This Week in the American Civil War: November 25-December 1, 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 November 25, 1863


Federal Major General Ulysses Grant ordered Major General William T. Sherman to move against Tunnel Hill and the north end of Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Major General Joseph Hooker was to move from Lookout Mountain to try to cut off a Confederate retreat into Georgia or to follow the enemy. Major General George Thomas was to move into the center when Sherman reached the ridge, where General Braxton Bragg’s Confederates were dug in though weakened by the loss of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s corps who were dispatched to Knoxville.

Soon after sunrise, Sherman’s troops attacked without success. Heavy fighting continued until midday which found the Confederates still in control of Missionary Ridge.

In the early afternoon, Grant ordered Thomas to move towards the lower Confederate breastworks near the foot of steep, ravine-broken Missionary Ridge. Led by the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, four Federal divisions overwhelmed the emplacements on the lower slopes and charged up the hundreds of feet of rock and bush-incrusted incline. With the Confederate line on Missionary Ridge cut in several places, Bragg’s army staggered back towards Chickamauga Creek. Sheridan’s division pursued but was held in check by the retreating Confederates.

For a major battle, casualties were fairly low. The Federals engaged more than 56,000 troops and sustained losses of 753 killed, 4722 wounded and 349 missing for a total of 5824. Confederates engaged around 46,000 and lost 361 killed, 2160 wounded and 4146 missing for a total of 6667.

Thursday November 26, 1863


The major fighting for Chattanooga was over, but Major Generals William T. Sherman and George H. Thomas pursued the forces of Confederate General Braxton Bragg through Chickamauga Station towards Graysville and Ringgold. Severe fighting in the rearguard action occurred at Chickamauga Station, Pea Vine Valley and Pigeon Hill, Tennessee along with Graysville, Georgia.

The front on the Rapidan River in Virginia was coming to life. Major General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan in an attempt to turn Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s right flank. Skirmishing flared at Raccoon Ford and Morton’s Ford, as pickets carried the word to the Army of Northern  Virginia.

In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln was still confined to his room because of his affliction with varioloid.

Friday November 27, 1863

South of the Rapidan River, Confederate General Robert E. Lee quickly moved eastward to block Federal Major General George G. Meade’s new offensive. Skirmishing occurred at Paynes’ Farm, Locust Grove, New Hope Church and near Wilderness Church, Virginia. Meade headed towards the small valley of Mine Run, and Lee strongly posted the Army of Northern Virginia. Fighting also occurred at Catlett’s Station, Virginia.

In the West, fighting at Ringgold Gap and Taylor’s Ridge, Georgia ended the Chattanooga Campaign.

In Columbus, Ohio, Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and several of his officers escaped from the Ohio State Penitentiary and managed to reach Confederate territory. This occurred on the same day that Morgan’s wife gave birth to their daughter, who died before he was able to return home. 

Saturday November 28, 1863

In Virginia, Federal Major General George G. Meade probed the strong Confederate positions along Mine Run. There was considerable skirmishing that occurred along the lines.

In Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, artillery firing against Fort Sumter resumed with 1,307 shells fired between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4.

Sunday November 29, 1863


In the early dawn, Confederates of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s command drove at Fort Sanders, near Knoxville, Tennessee, in an attempt to break Federal Major General Ambrose Burnside’s defensive lines and take the city before Federal reinforcements could arrive. Against the earthworks, the Confederates hurled themselves over the frozen and sleet-covered ground. The Southerners managed to plant their flag in the fort’s parapet but eventually were forced to withdraw. It was Longstreet’s last major attempt to penetrate Knoxville.

Monday November 30, 1863


In northwest Georgia, Confederate General Braxton Bragg gathered his defeated army while Federal Major General Ulysses Grant solidified his position around Chattanooga while sending many of his men towards beleaguered Knoxville, Tennessee.

From Richmond, Virginia, Confederate General Samuel Cooper wired Bragg at Dalton, Georgia, accepting Bragg’s resignation and informed him that he would be relieved of his command by Lieutenant General William J. Hardee.

Tuesday December 1, 1863

In Virginia, Federal Major General George G. Meade gave up trying to penetrate General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate line along Mine Run and the Army of the Potomac withdrew across the Rapidan River headed for their winter quarters.

Suffering from typhoid fever, Belle Boyd, the Confederate spy, was released from prison in Washington, sent to Richmond, and told to stay out of Union lines.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of November 25-December 1, 1863 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Mine Run Campaign.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Led the Union assault on Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee and then supported the pursuit of Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army to Ringgold, Georgia.

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 Tunnel Hill and Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was in the pursuit of Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army to Graysville, Tennessee.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route from Canton, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee for duty.

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 from Huntsville to Bellefonte, Alabama until January 7, 1863.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D on duty at Pembina until May 5, 1864.

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 awaiting further orders.

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 – Participated in the Mine Run Campaign.

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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