Chickamauga: Thomas’s Battleline


The monument to the 2nd Ohio Infantry took its design in honor of the XIV Corps, which adopted an acorn as their symbol following the campaign for Chattanooga. The acorn was chosen by Gen. George Thomas because his men stood like oaks at Chickamauga. The symbol appears on a number of XIV Corps monuments.

Thomas’s men had been given extra time to fortify their position on the morning of September 20 because Confederates delayed their attack. Gen. Braxton Bragg ordered an early assault but several of his subordinates balked, claiming they were confused. The prickly D. H. Hill, in particular, came up with a litany of excuses. Not until around 9:40 a.m.—four hours after Bragg had ordered the attack to start—did John Breckenridge’s division finally move forward.

Confederates met stiff resistance from Thomas all along the Federal line. “We were laying behind our rude breastworks, two regiments deep, and the rebel columns soon appeared over the hill,” said Sergeant Samuel Price of the 2nd Ohio. “On they came amid the shower of musket balls, grape, and canister pouring from our lines.”

Breckenridge did eventually turn the Federal flank, but he went unsupported so could not exploit his gains. Federals soon pushed back. “The day remained early,” points out historian Lee White, “but already, Thomas was showing a steadfastness that would soon prove essential.”


Text adapted from material in Lee White’s Bushwhacking on a Grand Scale: The Battle of Chickamaugapart of the Emerging Civil War Series.

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