On Sept. 22, 1863, two days after the Confederate victory at Chickamauga, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman while at Vicksburg, Miss., received orders from Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to dispatch the first of what became four divisions of reinforcements to the beleaguered Army of the Cumberland at Chattanooga. Sherman was directed to move eastward from Memphis and repair the railroads as he advanced. As things worsened at Chattanooga, he was told to suspend the repair work and "hurry eastward with all possible dispatch to Bridgeport."
The Federals planned to break the stalemate at Chattanooga by attacking the Confederate right on Missionary Ridge. But intelligence sources indicated that Gen. Braxton Bragg expected an attack on his left flank, which at that point in time was anchored on Lookout Mountain. After all, a Federal column had advanced in September across Lookout Mountain from the vicinity of Trenton, Ga.,