First Battle of Auburn

The First Battle of Auburn was fought on October 13, 1863, between Union infantry and Confederate cavalry forces at the start of the Bristoe Campaign during the American Civil War. A Union infantry column stumbled upon a Confederate cavalry reconnaissance party and a short, inconclusive fight ensued. The Confederate cavalry withdrew in the face of the superior Union force, but a much larger body of Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, attempting to raid a Union wagon train became entrapped by the column, forcing them to abandon the raid and hide in a ravine overnight awaiting Confederate infantry to come to their aid.

First Battle of Auburn Background

Following the conclusion of the Gettysburg Campaign, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and Union Army of the Potomac regrouped on their previous positions astride opposite banks of the Rapidan River. For the duration of the summer both armies remained inactive, reorganizing and resupplying after the devastation wrought at Gettysburg. In early September, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet was dispatched with two divisions to aid the Confederate war effort in the West. After the Confederate victory at Chickamauga, which Longstreet helped secure, Maj. Gen. George Meade was forced to send the XI and XII Corps to help secure Middle Tennessee. When Gen. Robert E. Lee learned of the reassignment of the two Union Corps he decided to go on the offensive and force the Army of the Potomac to give battle on ground of his choosing.

Lee's plan was much the same as that of the Northern Virginia Campaign the year prior: turn the Union right flank by threatening Washington, D.C., using a forced march to the west around the Union line. To that end Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell's and Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's corps were ordered to sweep around the Union right flank, Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, with three brigades of cavalry and infantry each, was to secure the Rapidan and prevent a Union advance into central Virginia, and Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was to lead the cavalry in advance of the infantry. The Confederate advance began on October 8 and was almost immediately detected by Union spies and the signaling station atop Cedar Mountain. Unsure of whether Lee was attempting to turn his right flank or make a retrograde movement toward Richmond, Meade ordered dispositions to counter either threat.

The offensive began on October 10 when Stuart led a diversionary attack on Brig. Gen. George A. Custer's division holding the Robinson River west of Culpeper Courthouse. This movement convinced Meade that Lee did not intend to fall back toward Richmond, and Meade moved back on Rappahannock Station to counter Lee's movement. On October 12 Confederate infantry were spotted at Amissville, convincing Meade that Lee planned to send his army through Thoroughfare Gap as he had in 1862. Accordingly, Meade retreated toward Centreville along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to defend Washington from such a movement. Lee, however, intended to converge on Warrenton and stay to the south of the Bull Run Mountains. On October 13, Stuart was dispatched to reconnoiter the position of the Union left flank as it withdrew toward Centreville.

Battle

At 10 a.m. on October 12, Stuart sent Brig. Gen. Lunsford L. Lomax's brigade east from Warrenton. Stuart followed an hour later with two divisions. Lomax stopped at Auburn to wait for Stuart and dispatched scouts further east who soon discovered Brig. Gen. John Buford's cavalry at Warrenton Junction, guarding the Federal wagon train advancing east by the O&A railroad. No scouts were dispatched to the south however, and the presence of the Union II and III Corps, which had become separated from the main body of the Union army due to confusion during the frequent repositioning of the past few days, marching north toward Auburn.

Stuart arrived at Auburn around 1 p.m. and then rode east to Catlett's Station to reconnoiter the Union wagon train, leaving Lomax to hold Auburn and dispatching his aide, Capt. William B. Blackford to scout to the south of Auburn. Blackford got lost and failed to discover the approaching Federal column. Stuart, meanwhile, impressed by the size of the wagon train, sent a dispatch to Fitzhugh Lee at Warrenton, ordering him to aid in the attack. Lee left Warrenton at 4 p.m. and followed Stuart's path through Auburn.

The Union column led by Maj. Gen. William H. French's III Corps, followed by Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's II Corps, approached Auburn about 4:15 p.m. French had dispatched his cavalry under Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick to the north to guard his left flank from Confederate cavalry at Warrenton, leaving the column without the cavalry at its head, thus allowing it to stumble into the Confederates at Auburn. French and his staff, at the head of the column, fired their revolvers at the Confederates as the infantry and artillery were brought up. Lomax attempted to charge the Federal line but a volley of canister shot drove back the assault. By 4:45 the fighting died down, just as Lee arrived from Warrenton. Seeing they were facing two infantry corps, Lee and Lomax withdrew to Warrenton.

