Fifth Infantry Battles

Fifth Iowa Infantry Battle Summaries

The Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry had a distinguished combat history, and participated with distinction in a number of pivotal battles. Infantry was the backbone of the nineteenth century. In the heat of conflict, the Fifth was steadfast and victorious. The following links describe some of the battles in which they played a role.

Island No. 10 – New Madrid, Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: City of New Madrid, Missouri Lake County, Tennessee

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

Dates: February 28 – April 8, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. John Pope and Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote [US] Brig. Gen. John P. McCown and Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall [CS] Forces Engaged: Army of the Mississippi [US] Garrisons of New Madrid and Island No. 10 [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: With the surrender of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, and the evacuation of Columbus, Kentucky, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, chose Island No. 10, about 60 river miles below Columbus, to be the strongpoint for defending the Mississippi River. Nearby was New Madrid, one of the weak points. Brig. Gen. John Pope, commander of the Union Army of the Mississippi, set out from Commerce, Missouri, to attack New Madrid, on February 28. The force marched overland through swamps, lugging supplies and artillery, reached the New Madrid outskirts on March 3, and laid siege to the city. Brig. Gen. John P. McCown, the garrison commander, defended both New Madrid and Island No. 10 from the fortifications. He launched a sortie, under Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, Missouri State Guard, against the besiegers and brought up heavy artillery to bombard them. On the 13th, the Confederates bombarded the Yankees to no avail. Since it did not appear possible to defend New Madrid, the Confederate gunboats and troops evacuated to Island No. 10 and Tiptonville. On the 14th, Pope’s army discovered that New Madrid was deserted and moved in to occupy it. A U.S. Navy flotilla, under the command of Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote, arrived March 15 upstream from Island No. 10. The ironclad Carondelet on the night of April 4 passed the Island No. 10 batteries and anchored off New Madrid. Pittsburgh followed on the night of April 6. The ironclads helped to overawe the Confederate batteries and guns, enabling Pope’s men to cross the river and block the Confederate escape route. Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall, who replaced McCown, surrendered Island No. 10 on April 8. The Mississippi was now open down to Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

Result(s): Union victory.

Corinth, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hardin County and McNairy County, Tennessee; Alcorn County and Tishomingo County, Mississippi

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

Date(s): April 29-June 10, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Department of the Mississippi [US]; Department No. 2 [CS]

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Following the Union victory at Shiloh, the Union armies under Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck advanced on the vital rail center of Corinth. By May 25, 1862, after moving 5 miles in 3 weeks, Halleck was in position to lay siege to the town. The preliminary bombardment began, and Union forces maneuvered for position. On the evening of May 29-30, Confederate commander Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard evacuated Corinth, withdrawing to Tupelo. The Federals had consolidated their position in northern Mississippi.

Result(s): Union victory.

Iuka, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Tishomingo County, Mississippi

Campaign: Iuka and Corinth Operations (1862)

Date(s): September 19, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans [US]; Maj. Gen. Sterling Price [CS]

Forces Engaged: 2nd Division and cavalry division, Army of the Mississippi (approx. 4,000-4,500) [US]; 1st Division, Army of the West (approx. 3,200) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,482 total (US 782; CS 700)

