Civil War Battles in Mississippi

All Civil War battles in Mississippi. They are in the order in which they occurred during the war.

Civil War Battles in Mississippi

Civil War Battles in Mississippi


Iuka

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Tishomingo County

Campaign: Iuka and Corinth Operations (1862)

Date(s): September 19, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price [CS]

Forces Engaged: 2nd Division and cavalry division, Army of the Mississippi (approx. 4,000-4,500) [US]; 1st Division, Army of the West (approx. 3,200) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,482 total (US 782; CS 700)

Description:Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Army of the West main column marched into Iuka, Mississippi, on September 14. Price’s superior, Gen. Braxton Bragg, the commander of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, who was leading an offensive deep into Kentucky, ordered him to prevent Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Mississippi troops from moving into Middle Tennessee and reinforcing Brig. Gen. James Negley’s division of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, which was garrisoning Nashville. Price had about 14,000 men, and he was informed that, if necessary, he could request assistance from Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, commanding the District of the Mississippi, headquartered at Holly Springs.

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, feared that Price intended to go north to join Bragg against Buell. Grant devised a plan for his left wing commander, Maj. Gen. E.O.C. Ord, and his men to advance on Iuka from the west; Rosecrans’s forces were to march from the southwest, arrive at Iuka on the 18th, and make a coordinated attack the next day. Ord arrived on time and skirmishing ensued between his reconnaissance patrol and Confederate pickets, about six miles from Iuka, before nightfall.

Rosecrans informed Grant that he would not arrive at Iuka on the 18th but would begin his march at 4:30 am, the next morning. On the 19th, Ord sent Price a message demanding that he surrender, but Price refused. At the same time, Price received dispatches from Van Dorn suggesting that their two armies rendezvous, as soon as possible, at Rienzi for attacks on the Federal forces in the area. Price informed Van Dorn that the military situation had changed so he could not evacuate Iuka immediately. He did, however, issue orders for his men to prepare for a march the next day, to rendezvous with Van Dorn. Rosecrans’s army marched early on the 19th, but, instead of using two roads as directed, it followed the Jacinto (Bay Springs) Road.

After considering the amount of time that Rosecrans required to reach Iuka, Grant determined that he probably would not arrive on the 19th, so he ordered Ord to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates. As Rosecrans advanced, his men fought actions with Confederate troops at points along the way. About 4:00 pm, just after ascending a hill, the Union column halted because the Confederates were well-placed below in a ravine, filled with timber and underbrush.

The Confederates launched attacks up the hill, capturing a six-gun Ohio battery, while the Federals counterattacked from the ridge. Fighting, which Price later stated he had never seen surpassed, continued until after dark; the Union troops camped for the night behind the ridge. Price had redeployed troops from Ord’s front to fight against Rosecrans’s people. Ord did nothing, later proclaiming that he never heard any fighting and, therefore, never engaged the enemy; Grant also remarked that he had heard no sounds of battle.

Following the fighting on the 19th, Price determined to reengage the enemy the next day, but his subordinates convinced him, instead, to march to join Van Dorn, as earlier planned. At the same time, Rosecrans redeployed his men for fighting the next day. Price’s army evacuated via the uncovered Fulton Road, protected its rear with a heavy rearguard and hooked up with Van Dorn five days later at Ripley. Although Rosecrans was supposed to traverse Fulton Road and cover it, he stated that he had not guarded the road because he feared dividing his force; Grant later approved this decision. Rosecrans’s army occupied Iuka and then mounted a pursuit; the Confederate rearguard and overgrown terrain prevented the Union pursuit from accomplishing much. The Federals should have destroyed or captured Price’s army, but instead the Rebels joined Van Dorn and assaulted Corinth in October.

Result(s): Union victory (In addition, it caused Grant to have concern about Rosecrans’s abilities and leadership.)