First Battle of Auburn Aftermath

The short fight resulted in only about 50 casualties, but had deep repercussions for Stuart and the developing campaign. Blackford, finally alerted to the presence of the Federals, notified Stuart of the situation. Seeing that he was trapped between the II and III Corps to his northwest and the wagon train to the southeast, Stuart led his command, some 3,000 men and horses, five ordinance wagons, and seven artillery pieces, into a wooded ravine east of Auburn, only 300 yards (270 m) from Warren's bivouac. After dark, Stuart sent six scouts dressed in Federal uniforms through the Union lines to get word to Robert E. Lee. Lee accordingly dispatched Ewell to Auburn at dawn to rescue Stuart and his cavalry setting up the Second Battle of Auburn the following day.

First Battle of Auburn
Part of the American Civil War
Date October 13, 1863
Location Fauquier County, Virginia
Result Inconclusive
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
William H. French J.E.B. Stuart
Strength
2 Corps 3 Divisions
Casualties and losses
50 total US and CS 50 total US and CS

Battle of Blue Springs

The Battle of Blue Springs was a battle of the American Civil War, occurring on October 10, 1863, in Greene County, Tennessee.

Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, undertook an expedition into East Tennessee to clear the roads and passes to Virginia, and, if possible, secure the saltworks beyond Abingdon. In October, Confederate Brig. Gen. John S. Williams, with his cavalry force, set out to disrupt Union communications and logistics. He wished to take Bulls Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. On October 3, while advancing on Bulls Gap, he fought with Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter's Union Cavalry Division, XXIII Corps, at Blue Springs, about nine miles from Bulls Gap, on the railroad. Carter, not knowing how many of the enemy he faced, withdrew.

Carter and Williams skirmished for the next few days. On October 10, Carter approached Blue Springs in force. Williams had received some reinforcements. The battle began about 10:00 a.m. with Union cavalry engaging the Confederates until afternoon while another mounted force attempted to place itself in a position to cut off a Confederate retreat. Captain Orlando M. Poe, the Chief Engineer, performed a reconnaissance to identify the best location for making an infantry attack. At 3:30 pm, Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's 1st Division, IX Corps, moved up to attack, which he did at 5:00 p.m. Ferrero's men broke into the Confederate line, causing heavy casualties, and advanced almost to the enemy's rear before being checked. After dark, the Confederates withdrew and the Federals took up the pursuit in the morning. Within days, Williams and his men had retired to Virginia. Burnside had launched the East Tennessee Campaign to reduce or extinguish Confederate influence in the area; Blue Springs helped fulfill that mission.

Battle of Blue Springs
Part of the American Civil War
Date October 10, 1863
Location Greene County, Tennessee
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States (Union) CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Ambrose E. Burnside James Longstreet
Units involved
Army of the Ohio Confederate Forces in East Tennessee
Casualties and losses
100 216

First Battle of Auburn

The First Battle of Auburn was fought on October 13, 1863, between Union infantry and Confederate cavalry forces at the start of the Bristoe Campaign during the American Civil War. A Union infantry column stumbled upon a Confederate cavalry reconnaissance party and a short, inconclusive fight ensued. The Confederate cavalry withdrew in the face of the superior Union force, but a much larger body of Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, attempting to raid a Union wagon train became entrapped by the column, forcing them to abandon the raid and hide in a ravine overnight awaiting Confederate infantry to come to their aid.

First Battle of Auburn Background

Following the conclusion of the Gettysburg Campaign, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and Union Army of the Potomac regrouped on their previous positions astride opposite banks of the Rapidan River. For the duration of the summer both armies remained inactive, reorganizing and resupplying after the devastation wrought at Gettysburg. In early September, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet was dispatched with two divisions to aid the Confederate war effort in the West. After the Confederate victory at Chickamauga, which Longstreet helped secure, Maj. Gen. George Meade was forced to send the XI and XII Corps to help secure Middle Tennessee. When Gen. Robert E. Lee learned of the reassignment of the two Union Corps he decided to go on the offensive and force the Army of the Potomac to give battle on ground of his choosing.

Lee's plan was much the same as that of the Northern Virginia Campaign the year prior: turn the Union right flank by threatening Washington, D.C., using a forced march to the west around the Union line. To that end Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell's and Lt. Gen. A.P. Hill's corps were ordered to sweep around the Union right flank, Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, with three brigades of cavalry and infantry each, was to secure the Rapidan and prevent a Union advance into central Virginia, and Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was to lead the cavalry in advance of the infantry. The Confederate advance began on October 8 and was almost immediately detected by Union spies and the signaling station atop Cedar Mountain. Unsure of whether Lee was attempting to turn his right flank or make a retrograde movement toward Richmond, Meade ordered dispositions to counter either threat.