Description: Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Army of the West main column marched into Iuka, Mississippi, on September 14. Price’s superior, Gen. Braxton Bragg, the commander of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, who was leading an offensive deep into Kentucky, ordered him to prevent Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Mississippi troops from moving into Middle Tennessee and reinforcing Brig. Gen. James Negley’s division of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, which was garrisoning Nashville. Price had about 14,000 men, and he was informed that, if necessary, he could request assistance from Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, commanding the District of the Mississippi, headquartered at Holly Springs. Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commanding the Army of the Tennessee, feared that Price intended to go north to join Bragg against Buell. Grant devised a plan for his left wing commander, Maj. Gen. E.O.C. Ord, and his men to advance on Iuka from the west; Rosecrans’s forces were to march from the southwest, arrive at Iuka on the 18th, and make a coordinated attack the next day. Ord arrived on time and skirmishing ensued between his reconnaissance patrol and Confederate pickets, about six miles from Iuka, before nightfall. Rosecrans informed Grant that he would not arrive at Iuka on the 18th but would begin his march at 4:30 am, the next morning. On the 19th, Ord sent Price a message demanding that he surrender, but Price refused. At the same time, Price received dispatches from Van Dorn suggesting that their two armies rendezvous, as soon as possible, at Rienzi for attacks on the Federal forces in the area. Price informed Van Dorn that the military situation had changed so he could not evacuate Iuka immediately. He did, however, issue orders for his men to prepare for a march the next day, to rendezvous with Van Dorn. Rosecrans’s army marched early on the 19th, but, instead of using two roads as directed, it followed the Jacinto (Bay Springs) Road. After considering the amount of time that Rosecrans required to reach Iuka, Grant determined that he probably would not arrive on the 19th, so he ordered Ord to await the sound of fighting between Rosecrans and Price before engaging the Confederates. As Rosecrans advanced, his men fought actions with Confederate troops at points along the way. About 4:00 pm, just after ascending a hill, the Union column halted because the Confederates were well-placed below in a ravine, filled with timber and underbrush. The Confederates launched attacks up the hill, capturing a six-gun Ohio battery, while the Federals counterattacked from the ridge. Fighting, which Price later stated he had “never seen surpassed,” continued until after dark; the Union troops camped for the night behind the ridge. Price had redeployed troops from Ord’s front to fight against Rosecrans’s people. Ord did nothing, later proclaiming that he never heard any fighting and, therefore, never engaged the enemy; Grant also remarked that he had heard no sounds of battle. Following the fighting on the 19th, Price determined to reengage the enemy the next day, but his subordinates convinced him, instead, to march to join Van Dorn, as earlier planned. At the same time, Rosecrans redeployed his men for fighting the next day. Price’s army evacuated via the uncovered Fulton Road, protected its rear with a heavy rearguard and hooked up with Van Dorn five days later at Ripley. Although Rosecrans was supposed to traverse Fulton Road and cover it, he stated that he had not guarded the road because he feared dividing his force; Grant later approved this decision. Rosecrans’s army occupied Iuka and then mounted a pursuit; the Confederate rearguard and overgrown terrain prevented the Union pursuit from accomplishing much. The Federals should have destroyed or captured Price’s army, but instead the Rebels joined Van Dorn and assaulted Corinth in October.

Result(s): Union victory. (In addition, it caused Grant to have concern about Rosecrans’s abilities and leadership.)

Corinth, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Alcorn County, Mississippi

Campaign: Iuka and Corinth Operations (1862)

Date(s): October 3-4, 1862

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans [US]; Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn [CS]

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

Estimated Casualties: 7,197 total (US 2,359; CS 4,838)

Description: After the Battle of Iuka, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West marched from Baldwyn to Ripley where it joined Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army of West Tennessee. Van Dorn was senior officer and took command of the combined force numbering about 22,000 men. The Rebels marched to Pocahontas on October 1, and then moved southeast toward Corinth. They hoped to seize Corinth and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. Since the Siege of Corinth, in the spring, Union forces had erected various fortifications, an inner and intermediate line, to protect Corinth, an important transportation center. With the Confederate approach, the Federals, numbering about 23,000, occupied the outer line of fortifications and placed men in front of them. Van Dorn arrived within three miles of Corinth at 10:00 am on October 3, and moved into some fieldworks that the Confederates had erected for the siege of Corinth. The fighting began, and the Confederates steadily pushed the Yankees rearward. A gap occurred between two Union brigades which the Confederates exploited around 1:00 pm. The Union troops moved back in a futile effort to close the gap. Price then attacked and drove the Federals back further to their inner line. By evening, Van Dorn was sure that he could finish the Federals off during the next day. This confidence–combined with the heat, fatigue, and water shortages–persuaded him to cancel any further operations that day. Rosecrans regrouped his men in the fortifications to be ready for the attack to come the next morning. Van Dorn had planned to attack at daybreak, but Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert’s sickness postponed it till 9:00 am. As the Confederates moved forward, Union artillery swept the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continued on. They stormed Battery Powell and closed on Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensued. A few Rebels fought their way into Corinth, but the Federals quickly drove them out. The Federals continued on, recapturing Battery Powell, and forcing Van Dorn into a general retreat. Rosecrans postponed any pursuit until the next day. As a result, Van Dorn was defeated, but not destroyed or captured, at Hatchie Bridge, Tennessee, on October 5.

Result(s): Union victory.