Corinth

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Alcorn County

Campaign: Iuka and Corinth Operations (1862)

Date(s): October 3-4, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans [US]; Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Mississippi [US]; Army of the West Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 7,197 total (US 2,359; CS 4,838)

Description: After the Battle of Iuka, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West marched from Baldwyn to Ripley where it joined Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army of West Tennessee. Van Dorn was senior officer and took command of the combined force numbering about 22,000 men. The Rebels marched to Pocahontas on October 1, and then moved southeast toward Corinth. They hoped to seize Corinth and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. Since the Siege of Corinth, in the spring, Union forces had erected various fortifications, an inner and intermediate line, to protect Corinth, an important transportation center. With the Confederate approach, the Federals, numbering about 23,000, occupied the outer line of fortifications and placed men in front of them.

Van Dorn arrived within three miles of Corinth at 10:00 am on October 3, and moved into some fieldworks that the Confederates had erected for the siege of Corinth. The fighting began, and the Confederates steadily pushed the Yankees rearward. A gap occurred between two Union brigades which the Confederates exploited around 1:00 pm. The Union troops moved back in a futile effort to close the gap. Price then attacked and drove the Federals back further to their inner line. By evening, Van Dorn was sure that he could finish the Federals off during the next day. This confidence–combined with the heat, fatigue, and water shortages–persuaded him to cancel any further operations that day. Rosecrans regrouped his men in the fortifications to be ready for the attack to come the next morning.

Van Dorn had planned to attack at daybreak, but Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert’s sickness postponed it till 9:00 am. As the Confederates moved forward, Union artillery swept the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continued on. They stormed Battery Powell and closed on Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensued. A few Rebels fought their way into Corinth, but the Federals quickly drove them out. The Federals continued on, recapturing Battery Powell, and forcing Van Dorn into a general retreat. Rosecrans postponed any pursuit until the next day. As a result, Van Dorn was defeated, but not destroyed or captured, at Hatchie Bridge, Tennessee, on October 5.

Result(s): Union victory


Chickasaw Bayou

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Chickasaw Bluffs, Walnut Hills

Location: Warren County

Campaign: Operations against Vicksburg (1862-1863)

Date(s): December 26-29, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman [US]; Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton [CS]

Forces Engaged: Right Wing, XIII Army Corps [US]; Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,983 total (US 1,776; CS 207)

Description: On December 26, 1862, three Union divisions, under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, disembarked at Johnson’s Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth landed farther upstream on the 27th. On the 27th, the Federals pushed their lines forward through the swamps toward Walnut Hills, which were strongly defended. On the 28th, several futile attempts were made to get around these defenses. On December 29, Sherman ordered a frontal assault which was repulsed with heavy casualties. Sherman then withdrew. This Confederate victory frustrated Grant’s attempts to take Vicksburg by direct approach.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Grand Gulf

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Claiborne County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): April 29, 1863

Principal Commanders: Rear Adm. David D. Porter [US]; Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen [CS]

Forces Engaged: Mississippi Squadron and Companies A,B,D,F,G,H,K, 58th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment [US]; Bowen’s Division and attached troops [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 80; CS unknown)

Description: Rear Adm. David D. Porter led seven ironclads in an attack on the fortifications and batteries at Grand Gulf, with the intention of silencing the Confederate guns and then securing the area with troops of McClernand’s XIII Army Corps who were on the accompanying transports and barges. The attack by the seven ironclads began at 8:00 am and continued until about 1:30 pm. During the fight, the ironclads moved within 100 yards of the Rebel guns and silenced the lower batteries of Fort Wade; the Confederate upper batteries at Fort Cobun remained out of reach and continued to fire.

The Union ironclads (one of which, the Tuscumbia, had been put out of action) and the transports drew off. After dark, however, the ironclads engaged the Rebel guns again while the steamboats and barges ran the gauntlet. Grant marched his men overland across Coffee Point to below the Gulf. After the transports had passed Grand Gulf, they embarked the troops at Disharoon’s plantation and disembarked them on the Mississippi shore at Bruinsburg, below Grand Gulf. The men immediately began marching overland towards Port Gibson. The Confederates had won a hollow victory; the loss at Grand Gulf caused just a slight change in Grant’s offensive.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Snyder’s Bluff

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Snyder’s Mill

Location: Warren County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): April 29-May 1, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman [US]; Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert [CS]

Forces Engaged: XV Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee [US]; Hébert’s Brigade [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: To insure that troops were not withdrawn to Grand Gulf to assist Confederates there, a combined Union army-navy force feigned an attack on Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi. After noon, on April 29th, Lt. Cdr. K. Randolph Breese, with his eight gunboats and ten transports carrying Maj. Gen. Francis Blair’s division, inched up the Yazoo River to the mouth of Chickasaw Bayou where they spent the night. At 9:00 am, the next morning, the force, minus one gunboat, continued upriver to Drumgould’s Bluff and engaged the enemy batteries. During the fighting, Choctaw suffered more than fifty hits, but no casualties occurred.

