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Tennessee's 1863 Civil War Highlights
The 1860 Presidential election of Abraham Lincoln resulted in seven Southern states almost immediately declaring their secession from the Union.
The Civil War began just over a month after Lincoln took office in April of 1861 and by autumn Tennessee saw it's first taste of this bloody war; a war that would tear our state in two and pit family and friends against each other for the next 48 months.
Battle of Stones River
December 31st, 1862 - January 3rd, 1863 The Battle of Stones River was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War with casualties reaching at total of nearly 24,000. This Union win opened up a penetration point and corridor into the south which ultimately provided the opportunity for Sherman's March to the Sea.
The Stones River National Cemetery is located here as well as the oldest (intact) Civil War monument in the nation, the Hazen Brigade Monument.
This Union monument, located at the infamous Hell's Half Acre, was built in early 1863 in honor of one of the few Union units that never retreated during the bloody New Year's Eve attack by the Confederate Army.
Battle of Dover
February 3rd, 1863
Commanding two brigades of cavalry, Confederate Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler sets out to Dover in an attempt to disrupt Union shipping along the Cumberland River. The attempt fails and leaves the Union in control in Middle Tennessee.
Battle of Thompson's Station
March 4th-5th, 1863
Headed toward Columbia, Col. John Coburn's infantry is surrounded by Union troops and eventually surrenders after running out of ammunition.
Vaught’s Hill Battle
March 20th, 1863
Col. Albert S. Hall's reconnaissance force was encircled by Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry at Vaught's Hill but held Morgan off. Morgan ceased the engagement, after learning that more Union reinforcements were en route.
Battle of Brentwood
March 25th, 1863
Union Lt. Col. Edward Bloodgood was holding Brentwood with a mere 400 men until Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest and his large forces cut the telegraph lines, destroyed the railroad tracks, surrounded Bloodgood. Bloodgood surrendered.
Battle of Franklin
April 10th, 1863
Not to be confused with the 1864 Battle of Franklin, this weak reconnaissance scrimmage was unknowingly led by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn and garnered an equally inept response by Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.
June 24th-26th, 1863
Gen. Braxton Bragg had established a fortified line along the Duck River from Shelbyville to Wartrace and it was lost when Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans forced Bragg down. This sent Bragg out of Middle Tennessee on towards Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Battle of Chickamauga
August 21st, 1863
Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans sends Col. John T. Wilder's brigade to Chattanooga where he in turn begins to bombard Gen. Braxton Bragg as well as the town of Chattanooga over the next few weeks. This distraction gave Rosecrans enough time to garner a good amount of troops to the southwest of town causing Bragg to eventually abandon Chattanooga.
Battle of Blountville
September 22nd, 1863
Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside sends Col. John W. Foster into East Tennessee and he attacks Col. James E. Carter in Blountville. This four hour battle forced the Confederates to withdraw from Blountville.
October 10th, 1863
While advancing on Bull's Gap, Confederate Brig. Gen. John S. Williams battles at Blue Springs against Union Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter and the Confederates eventually retreat - reducing the Confederate influence in the area.
October 28th-29th, 1863
The battle at Brown's Ferry and was one of the few night time engagements of the war and a Union win opened up a route so that Union forces could receive much needed weapons, ammunition, supplies, and reinforcements. This operation was also known as the Cracker Line Operation.
Battle at Collierville
November 3rd, 1863
Thinking that the Union only had two regiments at Union the controlled Colliersville, Confederate Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers he attacked. Unfortunately for Chalmers, Union Col. Edward Hatch had nearby reinforcements at Germantown which surprised Chalmers into with drawing back into Mississippi. This was one of four minor 1863 battles to occur at Collierville.
November 16th, 1863
Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s Union Troops both raced to Campbell’s Station in hopes of garnering this vital intersection. Burnside reaches Campbell’s Station first and in battle retains the position causing Confederates to suspend their attack so that Burnside could continue his movement on to Knoxville.
Battles of Chattanooga
November 23rd-25th, 1863
A Union new supply chain is finally established going into Chattanooga and with it comes Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and four divisions enough for the Union to capture Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain as well as launching a surprise attack on Missionary Ridge the next day and capturing it too. This essentially ended the Confederate control of Tennessee.
Battle of Fort Sanders (Fort Loudon)
November 29th, 1863
Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet launches an attack on Fort Sanders leading his troops into an attack from the Northwest and right into one of the forts outer ditches - a ditch that was unknowingly so vertical that it was impenetrable. This battle lasted a mere 20 minutes and Confederate defeat was the decisive battle of the Knoxville Campaign.
December 14th, 1863
After the defeat at Fort Sanders, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet retreated towards Rogersville followed by Unions Troops. Union Brig. Gen. J.M Shackelford launched an attack at Bean's Station and withdrew until reinforcements arrived. The following day Longstreet found them well-entrenched at Blain’s Cross Roads and withdrew.
Battle of Mossy Creek
December 29th, 1863
Confederate Maj. Gen. William T. Martin attacks Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis at Mossy Creek and is defeated after some of the Union troopers, who had set out earlier for Dandridge, return.
Tennessee Civil War: 1864