Port Gibson, Mississippi

Other Names: Thompson’s Hill

Location: Claiborne County, Mississippi

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date: May 1, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Brig. Gen. John S. Bowen [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee (comprising two corps) [US]; Confederate forces in area (one reinforced division: four brigades) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,648 total (US 861; CS 787)

Description: Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant launched his march on Vicksburg in the Spring of 1863, starting his army south, from Milliken’s Bend, on the west side of the Mississippi River. He intended to cross the river at Grand Gulf, but the Union fleet was unable to silence the Confederate big guns there. Grant then marched farther south and crossed at Bruinsburg on April 30. Union forces came ashore, secured the landing area and, by late afternoon, began marching inland. Advancing on the Rodney Road towards Port Gibson, Grant’s force ran into Rebel outposts after midnight and skirmished with them for around three hours. After 3:00 am, the fighting stopped. Union forces advanced on the Rodney Road and a plantation road at dawn. At 5:30 am, the Confederates engaged the Union advance and the battle ensued. Federals forced the Rebels to fall back. The Confederates established new defensive positions at different times during the day but they could not stop the Union onslaught and left the field in the early evening. This defeat demonstrated that the Confederates were unable to defend the Mississippi River line and the Federals had secured their beachhead. The way to Vicksburg was open.

Result(s): Union victory.

Raymond, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hinds County, Mississippi

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 12, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson [US]; Brig. Gen. John Gregg [CS]

Forces Engaged: XVII Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee [US]; Gregg’s Task Force (equivalent to a brigade) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,011 total (US 442; CS 569)

Description: Ordered by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, Confederate commander at Vicksburg, Brig. Gen. John Gregg led his force from Port Hudson, Louisiana, to Jackson, Mississippi, and out to Raymond to intercept approaching Union troops. Before dawn on May 12, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson had his XVII Army Corps on the march, and by 10:00 am they were about three miles from Raymond. Gregg decided to dispute the crossing of Fourteen Mile Creek and arrayed his men and artillery accordingly. As the Yankees approached, the Rebels opened fire, initially causing heavy casualties. Some Union troops broke, but Maj. Gen. John A. Logan rallied a force to hold the line. Confederate troops attacked the line but had to retire. More Yankees arrived and the Union force counterattacked. Heavy fighting ensued that continued for six hours, but the overwhelming Union force prevailed. Gregg’s men left the field. Although Gregg’s men lost the battle, they had held up a much superior Union force for a day.

Result(s): Union victory.

Jackson, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Hinds County & Jackson County, Mississippi

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date: May 14, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj.Gen. Ulysses Grant [US] Gen. Joseph Johnston and Brig.Gen. John Gregg [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee (three corps) [US]; Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 1,136 total (US 286; CS 850)

Description: On May 9, Gen. Joseph Johnston received a dispatch from the Confederate Secretary of War directing him to “proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces in the field.” As he arrived in Jackson on the 13th, from Middle Tennessee, he learned that two army corps from the Union Army of the Tennessee, the XV, under Maj.Gen. William T. Sherman, and the XVII, under Maj.Gen. James Birdseye McPherson, were advancing on Jackson, intending to cut the city and the railroads off from Vicksburg. Johnston consulted with the local commander, Brig.Gen. John Gregg, and learned that only about 6,000 troops were available to defend the town. Johnston ordered the evacuation of Jackson, but Gregg was to defend Jackson until the evacuation was completed. By 10:00 am, both Union army corps were near Jackson and had engaged the enemy. Rain, Confederate resistance, and poor defenses prevented heavy fighting until around 11:00 am, when Union forces attacked in numbers and slowly but surely pushed the enemy back. In mid-afternoon, Johnston informed Gregg that the evacuation was complete and that he should disengage and follow. Soon after, the Yankees entered Jackson and had a celebration, hosted by Maj.Gen. Grant who had been traveling with Sherman’s corps, in the Bowman House. They then burned part of the town and cut the railroad connections with Vicksburg. Johnston’s evacuation of Jackson was a tragedy because he could, by late on the 14th, have had 11,000 troops at his disposal and by the morning of the 15th, another 4,000. The fall of the former Mississippi state capital was a blow to Confederate morale.

Result(s): Union victory.

Champion Hill, Mississippi

Other Names: Bakers Creek

Location: Hinds County, Mississippi

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date: May 16, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton [CS]

Forces Engaged: Army of the Tennessee (three corps) [US]; Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 6,757 total (US 2,457; CS 4,300)