Around 6:00 pm, the troops disembarked and marched along Blake’s Levee toward the guns. As they neared Drumgould’s Bluff, a battery opened on them, creating havoc and casualties. The Union advance halted and, after dark, the men reembarked on the transports. The next morning, transports disembarked other troops. The swampy terrain and enemy heavy artillery fire forced them to retire. The gunboats opened fire again, about 3:00 pm on the 1st, causing some damage. Later, the boats fire slackened and stopped altogether after dark. Sherman had received orders to land his troops at Milliken’s Bend, so the gunboats returned to their anchorages at the mouth of the Yazoo.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Port Gibson

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Thompson’s Hill

Location: Claiborne County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 1, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee (comprising two corps) [US]; Confederate forces in area (one reinforced division: four brigades) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,648 total (US 861; CS 787)

Description: Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant launched his march on Vicksburg in the Spring of 1863, starting his army south, from Milliken’s Bend, on the west side of the Mississippi River. He intended to cross the river at Grand Gulf, but the Union fleet was unable to silence the Confederate big guns there. Grant then marched farther south and crossed at Bruinsburg on April 30. Union forces came ashore, secured the landing area and, by late afternoon, began marching inland. Advancing on the Rodney Road towards Port Gibson, Grant’s force ran into Rebel outposts after midnight and skirmished with them for around three hours. After 3:00 am, the fighting stopped. Union forces advanced on the Rodney Road and a plantation road at dawn. At 5:30 am, the Confederates engaged the Union advance and the battle ensued. Federals forced the Rebels to fall back. The Confederates established new defensive positions at different times during the day but they could not stop the Union onslaught and left the field in the early evening. This defeat demonstrated that the Confederates were unable to defend the Mississippi River line and the Federals had secured their beachhead. The way to Vicksburg was open.

Result(s): Union victory


Raymond

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hinds County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 12, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson [US]; Brig. Gen. John Gregg [CS]

Forces Engaged: XVII Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee [US]; Gregg’s Task Force (equivalent to a brigade) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,011 total (US 442; CS 569)

Description: Ordered by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, Confederate commander at Vicksburg, Brig. Gen. John Gregg led his force from Port Hudson, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi, and out to Raymond to intercept approaching Union troops. Before dawn on May 12, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson had his XVII Army Corps on the march, and by 10:00 am they were about three miles from Raymond. Gregg decided to dispute the crossing of Fourteen Mile Creek and arrayed his men and artillery accordingly. As the Yankees approached, the Rebels opened fire, initially causing heavy casualties. Some Union troops broke, but Maj. Gen. John A. Logan rallied a force to hold the line. Confederate troops attacked the line but had to retire. More Yankees arrived and the Union force counterattacked. Heavy fighting ensued that continued for six hours, but the overwhelming Union force prevailed. Gregg’s men left the field. Although Gregg’s men lost the battle, they had held up a much superior Union force for a day.

Result(s): Union victory


Jackson

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hinds County and Jackson County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 14, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Brig. Gen. John Gregg [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee [US]; Jackson Garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,136 total (US 286; CS 850)

Description: On May 9, 1863, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston received a dispatch from the Confederate Secretary of War directing him to proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces in the field. As he arrived in Jackson on the 13th, from Middle Tennessee, he learned that two army corps from the Union Army of the Tennessee the XV, under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, and the XVII, under Maj. Gen. James Birdseye McPherson were advancing on Jackson, intending to cut the city and the railroads off from Vicksburg. Johnston consulted with the local commander, Brig. Gen. John Gregg, and learned that only about 6,000 troops were available to defend the town. Johnston ordered the evacuation of Jackson, but Gregg was to defend Jackson until the evacuation was completed.

