On Monday, November 23, Ulysses Grant began his assault on Braxton Bragg’s Confederate forces besieging Chattanooga. Two Union divisions successfully captured Orchard Knob, a strategic position approximately one mile in front of the main Confederate defenses.
The capture of Orchard Knob and General William Tecumseh Sherman’s bridging of South Chickamauga Creek during the subsequent night allowed Grant to directly assault Lookout Mountain on the following morning. The same day, November 23, at Knoxville, Tennessee both Union and Confederate forces in hard fighting repelled advances each made against the other.
The Richmond Examiner noted the significance of these conflicts and noted, “Our sole policy….is fighting; our most insinuating negotiator is the Confederate army in line of battle.” It was obvious that the outcome of the war would be determined on the battlefield.