Description: Following the Union occupation of Jackson, Mississippi, both Confederate and Federal forces made plans for future operations. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston retreated, with most of his army, up the Canton Road, but he ordered Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, commanding about 23,000 men, to leave Edwards Station and attack the Federals at Clinton. Pemberton and his generals felt that Johnston’s plan was dangerous and decided instead to attack the Union supply trains moving from Grand Gulf to Raymond. On May 16, though, Pemberton received another order from Johnston repeating his former directions. Pemberton had already started after the supply trains and was on the Raymond-Edwards Road with his rear at the crossroads one-third mile south of the crest of Champion Hill. Thus, when he ordered a countermarch, his rear, including his many supply wagons, became the advance of his force. On May 16, 1863, about 7:00 am, the Union forces engaged the Confederates and the Battle of Champion Hill began. Pemberton’s force drew up into a defensive line along a crest of a ridge overlooking Jackson Creek. Pemberton was unaware that one Union column was moving along the Jackson Road against his unprotected left flank. For protection, Pemberton posted Brig. Gen. Stephen D. Lee’s men atop Champion Hill where they could watch for the reported Union column moving to the crossroads. Lee spotted the Union troops and they soon saw him. If this force was not stopped, it would cut the Rebels off from their Vicksburg base. Pemberton received warning of the Union movement and sent troops to his left flank. Union forces at the Champion House moved into action and emplaced artillery to begin firing. When Grant arrived at Champion Hill, around 10:00 am, he ordered the attack to begin. By 11:30 am, Union forces had reached the Confederate main line and about 1:00 pm, they took the crest while the Rebels retired in disorder. The Federals swept forward, capturing the crossroads and closing the Jackson Road escape route. One of Pemberton’s divisions (Bowen’s) then counterattacked, pushing the Federals back beyond the Champion Hill crest before their surge came to a halt. Grant then counterattacked, committing forces that had just arrived from Clinton by way of Bolton. Pemberton’s men could not stand up to this assault, so he ordered his men from the field to the one escape route still open: the Raymond Road crossing of Bakers Creek. Brig. Gen. Lloyd Tilghman’s brigade formed the rearguard, and they held at all costs, including the loss of Tilghman. In the late afternoon, Union troops seized the Bakers Creek Bridge, and by midnight, they occupied Edwards. The Confederates were in full retreat towards Vicksburg. If the Union forces caught these Rebels, they would destroy them.

Result(s): Union victory.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Other Names: None

Location: Warren County, Mississippi

Campaign: Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg (1863)

Date(s): May 18-July 4, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant [US]; Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton [CS]

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

Estimated Casualties: 35,825 total (US 4,550; CS 31,275)

Description: In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant’s successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.

Result(s): Union victory.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Other Names:

Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Campaign: Union Campaign to Conquer Tennessee

Date: 23-25 November 1863

Principal Commanders: Numerous Prominent Commanders Involved

Forces Engaged: Army of the Cumberland; Army of the Tennessee

Estimated Casualties: Union losses in the several engagements about Chattanooga were 753 killed, 4,722 wounded and 349 missing; Confederate losses were 361 killed, 2,180 wounded and 6,142 captured, 239 of whom were commissioned officers

Description: After the battle of Chickamauga the Union forces retired to Chattanooga, where for some time they were virtually in a state of siege. Although rifle-pits and earthworks were constructed to keep the Confederates from getting into the city, Bragg promptly moved up and constructed rifle-pits and earthworks to keep the Federals from getting out. The Confederate lines were gradually extended until they reached from the Chickamauga river above the city to the valley west of Lookout mountain, where Longstreet’s corps cut off communication with Bridgeport. This made it extremely difficult to obtain supplies, the only route open being through the Sequatchie valley, and there they must be brought sixty miles in wagons, over rough roads. The situation was made worse, when, on October 1, Wheeler’s cavalry made a raid upon the line of supplies at Anderson’s cross-roads, where he captured a number of trains loaded with rations for the army, killed most of the mules and burned over 300 wagons. The loss of these supplies, and the arrival of bad roads with the wet fall season, reduced the daily rations until the smallest fragments of crackers and grains of corn were eagerly seized by the soldiers to stay the pangs of hunger. This unhappy condition of affairs was relieved by the capture of Brown’s ferry on October 27, and the opening of a road to Kelley’s ferry.

During this time a number of changes were made in the army and McCook and Crittenden, who had commanded the 20th and 21st Corps at the battle of Chickamauga, were relieved from their commands and ordered north to appear before a court of inquiry regarding their conduct in that engagement. The two corps were then united to form the 4th Army Corps, which was placed under the command of Maj.Gen. Gordon Granger. By an order of the War Department, under date of October 16, the Departments of the Cumberland, the Ohio and the Tennessee were consolidated into the Military Division of the Mississippi, and Maj.Gen. U.S. Grant was assigned to the command of the new division. By the same order Thomas succeeded Rosecrans in command of the Army of the Cumberland. This army was made up of the 4th corps (Granger’s), consisting of Cruft’s, Sheridan’s and Wood’s divisions; the 11th Corps, Maj.Gen. O.O. Howard, consisting of the divisions of Von Steinwehr and Schurz; Geary’s division of the 12th Corps; the 14th Corps, Maj.Gen. John M. Palmer, embracing the divisions of Johnson, Davis and Baird; the engineer troops, under command of Brig.Gen. W.F. Smith; the artillery reserve, commanded by Brig.Gen. J.M. Brannan; the cavalry, under Col. Eli Long, and the post of Chattanooga (three regiments), under Col. John W. Parkhurst.

