Chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-density microarrays have been used to monitor the distribution of the global transcription regulator Escherichia coli cAMP-receptor protein (CRP) and RNA polymerase along the E. coli chromosome. Our results identify targets occupied by CRP and genes transcribed by RNA polymerase in vivo. Many of the loci of CRP binding are at known CRP regulated promoters. However, our results show that CRP also interacts with thousands of weaker sites across the whole chromosome and that this "background" binding can be used as a probe for organization within the E. coli folded chromosome. In rapidly growing cells, we show that the major sites of RNA polymerase binding are approximately 90 transcription units that include genes needed for protein synthesis. Upon the addition of rifampicin, RNA polymerase is distributed among >500 functional promoters. We show that the chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-density-microarrays methodology can be used to study the redistribution of RNA polymerase induced by environmental stress, revealing previously uncharacterized aspects of RNA polymerase behavior and providing an alternative to the "transcriptomics" approach for studying global transcription patterns.