Civil War Battles of Tennessee

Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee

Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, by Kurz and Allison, 1887.

Fort Donelson (February 11-16, 1862) – After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862,  General Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 12-13, the Union made several small probing attacks and on February 14th, U.S. Navy gunboats under Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote attempted to reduce the fort with naval gunfire. However, they were forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy damage from Donelson’s water batteries. The next day, the fort was surrounded by Union troops and the Confederates, commanded by Brigadier General John B. Floyd, launched a surprise attack against Grant’s army, attempting to open an avenue of escape.

Grant, who was away from the battlefield at the start of the attack, arrived to rally his men and counterattack. Despite achieving a partial success, Floyd lost his nerve and recalled his men to their entrenchments.

On the morning of February 16th, Floyd and his second-in-command, Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow, both turned over their command to Brigadier  General Simon Bolivar Buckner, who agreed to unconditional surrender terms from Grant. Estimated casualties of the battle were 2,331 U.S. and 15,067 Confederate. This was a major victory for General 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.

Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee

Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, by J.H. Bufford

Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) – Also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, this battle took place in Hardin County, Tennessee. As a result of the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, Confederate General 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 General Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee before the Army of the Ohio, under Major General 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 4th, but delays postponed it until the 6th. Read More …

The Union troops would continue into Corinth, Mississippi, where opposing forces would battle between April 29-June 10, 1862. When General P.G.T Beauregard evacuated the town, the Union had  consolidated their position, ending the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers Campaign.

Joint Operations Against New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Memphis (February-June 1862) 

War on the Mississippi River, H. Lovie, 1862

Also called the Joint Operations on the Middle Mississippi River, this campaign officially consisted of three battles to defend the Mississippi River The first two battles were fought in Madrid, Missouri, one in the city itself, and the other on an island in the Mississippi River called Island No. 10. The third battle of the campaign was fought in Memphis, Tennessee. However, after United States Navy Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote  had taken Island #10, another battle was fought at Plum Run Bend in Tennessee.

Plum Run Bend (May 10, 1862) – After Union Major General John Pope and Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote had taken Island #10 on the upper Mississippi River, only a Confederate gunboat fleet at Fort Pillow, Tennessee  provided protection for the Mississippi River.

Pope and Foote planned to take the fort but Pope was ordered to join Major General Henry W. Halleck’s army at Shiloh, Tennessee. Without adequate troops, Foote could only threaten Fort Pillow. In response, Confederate Colonel M. Jeff Thompson’s River Defense Fleet, commanded by Captain James E. Montgomery, attacked the Union troops with a makeshift fleet on May 10, 1862. Though the Confederates were outgunned, they took the Union fleet by surprise and were able to sink two U.S. Ironclads — the Cincinnati and Mound City. After just 30 minutes, the Confederates withdrew to Fort Pillow. Both of the Federal war ships were sunk in shallow water and were soon put back into commission. Later, Fort Pillow was discovered abandoned and when the Battle of Memphis took place the following month, the Confederate fleet would be destroyed.

Memphis (June 6, 1862) – After the Confederate River Defense Fleet, commanded by Captain James E. Montgomery and Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson of the Missouri State Guard, bested the Union ironclads at Plum Run Bend, Tennessee, on May 10, 1862, they retired to Memphis. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered troops out of Fort Pillow and Memphis on June 4th, after learning of Union Major General 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, Union Flag-Officer Charles H. Davis and Colonel Charles Ellet launched a naval attack on Memphis after 4:00 am on June 6th. 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, Colonel 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 Colonel 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. Estimated casualties of the battle were 1 Union and 180 Confederate.

2 thoughts on “Civil War Battles of Tennessee”

  1. Looking for information on the 22nd Virginia cavalry. Trying to find out all the battles they fought after May 1863 up until November of 1863. Thanks for any and all help

