Civil War Battles in Tennessee

All Civil War battles in Tennessee. They are in the order that they occurred during the Civil War.

Civil War Battles in Tennessee

Civil War Battles in Tennessee


Fort Henry

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Stewart County and Henry County, Tennessee, and Calloway County, Kentucky

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

Date(s): February 6, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote [US]; Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman [CS]

Forces Engaged: District of Cairo [US]; Fort Henry Garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 119 total (US 40; CS 79)

Description: By February 1862, Fort Henry, a Confederate earthen fort on the Tennessee River with outdated guns, was partially inundated and the river threatened to flood the rest. On February 4-5, Brig. Gen. U.S. Grant landed his divisions in two different locations, one on the east bank of the Tennessee River to prevent the garrison’s escape and the other to occupy the high ground on the Kentucky side which would insure the fort’s fall; Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote’s seven gunboats began bombarding the fort. Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman, commander of the fort’s garrison, realized that it was only a matter of time before Fort Henry fell.

While leaving artillery in the fort to hold off the Union fleet, he escorted the rest of his force out of the area and sent them safely off on the route to Fort Donelson, 10 miles away. Tilghman then returned to the fort and, soon afterwards, surrendered to the fleet, which had engaged the fort and closed within 400 yards. Fort Henry’s fall opened the Tennessee River to Union gunboats and shipping as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama. After the fall of Fort Donelson, ten days later, the two major water transportation routes in the Confederate west, bounded by the Appalachians and the Mississippi River, became Union highways for movement of troops and material.

Result(s): Union victory


Fort Donelson

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Stewart County

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

Date(s): February 11-16, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote [US]; Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow, and Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buckner [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army in the Field [US]; Fort Donelson Garrison [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 17,398 total (US 2,331; CS 15,067)

Description: After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, after the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s investment lines, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. This was a major victory for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a catastrophe for the South. It ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning the nom de guerre Unconditional Surrender.

Result(s): Union victory


Shiloh

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Pittsburg Landing

Location: Hardin County

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

Date(s): April 6-7, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell [US]; Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee and Army of the Ohio (65,085) [US]; Army of the Mississippi (44,968) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 23,746 total (US 13,047; CS 10,699)

Description: As a result of the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, the commander in the area, was forced to fall back, giving up Kentucky and much of West and Middle Tennessee. He chose Corinth, Mississippi, a major transportation center, as the staging area for an offensive against Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee before the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, could join it. The Confederate retrenchment was a surprise, although a pleasant one, to the Union forces, and it took Grant, with about 40,000 men, some time to mount a southern offensive, along the Tennessee River, toward Pittsburg Landing. Grant received orders to await Buell’s Army of the Ohio at Pittsburg Landing.

Grant did not choose to fortify his position; rather, he set about drilling his men many of which were raw recruits. Johnston originally planned to attack Grant on April 4, but delays postponed it until the 6th. Attacking the Union troops on the morning of the 6th, the Confederates surprised them, routing many. Some Federals made determined stands and by afternoon, they had established a battle line at the sunken road, known as the Hornets Nest. Repeated Rebel attacks failed to carry the Hornets Nest, but massed artillery helped to turn the tide as Confederates surrounded the Union troops and captured, killed, or wounded most. Johnston had been mortally wounded earlier and his second in command, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, took over.

The Union troops established another line covering Pittsburg Landing, anchored with artillery and augmented by Buell’s men who began to arrive and take up positions. Fighting continued until after dark, but the Federals held. By the next morning, the combined Federal forces numbered about 40,000, outnumbering Beauregard’s army of less than 30,000. Beauregard was unaware of the arrival of Buell’s army and launched a counterattack in response to a two-mile advance by William Nelson’s division of Buell’s army at 6:00 am, which was, at first, successful.

Union troops stiffened and began forcing the Confederates back. Beauregard ordered a counterattack, which stopped the Union advance but did not break its battle line. At this point, Beauregard realized that he could not win and, having suffered too many casualties, he retired from the field and headed back to Corinth. On the 8th, Grant sent Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, with two brigades, and Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, with his division, in pursuit of Beauregard. They ran into the Rebel rearguard, commanded by Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest, at Fallen Timbers. Forrest’s aggressive tactics, although eventually contained, influenced the Union troops to return to Pittsburg Landing. Grant’s mastery of the Confederate forces continued; he had beaten them once again. The Confederates continued to fall back until launching their mid-August offensive.

Result(s): Union victory


Memphis

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Shelby County

Campaign: Joint Operations on the Middle Mississippi River (1862)

Date(s): June 6, 1862

Principal Commanders: Flag-Officer Charles H. Davis and Col. Charles Ellet [US]; Capt. James E. Montgomery and Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson [CS]

Forces Engaged: U.S. Ironclads Benton, Louisville, Carondelet, Cairo, and St. Louis and U.S. Army Rams Queen of the West and Monarch [US]; C.S. Navy Rams General Beauregard, General Bragg, General Price, General Van Dorn, General Thompson, Colonel Lovell, Sumter, and Little Rebel [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 181 total (US 1; CS 180)

Description: After the Confederate River Defense Fleet, commanded by Capt. James E. Montgomery and Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson (Missouri State Guard), bested the Union ironclads at Plum Run Bend, Tennessee, on May 10, 1862, they retired to Memphis. Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard ordered troops out of Fort Pillow and Memphis on June 4, after learning of Union Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck’s occupation of Corinth, Mississippi. Thompson’s few troops, camped outside Memphis, and Montgomery’s fleet were the only force available to meet the Union naval threat to the city.

From Island No. 45, just north of Memphis, Flag-Officer Charles H. Davis and Col. Charles Ellet launched a naval attack on Memphis after 4:00 am on June 6. Arriving off Memphis about 5:30 am, the battle began. In the hour and a half battle, the Union boats sank or captured all but one of the Confederate vessels; General Van Dorn escaped. Immediately following the battle, Col. Ellet’s son, Medical Cadet Charles Ellet, Jr., met the mayor of Memphis and raised the Union colors over the courthouse. Later, Flag-Officer Davis officially received the surrender of the city from the mayor. The Indiana Brigade, commanded by Col. G.N. Fitch, then occupied the city. Memphis, an important commercial and economic center on the Mississippi River, had fallen, opening another section of the Mississippi River to Union shipping.

Result(s): Union victory


Chattanooga

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga

Campaign: Confederate Heartland Offensive (1862)

Date(s): June 7-8, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. James Negley [US]; Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith [CS]

Forces Engaged: Division [US]; Department [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 88 total (US 23; CS 65)

Description: In late Spring 1862, the Confederacy split its forces in Tennessee into several small commands in an attempt to complicate Federal operations. The Union had to redistribute its forces to counter the Confederate command structure changes. Maj. Gen. Ormsby Mitchel received orders to go to Huntsville, Alabama, with his division to repair railroads in the area. Soon, he occupied more than 100 miles along the Nashville & Chattanooga and Memphis & Charleston railroads. In May, Mitchel and his men sparred with Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s men.

After Mitchel received command of all Federal troops between Nashville and Huntsville, on May 29, he ordered Brig. Gen. James Negley with a small division to lead an expedition to capture Chattanooga. This force arrived before Chattanooga on June 7. Negley ordered the 79th Pennsylvania Volunteers out to reconnoiter. It found the Confederates entrenched on the opposite side of the river along the banks and atop Cameron Hill. Negley brought up two artillery batteries to open fire on the Rebel troops and the town and sent infantry to the river bank to act as sharpshooters.

