At first glance, not much seemed to be happening in the Civil War during the first couple weeks of October 1863, but this is deceiving.
In late September, President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton were persuaded that, by using the railroads, reinforcements could be sent from the Army of the Potomac to support Gen. William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland, now hanging on to Chattanooga after the defeat at Chickamauga.
On Sept. 23, President Lincoln ordered Stanton to send the 11th and 12th Corps, commanded by Gen. O.O. Howard and Gen. Henry Slocum to Chattanooga. The movement began within five days and by Oct. 10 troops were arriving at Bridgeport, Ala., but there would be work to do before they could provide any help to Rosecrans. Gen. Joseph Hooker was in overall command of the two corps, giving him a chance to redeem something of his reputation, damaged so badly at Chancellorsville.
Lincoln had wired Rosecrans that “40,000 troops” would be coming to his aid, but the two corps selected for the move had been badly battered at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and they were far from being at full strength.
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