Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Attack at Suck Creek - Union Supply Choke Point

Marker ID:  
Location: near the shoreline of the Tennessee River, in the parking lot of the Suck Creek public boat access to the Tennessee River, Chattanooga, TN
County: Hamilton
Coordinates: N 35° 6.561    W 085° 21.888
  35.10935    -85.3648
Waymark: None


Attack at Suck Creek
Union Supply Choke Point
— Chattanooga Campaign —

After the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans retreated to Federal-occupied Chattanooga, a strategically vital rail center, where Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg laid siege from Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant took command in October and began his efforts to break the siege. Bragg detached forces under Gen. James Longstreet to attack Knoxville as a diversion. After Gen. William T. Sherman reinforced Grant in November, the Federals attacked the heights and Bragg retreated. The Union army held the city for the rest of the war.

During the early days of the siege of Chattanooga in 1863, the Union army's only supply route followed a long and difficult road that ran from Bridgeport, Alabama, north up the Sequatchie Valley and then east behind you over Walden's Ridge on the Anderson Pike. The road descended the ridge just north of here and then ran along the bank of the Tennessee River to Chattanooga.

On October 8, the 4th Alabama Volunteer Infantry took a position "along the overhanging bluffs of the Tennessee River on Raccoon Mountain," across the river from where you now stand. There the Confederates acted as sharpshooters "to shoot down the mules of the wagon trains of the enemy which were compelled to pass along the narrow road between the bluff and the river on the opposite side." This forced Union wagon trains to detour north and descend the mountain along a partially planked road into Hamilton Valley. A Union officer wrote that this route "was a rickety, insecure, makeshift of a road and was so narrow that only in places could two teams pass each other." By October, supplies barely trickled in to the besieged forces in Chattanooga. Starvation seemed a possibility. Late in October, however, Union forces seized Brown's Ferry and opened an easier supply route through Lookout Valley. Wagons rolled into Chattanooga along a safer route, dubbed the Cracker Line for the wagonloads of hardtack, and the supply situation in Chattanooga became less dire.

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.