The Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General William Rosecrans, advanced from Murfreesboro, Tennessee in a series of strategic maneuvers against Confederate forces at Tullahoma, commanded by General Braxton Bragg.
For weeks the War Department, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and President Lincoln had urged Rosecrans to take to the field. Lincoln had written Rosecrans, pleading “I would not push you to any rashness, but I am very anxious that you do your utmost…. to keep Bragg from getting lost to help Johnston against Grant."
The obvious concern was that Rosecrans’ continuing inactivity would allow Bragg’s Confederates the opportunity to move against Grant’s army which besieged Vicksburg. For the rest of June, Rosecrans outflanked Bragg, forcing Tennessee Confederates to respond defensively and further isolate the Confederates at besieged Vicksburg.