By 10:00 am, both Union army corps were near Jackson and had engaged the enemy. Rain, Confederate resistance, and poor defenses prevented heavy fighting until around 11:00 am, when Union forces attacked in numbers and slowly but surely pushed the enemy back. In mid-afternoon, Johnston informed Gregg that the evacuation was complete and that he should disengage and follow. Soon after, the Yankees entered Jackson and had a celebration, hosted by Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant who had been travelling with Sherman’s corps, in the Bowman House. They then burned part of the town and cut the railroad connections with Vicksburg. Johnston’s evacuation of Jackson was a tragedy because he could, by late on the 14th, have had 11,000 troops at his disposal and by the morning of the 15th, another 4,000. The fall of the former Mississippi state capital was a blow to Confederate morale.

Result(s): Union victory


Champion Hill

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Bakers Creek

Location: Hinds County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 16, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee (three corps) [US]; Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 6,757 total (US 2,457; CS 4,300)

Description: Following the Union occupation of Jackson, Mississippi, both Confederate and Federal forces made plans for future operations. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston retreated, with most of his army, up the Canton Road, but he ordered Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, commanding about 23,000 men, to leave Edwards Station and attack the Federals at Clinton. Pemberton and his generals felt that Johnston’s plan was dangerous and decided instead to attack the Union supply trains moving from Grand Gulf to Raymond. On May 16, though, Pemberton received another order from Johnston repeating his former directions. Pemberton had already started after the supply trains and was on the Raymond-Edwards Road with his rear at the crossroads one-third mile south of the crest of Champion Hill.

Thus, when he ordered a countermarch, his rear, including his many supply wagons, became the advance of his force. On May 16, 1863, about 7:00 am, the Union forces engaged the Confederates and the Battle of Champion Hill began. Pemberton’s force drew up into a defensive line along a crest of a ridge overlooking Jackson Creek. Pemberton was unaware that one Union column was moving along the Jackson Road against his unprotected left flank. For protection, Pemberton posted Brig. Gen. Stephen D. Lee’s men atop Champion Hill where they could watch for the reported Union column moving to the crossroads. Lee spotted the Union troops and they soon saw him. If this force was not stopped, it would cut the Rebels off from their Vicksburg base. Pemberton received warning of the Union movement and sent troops to his left flank. Union forces at the Champion House moved into action and emplaced artillery to begin firing. When Grant arrived at Champion Hill, around 10:00 am, he ordered the attack to begin.

By 11:30 am, Union forces had reached the Confederate main line and about 1:00 pm, they took the crest while the Rebels retired in disorder. The Federals swept forward, capturing the crossroads and closing the Jackson Road escape route. One of Pemberton’s divisions (Bowen’s) then counterattacked, pushing the Federals back beyond the Champion Hill crest before their surge came to a halt. Grant then counterattacked, committing forces that had just arrived from Clinton by way of Bolton. Pemberton’s men could not stand up to this assault, so he ordered his men from the field to the one escape route still open: the Raymond Road crossing of Bakers Creek. Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman’s brigade formed the rearguard, and they held at all costs, including the loss of Tilghman. In the late afternoon, Union troops seized the Bakers Creek Bridge, and by midnight, they occupied Edwards. The Confederates were in full retreat towards Vicksburg. If the Union forces caught these Rebels, they would destroy them.

Result(s): Union victory


Big Black River Bridge

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Big Black

Location: Hinds County and Warren County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 17, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand [US]; Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen [CS]

Forces Engaged: XIII Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee [US]; Bridgehead Defense Force (three brigades) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 2,273 total (US 273; CS 2,000)

Description: Reeling from their defeat at Champion Hill, the Confederates reached Big Black River Bridge, the night of May 16-17. Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton ordered Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen, with three brigades, to man the fortifications on the east bank of the river and impede any Union pursuit. Three divisions of Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand’s XIII Army Corps moved out from Edwards Station on the morning of the 17th. The corps encountered the Confederates behind breastworks and took cover as enemy artillery began firing. Union Brig. Gen. Michael K. Lawler formed his 2nd Brigade, Carr’s Division, which surged out of a meander scar, across the front of the Confederate forces, and into the enemy’s breastworks, held by Vaughn’s East Tennessee Brigade. Confused and panicked, the Rebels began to withdraw across the Big Black on two bridges: the railroad bridge and the steamboat dock moored athwart the river. As soon as they had crossed, the Confederates set fire to the bridges, preventing close Union pursuit. The fleeing Confederates who arrived in Vicksburg later that day were disorganized. The Union forces captured approximately 1,800 troops at Big Black, a loss that the Confederates could ill-afford. This battle sealed Vicksburg’s fate: the Confederate force wasbottled up at Vicksburg.