    1. It’s more than you asked for, but hope this helps

      22nd Cavalry CSA “Bowen’s Regiment Virginia Mounted Riflemen”
      1863
      May Formed by adding eight companies to Baldwin’s Partisan Rangers. Baldwin’s two companies became Company A and Company E of the new regiment. Colonel Henry S. Bowen, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Radford and Major Henry F. Kendrick were assigned as field officers.
      Many of the new recruits had served in the 37th Virginia Infantry Regiment. The regiment was assigned to the Department of Western Virginia.
      September 1 Jonesboro, Tennessee
      September 12 Jonesboro, Tennessee
      September 21 Jonesboro, Tennessee
      October 24 Nicholas County
      December 9 Logan County
      December 15 Scott County
      December 17 Russell County
      1864
      April Assigned to Jenkins’ Cavalry Brigade, Department of Western Virginia.
      April 24 Breathitt County, Kentucky
      May Assigned to McCausland’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division, Army of the Valley.
      May 7 Abb’s Valley
      May 9 Cloyd’s Mountain
      May 10 New River Bridge
      May 13 Jackson’s Ferry & Covington
      May 15 Abb’s Valley
      May 31 Pike County
      June 1 White Sulpher Springs, WV
      June 2 Covington VA
      June 4 Panther Gap
      June 6 Goshen
      June 7 Buffalo Gap
      June 8 Staunton Road
      June 10 Arbor Hill, Newport, Middlebrook and Brownsburg
      June 11 Lexington
      June 13 Buchanan
      June 15 Fancy Farm
      June 16 Otter River
      June 17 Forrest Depot
      June 18 Lynchburg
      June 20 Liberty
      June 21 Salem
      July 3 Leetown
      July 4 North Mountain Depot
      July 7 Hagerstown, MD
      July 8-9 Battle of Monocacy
      Major Kendrick was wounded in the hip and captured.
      July 10 Urbana, MD
      July 11 Rockville, MD
      July 12 Attack on Fort Stevens, Washington D.C.
      July 14 Edwards Ferry VA
      July 15 Snicker’s Gap, VA

      July 16 Loudoun County
      July 18 Ashby’s Gap, VA

      July 19 Berry’s Farm
      July 20 Stehenson’s Depot, VA
      July 23 Second Battle of Kernstown
      July 29 Mercersburg, PA
      July 30 Burning of Chambersburg
      August 2 Cumberland, MD
      August 4 New Creek, WV
      August 5 Shenansoah Valley
      August 7 Battle of Moorfield
      Federal cavalry caught McCausland’s brigade in camp by surprise after Union ‘Jesse Scouts’ dressed in Confederate grey captured the picket. The camp was overrun at dawn, capturing around five hundred men from the brigade. The catured men were imprisoned at Cam Chase, Ohio, for the rest of the war.
      August 9 New Creek Station VA
      August 10 Charles Town, WV
      August 11 Newtown, VA
      August Assigned to Bradley Johnston’s Brigade of Lomax’s Cavalry Division

      August 15 Charles Town, WV
      August 17 New Creek, WV
      August 21 Summit Point, WV
      August 25 Kearneyville, WV
      August 28 Opequan Creek, VA
      September 1 Brandy Station, VA
      September 2 Bunker Hill, VA
      September 3 Berryville, VA
      September 4 Maritinsburg, WV
      September 10 Big Spring WV
      September 12 Darkesville, WV
      September 19 Third Battle of Winchester
      The regiment acted as rear guard while Early’s army retreated after the battle to Fisher’s Hill.
      September 21 Front Royal Pike
      September 22-24 Battle of Fisher’s Hill

      September 24 Harrisonburg and Timberville, VA
      September 25 Gaines Crossroads, VA
      October 1 Port Republic, VA
      October Returned to McCausland’s Brigade.
      October 8-9 Battle of Tom’s Brook
      October 19 Battle of Cedar Creek

      October 23 Bentonville, VA
      October 26 Milford, VA
      October 29 Beverly, WV
      November 12 Nineveh (Cedarville), VA
      Lieutenant Colonel Radford was killed.
      November 22 Front Royal, VA
      December 17 Berry’s Ford, VA
      December 20 Madison Court House, VA
      December 23 Jack’s Shop, VA
      December 24 Gordonsville, VA
      1865
      January 29 Moorfield WV
      February 6 Balltown, WV
      February Major Kendrick was exchanged.
      March Ordered with the rest of Rosser’s Division to leave the Valley and join the Army of Northern Virginia at Petersburg.
      March-April Siege of Petersburg
      March 29 Quaker Road, VA
      March 31 Dinwiddie Court House, VA
      April 1 Battle of Five Forks

      April 2 Sutherland Station, VA
      April 3 Namozine Church, VA
      April 5 Avery’s Church Road, VA
      April 6 Jetersville, VA
      April 6-7 High Bridge, VA
      April 7 Cumberland Chuch (Farmville)
      April 9 Appomattox Court House
      The regiment cut its was through Union lines and escaed the surrender. Only two men, Corporal J.W. Whitman and Private A.H. Tate of Company G, surrendered with Lee’s army.
      Mid-April The regiment disbanded

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