The Union bombardment of Chattanooga continued throughout the 7th and until noon on the 8th. The Confederates replied, but it was uncoordinated since the undisciplined gunners were allowed to do as they wished. On June 10, Smith, who had arrived on the 8th, reported that Negley had withdrawn and the Confederate loss was minor. This attack on Chattanooga was a warning that Union troops could mount assaults when they wanted.

Result(s): Union victory


Murfreesboro

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Rutherford County

Campaign: Confederate Heartland Offensive (1862)

Date(s): July 13, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Detachments from four Union units (approx. 900) [US]; equivalent of a brigade (about five cavalry units; approx. 1,400) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,040 total (US 890; CS 150)

Description: On June 10, 1862, Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell commanding the Army of the Ohio, started a leisurely advance toward Chattanooga, which Union Brig. Gen. James Negley and his force threatened on June 7-8. In response to the threat, the Confederate government sent Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest to Chattanooga to organize a cavalry brigade. By July, Confederate cavalry under the command of Forrest and Col. John Hunt Morgan were raiding into Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. Perhap, the most dramatic of these cavalry raids was Forrest’s capture of the Union Murfreesboro garrison on July 13, 1862.

Forrest left Chattanooga on July 9 with two cavalry regiments and joined other units on the way, bringing the total force to about 1,400 men. The major objective was to strike Murfreesboro, an important Union supply center on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, at dawn on July 13. The Murfreesboro garrison was camped in three locations around town and included detachments from four units comprising infantry, cavalry, and artillery, under the command of Brig. Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden who had just arrived on July 12. Between 4:15 and 4:30 am on the morning of July 13, Forrest’s cavalry surprised the Union pickets on the Woodbury Pike, east of Murfreesboro, and quickly overran a Federal hospital and the camp of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment detachment.

Additional Rebel troops attacked the camps of the other Union commands and the jail and courthouse. By late afternoon all of the Union units had surrendered to Forrest’s force. The Confederates destroyed much of the Union supplies and tore up railroad track in the area, but the main result of the raid was the diversion of Union forces from a drive on Chattanooga. This raid, along with Morgan’s raid into Kentucky, made possible Bragg’s concentration of forces at Chattanooga and his early September invasion of Kentucky.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Hatchie’s Bridge

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Davis Bridge, Matamora

Location: Hardeman County and McNairy County

Campaign: Iuka and Corinth Operations (1862)

Date(s): October 5, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Edward O.C. Ord and Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut [US]; Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn [CS]

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

Estimated Casualties: 900 total (US 500; CS 400)

Description: Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Confederate Army of West Tennessee retreated from Corinth on October 4, 1862. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans did not send forces in pursuit until the morning of the 5th. Maj. Gen. Edward O.C. Ord, commanding a detachment of the Army of West Tennessee, was, pursuant to orders, advancing on Corinth to assist Rosecrans. On the night of October 4-5, he camped near Pocahontas. Between 7:30 and 8:00 am the next morning, his force encountered Union Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut’s 4th Brigade, Army of West Tennessee, in the Confederates’s front.

Ord took command of the now-combined Union forces and pushed Van Dorn’s advance, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Army of the West, back about five miles to the Hatchie River and across Davis’ Bridge. After accomplishing this, Ord was wounded and Hurlbut assumed command. While Price’s men were hotly engaged with Ord’s force, Van Dorn’s scouts looked for and found another crossing of the Hatchie River. Van Dorn then led his army back to Holly Springs. Ord had forced Price to retreat, but the Confederates escaped capture or destruction. Although they should have done so, Rosecrans’s army had failed to capture or destroy Van Dorn’s force.

Result(s): Union victory


Hartsville

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Trousdale County

Campaign: Stones River Campaign (1862-63)

Date(s): December 7, 1862

Principal Commanders: Col. Absalom B. Moore [US]; Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan [CS]

Forces Engaged: 39th Brigade, XIV Army Corps (Army of the Cumberland) [US]; expeditionary force (two brigades) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 2,004 total (US 1,855; CS 149)

Description: The 39th Brigade, XIV Army Corps, was guarding the Cumberland River crossing at Hartsville to prevent Confederate cavalry from raiding. Under the cover of darkness, Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan crossed the river in the early morning of December 7, 1862. Col. Absalom B. Moore, commander of the 39th Brigade, stated in his after action report, that Morgan’s advance had worn Union blue uniforms which got them through the videttes. Morgan approached the Union camp, the pickets sounded the alarm, and held the Rebels until the brigade was in battle line. The fighting commenced at 6:45 am and continued until about 8:30 am. One of Moore’s units ran, which caused confusion and helped to force the Federals to fall back. By 8:30 am, the Confederates had surrounded the Federals, convincing them to surrender. This action at Hartsville, located north of Murfreesboro, was a preliminary to the Confederate cavalry raids by Forrest into West Tennessee, December 1862, January 1863, and Morgan into Kentucky, December 1862, January 1863.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Jackson

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Madison County

Campaign: Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee (1862-63)

Date(s): December 19, 1862

Principal Commanders: Col. Adolph Englemann [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Two regiments from the Jackson Garrison [US]; Detachment of Forrest’s Cavalry (approx. 400) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 6; CS unknown)

Description: The engagement at Jackson occurred during Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee, between December 11, 1862, and January 1, 1863. Forrest wished to interrupt the rail supply line to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s army, campaigning down the Mississippi Central Railroad. If he could destroy the Mobile & Ohio Railroad running south from Columbus, Kentucky, through Jackson, Grant would have to curtail or halt his operations. Forrest’s 2,100-man cavalry brigade crossed the Tennessee River on December 15-17, heading west. Maj. Gen.

Grant ordered a troop concentration at Jackson under Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan and sent a cavalry force out under Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, to confront Forrest. Forrest, however, smashed the Union cavalry at Lexington on December 18. As Forrest continued his advance the next day, Sullivan ordered Col. Adolph Englemann to take a small force northeast of Jackson. At Old Salem Cemetery, acting on the defensive, Englemann’s two infantry regiments repulsed a Confederate mounted attack and then withdrew a mile closer to town.

To Forrest, the fight amounted to no more than a feint and show of force intended to hold Jackson’s Union defenders in place while two mounted columns destroyed railroad track north and south of the town and returned. This accomplished, Forrest withdrew from the Jackson area to attack Trenton and Humboldt. Thus, although the Federals had checked a demonstration by a portion of Forrest’s force, a major accomplishment, other Confederates had fulfilled an element of the expedition’s mission.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Stones River

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Murfreesboro

Location: Rutherford County

Campaign: Stones River Campaign (1862-63)

Date(s): December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans [US]; Gen. Braxton Bragg [CS]

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

Estimated Casualties: 23,515 total (US 13,249; CS 10,266)

Description: After Gen. Braxton Bragg’s defeat at Perryville, Kentucky, October 8, 1862, he and his Confederate Army of the Mississippi retreated, reorganized, and were redesignated as the Army of Tennessee. They then advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and prepared to go into winter quarters. Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Union Army of the Cumberland followed Bragg from Kentucky to Nashville. Rosecrans left Nashville on December 26, with about 44,000 men, to defeat Bragg’s army of more than 37,000.