Result(s): Union victory


Vicksburg

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Warren County

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 18-July 4, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee [US]; Army of Vicksburg [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 19,233 total (US 10,142; CS 9,091)

Description: In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant’s successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.

Result(s): Union victory


Meridian

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Lauderdale County

Campaign: Meridian and Yazoo River Expeditions (1864)

Date(s): February 14-20, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman [US]; Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Tennessee [US]; Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: From Vicksburg, Mississippi, Sherman launched a campaign to take the important railroad center at Meridian and, if the situation was favorable, push on to Selma, Alabama, and threaten Mobile. Sherman ordered Brig. Gen. William Sooy Smith to lead a cavalry force of 7,000 men from Memphis, Tennessee, on February 1, 1864, south through Okolona, along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and meet the rest of the Union force at Meridian. With the main force of 20,000 men, Sherman set out on the 3rd for Meridian, but made feints toward various other locations.

To counter the threat, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered troops to the area from other localities. The Confederate commander in the area, Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk, consolidated a number of commands in and around Mortona, but lost his nerve and retreated rapidly eastward. Cavalry units commanded by Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Lee periodically skirmished with Sherman’s force. As Sherman approached Meridian, he met stiffer resistance from combined forces but steadily moved on. Polk finally realized that he could not stop Sherman and evacuated Meridian on the 14th, removing some railroad rolling stock to McDowell’s Bluff. Sherman’s troops entered Meridian the same day and began destroying railroad track, continuing their work until the 19th. Smith never arrived at Meridian. Sherman left Meridian on the 20th, headed west by way of Canton, looking for Smith and his force. He did not discover what happened to Smith until he arrived back at Vicksburg (see Okolona, #MS013). Sherman had destroyed some important Confederate transportation facilities but had to forget his aspirations for continuing into Alabama.

Result(s): Union victory


Okolona

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Chickasaw County

Campaign: Meridian and Yazoo River Expeditions (1864)

Date(s): February 22, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. William Sooy Smith [US]; Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Cavalry force (7,000) [US]; Forrest’s Cavalry Corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 150 total (US 100; CS 50)

Description: From Vicksburg, Mississippi, Sherman launched a campaign to take the important railroad center at Meridian, Mississippi, and if the situation were favorable, to push on to Selma, Alabama, and threaten Mobile. Sherman ordered Brig. Gen. William Sooy Smith to lead a cavalry force of 7,000 men from Memphis, Tennessee, on February 1, 1864, south through Okolona, along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and to meet the rest of the Union force at Meridian, on February 10. With the main force of approximately 20,000 men, Sherman set out on the 3rd for Meridian, but made feints on various other locations.

Against orders, Smith delayed ten days, while waiting for reinforcements, and did not start out until February 11. Destroying crops and railroad track along the way, Smith’s force met almost no opposition, and, before long, 1,000 former slaves were traveling with them. Smith was supposed to rendezvous with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman at Meridian on the 10th, but he never arrived there. Sherman left Meridian on the 20th, due in part to apprehension over Smith’s whereabouts. Smith neared West Point, 90 miles north of Meridian, on the 20th, and he fought with Confederate cavalry units at Prairie Station and Aberdeen. Smith knowing that Nathan Bedford Forrest commanded the troops he was fighting, concerned about the fate of the former slaves with him, and not knowing how many of the enemy he faced decided to concentrate at Prairie Station, and, on the morning of the 21st, he set out for West Point. Shortly after dawn on the 21st, Col. Jeffrey Forrest’s Confederate cavalry brigade engaged Smith.

