The week of Oct. 21, 1863, found the Army of Ohio under General Burnside at Knoxville, Tenn., and the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. George Thomas at Chattanooga, Tenn.
General Grant, now in command of the Western Armies, arrived at Chattanooga on Oct. 23, 1863, to find the soldiers on half rations because there was only one supply route.
The supply wagons had to come from Stevenson, Ala., after train transportation the wagons traveled approximately 30 miles over steep terrain, with gullies and streams to cross before arriving at Chattanooga. This route was constantly harassed by Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Many times Forrest's cavalry captured the wagons and supplies.
Grant quickly opened another route, proposed by General Rosecrans, and by Oct. 28, the new route, which included a pontoon bridge across the Tennessee River, was opened.
Union Chief Engineer Gen. W. F. Smith was responsible for the location of the bridge which also enabled General Hooker to cross the Tennessee, pushing the Confederate Army away from Lookout Mountain.
Grant's plan was to have General Hooker attack Lookout Mountain, the center would have General Thomas' Army attack Missionary Ridge and General Sherman was to attack the right side of Missionary Ridge. These plans would come to fruition in November.
Confederate General Bragg unwisely ordered General Longstreet to attack Burnside at Knoxville, however Isaac Gause and the 2nd Ohio Cavalry was part of the Army to repulse and push back Longstreet.
The main army had gone to Knoxville over the Cumberland Gap, but the 2nd OH Cav. moved along the base of the mountain to Big Creek Gap, where they met Confederates who were stationed there preventing an invasion.
When they saw the long line of troopers on the road, the Confederates retreated.
The 2nd Ohio destroyed bridges, skirmished and patrolled the area. They met men from Tennessee who were loyal to the Union. These men were called bushwackers for they harassed the enemy. However, the Union troops were not enemy, and they supplied much valuable information about the movements of the Confederate Army.
After ascending a steep mountain, often walking and leading their horses single file, they surprised Confederates who quickly surrendered.
Getting supplies from the countryside, which included flour they ground at mills, then using corn cob ashes in place of soda, they made flapjacks, the only bread they ate. Ham was to be found as well as forage for their horses.
Being without coffee and sugar inspired some soldiers to search for honey. Several hives were found fashioned from tree stumps and positioned over rails.
They had a plan for the transportation of the hive back to camp on horseback by placing the hive on a talma, a rubberized, waterproof cloth-issued as a raincoat, then carefully tying the cloth. This secure plan worked and the men had honey on their flapjacks.
Other honey expeditions were not so successful and Charles Truesdale, who became an attorney in Warren and Youngstown after the war, often helped Isaac carry heavy hives, sometimes getting stung.
Trooper Charles Truesdale was saved by a sympathetic Tennessee woman. Pursued by Confederates through Greenville, Tenn., she called to him, told him to hide in an outbuilding while she unsaddled his horse.
Taking the saddle in her house, Confederates passed by not realizing the horse was a cavalry horse, and when all was quiet, Charles left on his rested horse.
General Jacob Cox was still stationed in Cincinnati. He heard about the Battle of Chickamauga from Major Garfield. Both had been friends of General Rosecrans, and both recognized that Rosecrans could no longer command the army.
The 6th Ohio Cavalry was with General Meade's Army in Virginia. They were involved with constant riding and fighting from mid-September to mid-October, often sleeping in the saddle in the rain. Now in a permanent camp, they had regular patrol duty which seemed a much needed rest.
In October they took part in the November election. A law had been passed enabling the soldiers to vote from camp rather than returning to their home state. The soldiers all voted for Abraham Lincoln and it was no surprise that Clement Vallandigham, who had spoken against Lincoln and the war, was defeated in a run for Ohio Governor.
Sources: Four Years in Five Armies, Isaac Gause, Neal Publishing Co. 1908, Better a Patriot Soldier's Grave 6th OVC, William Burnett, 1982 and Cox: Recollections of the Civil War, Vol. two by Jacob Dolson Cox, Leonour Ltd., 2007
Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren's Sutliff Museum.