The offensive began on October 10 when Stuart led a diversionary attack on Brig. Gen. George A. Custer's division holding the Robinson River west of Culpeper Courthouse. This movement convinced Meade that Lee did not intend to fall back toward Richmond, and Meade moved back on Rappahannock Station to counter Lee's movement. On October 12 Confederate infantry were spotted at Amissville, convincing Meade that Lee planned to send his army through Thoroughfare Gap as he had in 1862. Accordingly, Meade retreated toward Centreville along the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to defend Washington from such a movement. Lee, however, intended to converge on Warrenton and stay to the south of the Bull Run Mountains. On October 13, Stuart was dispatched to reconnoiter the position of the Union left flank as it withdrew toward Centreville.

Battle

At 10 a.m. on October 12, Stuart sent Brig. Gen. Lunsford L. Lomax's brigade east from Warrenton. Stuart followed an hour later with two divisions. Lomax stopped at Auburn to wait for Stuart and dispatched scouts further east who soon discovered Brig. Gen. John Buford's cavalry at Warrenton Junction, guarding the Federal wagon train advancing east by the O&A railroad. No scouts were dispatched to the south however, and the presence of the Union II and III Corps, which had become separated from the main body of the Union army due to confusion during the frequent repositioning of the past few days, marching north toward Auburn.

Stuart arrived at Auburn around 1 p.m. and then rode east to Catlett's Station to reconnoiter the Union wagon train, leaving Lomax to hold Auburn and dispatching his aide, Capt. William B. Blackford to scout to the south of Auburn. Blackford got lost and failed to discover the approaching Federal column. Stuart, meanwhile, impressed by the size of the wagon train, sent a dispatch to Fitzhugh Lee at Warrenton, ordering him to aid in the attack. Lee left Warrenton at 4 p.m. and followed Stuart's path through Auburn.

The Union column led by Maj. Gen. William H. French's III Corps, followed by Brig. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren's II Corps, approached Auburn about 4:15 p.m. French had dispatched his cavalry under Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick to the north to guard his left flank from Confederate cavalry at Warrenton, leaving the column without the cavalry at its head, thus allowing it to stumble into the Confederates at Auburn. French and his staff, at the head of the column, fired their revolvers at the Confederates as the infantry and artillery were brought up. Lomax attempted to charge the Federal line but a volley of canister shot drove back the assault. By 4:45 the fighting died down, just as Lee arrived from Warrenton. Seeing they were facing two Linkinfantry corps, Lee and Lomax withdrew to Warrenton.

First Battle of Auburn Aftermath

The short fight resulted in only about 50 casualties, but had deep repercussions for Stuart and the developing campaign. Blackford, finally alerted to the presence of the Federals, notified Stuart of the situation. Seeing that he was trapped between the II and III Corps to his northwest and the wagon train to the southeast, Stuart led his command, some 3,000 men and horses, five ordinance wagons, and seven artillery pieces, into a wooded ravine east of Auburn, only 300 yards (270 m) from Warren's bivouac. After dark, Stuart sent six scouts dressed in Federal uniforms through the Union lines to get word to Robert E. Lee. Lee accordingly dispatched Ewell to Auburn at dawn to rescue Stuart and his cavalry setting up the Second Battle of Auburn the following day.

First Battle of Auburn
Part of the American Civil War
Date October 13, 1863
Location Fauquier County, Virginia
Result Inconclusive
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
William H. French J.E.B. Stuart
Strength
2 Corps 3 Divisions
Casualties and losses
50 total US and CS 50 total US and CS

Battle of Blue Springs

The Battle of Blue Springs was a battle of the American Civil War, occurring on October 10, 1863, in Greene County, Tennessee.

Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, undertook an expedition into East Tennessee to clear the roads and passes to Virginia, and, if possible, secure the saltworks beyond Abingdon. In October, Confederate Brig. Gen. John S. Williams, with his cavalry force, set out to disrupt Union communications and logistics. He wished to take Bulls Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. On October 3, while advancing on Bulls Gap, he fought with Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter's Union Cavalry Division, XXIII Corps, at Blue Springs, about nine miles from Bulls Gap, on the railroad. Carter, not knowing how many of the enemy he faced, withdrew.