That portion of the Army of the Tennessee which participated in the operations around Chattanooga consisted of the 15th corps, commanded by Maj.Gen. Frank P. Blair, including the divisions of Osterhaus, Morgan L. Smith and Ewing, and John E. Smith’s division of the 17th Corps, the whole being under the command of Maj.Gen. W.T. Sherman. Owing to changes, however, Sherman’s immediate command at Chattanooga consisted of the 11th Corps, Davis, Division of the 14th, the 2nd and 4th Divisions of the 15th, and the 2nd Division of the 17th Maj.Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding the 11th and 12th Corps, had under his immediate command the divisions of Cruft, Geary and Osterhaus, and detachments from the 14th corps. The effective strength of the Union forces at Chattanooga was from 60,000 to 70,000 men.

The Confederate army had also undergone some reorganization. Although Bragg had received reinforcements after the battle of Chickamauga, he depleted his forces almost on the eve of battle by sending Longstreet’s Corps some 12,000 strong, and about 5,000 cavalry under Wheeler, against the Army of the Ohio, under Gen. Burnside, at Knoxville. On November 23, the Confederate troops around Chattanooga were Hardee’s Corps, consisting of the divisions of Cheatham, Stevenson, Cleburne and Walker; Breckenridge’s corps, including Hindman’s and Breckenridge’s divisions the latter now commanded by Brig.Gen. W.B. Bate; the reserve artillery, under Capt. F.H. Robertson, and about seven regiments of cavalry, the entire force numbering in the neighborhood of 45,000 men of all arms.

After the opening of the road to Kelley’s ferry, by which supplies were assured, Grant turned his attention to the work of driving the enemy from his works in front. The Confederates had four lines of breastworks. The first was along the crest of Orchard knob, or Indian hill. Half a mile in the rear of this, near the foot of Missionary Ridge, was the second line. The third was about halfway up the slope, while the fourth and heaviest was along the crest of Missionary Ridge. The total length of the line was about 12 miles, with the right resting on the north end of Missionary Ridge and the left on Lookout Mountain. The Federal line of entrenchments was about a mile from the town, extending from the mouth of Citico Creek above to the bank of the river near the mouth of Chattanooga Creek below. All the elevations along the line were strongly fortified and well supplied with artillery. One of the strongest of these was called Fort Wood, which was almost in front of the enemy’s strongest position on the ridge. It was equipped with 22 pieces of artillery, most of which were capable of throwing shells to the enemy’s second line.

Late in October Grant ordered Sherman, then at Eastport, Mississippi, to move at once to Bridgeport, Tennessee, and then push on to Chattanooga. Sherman reported in person on November 15, and with him and Thomas the plan of battle was arranged. Sherman was to move his troops via Brown’s ferry, keeping under cover of the woods, to a point opposite the mouth of the Chickamauga, where he was to cross and on the 21st assault the enemy’s works on the north end of the ridge. Hooker, who had recently come from the Army of the Potomac with about 20,000 men, was to hold his position on the right, in Lookout Valley, with Geary’s and part of Cruft’s Divisions, to prevent the Confederate left from reinforcing the troops on the ridge. Thomas was to concentrate his troops in the valley well to the left, leaving one division to make a show of attacking the Confederate force in the upper part of the valley and men enough to defend the fortifications. As soon as Sherman began his assault Thomas was to move forward with his left, effect a junction with Sherman, and sweep the Confederates from the ridge. Howard was ordered to take a position on the 20th on the north bank of the Tennessee River, opposite the town and near the pontoon bridge, from which point he could move to the support of either Thomas or Sherman. Long’s cavalry was to protect Sherman’s left flank as far as might be necessary, then cross the Chickamauga and damage the enemy’s line of communication as much as possible. It was expected that Sherman would be in position on the 19th, but muddy roads and floods retarded his movements. The breaking of the bridge at Brown’s ferry cut off Osterhaus’ division, which was then ordered to report to Hooker, and Davis’ division was ordered to join Sherman in its stead. Sherman’s movements across Lookout Valley had been discovered by the enemy on Sunday, the 22nd, and upon learning this Thomas ordered Howard to cross over into the town, in order to give the Confederates the impression that his command was Sherman, coming to reinforce Chattanooga. The ruse worked successfully. Howard crossed in full view of the enemy stationed on Lookout Mountain and took a position in the rear of Thomas. This little trick enabled Sherman to proceed according to the original program, and late on the 23d he reached the position from which he was to cross the river. W.F. Smith had prepared a number of pontoons in the north Chickamauga Creek, where they were kept concealed from the enemy until the time came to use them. Giles A. Smith’s brigade was quietly ferried over, captured the pickets, and by daylight on the 24th Sherman had about 8,000 men entrenched on the east side of the Tennessee. A pontoon bridge was then thrown across the river and by 1 pm his whole force was over, prepared for the attack on Missionary Ridge.

