This Week in the American Civil War: October 28 – November 3, 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 October 28, 1863

During the night of Oct. 28-29, Confederates under Lieutenant General James Longstreet, concerned over the attempts to relieve Chattanooga, Tennessee, attacked Brigadier General John W. Geary’s troops at Wauhatchie in Lookout Valley. Despite an intense drive with larger numbers, the Confederates failed and by 4 a.m. the engagement ended in confusion. Northern losses were 78 killed, 327 wounded and 15 missing for a total of 420 casualties. Confederates lost an estimated 34 killed, 305 wounded and 69 missing for an aggregate loss of 408.

Thursday October 29, 1863

For the last three days of October, Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, continued to receive a heavy pounding from the Federal bombardment. There were 33 casualties among the rubble, pounded by 2961 rounds. Still, the Confederate standard flew over the fort.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis approved a request from Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest to be detached from service with General Braxton Bragg’s army to go into north Mississippi and west Tennessee. Davis himself was in Atlanta writing to various generals regarding the many controversies that had arisen in the West.

Friday October 30, 1863

The shuddering thunder of guns echoed over Charleston Harbor as the Federal artillery continued to blast Fort Sumter. Elsewhere, skirmishing occurred at Fourteen Mile Creek, Indian Territory; Opelousas, Louisiana; Fort’s Mill near New Berne, North Carolina; Catlett’s Station, Virginia; Salyersville, Kentucky and Leiper’s Ferry on the Holston River in Tennessee. Unconditional unionists of Arkansas met at Fort Smith to name a representative to Congress. 

Saturday October 31, 1863

As the third day of tremendous fire broke out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, three skirmishes broke out on other fronts – at Washington, Louisiana; Barton’s Station, Alabama and at Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Sunday November 1, 1863

Fort Sumter came under a hail of terrific fire as 786 rounds of artillery fire were thrown against the Charleston Harbor garrison wounding one man.

Near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Federal Major General Ulysses Grant’s new supply line began to function and the siege was no longer a true siege.

Other action occurred at Catlett’s Station, Virginia; Eastport and Fayetteville, Tennessee; Quinn and Jackson’s Mill, Mississippi; and Federal forces under Major General William B. Franklin retired from Opelousas to New Iberia, Louisiana, ending the operation in the Bayou Teche area.

Monday November 2, 1863

President Abraham Lincoln received an invitation to make a “few appropriate remarks” at the dedication of the new Soldier’s National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although the timeframe was short, with only seventeen days to the dedication ceremony, Lincoln accepted the invitation somewhat as an afterthought.

Federal Major General Nathaniel P. Banks expeditionary force in the Rio Grande occupied Brazos Island in its effort to gain a foothold in Texas.

Skirmishes occurred in Louisiana at Bayou Bourbeau; Bates Township, Arkansas; Corinth, Mississippi; along with Centreville and Piney Factory, Tennessee.

Brigadier General John McNeil assumed command of the Federal District of the Frontier.

Tuesday November 3, 1863

The sound of guns continued to crash over Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, as 661 more Federal rounds added to the total of artillery fire already expended on Fort Sumter.

In Louisiana, a fierce engagement was fought at Bayou Bourbeau on Grand Coteau, and a skirmish occurred at nearby Carrion Crow Bayou. Confederates drove back Federal troops but reinforcements regained the position at Bayou Bourbeau. Federal losses numbered 604 including 536 captured or missing, while Confederates sustained 181 aggregate casualties.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of October 28 – November 3, 1863 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Bristow Station, Virginia until November 7, 1863.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee until November 23, 1863.

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 – Participated in operations against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in Alabama until November 23, 1863.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Canton, Mississippi until November 14, 1863.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry –On duty in St. Louis, Missouri until April 20, 1864.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Moved to Jefferson City, Missouri for duty guarding railroad from Kansas Line to near St. Louis. Stationed at Rolla, Jefferson City, LaMine Bridge, Warrensburg, Independence, Knob Noster, Kansas City, Waynesville and Franklin with headquarters in Jefferson City until April 14, 1864, and at Rolla from April 14 – May 1864.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On garrison duty and provost duty at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri until April 21, 1864.

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 along the Tennessee River until November 14, 1863.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Organized at Fort Snelling and St. Paul. Companies A, B, C and D marched to Pembina for duty until November 13, 1863.

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

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty in the Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee until November 23, 1863.

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 at Bristow, Virginia until November 7, 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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