At about 1:30 p.m. Union troops began what was only supposed to be a simple reconnaissance mission to test out enemy defenses. General Grant wished to know if Confederate troops still held the immediate vicinity around their position. With these orders General George Thomas took some 14,000 soldiers and began his march to test the Confederate lines. Their goal was a small knoll a short distance away known as Orchard Knob.
What followed next was a very quick route of the Confederate defenders. Southern troops holding the knoll only numbered approximately 600 when Thomas' troops began their push. With one huge push Union forces were able break through the Confederate line and force a retreat from the crest of the knob. What had been a simple test to determine the enemies strength became the first Union victory of the Chattanooga Campaign.