He found Bragg’s army on December 29 and went into camp that night, within hearing distance of the Rebels. At dawn on the 31st, Bragg’s men attacked the Union right flank. The Confederates had driven the Union line back to the Nashville Pike by 10:00 am but there it held. Union reinforcements arrived from Rosecrans’s left in the late forenoon to bolster the stand, and before fighting stopped that day the Federals had established a new, strong line. On New Years Day, both armies marked time. Bragg surmised that Rosecrans would now withdraw, but the next morning he was still in position.

In late afternoon, Bragg hurled a division at a Union division that, on January 1, had crossed Stones River and had taken up a strong position on the bluff east of the river. The Confederates drove most of the Federals back across McFadden’s Ford, but with the assistance of artillery, the Federals repulsed the attack, compelling the Rebels to retire to their original position. Bragg left the field on the January 4-5, retreating to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rosecrans did not pursue, but as the Confederates retired, he claimed the victory. Stones River boosted Union morale. The Confederates had been thrown back in the east, west, and in the Trans-Mississippi.

Result(s): Union victory


Parker’s Cross Roads

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Henderson County

Campaign: Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee (1862-63)

Date(s): December 31, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Two brigades (approx. 3,000 men) [US]; expeditionary brigade [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 737 total (US 237; CS 500)

Description: As Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s expedition into West Tennessee neared its conclusion, Union Brig. Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan, with the brigades of Col. Cyrus L. Dunham and Col. John W. Fuller, attempted to cut Forrest off from withdrawing across the Tennessee River. Dunham’s and Forrest’s march routes, on December 31, 1862, brought them into contact at Parker’s Cross Roads. Skirmishing began about 9:00 am, with Forrest taking an initial position along a wooded ridge northwest of Dunham at the intersection.

Confederate artillery gained an early advantage. Dunham pulled his brigade back a half mile and redeployed, facing north. His Federals repelled frontal feints until attacked on both flanks and rear by Forrest’s mounted and dismounted troops. During a lull, Forrest sent Dunham a demand for an unconditional surrender. Dunham refused and was preparing for Forrest’s next onset when Fuller’s Union brigade arrived from the north and surprised the Confederates with an attack on their rear; Confederate security detachments had failed to warn of Fuller’s approach.

Charge em both ways, ordered Forrest. The Confederates briefly reversed front, repelled Fuller, then rushed past Dunham’s demoralized force and withdrew south to Lexington and then across the Tennessee River. Both sides claimed victory, but the Confederate claims appear to have more credence.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Dover

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Fort Donelson

Location: Stewart County

Campaign: Middle Tennessee Operations (1863)

Date(s): February 3, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. A.C. Harding [US]; Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler [CS]

Forces Engaged: Detachments of two regiments: 83rd Illinois Infantry and 5th Iowa Cavalry Regiments and some artillery (approx. 800) [US]; cavalry division (approx. 2,500) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 796 total (US 126; CS 670)

Description: Under orders, in late January 1863, Confederate Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, commanding two brigades of cavalry, had taken position on the Cumberland River at Palmyra to disrupt Union shipping. The Federals, however, apprised of Wheeler’s intent, refrained from sending any boats up or downriver. Unable to disrupt Union shipping and realizing that he and his men could not remain in the area indefinitely, Wheeler decided to attack the garrison at Dover, Tennessee, which informers reported was small and could easily be overwhelmed.

The Rebels set out for Dover and between 1:00 and 2:00 pm, on February 3, began an attack. The 800-man garrison, under the command of Col. A.C. Harding, was in and about the town of Dover where they had chosen camps that commanded the area and had dug rifle pits and battery emplacements. The Confederates mounted a determined attack using artillery fire with great skill, but were repulsed with heavy losses. By dusk, both sides were mostly without ammunition. The Confederates surveyed the Union defenses and decided that the enemy was too well-placed to allow capture. Wheeler’s force retired.

The Federals did send out a pursuit but to no avail. The Confederates had failed to disrupt shipping on the Cumberland River and capture the garrison at Dover. This Confederate failure left the Union in control in Middle Tennessee and a bitter Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest denounced Wheeler, a favorite of Gen. Braxton Bragg, saying he would not again serve under him.

Result(s): Union victory


Thompson’s Station

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Williamson County

Campaign: Middle Tennessee Operations (1863)

Date(s): March 5, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. John Coburn [US]; Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn [CS]

Forces Engaged: Infantry brigade [US]; I Cavalry Corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 2,206 total (US 1,906; CS 300)

Description: In a period of relative inactivity following the Battle of Stones River, a reinforced Union infantry brigade, under Col. John Coburn, left Franklin to reconnoiter south toward Columbia. Four miles from Spring Hill, Coburn attacked with his right wing, a Confederate force composed of two regiments; he was repelled. Then, Maj. Gen. Van Dorn seized the initiative. Brig. Gen. W.H. Red Jackson’s dismounted 2nd Division made a frontal attack, while Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s division swept around Coburn’s left flank, and into his rear. After three attempts, characterized by hard fighting, Jackson carried the Union hilltop position as Forrest captured Coburn’s wagon train and blocked the road to Columbia in his rear. Out of ammunition and surrounded, Coburn surrendered. Union influence in Middle Tennessee subsided for a while.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Vaught’s Hill

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Milton

Location: Rutherford County

Campaign: Middle Tennessee Operations (1863)

Date(s): March 20, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. Albert S. Hall [US]; Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan [CS]

Forces Engaged: 2nd Brigade, 5th Division, XIV Army Corps (a combined force of infantry, artillery, and cavalry comprising detachments from six units; approx. 1,300) [US]; Morgan’s Cavalry Division (approx. 3,500) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 435 total (US 62; CS 373)

Description: During the inactivity following the Battle of Stones River, a Union brigade-sized reconnaissance force, under Col. Albert S. Hall, left Murfreesboro on March 18. Circling to the northeast, Hall encountered Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry command which caused him to fall back to a position east of Milton. Pursuing Hall, Morgan’s men caught up with him on the morning of the 20th, at Vaught’s Hill. Dismounted, Morgan struck at both Union flanks, even to the point of encircling Hall’s hilltop position. Hall conducted a perimeter defense and withstood all Confederate attacks, which lasted till after 2:00 pm. Morgan continued to bombard the Yankees until 4:30 pm, when he broke off the engagement, after learning that Union reinforcements were en route from Murfreesboro. Union forces continued to strengthen their position in Middle Tennessee.

Result(s): Union victory


Brentwood

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Williamson County

Campaign: Middle Tennessee Operations (1863)

Date(s): March 25, 1863

Principal Commanders: Lt. Col. Edward Bloodgood [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Detachments of the 22nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, 33rd Indiana, and 19th Michigan Volunteer Infantry regiments, 1st Division, 1st Cavalry Corps (approx. 400) [US]; Forrest’s Division [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 311 total (US 305; CS 6)

Description: Union Lt. Col. Edward Bloodgood held Brentwood, a station on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad, with 400 men on the morning of March 25, 1863, when Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, with a powerful column, approached the town. The day before, Forrest had ordered Col. J.W. Starnes, commanding the 2nd Brigade, to go to Brentwood, cut the telegraph, tear up railroad track, attack the stockade, and cut off any retreat. Forrest and the other cavalry brigade joined Bloodgood about 7:00 am on the 25th.

