Sherman's "wrongly laid-down" map
Below left you see a high
resolution view of part of Grant's battle
report map (below right), prepared by Baldy Smith's office after the
battle for Grant's report, but the basis of which had prepared by
engineers before the battle. They in turn had based their work on
scouting reports and on the previous work done by the engineers who
designed the two railroads going east from Chattanooga and the tunnel
for one of them.* Smith's map shows the north end of Missionary ridge
and the disposition of Sherman's troops (in blue) the evening of 24
and the day of 25 Nov. 1863, and most of Cleburne's troops (in red) on
the 25th. Grant could have received this map before the battle, and the
dispositions were superimposed after the battle so that the map
could be attached to Grant's battle report. The objective for 24 Nov.
Sherman's orders of 18 Nov. was the tunnel. He did not reach this
but stopped a mile short and blamed his error on "wrongly laid-down
However, the map below is not "wrongly laid-down," nor is it difficult
As you can plainly see, there is no possibility that a conscientious
experienced in map reading could have mistaken the first rise "Billy
Goat" Hill (so named after the battle by the soldiers) for the tunnel
had to cross one road (Campbell St. today), and then at least see
road (Lightfoot Mill Rd.) on the south side of the hump, on top of the
If he really had had defective maps Sherman would have included them in
battle report, but he didn't. The assertion that Sherman, who
had the same map as Grant did, could have been misled by defective maps
his possession is therefore a baldfaced lie. Note that Sherman, at the
of his battle report, did state that he attached a map his staff made after
the battle. However, even this map is not in the official Atlas,
so he lied about that too. He could not attach the one below because it
would made his distortion of the record and the magnitude of his
more obvious. Further below you see recent photos of this part of
On November 7th, Grant had
complained about lack of a map and other information, but all he had to
do was swallow his pride for a moment and visit Thomas's
headquarters. That was beneath the dignity of the small man on the make
with the heavy braids on his shoulder.
Hill", today Campbell St. Sherman stopped on 24 Nov.
Detail from Smith's map at the right. Every contour line represents 20 feet of elevation. The entire area was completely known to and explored by Thomas' scouts before the battle.
Grant's battle report map dated January 23, 1864 - click to enlarge. Note the "authorities" indicated in the bottom right corner.
||Sherman Reservation or Tunnel Hill
The letters in red refer to the positions on the photo below. Swett's
Battery was at (C) at the
end of a gradual 200 yard-long slope.
The tunnel runs from just to the left of York street to the vertical
line on the right (the red dots).
Lightfoot Mill Rd. (D) follows the cut at
the south end of Tunnel Hill,
and Campbell St. or Hwy. 17 (B)
goes through the cut at the north end of Tunnel Hill.
Both Roads existed at the time and are shown on the map above this one.
objective was thus Lightfoot Mill Rd. He stopped on the afternoon on
the rise near where Battery Drive is today (A).
Then he telegraphed to Grant that he had reached his objective.
The entrance to the park, the end of North Crest
Road, is at the blue X. You
have to park your car just off Lightfoot Mill
Rd. and walk in because the gate is always closed. It is an
park, but worth seeing anyway, because the run up the slope to Swett's
battery was a killing field. Cleburne let Sherman's troops get up out
the ravine at B and onto the field in front of the battery on purpose.
This is what Sherman saw from Ft. Wood the morning of 15 Nov. 1863, except that there were fewer trees standing.
View of what the ridge looked like to Sherman on Nov. 16th from the north bank. The photo was taken part way up a private drive. The Campbell St. cut between "Billy the Goat Hill" (Sherman Heights) is obscured by the white building of a cement plant. As far as I could determine, the only views of the north end of the ridge from the north bank which are not obstructed by trees or this silo are from private residences on River Hills or from the top of Continental Apartments. I asked for permission from the owners and, by letter, from the managers of the Continental Apartments to photograph the ridge from their premises, but permission was denied me. This is still an open question and opportunity for current authors writing about this battle. What could Sherman have seen on the 16th?
* Jim Ogden, resident historian of the Chickamauga Visitors' Center, showed me the original maps prepared by the railroad bulders. These maps are black with white contour lines, and they are complete. I did not dare ask that I be permitted to photocopy them. However, other, published authors could certainly have obtained photocopies for inclusion in their books about Thomas or the battle. I have never seen these maps even referred to in any of all of the books I have read about this battle. Why is Sherman still being protected?
||"To be successful in combat, a commanding
has to be an expert on the terrain, roads, and rivers in this theater
operations. George Thomas captured these data on maps and notebooks so
he knew every feature of the countryside where he would be
pages from Thomas' map journal are an example of his meticulous
ot the topography of the geographic areas where he would be operating.
breadth, accuracy, and diversity of his collected intelligence are
distances between points, road conditions and carrying capacities,
crossings, landmarks, potable water, forage, cover - even the loyalties
trustworthiness of local residents. Information was gathered from many
ranging from military engineering surveys to spies and escaped
(National Archives)" Buell, Warrior Generals, pp. 189-90