Carter and Williams skirmished for the next few days. On October 10, Carter approached Blue Springs in force. Williams had received some reinforcements. The battle began about 10:00 a.m. with Union cavalry engaging the Confederates until afternoon while another mounted force attempted to place itself in a position to cut off a Confederate retreat. Captain Orlando M. Poe, the Chief Engineer, performed a reconnaissance to identify the best location for making an infantry attack. At 3:30 pm, Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero's 1st Division, IX Corps, moved up to attack, which he did at 5:00 p.m. Ferrero's men broke into the Confederate line, causing heavy casualties, and advanced almost to the enemy's rear before being checked. After dark, the Confederates withdrew and the Federals took up the pursuit in the morning. Within days, Williams and his men had retired to Virginia. Burnside had launched the East Tennessee Campaign to reduce or extinguish Confederate influence in the area; Blue Springs helped fulfill that mission.

Battle of Blue Springs
Part of the American Civil War
Date October 10, 1863
Location Greene County, Tennessee
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States (Union) CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Ambrose E. Burnside James Longstreet
Units involved
Army of the Ohio Confederate Forces in East Tennessee
Casualties and losses
100 216

Battle of Davis's Cross Roads

The Battle of Davis's Cross Roads or Battle of Dug Gap, was fought September 10–11, 1863, in northwestern Georgia, as part of the Chickamauga Campaign of the American Civil War. It was more of a series of maneuvers and skirmishes than an actual battle and casualties were negligible.

In the initial stages of the campaign, Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland induced the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg to evacuate the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rosecrans dispatched three corps on three different roads toward northwestern Georgia. The corps on the center road was the XIV Corps under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas, which moved just across the border to Trenton, Georgia, and prepared to move on to Lafayette in pursuit of Bragg. Lafayette was the present location of Bragg's army; due to misinformation and poor intelligence, Rosecrans was convinced that Bragg was demoralized and was retreating to Dalton, Georgia, farther to the southeast. But once he realized that the Union forces had separated and were vulnerable, Bragg intended to attack Thomas, halt his advance, and defeat him.

Thomas's corps raced forward, seized the important gaps in Missionary Ridge and the Pigeon Mountains, and moved out into McLemore's Cove. Maj. Gen. James S. Negley's division, supported by Brig. Gen. Absalom Baird's division, was moving across the mouth of the cove on the Dug Gap road when Negley learned that Confederate units were concentrating around Dug Gap. Moving through determined resistance, he closed on the gap, withdrawing to Davis' Cross Roads in the evening of September 10 to await the supporting division.

Bragg had ordered Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman with his division to assault Negley in the flank at Davis's Cross Roads, while Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne's division forced its way through Dug Gap to strike Negley in front. Hindman was to receive reinforcements for this movement, but most of them did not arrive. The Confederate officers, therefore, met and decided that they could not attack in their present condition. The next morning, however, fresh troops did arrive, and the Confederates began to move on the Union line. The supporting Union division had by now joined Negley, and, hearing of a Confederate attack, the Union forces determined that a strategic withdrawal to Stevens Gap was in order. Negley first moved his division to the ridge east of West Chickamauga Creek, where it established a defensive line. The other division then moved through them to Stevens Gap and established a defensive line there. Both divisions awaited the rest of Thomas's corps. All of this was accomplished under constant pursuit and fire from the Confederates.

After his abortive attempt to attack one isolated Union corps, Bragg turned his attention to the corps to his north, the XXI Corps under Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, setting the stage for the bloody Battle of Chickamauga on September 19.

Battle of Davis's Cross Roads
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 10–11, 1863
Location Dade County and Walker County, Georgia
Result Inconclusive; Union division withdrew before being attacked
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
James S. Negley Thomas C. Hindman
John C. Breckinridge
Strength
2 divisions unknown
Casualties and losses


unknown

Battle of Bayou Fourche

The Battle of Bayou Fourche was a battle in the American Civil War. On September 10, 1863, Maj. Gen. Fred Steele, Army of Arkansas commander, sent Brig. Gen. John W. Davidson's cavalry division across the Arkansas River to move on Little Rock, while he took other troops to attack Confederates entrenched on the north side. In his thrust toward Little Rock, Davidson ran into Confederate troops at Bayou Fourche, Arkansas. Aided by Union artillery fire from the north side of the river, Davidson forced them out of their position and sent them fleeing back to Little Rock, which fell to Union troops that evening.

Bayou Fourche sealed Little Rock's fate. The fall of Little Rock further helped to contain the Confederate Trans-Mississippi theater, isolating it from the rest of the South.

Battle of Bayou Fourche
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 10, 1863
Location Pulaski County, Arkansas
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States (Union) CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
John W. Davidson John S. Marmaduke
Strength
Cavalry Division, Army of Arkansas, Arkansas Expedition District of Arkansas
Casualties and losses
72 Unknown

Battle of Fort Blair

The Battle of Fort Blair or Fort Baxter Massacre, or the Battle of Fort Baxter was a minor battle of the American Civil War, fought on October 6, 1863, near the present-day town of Baxter Springs, Kansas.