A messenger from the stockade informed Bloodgood that Forrest’s men were about to attack and had destroyed railroad track. Bloodgood sought to notify his superiors and discovered that the telegraph lines were cut. Forrest sent in a demand for a surrender under a flag of truce but Bloodgood refused. Within a half hour, though, Forrest had artillery in place to shell Bloodgood’s position and had surrounded the Federals with a large force. Bloodgood decided to surrender. Forrest and his men caused a lot of damage in the area during this expedition, and Brentwood, on the railroad, was a significant loss to the Federals.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Franklin

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Williamson County

Campaign: Middle Tennessee Operations (1863)

Date(s): April 10, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger [US]; Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of Kentucky [US]; 1st Cavalry Corps, Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 237 total (US 100; CS 137)

Description: The 1863 engagement at Franklin was a reconnaissance in force by Confederate cavalry leader Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn coupled with an equally inept response by Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger. Van Dorn advanced northward from Spring Hill on May 10, making contact with Federal skirmishers just outside Franklin. Van Dorn’s attack was so weak that when Granger received a false report that Brentwood, to the north, was under attack, he believed it, and sent away most of his cavalry, thinking that the Confederate general was undertaking a diversion.

When the truth became known there was no threat to Brentwood Granger decided to attack Van Dorn, but he was surprised to learn that a subordinate had already done so, without orders. Brig. Gen. David S. Stanley, with a cavalry brigade, had crossed the Harpeth River at Hughes’s Ford, behind the Confederate right rear. The 4th U.S. Cavalry attacked and captured Freeman’s Tennessee Battery on the Lewisburg Road but lost it when Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest counterattacked. Stanley’s troopers quickly withdrew across the Big Harpeth River. This incident in his rear caused Van Dorn to cancel his operations and withdraw to Spring Hill, leaving the Federals in control of the area.

Result(s): Union victory


Hoover’s Gap

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Bedford County and Rutherford County

Campaign: Tullahoma Campaign (1863)

Date(s): June 24-26, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas [US]; Maj. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart [CS]

Forces Engaged: XIV Army Corps [US]; Bate’s and Johnson’s Brigades, Stewart’s Division, Hardee’s Corps, Army of Tennessee, and J.R. Butler’s 1st [3rd] Kentucky Cavalry Regiment [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Following the Battle of Stones River, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, remained in the Murfreesboro area for five and one-half months. To counter the Yankees, Gen. Braxton Bragg, commander of the Army of Tennessee, established a fortified line along the Duck River from Shelbyville to Wartrace. On the Confederate right, infantry and artillery detachments guarded Liberty, Hoover’s, and Bellbuckle gaps through the mountains. Rosecrans’s superiors, fearing that Bragg might detach large numbers of men to help break the Siege of Vicksburg, urged him to attack the Confederates. On June 23, 1863, he feigned an attack on Shelbyville but massed against Bragg’s right. His troops struck out toward the gaps, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas’s men, on the 24th, forced Hoover’s Gap.

The Confederate 3rd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, under Col. J.R. Butler, held Hoover’s Gap, but the Yankees easily pushed it aside. As this unit fell back, it ran into Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson’s and Brig. Gen. William B. Bate’s Brigades, Stewart’s Division, Hardee’s Corps, Army of Tennessee, which marched off to meet Thomas and his men. Fighting continued at the gap until just before noon on the 26th, when Maj. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart, the Confederate division commander, sent a message to Johnson and Bate stating that he was pulling back and they should also. Although slowed by rain, Rosecrans moved on, forcing Bragg to give up his defensive line and fall back to Tullahoma. Rosecrans sent a flying column (Wilder’s Lightning Brigade, the same that had spearheaded the thrust through Hoover’s Gap on the 24th) ahead to hit the railroad in Bragg’s rear. Arriving too late to destroy the Elk River railroad bridge, the Federals tore up lots of track around Decherd. Bragg evacuated Middle Tennessee.

Result(s): Union victory


Chattanooga

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga

Campaign: Chickamauga Campaign (1863)

Date(s): August 21, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. John T. Wilder [US]; D.H. Hill [CS]

Forces Engaged: Wilder’s Brigade [US]; Hill’s Corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: On August 16, 1863, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, launched a campaign to take Chattanooga. Col. John T. Wilder’s brigade of the Union 4th Division, XIV Army Corps marched to a location northeast of Chattanooga where the Confederates could see them, reinforcing Gen. Braxton Bragg’s expectations of a Union attack on the town from that direction. On August 21, Wilder reached the Tennessee River opposite Chattanooga and ordered the 18th Indiana Light Artillery to begin shelling the town.

The shells caught many soldiers and civilians in town in church observing a day of prayer and fasting. The bombardment sank two steamers docked at the landing and created a great deal of consternation amongst the Confederates. Continued periodically over the next two weeks, the shelling helped keep Bragg’s attention to the northeast while the bulk of Rosecrans’s army crossed the Tennessee River well west and south of Chattanooga. When Bragg learned on September 8 that the Union army was in force southwest of the city, he abandoned Chattanooga.

Result(s): Successful Union demonstration


Blountsville

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Sullivan County

Campaign: East Tennessee Campaign (1863)

Date(s): September 22, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. John W. Foster [US]; Col. James E. Carter [CS]

Forces Engaged: 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, XXIII Army Corps, Department of the Ohio [US]; 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment and Artillery (approx. 1,200) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 192 total (US 27; CS 165)

Description: Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, undertook an expedition into East Tennessee to clear the roads and gaps to Virginia, and, if possible, secure the saltworks beyond Abingdon. On September 22, Union Col. John W. Foster with his cavalry and artillery engaged Col. James E. Carter and his troops at Blountsville. Foster attacked at noon and in the four-hour battle, shelled the town and initiated a flanking movement, compelling the Confederates to withdraw. Blountsville was the initial step in the Union’s attempt to force Confederate Maj. Gen. Sam Jones and his command to retire from East Tennessee.

Result(s): Union victory


Blue Springs

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Greene County

Campaign: East Tennessee Campaign (1863)

Date(s): October 10, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside [US]; Brig. Gen. John S. Williams [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Ohio [US]; 1st Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, 4th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, and some home guard troops and artillery [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 316 total (US 100; CS 216)

Description: Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, undertook an expedition into East Tennessee to clear the roads and passes to Virginia, and, if possible, secure the saltworks beyond Abingdon. In October, Confederate Brig. Gen. John S. Williams, with his cavalry force, set out to disrupt Union communications and logistics. He wished to take Bull’s Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. On October 3, while advancing on Bull’s Gap, he fought with Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter’s Union Cavalry Division, XXIII Army Corps, at Blue Springs, about nine miles from Bull’s Gap, on the railroad.

Carter, not knowing how many of the enemy he faced, withdrew. Carter and Williams skirmished for the next few days. On October 10, Carter approached Blue Springs in force. Williams had received some reinforcements. The battle began about 10:00 am with Union cavalry engaging the Confederates until afternoon while another mounted force attempted to place itself in a position to cut off a Rebel retreat. Captain Orlando M. Poe, the Chief Engineer, performed a reconnaissance to identify the best location for making an infantry attack. At 3:30 pm, Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero’s 1st Division, IX Army Corps, moved up to attack, which he did at 5:00 pm.

Ferrero’s men broke into the Confederate line, causing heavy casualties, and advanced almost to the enemy’s rear before being checked. After dark, the Confederates withdrew and the Federals took up the pursuit in the morning. Within days, Williams and his men had retired to Virginia. Burnside had launched the East Tennessee Campaign to reduce or extinguish Confederate influence in the area; Blue Springs helped fulfill that mission.