On the 20th Grant received the following communication from Bragg: “As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early withdrawal.” This was doubtless intended to convey the impression that an attack was contemplated. Two days later a deserter came into the Union lines bringing the information that Bragg was falling back. He was mistaken, however, having formed his conclusions from the fact that Buckner’s Division was that day sent to reinforce Longstreet. In order to test the truth of the report Grant directed Thomas to move out early on the 23d, drive in the Confederate pickets and make the enemy develop his lines. Accordingly Granger and Palmer, supported by Howard, moved out directly in front of Fort Wood and drove in the pickets from Chattanooga to Citico Creeks. About 1 pm Sheridan’s and P.M. Wood’s divisions advanced at a double-quick, drove in the reserves and carried the line of works on Orchard knob before the Confederates were fully aware of their intentions. In this assault about 200 prisoners were taken. Granger immediately occupied the ridge, with Palmer in a threatening position on the right and Howard on the left, and the first line of the enemy’s works was permanently in the possession of the Federals. The hill was fortified, the guns from Orchard Knob assisting materially in the attack on Missionary Ridge the following day.

Shortly after noon on the 24th Sherman formed his column for an advance on Missionary ridge, with M.L. Smith on the left, J.E. Smith in the center and Ewing on the right. A drizzling rain was falling and the clouds hung low over the valley, concealing the movement from the enemy’s tower of observation on Lookout Mountain. The three divisions, en echelon, each preceded by a strong line of skirmishers, soon gained the foothills. Then the skirmishers, closely followed by their supports, crept up the face of the hill, and by 3:30 pm the north end of Missionary Ridge was in possession of the Union troops. Up to this time Sherman had been under the impression that the ridge was one continuous elevation, but he now found himself on two high points with a deep gorge between his position and the hill over the tunnel on the Chattanooga & Cleveland railroad, which was his main objective point. The two hills had been carried without loss, as but a small force of the enemy had been stationed there, and this force had retired after a slight skirmish as the Federals swept up the hill. About 4 pm the enemy made a demonstration on Sherman’s left and a sharp engagement followed with artillery and musketry, the Confederates finally being repulsed. In this skirmish Gen. Giles Smith was severely wounded and the command of his brigade fell on Col. Tupper. During the night the hills taken by Sherman were entrenched and held by one brigade from each of his three divisions, ready for the assault on the opposite hill the next morning.

