Civil War Battles of Tennessee

Jackson (December 19, 1862) – After the Battle of Lexington, General Forrest continued his advance the next day, while Union General Sullivan ordered Colonel Adolph Engelmann to take a small force northeast of Jackson. At Old Salem Cemetery, acting on the defensive, Engelmann’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 Brigadier General 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.

Middle Tennessee Operations (February-April 1863)

After his victory at Stones River, Major General William Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro, Tennessee for almost six months while Confederate General Braxton Bragg rested in Tullahoma, Tennessee establishing a long defensive line that was intended to block Union advances against the strategic city of Chattanooga in his rear. In April, Union cavalry under Colonel Abel Streight moved against the railroad that supplied Bragg’s army in Middle Tennessee, hoping it would cause them to withdraw to Georgia.

Battle of Dover Map

Dover (February 3, 1863) – Taking place in Stewart County, Tennessee, this conflict was also called the Battle of Fort Donelson. Under orders, in late January 1863, Confederate Major General 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 3rd and began an attack.

The 800-man garrison, under the command of Colonel 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, decided that the enemy was too well-placed to allow capture, and Wheeler’s force retired. The Federals sent 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 Brigadier General Nathan B. Forrest denounced Wheeler, a favorite of General Braxton Bragg, saying he would not again serve under him. Estimated casualties of the skirmish were 125 Union and 670 Confederate.

Thompson’s Station (March 5, 1863) – In a period of relative inactivity following the Battle of Stones River, a reinforced Union infantry brigade, under Colonel John Coburn, left Franklin to reconnoiter south toward Columbia. Four miles from Spring Hill, in Williamson County, Coburn attacked with his right wing, a Confederate force composed of two regiments but was repelled. Then, Confederate Major General Van Dorn seized the initiative. Brigadier General W.H. “Red” Jackson’s dismounted 2nd Division made a frontal attack, while Brigadier General Nathan B. 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. The Confederate victory generated an 1,906 Union casualties and 300 Confederate.

Vaught’s Hill (March 20, 1863) – Also called the Battle of Milton, this skirmish took place in Rutherford County, Tennessee. During the inactivity following the Battle of Stones River, a Union brigade-sized reconnaissance force, under Colonel Albert S. Hall, left Murfreesboro on March 18. Circling to the northeast, Hall encountered Confederate Brigadier General 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. Continuing to strengthen their position in Middle Tennessee, the Union victory resulted in about 62 Union casualties and 373 Confederate casualties.

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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