Result(s): Union victory


Wauhatchie

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Brown’s Ferry

Location: Hamilton County, Marion County, and Dade County

Campaign: Reopening of the Tennessee River (1863)

Date(s): October 28-29, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker [US]; Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins [CS]

Forces Engaged: XI Army Corps and 2nd Division, XII Army Corps [US]; Hood’s Division [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 828 total (US 420; CS 408)

Description: In an effort to relieve Union forces besieged in Chattanooga, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant initiated the Cracker Line Operation on October 26, 1863. This operation required the opening of the road to Chattanooga from Brown’s Ferry on the Tennessee River with a simultaneous advance up Lookout Valley, securing the Kelley’s Ferry Road. Union Chief Engineer, Military Division of the Mississippi, Brig. Gen. William F. Baldy Smith, with Brig. Gen. John B. Turchin’s and Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen’s 1st and 2nd brigades, 3rd Division, IV Army Corps, was assigned the task of establishing the Brown’s Ferry bridgehead. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, with three divisions, marched from Bridgeport through Lookout Valley towards Brown’s Ferry from the south.

At 3:00 am, on October 27, portions of Hazen’s brigade embarked upon pontoons and floated around Moccasin Bend to Brown’s Ferry. Turchin’s brigade took a position on Moccasin Bend across from Brown’s Ferry. Upon landing, Hazen secured the bridgehead and then positioned a pontoon bridge across the river, allowing Turchin to cross and take position on his right. Hooker, while his force passed through Lookout Valley on October 28, detached Brig. Gen. John W. Geary’s division at Wauhatchie Station, a stop on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, to protect the line of communications to the south as well as the road west to Kelley’s Ferry. Observing the Union movements on the 27th and 28th, Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and Gen. Braxton Bragg decided to mount a night attack on Wauhatchie Station.

Although the attack was scheduled for 10:00 pm on the night of October 28, confusion delayed it till midnight. Surprised by the attack, Geary’s division, at Wauhatchie Station, formed into a V-shaped battle line. Hearing the din of battle, Hooker, at Brown’s Ferry, sent Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard with two XI Army Corps divisions to Wauhatchie Station as reinforcements. As more and more Union troops arrived, the Confederates fell back to Lookout Mountain. The Federals now had their window to the outside and could receive supplies, weapons, ammunition, and reinforcements via the Cracker Line. Relatively few night engagements occurred during the Civil War; Wauhatchie is one of the most significant.

Result(s): Union victory


Collierville

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Shelby County

Campaign: Operations on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad (1863)

Date(s): November 3, 1863

Principal Commanders: Col. Edward Hatch [US]; Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers [CS]

Forces Engaged: 3rd Cavalry Brigade (850) [US]; cavalry division (2,500) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 155 total (US 60; CS 95)

Description: Four minor battles occurred in 1863 at Collierville, Tennessee, during a three-month period. The November 3 fight was intended to be a Confederate cavalry raid to break up the Memphis & Charleston Railroad behind Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s XV Army Corps, then in the process of marching to the relief of Chattanooga. But, when Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, leading a cavalry division riding up from Mississippi, learned that only two Union regiments defended Collierville, he decided to attack. Union Col. Edward Hatch possessed more men than Chalmers supposed, stationed at Collierville and at Germantown, five miles to the west. Scouts warned Hatch of Chalmers’s approach from the south, so he ordered Collierville’s defenders to be prepared and rode from Germantown with cavalry reinforcements. Chalmers, as he had done only three weeks earlier, attacked from the south. Col. Hatch arrived with help. Surprised by the unexpected appearance of the enemy on his flanks, Chalmers concluded that he was outnumbered, called off the battle, and, to ward off Union pursuit, withdrew back to Mississippi. The Memphis & Charleston Railroad remained open to Tuscumbia, Alabama, for Union troop movements.

Result(s): Union victory


Campbell’s Station

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Knox County

Campaign: Knoxville Campaign (1863)

Date(s): November 16, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside [US]; Lt. Gen. James Longstreet [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Ohio [US]; Confederate Forces in East Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 970 total (US 400; CS 570)

Description: In early November 1863, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, with two divisions and about 5,000 cavalry, was detached from the Confederate Army of Tennessee near Chattanooga to attack Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s Union Department of the Ohio troops at Knoxville, Tennessee. Following parallel routes, Longstreet and Burnside raced for Campbell’s Station, a hamlet where the Concord Road, from the south, intersected the Kingston Road to Knoxville. Burnside hoped to reach the crossroads first and continue on to safety in Knoxville; Longstreet planned to reach the crossroads and hold it, which would prevent Burnside from gaining Knoxville and force him to fight outside his earthworks.

By forced marching, on a rainy November 16, Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s advance reached the vital intersection and deployed first. The main column arrived at noon with the baggage train just behind. Scarcely 15 minutes later, Longstreet’s Confederates approached. Longstreet attempted a double envelopment: attacks timed to strike both Union flanks simultaneously. Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaw’s Confederate division struck with such force that the Union right had to redeploy, but held. Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins’s Confederate division maneuvered ineffectively as it advanced and was unable to turn the Union left. Burnside ordered his two divisions astride the Kingston Road to withdraw three-quarters of a mile to a ridge in their rear. This was accomplished without confusion. The Confederates suspended their attack while Burnside continued his retrograde movement to Knoxville. Had Longstreet reached Campbell’s Station first, the Knoxville Campaign’s results might have been different.

Result(s): Union victory


Chattanooga

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Hamilton County and City of Chattanooga

Campaign: Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign (1863)

Date(s): November 23-25, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Gen. Braxton Bragg [CS]

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

Estimated Casualties: 12,485 total (US 5,815; CS 6,670)

Description: From the last days of September through October 1863, Gen. Braxton Bragg’s army laid siege to the Union army under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans at Chattanooga, cutting off its supplies. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George Thomas. A new supply line was soon established. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November, and the Federals began offensive operations. On November 23-24, Union forces struck out and captured Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and carried the seemingly impregnable Confederate position on Missionary Ridge. One of the Confederacy’s two major armies was routed. The Federals held Chattanooga, the Gateway to the Lower South, which became the supply and logistics base for Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign.

Result(s): Union victory


Fort Sanders

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Fort Loudon

Location: Knox County

Campaign: Knoxville Campaign (1863)

Date(s): November 29, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside [US]; Lt. Gen. James Longstreet [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Ohio [US]; Confederate Forces in East Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 880 total (US 100; CS 780)

Description: In attempting to take Knoxville, the Confederates decided that Fort Sanders was the only vulnerable place where they could penetrate Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s fortifications, which enclosed the city, and successfully conclude the siege, already a week long. The fort surmounted an eminence just northwest of Knoxville. Northwest of the fort, the land dropped off abruptly. Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet believed he could assemble a storming party, undetected at night, below the fortifications and, before dawn, overwhelm Fort Sanders by a coup de main. Following a brief artillery barrage directed at the fort’s interior, three Rebel brigades charged. Union wire entanglements-telegraph wire stretched from one tree stump to another to another-delayed the attack, but the fort’s outer ditch halted the Confederates.