While these events were transpiring at Orchard Knob and the north end of Missionary Ridge Hooker had not been idle on the right. Late on the 23d he received orders to make a strong demonstration the next morning against the Confederate forces on Lookout Mountain, to draw Bragg’s attention in that direction, in order to enable Sherman to gain his position unobserved. Later he was directed by Thomas to carry the point of the mountain if the demonstration should develop the practicability of such a movement. The Confederate force on the mountain consisted of six brigades under Stevenson, the greater portion being posted on the northern slope, about halfway between the palisades and the Tennessee river, where a line of earthworks had been thrown up, while lower down was a line of rifle-pits, redoubts, etc. constructed with a view of repelling any assault from the town or from Lookout valley. Early on the morning of the 24th Geary’s Division and Whitaker’s Brigade of Cruft’s Division moved up Lookout Creek to Wauhatchie, where a crossing was effected, and then marched down the right bank, sweeping the enemy’s pickets before them. As soon as Geary was well under way Grose’s brigade advanced upon the Confederates at the bridge near the railroad, drove them away, and commenced repairing the bridge. The skirmishing at this point alarmed the enemy on the mountain, and soon lines of men could be seen filing down the slope to man the rifle-pits and entrenchments. The skirmish at the bridge and a heavy mist which overhung the mountain, concealed Geary’s movements until he was on the enemy’s flank and threatening their rear. Meantime artillery had been placed by Hooker’s orders to cover the Confederate works. Wood’s Brigade went about 800 yards up the stream and built a second bridge, which was completed by the time Geary had reached his position on the enemy’s flank. At 11 am Wood and Grose crossed, joined Geary’s left and moved down the valley. At noon the advance had driven the Confederates around the peak of the mountain. Geary was ordered to halt and reform his lines at this point, but his men, intent on nothing but victory, pursued the panic stricken enemy on up the mountain. On the high ground to the right was Cobham’s Brigade, between the main line of the enemy’s defense and the palisades, pouring an incessant fire into the Confederates, while Ireland’s Brigade was closely pressing them on the flank. Close behind these two brigades came Whitaker and Creighton making the success of the Union arms certain and irresistible. Reinforcements were rushed forward to the enemy only to meet the fate of those who had preceded them, and after two or three sharp engagements the plateau was cleared. The last stand was made at the Craven house, where another body of reinforcements was added, but they were driven from this position and fled in confusion down to the valley. It was now 2 pm. The clouds, which had hung over the mountain top in the morning, had settled down until the valley was veiled from view. Those below could hear the rattle of musketry and the shouts of victory as the Federal forces pressed on toward the summit, but they could see nothing of what was taking place. This was the “Battle above the Clouds,” which has since become famous in song and story. Hooker immediately fortified his position and about 4 o’clock sent word to Thomas that it was impregnable. Carlin’s Brigade was sent to relieve Geary, whose troops were almost exhausted, and during the night repulsed an attempt to break the lines on the right. At sunrise on the 25th the Stars and Stripes were unfurled by the 8th Kentucky on the summit of the mountain. During the night the Confederates had abandoned the mountain, leaving behind them about 20,000 rations, all the camp and garrison equipage of three brigades, etc.

On the 24th Grant established his headquarters on Orchard Knob and about midnight sent word to Sherman to begin the attack at daylight. At the same time Hooker was ordered to push forward toward Rossville, take possession of the pass, and then move against Bragg’s left and rear. On the morning of the 25th Bragg’s entire army was posted along Missionary ridge, extending from Tunnel Hill to Rossville, Lookout Mountain and the valley being abandoned. Sherman began his attack with Corse’s Brigade of Ewing’s Division, while Cockerill Alexander and Lightburn were to hold the hill taken on the 24th. Lightburn was to send one regiment to cooperate with Corse, Morgan L. Smith was to move along the east base of the ridge, his right connecting with Corse, and Col. Loomis was to move along the west base, supported by two reserve brigades of J.E. Smith’s Division. At sunrise Corse began his forward movement and advanced to a secondary crest about 80 yards from the enemy’s entrenchments. This crest he held by calling up his reserves, and sent for reinforcements. Owing to the narrowness of the crest and the fact that it was covered by the enemy’s fire a large force there was deemed unadvisable. Corse assaulted vigorously, maintaining a heavy contest for over an hour, but continued to hold the ground he had taken in his first attack. On the east side of the ridge M.L. Smith gained ground, while on the west Loomis managed to secure a position abreast of the tunnel, from which he could harass the Confederates, thus relieving the pressure at the north end of the ridge. The batteries of Callender and Wood, on the hills held by Ewing and Lightburn, and two pieces of Dillon’s battery with Alexander’s brigade, did all they could to clear the hill, but were compelled to direct their fire with great care to avoid endangering the Federal troops. About 10 am the fight raged furiously and Corse was severely wounded, the command of the brigade devolving on Col. Walcutt of the 46th Ohio. The fight was continued at the north end by Sherman’s troops, with varying results, until about 3 pm. In his report he says: “I had watched for the attack of General Thomas, early in the day. Column after column of the enemy was streaming toward me. Gun after gun poured its concentric shot on us from every hill and spur that gave a view of any part of the ground held by us.”

In carrying out his part of the order of the day, Hooker was delayed for several hours at Chattanooga creek, where the enemy had destroyed the bridge. As soon as the stringers of a new bridge were in position Osterhaus crossed with his infantry. The 27th Missouri, deployed as skirmishers, pushed forward to the gorge in Missionary Ridge, where they developed a considerable force of the enemy. This regiment was directed to keep the Confederates engaged in front, while Woods, brigade moved to the right of the ridge and four regiments of Williamson’s to the left. Two regiments of the latter brigade were posted on the road to Chattanooga to guard against a surprise from that direction. The Confederates, finding that the flanks were turned, hastily evacuated the gap, leaving large quantities of ammunition, a house full of commissary stores, several wagons, ambulances, etc. By this time the bridge was completed and the remainder of the troops had crossed the creek. Osterhaus was ordered to move with his division along the east side of the ridge, Cruft along the crest, and Geary in the valley on the west side. In ascending the ridge Cruft encountered the enemy’s skirmishers. The 9th and 36th Indiana were thrown forward, charged and drove them back, while the rest of the column formed in support. Then all three divisions, Osterhaus, Cruft and Geary advanced, driving everything before them and capturing a number of prisoners, Osterhaus alone taking 2,000.