In late 1863, Quantrill's Raiders, a large Confederate guerrilla band, traveled south from Kansas along the Texas Road to winter in Texas. Numbering about 400, this group captured and killed two Union teamsters who had come from a small Federal Army post called Fort Blair.

Quantrill decided to attack Fort Blair and divided his force into two columns, one under him and the other commanded by a subordinate, David Poole. Poole and his men proceeded down the Texas Road, where they encountered Union soldiers, most of whom were African Americans. They chased and attacked the Union troops, killing some before the soldiers reached the earth and log Fort Blair.

Poole's column attacked the fort, but the garrison fought them off with the aid of a howitzer. Moving on the post from another direction, Quantrill's column happened to encounter a Union detachment escorting Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt, who was moving his command headquarters from Fort Scott eastward to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Taking the Union forces by surprise, Quantrill's column killed most of the detachment, including the military band, Maj. Henry Z. Curtis (son of Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis), and Johnny Fry (first official westbound rider of the Pony Express), a total of 103 men. Blunt and a few mounted men escaped and returned to Fort Scott. Blunt was removed from command for failing to protect his column, but he was soon restored. Union supporters called the killings a massacre; the conflict at Baxter Springs was characteristic of the vicious Kansas-Missouri border warfare.

Battle of Fort Blair
Part of the American Civil War
Date October 6, 1863
Location Cherokee County, Kansas
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
James B. Pond
James G. Blunt
William C. Quantrill
Strength
Detachments from three regiments and an escort Quantrill’s Raiders (approx. 400)
Casualties and losses
103 3

Battle of Blountville

The Battle of Blountville or Battle of Blountsville, was a battle of the American Civil War, occurring on September 22, 1863, in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

The battle occurred during a Union expedition into East Tennessee led by Major General Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, with the objective of clearing the roads and gaps to Virginia and securing the saltworks in southwestern Virginia. On September 22, Union Col. John W. Foster, with his cavalry and artillery, engaged Col. James E. Carter and his troops at Blountville. Foster attacked at noon and in the four-hour battle, shelled the town and initiated a flanking movement, compelling the Confederates to withdraw. Blountsville was the initial step in the Union’s attempt to force Confederate Maj. Gen. Sam Jones and his command to retire from East Tennessee.

The Sullivan County courthouse in Blountville was gutted by a fire that broke out during the shelling. It was rebuilt in 1866.
Battle of Blountville
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 22, 1863
Location Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States (Union) CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
John W. Foster James E. Carter
Units involved
2nd Brigade/4th Division/XXIII Corps 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment
Casualties and losses
27 165

Second Battle of Sabine Pass

The Second Battle of Sabine Pass took place on September 8, 1863, and was the result of a Union expedition into Confederate-controlled Texas during the American Civil War. It has often been credited as the most one-sided Confederate victory during the conflict.

During the summer of 1863, the president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, was overthrown and replaced by the emperor Maximilian, whose allegiance was with France. France had been openly sympathetic to the Confederate States of America earlier in the war, but had never matched its sympathy with diplomatic action. Now that a French government existed just south of the Rio Grande, the Confederates hoped to establish a fruitful route of entry for much-needed matériel.

United States President Abraham Lincoln was well aware of Confederate intentions and sent an expedition into Texas to establish a military presence and to discourage Maximilian from opening trade with the Confederacy. The Federal force was under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, a political general with little discernible command ability. Banks's original intent was to lead a combined Army-Navy expedition from the Mississippi River into the Red River. However, low water in the Red River prevented the Union gunboats from entering it. As a consequence, the expedition entered the Sabine River from the Gulf of Mexico. Banks ordered his subordinate, Major General William B. Franklin, to defeat a small Confederate detachment at Fort Griffin near the mouth of the river and capture Sabine City. The detachment consisted of forty-six infantrymen of the 1st Texas Heavy Artillery and six guns manned by the Jeff Davis Guards — all under the command of Lieutenant Richard "Dick" Dowling. Considering the dominant size of the Union expeditionary force, disposing of this fort was not expected to prove any great challenge.

On the day of the battle, United States Navy Captain Frederick Crocker entered the Sabine River with four gunboats, accompanied by 18 troop transports containing 5,000 federal infantrymen. Dowling's Texans had previously placed stakes in the river to act as markers for cannon fire. As the Union convoy entered among the stakes, the Confederates opened fire with deadly accuracy and wrought havoc on the vessels. The Union Army was forced to withdraw down the river after having lost two gunboats and 200 sailors captured. The Confederates are believed not to have suffered any casualties.

