This Week in the American Civil War: September 9-15, 1863

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)


Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday September 9, 1863

Confederate General Braxton Bragg and his Army of Tennessee had left Chattanooga. Realizing that Federal Major General William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland was cutting in behind him, Bragg reluctantly abandoned the city and withdrew into Georgia. Troops of Rosecrans’ army entered, while others marched ahead in an attempt to push Bragg further south. The Federals were spread out over forty miles of mountains south of Chattanooga, and soon learned that Bragg was at Lafayette, Georgia, much closer than they suspected. The Union army did not hold the rail and river center of Chattanooga and a skirmish broke out at nearby Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

Thursday September 10, 1863

Still another important Confederate center fell, as Southerners evacuated Little Rock, capital of Arkansas. Major General Sterling Price’s Confederates withdrew to Rockport and Arkadelphia. Federal occupation severely threatened Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith’s Confederate Trans-Mississippi area, already under attack from Federal Major General Frederick Steele’s expedition.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Federals operated from Alpine towards Rome, Lafayette and Summerville, probing Confederate positions south of Chattanooga. Bragg ordered an attack on isolated Federal forces in McLemore’s Cove, but it failed to materialize.

Friday September 11, 1863

Considerable reconnaissance and skirmishing continued in northwest Georgia with operations toward Rome and skirmishes near Blue Bird Gap, Davis’s Crossroads, Rossville, Ringgold, and around Lee and Gordon’s Mills. The Federal advance was gradually building towards a climax. Confederate General Braxton Bragg again ordered an attack on detached Yankees but again it was not made.

President Abraham Lincoln turned down Major General Ambrose Burnside’s resignation, asked Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee to inaugurate a state government at once, and conferred with Edwin Stanton and Major General Henry W. Halleck, about the situation in Charleston. 

Saturday September 12, 1863

The probing, skirmishing and reconnaissance continued on the long front south of Chattanooga, with fighting at Alpine, Dirt Town, Leet’s Tanyard and on the Lafayette Road near the Chattooga River, Georgia. In the East Tennessee area of operations, a skirmish took place at Rheatown. Minor fighting occurred at South Mills, North Carolina; White Plains and Bristoe Station, Virginia; Roane County, West Virginia; Houston, Missouri; Brownsville, Arkansas and Stirling’s Plantation near Morganza, Louisiana.

Sunday September 13, 1863

The fairly quiet Virginia front became less so as Major General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac occupied Culpeper Court House. The Union move from the Rappahannock River to the Rapidan was brought about by a Confederate withdrawal by General Robert E. Lee, weakened from the loss of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s corps. Fighting broke out in the area of Brandy Station, Muddy Run, Culpeper Court House, Pony Mountain and Stevensburg, a much fought-over section.

Near Chattanooga, operations and skirmishes centered around Lee and Gordon’s Mills, towards Lafayette and near Summerville, Georgia. Major General Ulysses S. Grant was ordered to send all available aid from the Army of the Tennessee to help Major General William S. Rosecrans’ campaign against Confederate General Braxton Bragg near Chattanooga.

In South Carolina, Confederates captured a Union telegraph party near Lowndes’s Mill on the Combahee River, and southern cavalry seized twenty crewman of the U.S.S. Rattler while they attended church in Rodney, Mississippi.

Monday September 14, 1863

The skirmishing continued between the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers as Federal forces pushed against Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Fighting was at Somerville, Raccoon and Robertson’s fords and Rapidan Station. On the Chattanooga front, there was a skirmish near Lafayette, Georgia.

Tuesday September 15, 1863

In Georgia, both General Braxton Bragg and Major General William S. Rosecrans were concentrating their forces. Rosecrans drew in his scattered corps; while Bragg gathered all he could in preparation of taking action against Rosecrans. Skirmishing occurred at Trion Factory and Summerville, Georgia; as well as Catlett’s Gap on Pigeon Mountain.

On James Island near Charleston, South Carolina, a magazine at confederate Battery Cheves exploded, killing six men.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 9-15, 1863 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On detached duty in New York City until September 16, 1863.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march through the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River for the Chickamauga Campaign.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas, where they remained for garrison duty until April 28, 1864.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty at Helena, Arkansas until October 6, 1863.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Bear Creek, Mississippi until October 14, 1863.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Minnesota until June 9, 1864.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry –On garrison duty in Minnesota until October 7, 1863.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Minnesota until May 24,1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Minnesota until September 23, 1863.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty in Minnesota until October 7, 1863.

1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry “Mounted Rangers” – On duty at Fort Ripley and Fort Snelling until December 7, 1863.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On duty in McMinnville, Tennessee until September 30, 1863.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Organized at Fort Snelling and St. Paul. Companies A, B, C and D mustered in. On duty at Fort Snelling.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at Vicksburg, Mississippi, until April 4, 1864.

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – On the march through the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River for the Chickamauga Campaign.

3rd Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – Four sections on duty at Pembina, Fort Ripley, Fort Ridgely and Fort Snelling until June 5, 1864.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – On duty in Virginia until October 1863.

About civilwarweek

Member - Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Civil War reenactor and historian since 1993, holds Bachelor's Degree in History from Concordia University-St. Paul, currently pursuing Master's Degree in History at St. Cloud State University and is author of the forthcoming book, "Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man's Journey through the Civil War."
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