This ditch was twelve feet wide and from four to ten feet deep with vertical sides. The fort’s exterior slope was almost vertical, also. Crossing the ditch was nearly impossible, especially under withering defensive fire from musketry and canister. Confederate officers did lead their men into the ditch, but, without scaling ladders, few emerged on the scarp side and a small number entered the fort to be wounded, killed, or captured. The attack lasted a short twenty minutes. Longstreet undertook his Knoxville expedition to divert Union troops from Chattanooga and to get away from Gen. Braxton Bragg, with whom he was engaged in a bitter feud. His failure to take Knoxville scuttled his purpose. This was the decisive battle of the Knoxville Campaign. This Confederate defeat, plus the loss of Chattanooga on November 25, put much of East Tennessee in the Union camp.

Result(s): Union victory


Bean’s Station

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Grainger County

Campaign: Knoxville Campaign (1863)

Date(s): December 14, 1863

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. J.M. Shackelford [US]; Lt. Gen. James Longstreet [CS]

Forces Engaged: Cavalry Corps, Department of the Ohio [US]; Confederate Forces in East Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,600 total (US 700; CS 900)

Description: Lt. Gen. James Longstreet abandoned the Siege of Knoxville, on December 4, 1863, and retreated northeast towards Rogersville, Tennessee. Union Maj. Gen. John G. Parke pursued the Confederates but not too closely. Longstreet continued to Rutledge on December 6 and Rogersville on the 9th. Parke sent Brig. Gen. J.M Shackelford on with about 4,000 cavalry and infantry to search for Longstreet. On the 13th, Shackelford was near Bean’s Station on the Holston River. Longstreet decided to go back and capture Bean’s Station.

Three Confederate columns and artillery approached Bean’s Station to catch the federals in a vice. By 2:00 am on the 14th, one column was skirmishing with Union pickets. The pickets held out as best they could and warned Shackelford of the Confederate presence. He deployed his force for an assault. Soon, the battle started and continued throughout most of the day. Confederate flanking attacks and other assaults occurred at various times and locations, but the Federals held until southern reinforcements tipped the scales. By nightfall, the Federals were retiring from Bean’s Station through Bean’s Gap and on to Blain’s Cross Roads.

Longstreet set out to attack the Union forces again the next morning, but as he approached them at Blain’s Cross Roads, he found them well-entrenched. Longstreet withdrew and the Federals soon left the area. The Knoxville Campaign ended following the battle of Bean’s Station. Longstreet soon went into winter quarters at Russellville. Their success meant little to Confederate efforts except to prevent disaster.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Mossy Creek

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Jefferson County

Campaign: Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee (1863-64)

Date(s): December 29, 1863

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis [US]; Maj. Gen. William T. Martin [CS]

Forces Engaged: Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio and 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XXIII Army Corps [US]; Longstreet’s Cavalry, Department of East Tennessee (Sturgis reported that the Confederate cavalry was supported by a brigade of infantry; approx. 2,000 men) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 151; CS unknown)

Description: Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis received a report on the night of December 28, 1863, that a brigade of enemy cavalry was in the neighborhood of Dandridge that afternoon. Surmising that the Rebel cavalry force was split, Sturgis decided to meet and defeat, and possibly capture, this portion of it. He ordered most of his troopers out toward Dandridge on two roads. After these troops had left, Maj. Gen. William T. Martin, commander of Longstreet’s Confederate cavalry, now reunited, attacked the remainder of Sturgis’s force at Mossy Creek, Tennessee, which included the First Brigade, Second Division, XXIII Army Corps, commanded by Col. Samuel R. Mott, at 9:00 am. First, Sturgis sent messages to his subordinates on the way to Dandridge to return promptly if they found no enemy there. The Confederates advanced, driving the Federals in front of them. Some of the Union troopers who had set out for Dandridge returned. Around 3:00 pm, fortunes changed as the Federals began driving the Confederates. By dark, the Rebels were back to the location from which they had begun the battle. Union pursuit was not mounted that night, but Martin retreated from the area. After the victory at Mossy Creek, the Union held the line about Talbott’s Station for some time.

Result(s): Union victory


Dandridge

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Jefferson County

Campaign: Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee (1863-64)

Date(s): January 17, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis [US]; Lt. Gen. James Longstreet [CS]

Forces Engaged: Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio, and Infantry of the IV Army Corps [US]; Department of East Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 150; CS unknown)

Description: Union forces under Maj. Gen. John G. Parke advanced on Dandridge, Tennessee, near the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad, on January 14, forcing Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s Confederate troops to fall back. Longstreet, however, moved additional troops into the area on the 15th to meet the enemy and threaten the Union base at New Market. On the 16th, Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, commanding the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio, rode forward to occupy Kimbrough’s Crossroads. As the Union cavalry neared the crossroads, they discovered an enemy infantry division with artillery that had arrived the day before.

The Union cavalry could not dislodge these Rebels and was compelled to retire to Dandridge. About noon the next day, Sturgis received information that the Confederates were preparing for an attack so he formed his men into line of battle. About 4:00 pm, the Confederates advanced and the fighting quickly became general. The battle continued until after dark with the Federals occupying about the same battle line as when the fighting started. The Union forces fell back to New Market and Strawberry Plains during the night, but the Rebels were unable to pursue because of the lack of cannons, ammunition, and shoes. For the time being, the Union forces left the area. The Confederates had failed to destroy or capture the Federals as they should have.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Fair Garden

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Sevier County

Campaign: Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee (1863-64)

Date(s): January 27, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis and Col. Edward M. McCook [US]; Maj. Gen. William T. Martin [CS]

Forces Engaged: Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio [US]; Cavalry Division, Department of East Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 265 total (US 100; CS 165)

Description: Since the Battle of Dandridge, the Union cavalry had moved to the south side of the French Broad River and had disrupted Confederate foraging and captured numerous wagons in that area. On January 25, 1864, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, commander of the Department of East Tennessee, instructed his subordinates to do something to curtail Union operations south of the French Broad. On the 26th, Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, having had various brushes with Confederate cavalry, deployed his troopers to watch the area fords.

Two Confederate cavalry brigades and artillery advanced from Fair Garden in the afternoon but were checked about four miles from Sevierville. Other Confederates attacked a Union cavalry brigade, though, at Fowler’s on Flat Creek, and drove it about two miles. No further fighting occurred that day. Union scouts observed that the Confederates had concentrated on the Fair Garden Road, so Sturgis ordered an attack there in the morning. In a heavy fog, Col. Edward M. McCook’s Union division attacked and drove back Maj. Gen. William T. Martin’s Confederates until about 4:00 pm. At that time, McCook’s men charged with sabers and routed the Rebels. Sturgis set out in pursuit on the 28th, and captured and killed more of the routed Rebels.

The Union forces, however, observed three of Longstreet’s infantry brigades crossing the river. Realizing his weariness from fighting, lack of supplies, ammunition, and weapons and the overwhelming strength of the enemy, Sturgis decided to evacuate the area. But, before leaving, Sturgis determined to attack Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong’s Confederate cavalry division which he had learned was about three or four miles away, on the river. Unbeknownst to the attacking Federals, Armstrong had strongly fortified his position and three infantry regiments had arrived to reinforce him. Thus, the Union troops suffered severe casualties in the attack. The battle continued until dark, when the Federals retired from the area. The Federals had won the big battle but the fatigue of continual fighting and lack of supplies and ammunition forced them to withdraw.

