September 20, 1863
Map of Union Center, September 20th
The Union southern flank no longer extended south to the Viniard Field, leaving an opportunity for the Confederates, who extended their flank further. During the battle, Rosecrans made the mistake of moving Wood's division out of the line and sending them north. This left an enormous hole which Longstreet's men were conveniently placed to pure through. Sheridan's division to the rear would battle attacking Confederates near the Widow Glenn House while other Union troops attempted to stem the tide at and near Dyer Field, then further north near Snodgrass Hill
Brotherton Field Near Lafayette Road
In the previous day's fighting, the Confederates had attacked across the Lafayette Road on the left of the top picture and routed the Federal line marked a monument on the ridge. Without proper support, the Rebels had to pull back. As the Confederate attack on the 20th progressed, the Union line at Brotherton's Cabin was the next target. Because of the faults of the previous day's position, the division of Woods occupied the treeline on the far right of the picture, and had a better field of fire. Gen. Roserans had been wrongly told that a gap in his line existed in the woods north of here. Gen. Woods was ordered to move into the non-existant gap. This movement left a massive hole in the Federal line.
At 11 A.M., the troops of Longstreet's Wing was ready to attack. In a stroke of unusually good luck, Longstreet had positioned an enormous column of troops directly in front of the newly formed gap. Thousands of Confederates swept into the heart of the Union position, and the Federals fled in panic. Bushrod Johnson's division led the Confederate assault, with one brigade advancing through this field and another through the woods to the north behind the camera. The column attacked the flank and rear of Union formations and moved through the woods in the center of the picture in the direction of the road visible on the right half of the picture. The Confederates were now deep into the Union position.
The Union mounted infantry brigade of Wilder was positioned behind this hill in the Union rear near the Widow Glenn house. The Confederate brigade of Manigault was successfully routing Sheridan's division near here. As the brigade advanced up this hill, Wilder was coming up from the other side. At about 30 yards, Wilder's men opened up with their Spencer repeating rifles. More of Wilder's men flanked the Rebels toward the right of the picture. Manigault's brigade fell back all the way to the Lafayette Road. Wilder wanted to attack the advancing Rebel horde in their flank, but on his own questionable authori-tay, Assistant Secretary of War Charles Dana ordered them to retreat. Wilder had delayed the Confederates long enough to prevent the army's complete destruction.
From the Tower
From the top of the observation tower, you can see the fields beyond which was the Lafayette Road.
Back to Part 1
Back to Chickamauga