he established his headquarters there where he conducted the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge.
Michael E. Palmer is a writer and photographer based in Alabama.
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