Following the events at Chickamauga, Braxton Braggs Confederate forces returned to the Chattanooga area and took up positions in the hills south of town. From the heights of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, the Southern forces could command access on the roadways and the Tennessee River. With supplies cut off, it appeared that Union forces might face the possibility of starvation.
Chattanooga became a priority for the war planners in Washington, who dispatched Grant and a portion of his western force. In late November, a series of engagements took place. Lookout Mountain fell to the Union forces in the famous Battle above the Clouds with General Thomas Hooker performing ably. Missionary Ridge fell to the combined efforts of Philip Sheridan, William T. Sherman and George Thomas (whose soldiers were seeking revenge for the earlier defeat at Chickamauga). Confederate casualties totaled 7,000 and the Union, 6,000.
With Chattanooga firmly in Union hands, the door was opened for an advance into Alabama and Georgia (which would become Shermans punishing March to the Sea).