This Week In Quartermaster History

28 October - 3 November

  Quote of the Week:

"Hereís coffee, boys; hereís sowbelly! Build a fire! Hurrah for the bully little steamer!"

Union soldiers rejoicing
Quote excerpted from
LTC LeDuc's Remininiscence

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The Little Steamboat that Opened the Cracker Line

After the Battle of Chickamauga in mid-September 1863, Union Major General William S. Rosecrans led his battered Army of the Cumberland to nearby Chattanooga for protection. Seeking refuge, he found a death trap instead.

Confederate General Braxton Bragg quickly took control of the mountains surrounding Chattanooga (including Lookout Mountain), blocked all major roads and railways leading to the city, and cut off all traffic on the Tennessee River.

For the next six weeks Union wounded went without vital medical supplies, thousands of animals perished, and food and ammunition dwindled to perilously low levels -- as the army teetered on the brink of disaster.

Near the end of October, Union troops under new command launched a daring counterattack driving Confederates from their mountain strongholds. The moment had arrived. On 29 October 1863, two Quartermasters, Colonel William G. LeDuc and Captain Arthur Edwards, launched their homemade steamboat, Chattanooga, on her maiden voyage up river -- thus opening Grantís "Cracker Line."

With his supply line now securely in place General Sherman (as depicted in Don Stiversí print Gateway to Victory, left) could make ready his famed march through Georgia.


Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum

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