Grant was waiting for Hooker to reach the Confederate left at Rossville before moving against the center. From an early hour the divisions of Wood and Sheridan had been under arms, the men anxiously waiting for the order to move forward. The destruction of the bridge had not only delayed Hooker, but had also delayed the attack of Thomas for which Sherman had looked “early in the day.” The signal for the advance was six cannon-shots, to be fired in quick succession from headquarters on Orchard Knob. At 2:30 pm Baird’s Division was sent out from the right of Orchard Knob to reinforce Sherman. A half-hour later Grant saw that Sherman’s condition was growing more critical and decided to wait no longer to hear from Hooker. The six guns boomed out and with a cheer Wood’s and Sheridan’s men swept across the valley carrying the enemy’s first line of works. Here they were supposed to stop and reform, but like Hooker’s men at Lookout Mountain the day before, they rushed on over the second line. In his account of the engagement in “Battles and Leaders,” Grant thus describes this charge: “Without awaiting further orders or stopping to reform, on our troops went to the second line of works over that and on for the crest – thus effectually carrying out my orders of the 18th for the battle and of the 24th for this charge. I watched their progress with intense interest. The fire along the rebel line was terrific. Cannon and musket balls filled the air, but the damage done was in small proportion to the ammunition used. The pursuit continued until the crest was reached, and soon our men were seen climbing over the Confederate barrier at different points in front of both Sheridan’s and Wood’s Divisions. The retreat of the enemy along most of his line was precipitate, and the panic so great that Bragg and his officers lost all control over their men. Many were captured and thousands threw away their arms in their flight.”

Thus ended the battle of Missionary Ridge and the siege of Chattanooga. The broken and shattered Confederate army was pursued into Georgia, being routed at various points and more prisoners taken.

Result(s): Union victory.

Jonesborough, Georgia

Other Names: None

Location: Clayton County, Georgia

Campaign: Atlanta Campaign (1864)

Date(s): August 31 – September 1, 1864

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman [US]; Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee [CS]

Forces Engaged: Six corps [US]; two corps [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 3,149 total (US 1,149; CS 2,000)

Description: Sherman had successfully cut Hood’s supply lines in the past by sending out detachments, but the Confederates quickly repaired the damage. In late August, Sherman determined that if he could cut Hood’s supply lines -the Macon & Western and the Atlanta & West Point Railroads- the Rebels would have to evacuate Atlanta. Sherman, therefore, decided to move six of his seven infantry corps against the supply lines. The army began pulling out of its positions on August 25 to hit the Macon & Western Railroad between Rough and Ready and Jonesborough. To counter the move, Hood sent Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee with two corps to halt and possibly rout the Union troops, not realizing Sherman’s army was there in force. On August 31, Hardee attacked two Union corps west of Jonesborough but was easily repulsed. Fearing an attack on Atlanta, Hood withdrew one corps from Hardee’s force that night. The next day, a Union corps broke through Hardee’ s troops which retreated to Lovejoy’s Station, and on the night of September 1, Hood evacuated Atlanta. Sherman did cut Hood’s supply line but failed to destroy Hardee’s command.

Result(s): Union victory.

Nashville, Tennessee

Other Names: None

Location: Davidson County, Tennessee

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.

Selma, Alabama

Other Names: None

Location: Dallas County, Alabama

Campaign: Wilson’s Raid in Alabama and Georgia (1865)

Date(s): April 2, 1865

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson [US]; Lt. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest [CS]

Forces Engaged: Two cavalry divisions [US]; troops in city (approx. 5,000 men) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 3,019 total (US 319; CS 2,700)

Description: Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson, commanding three divisions of Union cavalry, about 13,500 men, led his men south from Gravelly Springs, Alabama, on March 22, 1865. Opposed by Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, Wilson skillfully continued his march and eventually defeated him in a running battle at Ebenezer Church, on April 1. Continuing towards Selma, Wilson split his command into three columns. Although Selma was well-defended, the Union columns broke through the defenses at separate points forcing the Confederates to surrender the city, although many of the officers and men, including Forrest and Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor, escaped. Selma demonstrated that even Forrest, whom some had considered invincible, could not stop the unrelenting Union movements deep into the Southern Heartland.

Result(s): Union victory.

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