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Tennessee Civil War Battles - Page 3

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Battle of Corinth, MississippiIuka and Corinth Operations (September-October, 1862) - During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy ended in disaster. The offensive strategy included  Antietam, Maryland; Kentucky;  and the northern Mississippi campaign, referred to as the Iuka and Corinth Operations. This third campaign into Mississippi led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, Mississippi -- defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg, Mississippi. The last battle of the Iuka and Corinth Campaign took place in Tennessee.


Hatchie’s Bridge (October 5, 1862) - Also called the Battle of Davis Bridge and the Battle of Matamora, this last conflict of the Iuka and Corinth Campaign took place in Hardeman and McNairy Counties of Tennessee after Major General Earl Van Dorn’s Confederate Army of West Tennessee retreated from Corinth, Mississippi on October 4, 1862.


Union Major General William Rosecrans did not send forces in pursuit until the morning of the October 5th. In the meantime, Major General Edward O.C. Ord, commanding a detachment of the Army of West Tennessee, was advancing on Corinth to assist Rosecrans. On the night of October 4-5, he and his men were encamped near Pocahontas, Tennessee. Between 7:30 and 8:00 am the next morning, his force encountered Union Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut’s 4th Brigade, Army of West Tennessee, in the Confederate's front. Ord took command of the now-combined Union forces and pushed Van Dorn’s advance, Major General 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, Mississippi. Ord had forced Price to retreat, but the Confederates escaped capture or destruction. Although they should have done so, Rosecrans army had failed to capture or destroy Van Dorn’s force. Resulting in a Union victory, the estimated casualties were 500 Union and 400 Confederates


Stones River Campaign (December, 1862 - January, 1863) - After Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s defeat at Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862, he and his Confederate Army of the Mississippi retreated, reorganized, and were re-designated as the Army of Tennessee. They then advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and prepared to go into winter quarters. However, the Union had different ideas.


Hartsville (December 7, 1862) - Taking place in Trousdale County, Tennessee, the 39th Brigade of the 14th  Army Corps was guarding the Cumberland River Crossing at Hartsville to prevent the Confederate Cavalry from raiding. However, under the cover of darkness, Confederate Brigadier General John H. Morgan crossed the river in the early morning of December 7, 1862. Morgan's advance wore Union blue uniforms which got them passed the mounted sentinels. When Morgan and his troops approached the Union camp, the pickets sounded the alarm, and held the Rebels until the brigade was in battle line. Under the command of colonel Absalom B. Moore, the Union forces began fighting the Confederates 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. A Confederate victory, estimated casualties were 1,855 Union and 149 Confederate. This action at Hartsville, located north of Murfreesboro, Tennessee was a preliminary to the Confederate cavalry raids by General Nathan B. Forrest into West Tennessee in December, 1862-January, 1863, and General John Morgan's into Kentucky in December, 1862 - January, 1863.


Stone's River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863) - Also referred to as the Battle of Murfreesboro or the Second Battle of Murfreesboro, this major battle of the Civil War took place in Rutherford County, Tennessee.  After Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s defeat at Perryville,Kentucky on October 8, 1862, he and his Confederate Army of the Mississippi retreated, reorganized, and were re-designated as the Army of Tennessee. They then advanced to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and prepared to go into winter quarters. Major General William Rosecrans Union Army of the Cumberland followed Bragg from Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee, leaving there on December 26, with about 44,000 men, with plants to defeat Bragg’s army of more than 37,000. The Union forces came upon  Bragg’s army on December 29th and went into camp that night, within hearing distance of the Rebels.




Battle of Stone River, Tennessee

Battle of Stone's River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, December 31,

1862-January 2, 1863, by Kurz and Allison, 1891.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!  

At dawn on the 31st, Bragg’s men attacked the Union's right flank and by 10:00 a.m. had driven the Union line back to the Nashville Pike but, there it held. Union reinforcements arrived 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 and Bragg surmised that Rosecrans would withdraw. However, the next morning he and his troops were still in position. In the late afternoon, Bragg sent a division of Confederate troops who had earlier taken up a strong position on the bluff east of the river, to attack the Union troops. 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 January 4-5, retreating to Shelbyville and Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rosecrans did not pursue, but as the Confederates retired, he claimed the victory. Of the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides, 13,249 U.S. and 10,266 Confederates. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army's repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and it dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee.


Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee (December 1862-January 1863) - Wanting to interrupt the rail supply line to Major General Ulysses S. Grant's army, General Nathan Bedford Forest made his way down the Mississippi Central Railroad. Additionally, 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 Expedition into West Tennessee (December 1862-January 1863) - Wanting to interrupt the rail supply line to Major General Ulysses S. Grant's army, General Nathan Bedford Forest made his way down the Mississippi Central Railroad. Additionally, if he could destroy the Mobile & Ohio Railroad running south from Columbus, Kentucky, through Jackson, Grant would have to curtail or halt his operations. 


Lexington (December 18, 1862) - General Nathan B. Forrest's 2,100-man cavalry brigade crossed the Tennessee River from December 15 to December 17, heading west. In the meantime, Major General Ulysses S. Grant ordered troops at Jackson under Brigagdier General Jeremiah C. Sullivan and a cavalry force under Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, to confront Forrest. As both armies marched towards Jackson, Union troops sighted Forrest's advance troops. Ingersoll pulled back his troops about a half a mile from Lexington and prepared to fight. The next morning, Union Major Otto Funke led his troops in an attack on the Confederates, beginning a fight that would last several hours. But, the Union troops were far outnumbered and were soon overrun. Ingersoll became a prisoner along with 149 of his men and both his cannon were captured. The number of casualties is unknown. The Union prisoners were held 2-3 days, then paroled at Trenton, Tennessee. Those Federals who had escaped alarmed General Sullivan at Jackson, informing him that Forrest commanded a force as large as 10,000 men.


Jackson (December 19, 1862) - After the Battle of Lexington, General Forrest continued his advance the next day, while Union General Sullivan ordered Colonel 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 ploy and show of force intended to hold Jackson’s Union defenders in place while two mounted columns destroyed railroad tracks north and south of the town and returned. This accomplished, Forrest withdrew from the Jackson area to attack Trenton, Tennessee. 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. Resulting in a Confederate victory, casualties of the Union were about six, Confederates are unknown.


Trenton (December 20, 1862) - After the Battle of Jackson, General Nathan B. Forrest led his troops to Trenton, Tennessee, with plans to take the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Depot. After putting up a brief fight in the depot area, Union defenders surrendered rather than face destruction by Forrest’s artillery. The Confederates then ransacked the courthouse and destroyed military supplies in the town. The Confederates took about 700 Union prisoners.


Parker's Cross Roads (December 31, 1862) - As Brigagdier General Nathan B. Forrest's expedition into West Tennessee neared its conclusion, Union Brigadier General Jeremiah C. Sullivan, with the brigades of Colonel Cyrus L. Dunham and Colonel 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 in present day Henderson County. 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. His Federal troops 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. Estimated casualties were 237 Union and 500 Confederate.


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