The Battle of Sabine Pass was of little tactical or strategic significance to the Civil War. A Confederate supply line from Mexico to Texas was never established, and in any case it could not have effectively supplied the states east of the Mississippi once the Union controlled the whole of that river after its victory at Vicksburg in July. The Confederacy was therefore forced to continue its reliance on blockade running to import valuable materials and resources.

Second Battle of Sabine Pass
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 8, 1863
Location Sabine Pass, Jefferson County, Texas
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
United States William B. Franklin
US Naval Jack 34 stars.svg Frederick Crocker
Confederate States of America Richard W. Dowling
Strength
Land:
5,000 infantry
Sea:
4 gunboats
18 transports
36 infantry
6 artillery pieces
1 fort
Casualties and losses
~200 killed wounded or captured
2 gunboats sunk
none

Battle of Whitestone Hill

The Battle of White Stone Hill was a part of the operations against the Sioux in North Dakota in 1863. It took place between the dates of September 3–5, 1863. The principal United States commander was Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully, who faced Chief Inkpaduta of the Sioux. There was 822 total casualties; 72 for the United States, 750 for the Sioux.

Following Brig. Gen. Henry Hastings Sibley’s victories over the Sioux, he left the area, crossing the James River. The Sioux then recrossed the Missouri River and returned to their old hunting grounds. Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully decided to find these Sioux and punish them, if possible. By September 3, Sully reached a lake where he found numerous remains of recently killed buffalo. A 6th Iowa Cavalry detachment discovered a Native American camp of more than 400 lodges, about 3:00 pm, which they endeavored to surround until a courier could inform Sully. Word reached Sully around 4:00 pm, and he set out with the rest of the troops, except for the poorly mounted men who remained to protect the animals and supplies. About an hour later, Sully and his men arrived at the Sioux camp and observed that the Sioux were attempting to leave. Sully sent in his troops to help the 6th Iowa Cavalry. Although the Sioux did counterattack, it was to no avail. The Sioux eventually broke under the firepower and fled, hotly pursued. Fighting subsided after dark but scattered firing continued. Sully ordered the bugler to sound rally, and all the troops remained at arms during the rest of the night.

In the morning, Sully established a camp on the battlefield and, during the next two days, sent out scouting parties looking for remnants of the enemy. He also ordered the destruction of Native American foodstuffs, supplies, etc., found in the area. On September 5, one officer and 27 men from the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry and 6th Iowa Cavalry regiments went in search of a surgeon and eight men missing since the battle on the 3rd. About 15 miles northwest of camp, they were attacked by a party of about 300 Sioux. The men could not stand up to this number of the enemy and began a slow retreat while returning fire. As the enemy came closer, the men panicked and stepped up their retirement despite entreaties from the officers. They eventually returned to camp and safety, after losing six men in the skirmish. Altogether, Sully’s men overran a large Sioux camp, destroyed much of the contents, killed or wounded a large number of men, and captured numerous women and children. This engagement weakened but did not destroy the Native American resistance in the area.

Battle of White Stone Hill
Part of the Sioux Wars/Dakota War of 1862
Date September 3–5, 1863
Location Dakota Territory
Present-day Dickey County, North Dakota
Result U.S. victory
Belligerents
United States of America Sioux
Blackfeet
Commanders and leaders
Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully Inkpaduta
Strength
1200 1000-1200
Casualties and losses
85 750

Battle of Devil's Backbone

The Battle of Devil's Backbone or Battle of Backbone Mountain was a land battle of the American Civil War on September 1, 1863 in Sebastian County, Arkansas.

After the Battle of Honey Springs, Union Major General James G. Blunt occupied Fort Smith. On September 1, he dispatched Colonel William F. Cloud with 1,500 men from the 2nd Kansas Cavalry, 6th Missouri Cavalry, two sections of Rabb’s 2nd Indiana Battery and two mountain howitzers to pursue the Confederates that had recently withdrawn from Fort Smith. Cloud chased rebel Brigadier General William L. Cabell's brigade of 1,250 men nearly 16 miles south to a village known as Old Jenny Lind. At noon, Cabell ambushed and momentarily halted his pursuers at the base of the Devil's Backbone, a prominent ridge in the Ouachita Mountains. However under the cover of artillery fire, Cloud regrouped his men and formed a line of dismounted cavalry and howitzers, which steadily drove the Southerners from their position one-fourth of a mile up the mountain side. After over three hours of fighting, the Federals finally forced the Confederates to withdraw in disorder to Waldron, where Cabell, after waiting for a full day, could only muster 900 remaining men. Cloud returned to Fort Smith, where he received "several hundred" Confederate deserters.

