On August 16, 1863, the Army of the Cumberland, under the command of Major General William S. Rosecrans, began to move towards Chattanooga, Tennessee. The army was divided into three columns to move through the mountain gaps to take Chattanooga and to create confusion for Confederate General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee.
The 1st OVI was part of the movement on the right under Major General Alexander M. McCook. According to “Ohio in the War,” the 1st OVI passed through Estell Springs, Winchester, Salem, across Smokey Mountain, through White and Paint Rock Gaps, and encamped at Bellefonte, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad on August 22.
On August 30, the First Ohio moved to Stevenson, Alabama. It crossed the Tennessee River at Caperton’s Ferry on August 31 and on September 2 it climbed the Sand or Raccoon Mountains and marched across them to Winston’s Gap. Finally, on September 9th it crossed the Lookout range of mountains — a march of 23 miles.
On September 6, William Patterson wrote his mother a letter during a break in the 1st Ohio’s march in the mountains. Only a portion of the letter survived. In the letter he writes about the effort it takes to move wagons and cannons over the moutains. He also reports he is doing well. However, his feet got very sore from all the marching but are now improving. (Transcript of Willam Patterson, September 6, 1863)