Withdrawing at times, Forrest drew Smith into a swamp west of the Tombigbee River. Other Rebel troops arrived and the fighting intensified. Smith was sure that this was a trap set for him, and, discerning that he was greatly outnumbered, he ordered a retreat, leaving a rearguard. The rearguard held off the Confederates for about two hours before withdrawing in good order. About the same time, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest arrived and ordered a pursuit. Skirmishing occurred the rest of the day. At sunup on the 22nd, the Rebels attacked Smith just south of Okolona on the prairie. More Confederate troops arrived, causing breaks in the Union battle line, precipitating a retreat. For most of the rest of the day, they engaged in a running battle for a distance of eleven miles, with both sides attacking and counterattacking.

Col. Forrest was killed during one Rebel charge. The Yankees finally broke off the fighting and headed for Pontotoc. Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the commander on the field, realized that his men were nearly out of ammunition and did not order a pursuit. Mississippi militia harassed Smith to the state line. Smith arrived in Collierville, Tennessee, near Memphis, on the 26th. Although Smith had caused much destruction during his expedition, Okolona forced him to retire before he could do more. Smith’s actions against Sherman’s orders jeopardized the Meridian Expedition.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Brice’s Cross Roads

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Tishomingo Creek

Location: Prentiss County and Union County

Campaign: Forrest’s Defense of Mississippi (1864)

Date(s): June 10, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis [US]; Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Three-brigade division of infantry and a division of cavalry (about 8,500 ) [US]; cavalry corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 3,105 total (US 2,610; CS 495)

Description: At the beginning of June 1864, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest set out with his cavalry corps of about 2,000 men to enter Middle Tennessee and destroy the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, which was carrying men and supplies to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in Georgia. On June 10, 1864, Forrest’s smaller Confederate force defeated a much larger Union column under Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis at Brice’s Cross Roads. This brilliant tactical victory against long odds cemented Forrest’s reputation as one of the foremost mounted infantry leaders of the war.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Tupelo

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: Harrisburg

Location: Lee County

Campaign: Forrest’s Defense of Mississippi (1864)

Date(s): July 14-15, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith [US]; Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee and Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions and Cavalry Division, XVI Army Corps, and 1st Brigade, U.S. Colored Troops (14,000) [US]; Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,948 total (US 648; CS 1,300)

Description: Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith, commanding a combined force of more than 14,000 men, left LaGrange, Tennessee, on July 5, 1864, and advanced south. Smith’s mission was to insure that Maj. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest and his cavalry did not raid Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s railroad lifeline in Middle Tennessee and, thereby, prevent supplies from reaching him in his campaign against Atlanta. Laying waste to the countryside as he advanced, Smith reached Pontotoc, Mississippi, on July 11. Forrest was in nearby Okolona with about 6,000 men, but his commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, told him he could not attack until he was reinforced. Two days later, Smith, fearing an ambush, moved east toward Tupelo. On the previous day, Lee arrived near Pontotoc with 2,000 additional men and, under his command, the entire Confederate force engaged Smith. Within two miles of the Federals, on the night of the 13th, Lee ordered an attack for the next morning. Lee attacked at 7:30 am the next morning in a number of uncoordinated assaults which the Yankees beat back, causing heavy casualties. Lee halted the fighting after a few hours. Short on rations, Smith did not pursue but started back to Memphis on the 15th. Criticized for not destroying Forrest’s command, Smith had caused much damage and had fulfilled his mission of insuring Sherman’s supply lines.

Result(s): Union victory


Corinth

Civil War battles in Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hardin County and McNairy County, Tennessee; Alcorn County and Tishomingo County, Mississippi

Campaign: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)

Date(s): April 29-June 10, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Mississippi [US]; Department No. 2 [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Following the Union victory at Shiloh, the Union armies under Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck advanced on the vital rail center of Corinth. By May 25, 1862, after moving 5 miles in 3 weeks, Halleck was in position to lay siege to the town. The preliminary bombardment began, and Union forces maneuvered for position. On the evening of May 29-30, Confederate commander Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard evacuated Corinth, withdrawing to Tupelo. The Federals had consolidated their position in northern Mississippi.

Result(s): Union victory, although the raid ultimately failed.

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