Confederate Forces Commanded by: Maj. Gen. Braxton Bragg
**Missing and Captured
Conclusion: Union Victory
**Casualties are Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain, & Missionary Ridge Combined**
Grant, before his planned offensive on Bragg's lines overlooking Chattanooga, asked that elements of Thomas' army probe the Confederates center. Through late morning, Brig. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's and Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood's divisions of the IV Corps assembled along the center of the Union lines and gave the impression of preparing for a formal review of troops. It was a trick. Without artillery support, they were to make a reconnaissance in force on Orchard Knob, a 100 foot high, lightly wooded foothill of the Missionary Ridge range occupied by Bragg's troops. The Confederates forward position, it sat 1 mile in front of the Union center, midway between the main Union and Confederate lines.
At about 12:30 P.M., the 2 divisions marched out of their lines to the open plain in front and assembled in formal fashion. Brig. Gen. Richard W. Johnson's troops guarded their right. Confederates on Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge left their rifle pit and tents to watch the show. For an hour, Federals marched back and forth, unmolested, positioning themselves for their push while appearing to be drilling.
At 1:30 P.M., a signal cannon fired in Fort Wood and they rushed forward, elements of Wood's troops in the lead. Confederates on the knob rushed back to their defenses; pickets in a belt of timber west of the hill were driven out. Within the hour, each succeeding Confederate line fell back on the next, federals drove into hilltop ramparts, surviving Confederates ran for the lines on Missionary Ridge, and the Union flag was planted at the crest of the knob. Surprised at the success of the probe, Thomas signaled Wood,"You have gained too much to withdraw. Hold your position and I will support you." Blair's division and Howard's XI Corps troops moved to the attackers left and right, secured the front, and the entire Union army moved it's lines forward. this was the easiest Union victory in the battles for Chattanooga.
This unexpected Union success changed Grant's plans. His objective at Chattanooga was to turn Bragg's right, the north end of Missionary Ridge. Sherman's troops were manuevering to assault this position the next day. Meanwhile, Hooker's force was to make a demonstration on Bragg's left at Lookout Mountain. Because of their surprise victory at Orchard Knob, Grant and Thomas instructed Hooker to press ahead at Lookout Mountain if his demonstration proved successful.