Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was eager to push back Confederate Gen. James Longstreet in eastern Tennessee. Army intelligence learned that Longstreet had been reinforced and was ready to attack. However this alarm had been received before, and Grant stated that he would drive him out or be whipped.
It was later learned that Longstreet was in need of supplies, had not been reinforced and most of his troops were more in need of supplies than the Union Army.
On Feb. 9, 1864, Gen. Paul Schofield arrived at Knoxville and Gen. George Stoneman was sent to the east to command cavalry. Schofield was a West Point graduate and had taught astronomy at West Point before the war. He would partner with Gen. Jacob Cox over the next year.
On Feb. 11, 1864, Grant wrote a letter directing Schofield to drive out Longstreet so they could give furloughs to the soldiers and prepare for spring campaigns. However, as Gen. Jacob Cox of Warren writes, their animals had been moved because there was no forage in Eastern Tennessee, and the men were in need of food and clothing.
Receiving this information, Grant ordered that the re-enlisting veterans should have their furlough, and all men and animals would get the rest they needed for the spring campaign.
General Cox continually had orders to write and dispatches to answer. He brought with him a field dispatch book and a pair of brass candlesticks that screwed together, resembling a large watch case.
He devised a method of making copies, so not to disturb his sleeping aide. Using carbon sheets and an agate pointed stylus, he preserved copies and carried all in a sabretache for the rest of the war. The candle light enabled him to work anywhere, even in darkness.
After the Battle of Dandridge, the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry went to Loudon, Tenn., and established winter camp with more permanent sleeping structures.
In late February 1864, an Army inspection found "Harker's" Brigade exceptional in drill and cleanliness of arms. This was the only regiment in 3 Corps to be recognized. Discipline in drill was essential for a fighting unit, and maintaining their equipment, especially their firearms, was important for function and safety.
Col. Emerson Opdycke of Hubbard didn't write letters to his wife during February and March 1864 because he was granted a 60-day leave to recruit in Warren, so was with his wife and friends. Before he returned to eastern Tennessee, friends and citizens of Warren gave him an engraved gold watch and chain.
The 105th OVI were in Chattanooga, Tenn. After the Battle of Missionary Ridge, they pursued the retreating Confederates, then returned to their camp. The United States flag flew on Lookout Mountain and soldiers would climb the laddered mountain, observing the Confederate's camp, looking over the view in amazement that the battle had been won.
General Grant realized the importance of Chattanooga and the rivers and prepared the area as a supply depot and defensive position. In their regimental history, ''The Story of a Thousand,'' compiled by Albion Tourgee of Williamsfield, is a description of how Chattanooga was transformed by the Union Army:
"Arms, ammunition, food, clothing, transportation, horses, mules, cattle, tents - everything that an army would need - were hurried forward with a profusion and lavishness quite incredible to one who has never witnessed the concentrated abundance which war provides for the armies. The railroads running from Louisville to Nashville then to Chattanooga were crowded to their utmost capacity...
''Two great rivers the Cumberland and the Tennessee were crowded with flotillas An army of civil employees, numbering more than 8,000 men, were gathered at Chattanooga, running saw mills, making charcoal, working forges, building immense machine shops, spanning the river with a permanent bridge, building new railroads from the Cumberland to the Tennessee, laying new tracks, putting up telegraph wires, accumulating bridge material and extra engines."
All of this was for the campaigns that Grant was developing, enabling Union Gen. William Sherman to advance south. Chattanooga, once called the Gibraltar, of the Confederacy was transformed into a supply base for the Federal Army.
Albion Tourgee continues: "Abundance reigned where want had been so severe. There was no lack of tents or clothing. The little mud huts of the siege gave way to the most perfect tentage. Horses grew sleek and fat. Defective wagons were discarded. Teamsters began to boast again of their mules and equipment. Sutlers abounded. Luxuries were to be had for a price."
Continuing, he notes that the local citizens of Chattanooga had fled. "Fortunately for our army, Chattanooga was an empty house. Of the few inhabitants nearly all had departed, and there was not time to establish there the corruption that contaminates an army encamped near a large city."
Although spring was weeks away, Grant was organizing and preparing the army for advancement.
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.