Result(s): Union victory


Fort Pillow

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Lauderdale County

Campaign: Forrest’s Expedition into West Tennessee and Kentucky (1864)

Date(s): April 12, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Lionel F. Booth and Maj. William F. Bradford [US]; Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Detachments from three units (approx. 600) [US]; Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers’s 1st Division, Forrest’s Cavalry Corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 654 total (US 574; CS 80)

Description: In April 1864, the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, a Confederate-built earthen fortification and a Union-built inner redoubt, overlooking the Mississippi River about forty river miles above Memphis, comprised 295 white Tennessee troops and 262 U.S. Colored Troops, all under the command of Maj. Lionel F. Booth. Confederate Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked the fort on April 12 with a cavalry division of approximately 2,500 men. Forrest seized the older outworks, with high knolls commanding the Union position, to surround Booth’s force. Rugged terrain prevented the gunboat New Era from providing effective fire support for the Federals.

The garrison was unable to depress its artillery enough to cover the approaches to the fort Rebel sharpshooters, on the surrounding knolls, began firing into the fort killing Booth. Maj. William F. Bradford then took over command of the garrison. The Confederates launched a determined attack at 11:00 am, occupying more strategic locations around the fort, and Forrest demanded unconditional surrender. Bradford asked for an hour for consultation, and Forrest granted twenty minutes. Bradford refused surrender and the Confederates renewed the attack, soon overran the fort, and drove the Federals down the river’s bluff into a deadly crossfire. Casualties were high and only sixty-two of the U.S. Colored Troops survived the fight. Many accused the Confederates of perpetrating a massacre of the black troops, and that controversy continues today. The Confederates evacuated Fort Pillow that evening so they gained little from the attack except a temporary disruption of Union operations. The Fort Pillow Massacre became a Union rallying cry and cemented resolve to see the war through to its conclusion.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Memphis

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Shelby County

Campaign: Forrest’s Defense of Mississippi (1864)

Date(s): August 21, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. C.C. Washburn [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Troops stationed at Memphis [US]; Forrest’s Cavalry (approx. 400) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 94 total (US 160; CS 34)

Description: At 4:00 am on the morning of August 21, 1864, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest made a daring raid on Union-held Memphis, Tennessee, but it was not an attempt to capture the city, occupied by 6,000 Federal troops. The raid had three objectives: to capture three Union generals posted there; to release Southern prisoners from Irving Block Prison; and to cause the recall of Union forces from Northern Mississippi. Striking northwestward for Memphis with 2,000 cavalry, Forrest lost about a quarter of his strength because of exhausted horses.

Surprise was essential. Taking advantage of a thick dawn fog and claiming to be a Union patrol returning with prisoners, the Confederates eliminated the sentries. Galloping through the streets and exchanging shots with other Union troops, the raiders split to pursue separate missions. One Union general was not at his quarters and another escaped to Fort Pickering dressed in his night-shirt. The attack on Irving Block Prison also failed when Union troops stalled the main body at the State Female College. After two hours, Forrest decided to withdraw, cutting telegraph wires, taking 500 prisoners and large quantities of supplies, including many horses. Although Forrest failed in Memphis, his raid influenced Union forces to return there, from northern Mississippi, and provide protection.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Johnsonville

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Benton County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): November 4-5, 1864

Principal Commanders: Col. C.R. Thompson and Lt. Cdr. Edward M. King [US]; Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Supply depot garrison (approx. 4,000) [US]; Forrest’s Cavalry [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: In an effort to check the Union army’s advance through Georgia, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest led a 23-day raid culminating in an attack on the Yankee supply base at Johnsonville, Tennessee. Swinging north from Corinth, Mississippi, toward the Kentucky border and temporarily blockading the Tennessee River at Fort Herman, Forrest then moved southward along the Tennessee River’s west bank, capturing several U.S. steamers and a gunboat which he later had to abandon. On November 4, Forrest began positioning his artillery across the river from the Federal supply base and landing at Johnsonville. The Union discovered the Confederates finishing their entrenchments and battery emplacements in the afternoon of the 4th.

The Union gunboats and land batteries, across the river, engaged the Confederates in an artillery duel. The Rebel guns, however, were so well-positioned, the Federals were unable to hinder them. In fact, Confederate artillery fire disabled the gunboats. Fearing that the Rebels might cross the river and capture the transports, the Federals set fire to them. The wind then extended the fire to the piles of stores on the levee and to a warehouse loaded with supplies. Seeing the fire, the Confederates began firing on the steamboats, barges, and warehouses to prevent the Federals from putting out the fire. An inferno illuminated Forrest’s night withdrawal, and he escaped Union clutches without serious loss. Damages totaled $2.2 million. The next morning, on the 5th, some Confederate artillery bombarded the depot in the morning but then left. Although this brilliant victory further strengthened Forrest’s reputation and destroyed a great amount of Union materiel, it failed to stem the tide of Union success in Georgia. By this time, Forrest often harassed the Union Army, but, as this engagement demonstrated, he could not stop their operations.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Bull’s Gap

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Hamblen County and Greene County

Campaign: Breckinridge’s Advance into East Tennessee (1864)

Date(s): November 11-13, 1864

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem [US]; Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge [CS]

Forces Engaged: Governor’s Guard Brigade, State of Tennessee [US]; Department of Western Virginia and East Tennessee (approx. 2,400) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 241; CS unknown)

Description: In November 1864, Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge undertook an expedition into East Tennessee, anticipating that Confederate sympathizers would join his force and help drive the Yankees from the area. The Federals initially retired in front of this force and, on November 10, were at Bull’s Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. The Confederates attacked them on the morning of the 11th but were repulsed by 11:00 am. Artillery fire continued throughout the day. The next morning, both sides attacked; the Confederates sought to hit the Union forces in a variety of locations but they gained little.

The next day firing occurred throughout most of the day, but the Confederates did not assault the Union lines because they were marching to flank them on the right. Before making the flank attack, the Union forces, short on everything from ammunition to rations, withdrew from Bull’s Gap after midnight on the 4th. Breckinridge pursued, but the Federals received reinforcements and foul weather played havoc with the roads and streams. Breckinridge, with most of his force, retired back to Virginia. This victory was a temporary Union setback in the Federal plans to rid East Tennessee of Confederate influence.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Columbia

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Maury County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): November 24 [24-29], 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield [US]; Gen. John Bell Hood [CS]

Forces Engaged: XXIII Army Corps and elements of IV Army Corps [US]; Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description:Conflict near Columbia, during Hood’s 1864 Tennessee invasion, constituted a Confederate diversion as part of a maneuver designed to cross the Duck River upstream and interdict the Union army’s line of communications with Nashville. As Gen. John Bell Hood’s army advanced northeastward from Florence, Alabama, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield’s force quickly withdrew from Pulaski to Columbia, arriving on November 24, just ahead of Forrest’s Rebel cavalry. The Federals built two lines of earthworks south of the town while skirmishing with enemy cavalry on November 24 and 25. Hood advanced his infantry on the following day but did not assault. He made demonstrations along the front while marching two corps of his army to Davis Ford, some five miles eastward on the Duck River. Schofield correctly interpreted Hood’s moves, but foul weather prevented him from crossing to the north bank before November 28, leaving Columbia to the Confederates. The next day, both armies marched north for Spring Hill. Schofield had slowed Hood’s movement but had not stopped him.

