Civil War Battles of Mississippi

Mississippi Civil War Battles courtesy National Park Service.

Mississippi Civil War Battles courtesy National Park Service.

Siege of Corinth (April 29-May 30, 1862)

Iuka (September 19, 1862)

Corinth (October 3-4, 1862)

Chickasaw Bayou (December 26-29, 1862)

Vicksburg Campaign (March-July 1863)

Grand Gulf  (April 29, 1863)

Snyder’s Bluff (April 29-May 1, 1863)

Bruinsburg Crossing (April 30, 1863)

Port Gibson (May 1, 1863)

Raymond (May 12, 1863)

Jackson (May 14, 1863)

Champion Hill  (May 16, 1863)

Big Black River Bridge (May 17, 1863)

Siege of Vicksburg  (May 18-July 4, 1863)

Meridian (February 14-20, 1864)

Okolona (February 22, 1864)

Brice’s Cross Roads (June 10, 1864)

Tupelo (July 14-15, 1864)

Unidentified Confederate soldier, by Charles Rees, 1861.

Unidentified Confederate soldier, by Charles Rees, 1861.

The second state to declare secession from the Union, on January 9, 1861, Mississippi joined with six other states the next month to form the Confederate States of America. Long a hotbed of secession and states’ rights, Mississippi proclaimed: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery–the greatest material interest of the world.” With South Carolina, Mississippi was one of only two states in the Union in 1860, where most of the population were slaves.

Its location on the Mississippi River made it strategically important to both the Union and the Confederacy, resulting in dozens of battles as troops repeatedly clashed near Mississippi’s key towns and cities, such as Corinth, Jackson, Natchez, and Vicksburg.

Although there were small pockets of citizens who remained sympathetic to the Union, the vast majority of Mississippians embraced the Confederate cause, and thousands flocked to the military.

About 80,000 white men from Mississippi fought in the Confederate Army, and some 500 white Mississippians fought for the Union. Soldiers from the Magnolia State fought in every major theater of the war, although most were concentrated in the Western Theater.

As the war progressed, many freed or escaped slaves joined the United States Colored Troops and similar black regiments, including more than 17,000 black Mississippi soldiers fighting for the Union.

The Battles:

Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers Campaign (February – June 1862)

Also called the “Mississippi River Campaign” and the “Fort Henry and Fort Donelson Campaign,” this force by the Union began on February 6, 1862, as a strategy to allow the North invasion routes by land and by water, as well as cutting off supplies to Confederate Forces. General Ulysses S. Grant moved his troops swiftly down the Tennessee River toward Fort Henry on river transports on February 2nd and coordinating with  United States Navy Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. The campaign ended with the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi in June 1862.

Ruse of the Whistles at Corinth, Mississippi

The ruse of the Whistles at Corinth, Mississippi

Siege of Corinth (April 29-May 30, 1862) – Also called the First Battle of Corinth, this was the fourth and last conflict of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers Campaign. After the Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh battles in Tennessee, Union troops continued south to Corinth, Mississippi. Under the command of Major General Henry W. Halleck — the Army of the Tennessee, the Army of the Ohio, and the Army of the Mississippi — advanced on the vital rail center of Corinth. Cautious due to Shiloh’s staggering losses, Halleck approached very slowly, fortifying his troops after each advance. By May 25, 1862, after moving five miles in three weeks, he and his troops were finally in a  position to lay siege to the town. However, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, aware of the impending attack, made other plans. As the Union forces maneuvered for position, the Confederate Army moved out during the night of May 29, 1862, though they pretended to be preparing for an attack.

When trains arrived, the troops cheered as though reinforcements were arriving. Instead, the Confederate soldiers were loading up the cars with the sick and wounded, along with artillery and supplies. The troops also set up dummy Quaker Guns and the defensive earthworks, kept campfires burning, and their buglers and drummers played on as the Rebel troops slipped away. When Union patrols entered Corinth the next morning, they found the Confederate troops gone. With the Union having consolidated their position, this ended the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers Campaign. More…