Bragg’s Chattanooga Strategy

A 2022 BGES Civial War Field University Program

Presented by Jim Ogden

August 18-21, 2022; from Chattanooga, TN

Are you ready for something different?

As the study of the Civil War has evolved and many of the NPS giants have retired, not to be replaced, the value of those remaining take on increased measures of importance. At Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park the tandem of Jim Ogden and Lee white remain in place where other teams have begun to break apart. Any of you who have been with Jim on a tour know that you have worked with a real master. Highly sought after by senior military officials to teach leadership and besieged by numerous tour groups and Civil War roundtables to do Chickamauga or Chattanooga, Jim rarely gets to indulge himself and create a little “Brain Salad” for himself and others. Get ready.

We all know of the story of Braxton Bragg whose tragic and much maligned career peaks and sinks between Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. Indeed perhaps no other officer experienced as much adversity as Bragg did in his 13 months of active combat between Perryville and the rout from Missionary Ridge. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Read on.

Jim and I spoke at length about probing the depths of the integrated learning and understanding he had acquired in decades of working at the park and we have developed something brand new—so much so that I can only layout the concept for you here. Jim is going to walk you through it over three full days—a primer in an army commander’s pallet of options—the various colors the military artist uses to create his battlefield masterpiece. You will be stimulated—you will be much more insightful.

This is a study of the battle the Bragg wanted along Chickamauga Creek not the one he got. It is not counter factual—rather it is the essence of why we study battlefields and seek to understand them—it is a study of Commander’s Intent, the metric of success and failure in combat. Join us.

While you are coming here—why not get the other half of the dynamic due, Lee White, whose program August 16-18 at the same hotel will enrich your trip even further. There is a special incentive for registering for both programs—see the registration form.

Watch Jim Ogden’s YouTube interview on this program by clicking here.


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Meet at 7 PM in at the headquarters hotel (Fairfield Inn, Swallowford Village Drive) where Jim will speak with you about the evolution of circumstances that brought Braxton Bragg to northern Georgia in the late summer of 1863, how opportunities were missed from the Confederate evacuation of Chattanooga on September 7th until Bragg regrouped and plotted the destruction of the Union forces as they entered Lookout Valley. We will break late so I would plan dinner before the lecture.

Friday, August 19-Sunday, August 21, 2022

Each day we will depart the hotel at 8:15. Jim’s thrust is to focus on Braxton Bragg after he has abandoned and withdrawn from Chattanooga on September 7th and after his recalcitrant subordinates have failed to crush separate elements of Rosecrans’s army, the most infamous being the escape at McLemore’s Cove. Those opportunities are past and rather than dwell on the failures he looks for a plan B to crush Rosecrans as the Federal commander struggles with the challenges of coming out of mountainous terrain and determines how he will use his new base at Chattanooga.

We will start today by going to Bragg’s army at LaFayette, we will place his various components, look at his supply line and his railhead at Resaca in Georgia. We will then look at when and why he relocates it to Catoosa Station. We will go to the points in which reinforcements are and will come to his army. We will see how and where they have march to reach him near LaFayette, all these factors go into formulating the plan to attack the Federals.

Once of the most interesting aspects of this groundwork is the consideration from BRAGG’s perspective (no one elses) the terrain, geography, and places that mwill be critical in Bragg’s emerging plans. These sites will include Pigeon Mountain and its passes, Rock Spring, Peavine Church, Leet’s Tanyard, West Chickamauga Creek and its crossing points, McLemore’s Cove (again), Missionary Ridge and the eastern wall of Lookout Mountain plus many others.

Having set the parameters of the fields of engagement we will integrate with the unfolding plan commencing with September 17, 1863 and continuing on into the 18th and indeed the 19th.

This is where the program deviates from the historical narrative of what happened. We will examine and follow the routes of movement on September 18th and discuss the engagements on Reed’s Bridge Road, at Alexander’s Bridge and Thedfords, Hunt’s and Dalton’s Fords. We will follow what for Bragg was planned to be a very different battle in the Valley of West Chickamauga Creek, a place already known as the “River of Death.”

History tells us what happened and it was not what Bragg intended. This is not a redo of the battle of Chickamauga tour, it is a careful and precise examination of what Bragg planned and what it should have accomplished. It focuses your attention on the critical days leading up to the actual battle. As Jim says this is always given short shrift on tours and in written narratives of the Chickamauga Campaign. Understand it and you have a very different perspective on the events of September 1863.

Lunch will be included each day but dinner will be on your own.

About the Faculty

Jim Ogden is the historian at the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Highly respected at every turn by people in all walks, he has taken Dick Chaney former Vice-President of the United States on private tours and is sought by military organizations for their leadership training. A master of the western theater, Jim is sought as the subject matter expert on sources and for anyone writing about the region. His expertise also extends to the Native American Trail of Tears National Trail.

Hotel Information

Our Headquarters hotel is the Fairfield Inn, 2345 Swallowford Village Drive, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421. The Blue and Gray Group rate of $115 to $125 plus tax goes away on July 28th. Best prepaid rate there for same days is $133 to 139 plus tax. Call 423-499-3800.


The servicing airport is Chattanooga (CHA). The hotels have generally done away with airport shuttles in the wake of COVID. You can visit the airport website where you can get details for taxis, lyft and Uber. The hotel is 4 miles distant.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. These books are available online. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only to this purchase but others you may make at other times. Thank you.


Registration includes three lunches, maps, the academic program, support of a professional historian and tour transportation. We will also provide snacks and bottled water.

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link

Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Bragg’s Chattanooga Strategy

Questions? Need more information? Please contact us.