Result(s): Confederate victory


Spring Hill

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Maury County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): November 29, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield [US]; Gen. John Bell Hood [CS]

Forces Engaged: IV and XXIII Army Corps [US]; Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Spring Hill was the prelude to the Battle of Franklin. On the night of November 28, 1864, Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee marched toward Spring Hill to get astride Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield’s Union army’s life line. Cavalry skirmishing between Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson’s Union cavalry and Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate troopers continued throughout the day as the Confederates advanced. On November 29, Hood’s infantry crossed Duck River and converged on Spring Hill. In the meantime, Maj. Gen. Schofield reinforced the troops holding the crossroads at Spring Hill. In late afternoon, the Federals repulsed a piecemeal Confederate infantry attack. During the night, the rest of Schofield’s command passed from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin. This was, perhaps, Hood’s best chance to isolate and defeat the Union army. The engagement has been described as one of the most controversial non-fighting events of the entire war.”

Result(s): Union victory


Franklin

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Williamson County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): November 30, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield [US]; Gen. John B. Hood [CS]

Forces Engaged: IV and XXIII Army Corps (Army of the Ohio and Cumberland) [US]; Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 8,587 total (US 2,326; CS 6,261)

Description: Having lost a good opportunity at Spring Hill to hurt significantly the Union Army, Gen. John B. Hood marched in rapid pursuit of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield’s retreating Union army. Schofield’s advance reached Franklin about sunrise on November 30 and quickly formed a defensive line in works thrown up by the Yankees in the spring of 1863, on the southern edge of town. Schofield wished to remain in Franklin to repair the bridges and get his supply trains over them. Skirmishing at Thompson’s Station and elsewhere delayed Hood’s march, but, around 4:00 pm, he marshaled a frontal attack against the Union perimeter. Two Federal brigades holding a forward position gave way and retreated to the inner works, but their comrades ultimately held in a battle that caused frightening casualties. When the battle ceased, after dark, six Confederate generals were dead or had mortal wounds. Despite this terrible loss, Hood’s army, late, depleted and worn, crawled on toward Nashville.

Result(s): Union victory


Murfreesboro

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: Wilkinson Pike, Cedars

Location: Rutherford County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): December 5-7, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau and Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy [US]; Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: District of Tennessee (forces in Murfreesboro area; approx. 8,000) [US]; Forrest’s Cavalry, Bate’s Infantry Division, and Brig. Gen. Claudius Sears’s and Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Palmer’s Infantry Brigades (6,500-7,000) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 422 total (US 225; CS 197)

Description: In a last, desperate attempt to force Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army out of Georgia, Gen. John Bell Hood led the Army of Tennessee north toward Nashville in November 1864. Although he suffered a terrible loss at Franklin, he continued toward Nashville. In operating against Nashville, he decided that destruction of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and disruption of the Union army supply depot at Murfreesboro would help his cause. He sent Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, on December 4, with an expedition, composed of two cavalry divisions and Maj. Gen. William B. Bate’s infantry division, to Murfreesboro.

On December 2, Hood had ordered Bate to destroy the railroad and blockhouses between Murfreesboro and Nashville and join Forrest for further operations; on December 4, Bate’s division attacked Blockhouse No. 7 protecting the railroad crossing at Overall Creek, but Union forces fought it off. On the morning of the 5th, Forrest headed out toward Murfreesboro, splitting his force, one column to attack the fort on the hill and the other to take Blockhouse No. 4, both at La Vergne. Upon his demand for surrender at both locations, the Union garrisons did so. Outside La Vergne, Forrest hooked up with Bate’s division and the command advanced on to Murfreesboro along two roads, driving the Yankees into their Fortress Rosencrans fortifications, and encamped in the city outskirts for the night.

The next morning, on the 6th, Forrest ordered Bate’s division to move upon the enemy’s works. Fighting flared for a couple of hours, but the Yankees ceased firing and both sides glared at each other for the rest of the day. Brig. Gen. Claudius Sears’s and Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Palmer’s infantry brigades joined Forrest’s command in the evening, further swelling his numbers. On the morning of the 7th, Maj. Gen. Lovell Rousseau, commanding all of the forces at Murfreesboro, sent two brigades out under Brig. Gen. Robert Milroy on the Salem Pike to feel out the enemy. These troops engaged the Confederates and fighting continued. At one point some of Forrest’s troops broke and ran causing disorder in the Rebel ranks; even entreaties from Forrest and Bate did not stem the rout of these units. The rest of Forrest’s command conducted an orderly retreat from the field and encamped for the night outside Murfreesboro. Forrest had destroyed railroad track, blockhouses, and some homes and generally disrupted Union operations in the area, but he did not accomplish much else. The raid on Murfreesboro was a minor irritation.

Result(s): Union victory


Nashville

Civil War battles in Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Davidson County

Campaign: Franklin-Nashville Campaign (1864)

Date(s): December 15-16, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas [US]; Gen. John Bell Hood [CS]

Forces Engaged: IV Army Corps, XXIII Army Corps, Detachment of Army of the Tennessee, provisional detachment, and cavalry corps [US]; Army of Tennessee [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 6,602 total (US 2,140; CS 4,462)

Description: In a last desperate attempt to force Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army out of Georgia, Gen. John Bell Hood led the Army of Tennessee north toward Nashville in November 1864. Although he suffered terrible losses at Franklin on November 30, he continued toward Nashville. By the next day, the various elements of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas’s army had reached Nashville. Hood reached the outskirts of Nashville on December 2, occupied positions on a line of hills parallel to those of the Union and began erecting fieldworks. Union Army Engineer, Brig. Gen. James St. Clair Morton, had overseen the construction of sophisticated fortifications at Nashville in 1862-63, strengthened by others, which would soon see use. From the 1st through the 14th, Thomas made preparations for the Battle of Nashville in which he intended to destroy Hood’s army. On the night of December 14, Thomas informed Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, acting as Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s chief of staff, that he would attack the next day. Thomas planned to strike both of Hood’s flanks. Before daylight on the 15th, the first of the Union troops, led by Maj. Gen. James Steedman, set out to hit the Confederate right.

The attack was made and the Union forces held down one Rebel corps there for the rest of the day. Attack on the Confederate left did not begin until after noon when a charge commenced on Montgomery Hill. With this classic charge’s success, attacks on other parts of the Confederate left commenced, all eventually successful. By this time it was dark and fighting stopped for the day. Although battered and with a much smaller battle line, Gen. Hood was still confident. He established a main line of resistance along the base of a ridge about two miles south of the former location, throwing up new works and fortifying Shy’s and Overton’s hills on their flanks. The IV Army Corps marched out to within 250 yards, in some places, of the Confederate’s new line and began constructing fieldworks. During the rest of the morning, other Union troops moved out toward the new Confederate line and took up positions opposite it. The Union attack began against Hood’s strong right flank on Overton’s Hill.

The same brigade that had taken Montgomery Hill the day before received the nod for the charge up Overton’s Hill. This charge, although gallantly conducted, failed, but other troops (Maj. Gen. A.J. Smith’s Israelites ) successfully assaulted Shy’s Hill in their fronts. Seeing the success along the line, other Union troops charged up Overton’s Hill and took it. Hood’s army fled. Thomas had left one escape route open but the Union army set off in pursuit. For ten days, the pursuit continued until the beaten and battered Army of Tennessee recrossed the Tennessee River. Hood’s army was stalled at Columbia, beaten at Franklin, and routed at Nashville. Hood retreated to Tupelo and resigned his command.

Result(s): Union victory

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