Strategic Rail Center
— Tullahoma Campaign —
After the Battle of Stones River ended on January 2, 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg withdrew south to the Highland Rim to protect the rail junction at Tullahoma, Bragg headquarters, and the roads to Chattanooga. Bragg fortified Shelbyville and Wartrace behind lightly defended mountain gaps. After months of delay, Rosecrans fainted toward Shelbyville on June 23 and then captured Hoovers and Liberty Gaps the next day. A mounted infantry brigade captured Manchester on June 27. The Confederates concentrated at Tullahoma. Rosecrans planned to attack on July 1, but Bragg retreated. By July 7, the Confederates were in Chattanooga.
In January 1863, after the Battle of Stones River, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg Army of Tennessee fortified Tullahoma to protect the supply depot and Bragg headquarters. Tullahoma also served as the army medical center, with divisional and general hospitals. The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad was one of the most strategically important transportation corridors in the Western Theater. Tullahoma, the mid-point of the line, served both Confederate and Union armies as a logistics center. Federal troops arrived here in the spring of 1862, but the Confederates took back the town in the fall and supplied their army at Murfreesboro by rail.
In June 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans made Tullahoma a major objective for his Army of the Cumberland. After the Battle of Hoovers Gap, Rosecrans gained the Highland Rim on Bragg right and threatened his line of communications. The Confederates evacuated Tullahoma on July 1, and it then became a Federal supply depot and post. Tullahoma survived both war and occupation. The railroad was reincorporated as the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway. The railroad remains an important transportation corridor.
(lower left) Gen. Braxton Bragg; Gen. William S. Rosecrans - Courtesy Library of Congress
(upper center) "Breastworks and Chevaux-de-Frise at Tullahoma, Tennessee, July 1st, 1863," from David B. Floyd, History of the Seventy-fifth Regiment of Indiana Infantry Volunteers
(upper right) "Sketch of Tullahoma, Tenn. and Vicinity." July 6, 1863, from Military Atlas of the War of the Rebellion