General George Thomas was known as the Rock of Chickamauga. The actions of General Thomas at Chickamauga against a vastly superior force of Confederates (three to one) and better supplied, would be his hallmark throughout the entire bloody conflict.
The battle was a success for the Confederacy however General Thomas was the only Union commander to stand his ground repelling time after time the Rebel forces under the supreme command of General Bragg, and the Army of Tennessee. The battle however was a major Confederate victory.
General Thomas marched his hungry, out of ammunition and weary troops to the Rossville Gap where he would join up with General Rosecrans. General Thomas was tough, as tough as they came during the Civil War. After receiving some supplies and allowing his tired troops a bit of rest without having any himself, the leader marched on.
The next stop was Dalton Gap, Georgia. The goal for General Thomas was to hammer the forces under the Confederate leader, General Johnston, into submission and end the threat of the Army of Tennessee.
Portrait of General George Thomas during the Civil War
He could have possibly completed this task had it not been for General Sherman and his railroad-blitzing tactical plans. General Sherman had cemented into this mind that the railroads would need to be totally destroyed in order for the Union to win the war.
This was not the case as it required trains for railroads to be of any use for an enemy and the South had only a few surviving train depots left. General Thomas was ordered to wait at Atlanta instead of attacking the remaining rebel forces under General Hood. Sherman ordered Thomas to wait and see if General Hood was going to head north or west to the outlying cities and towns of Tennessee. Thomas did as ordered and this delay allowed time for Hood and the Confederate army was to extend the war four months longer than it had to be. Many good men lost their lives for this tactical maneuvering by Sherman and the loss in monetary value, was enormous.
All in all, the Rock of Chickamauga would go down in history as a forgotten hero. Thomas was one of the best military leaders the war has seen since Lee and Grant. The last battle his career would send a clear and ever-lasting impression to the Rebel forces at Nashville. The win at Nashville by Thomas over General Hood and his Rebel army started the end of the Civil War. Four months after defeating Hood in Nashville, the war ended.