Battle of Devil's Backbone
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 1, 1863
Location Sebastian County, Arkansas
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
William F. Cloud William L. Cabell
Strength
2nd Kansas Cavalry
6th Missouri Cavalry
two sections of Rabb’s 2nd Indiana Battery
Cabell’s Brigade
Casualties and losses
16
65

Battle of Lawrence Massacre

The Lawrence Massacre or Quantrill's Raid, was a rebel guerrilla attack during the U.S. Civil War by Quantrill's Raiders, led by William Clarke Quantrill, on the pro-Union town of Lawrence, Kansas.

The attack on August 21, 1863, targeted Lawrence due to the town's long support of abolition and its reputation as a center for Redlegs and Jayhawkers, which were free-state militia and vigilante groups known for attacking and destroying farms and plantations in Missouri's pro-slavery western counties.

Battle of Lawrence Massacre Background

By 1863, Kansas had long been the center of strife and warfare over the admission of slave versus free states. In the summer of 1856, the first sacking of Lawrence sparked a guerrilla war in Kansas that lasted for months. John Brown might be the best known participant, but numerous groups fought for each side in Bleeding Kansas.

By the beginning of the American Civil War, Lawrence, Kansas, was already a target for pro-slavery ire, having been seen as the anti-slavery stronghold in the state and more importantly, a staging area for Union and Jayhawker incursions into Missouri.

Motivations

Quantrill himself said his motivation for the attack was, "To plunder, and destroy the town in retaliation for Osceola." That was a reference to the Union's attack on Osceola, Missouri in September 1861, led by Senator James H. Lane. Osceola was plundered and nine men were given a drumhead court-martial trial and executed. Several other Missouri towns and large swaths of the Missouri countryside had been similarly plundered and burned by Unionist forces from Kansas. Castel (1999) concludes that revenge was the primary motive, followed by a desire to plunder. The retaliatory nature of the attack on Lawrence was confirmed by the survivors. "The universal testimony of all the ladies and others who talked with the butchers of the 21st ult. Is that these demons claimed there were here to revenge the wrongs done their families by our men under Lane, Jennison, Anthony and Co."

In a bid to put down the Missouri guerrilla raiders operating in Kansas, General Thomas Ewing, Jr. issued General Order No. 10, which ordered the arrest of anyone giving aid or comfort to Quantrill's raiders. This meant chiefly women and children. Ewing confined those arrested in a make-shift prison in Kansas City. On August 13, 1863, this building collapsed, killing five women, including 14 year old Josephine Anderson, sister of William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson. A third story had been added to the structure by George Caleb Bingham prior to conversion of the building into a jail. Some (later including Bingham who held a personal grudge against Ewing) claimed that the structure was undermined by the guards to cause its collapse while others maintained that it was structurally unsound before it was occupied. While Quantrill's raid on Lawrence was planned prior to the collapse of the jail, the deaths of the guerilla's female relatives undoubtedly added to their thrist for revenge and blood lust during the raid.

Attack

The attack was the product of careful planning. Quantrill had been able to gain the confidence of many of the leaders of independent Bushwhacker groups, and chose the day and time of the attack well in advance. The different groups of Missouri riders approached Lawrence from the east in several independent columns, and converged with well-timed precision in the final miles before Lawrence during the pre-dawn hours of the chosen day. Many of the men had been riding for over 24 hours to make the rendezvous and had lashed themselves to their saddles to keep riding if they fell asleep. Almost all were armed with multiple six-shot revolvers.

Between three and four hundred riders arrived at the summit of Mount Oread, then descended on Lawrence in a fury. Over four hours, the raiders pillaged and set fire to the town and killed most of its male population. Quantrill's men burned to the ground a quarter of the buildings in Lawrence, including all but two businesses. They looted most of the banks and stores and killed between 185 and 200 men and boys. According to an 1897 account, among the dead were 18 of 23 unmustered army recruits. By 9 a.m., the raiders were on their way out of town, evading the few units that came in pursuit, and splitting up so as to avoid Union pursuit of a unified column.

The real target of the raid, Jayhawker Senator James H. Lane, who had been responsible for the raid in Osceola, Missouri two years earlier, escaped death by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.

