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Civil War Humor @CivilWarHumor
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#OnThisDay, as the devout William Rosecrans galloped to the rear and, in his own words, “prostrated myself in spirit at the feet of our Crucified Lord and implored His most Sacred heart to pity us,” George Thomas was NOT in the mood for pity. He was too busy building a line.
Rosecrans was a complex dude and a titan of his era, but at Chickamauga, his wild temperament got the best of him and he became one of the few men on Earth who could say, “I was outgeneraled by Braxton Bragg.” (It hurts just to type that. Let’s give Longstreet the credit.)
As his right wing crumbled, Rosecrans beat feet to Chattanooga, where he was helped from his horse “faint and ill, stunned by sudden calamity.” An observer said: “Chickamauga is as fatal a name in our history as Bull Run.”

Only someone forgot to tell George Thomas.
As demoralized generals trickled in to Chattanooga, they looked around and said, “Wait a minute ... where’s George?” And it slowly dawned on them: “Holy crap, he’s STILL OUT THERE! And he’s planted his Wizard’s staff in the ground, roaring ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!’” #BraxtonBalrog
The 25,000 men under Thomas bent all the way back into a horseshoe formation on Snodgrass Hill -- later known as Horseshoe Ridge. The Rebels launched wave after wave of attacks (Longstreet counted 25); there was hand-to-hand fighting, and the woods caught fire.
Jittery and despairing, Rosecrans sent word to Thomas to retreat. No, George said. “It would ruin the army to withdraw it now; this position must be held til night.” Outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1, fighting all day, and low on ammo, Thomas was everywhere: organizing, cajoling, cursing.
But he wasn’t alone. Gordon Granger’s reserve troops were frying bacon and playing cards as the sounds of Thomas’ battle grew louder. Granger hadn’t heard anything from Rosecrans, who was Gone Fishin’ by now, and he was getting agitated. As his aide wrote ...
“Granger jumped up, thrust his glass into its case, and exclaimed, ‘I am going to Thomas, orders or no orders!’
‘And if you go,’ I replied, ‘it may bring disaster to the army and you to a court-martial.’
‘Don’t you see Bragg is piling his whole army on Thomas? I am going.’”
When Thomas saw Granger’s column approaching, he didn’t know if it was friend or foe (which would mean he was surrounded). He momentarily lost control: His hands shook as he peered through binoculars, he tugged at his beard, his horse sensed his anxiety and reared.
Finally, when told they were Union troops, Thomas smoothed out his beard and -- get ready to love him all over again -- cursed Braxton Bragg. A staff officer, doubting the line would hold, asked where he could find Thomas later.

“Here, sir,” Thomas snapped. “Here.” #LikeARock
There will never be a “Bayonets!” meme featuring George Thomas (he would hate memes) and DiCaprio will never play him in a biopic (grits teeth). But who cares? He’s got the coolest #CivilWar nickname -- The Rock of Chickamauga -- and he made Thermopylae look like a picnic.
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