Battle of Lawrence Massacre Aftermath

The Lawrence Massacre was one of the bloodiest events in the whole history of Kansas. The Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence survived the attack, but a number of its members were killed and records deLinkstroyed.

A day after the attack, the surviving citizens of Lawrence lynched a member of Quantrill's Raiders caught in the town. On August 25, General Ewing authorized General Order No. 11 (not to be confused with Grant's famous General Order of the same name) evicting thousands of Missourians in four counties from their homes near the Kansas border. Virtually everything in these counties was then systematically burned to the ground. The action was carried out by the infamous Jayhawker, Charles "Doc" Jennison. Jennison's raids into Missouri were thorough and indiscriminate, and left five counties in western Missouri wasted, save for the standing brick chimneys of the two-storey period houses, which are still called "Jennison Monuments" in those parts.

A Missouri abolitionist and preacher described the role of the Lawrence Massacre in the region's descent into the horror of total war on the civilian population of Kansas and Missouri:

"Viewed in any light, the Lawrence Raid will continue to be held, as the most infamous event of the uncivil war! The work of destruction did not stop in Kansas. The cowardly criminality of this spiteful reciprocity lay in the fact that each party knew, but did not care, that the consequences of their violent acts would fall most heavily upon their own helpless friends. Jenison in 1861 rushed into Missouri when there was no one to resist, and robbed and killed and sneaked away with his spoils and left the union people of Missouri to bear the vengeance of his crimes. Quantrell in 1863 rushed into Lawrence, Kansas, when there was no danger, and killed and robbed and sneaked off with his spoils, leaving helpless women and children of his own side to bear the dreadful vengeance invoked by that raid. So the Lawrence raid was followed by swift and cruel retribution, falling, as usual in this border warfare, upon the innocent and helpless, rather than the guilty ones. Quantrell left Kansas with the loss of one man. The Kansas troops followed him, at a respectful distance, and visited dire vengeance on all western Missouri. Unarmed old men and boys were accused and shot down, and homes with their now meagre comforts were burned, and helpless women and children turned out with no provision for the approaching winter. The number of those killed was never reported, as they were scattered all over western Missouri."


The city seal of Lawrence commemorates Quantrill's attack with its depiction of a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the burnt city.

For his part, Quantrill led his men south to Texas for the winter. By the next year, the raiders had disintegrated as a unified force, so were unable to achieve similar successes. He died of wounds received in Kentucky in 1865, with only a few staunch supporters left. Among these appear to have been Frank James and his younger brother, Jesse James.

Battle of Lawrence Massacre
Part of the American Civil War
Date August 21, 1863
Location Douglas County, Kansas
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
No Union commander present William C. Quantrill
Strength
Civilian population of Lawrence and unmustered recruits from the Union recruiting camps in Lawrence 300-400
Casualties and losses
164 men and boys 40

Second Battle of Chattanooga

The Second Battle of Chattanooga was a battle in the American Civil War, beginning on August 21, 1863, as the opening battle in the Chickamauga Campaign. The larger and more famous battles were the Battles for Chattanooga (generally referred to as the Battle of Chattanooga) in November 1863.

On August 16, 1863, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland, launched a campaign to take Chattanooga, Tennessee. Col. John T. Wilder's brigade of the Union 4th Division, XIV Army Corps, marched to a location northeast of Chattanooga where the Confederates could see them, reinforcing Gen. Braxton Bragg's expectations of a Union attack on the town from that direction.

On August 21, Wilder reached the Tennessee River opposite Chattanooga and ordered the 18th Indiana Light Artillery (Capt. Eli Lilly's battery) to begin shelling the town. The shells caught many soldiers and civilians in town in church observing a day of prayer and fasting. The bombardment sank two steamers docked at the landing and created a great deal of consternation amongst the Confederates.

Continuing periodically over the next two weeks, the shelling helped keep Bragg's attention to the northeast while the bulk of Rosecrans's army crossed the Tennessee River well west and south of Chattanooga. When Bragg learned on September 8 that the Union army was in force southwest of the city, he abandoned Chattanooga and marched his Army of Tennessee into Georgia. Bragg's army marched down the LaFayette Road and camped in the city of LaFayette.
Second Battle of Chattanooga
Part of the American Civil War
Date August 21, 1863
Location Chattanooga, Tennessee
Result Union victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
John T. Wilder Daniel H. Hill
Units involved
Wilder's "Lightning" Brigade Hill's Corps
Casualties and losses
? ?

Second Battle of Fort Sumter

The Second Battle of Fort Sumter was fought on September 9, 1863, in Charleston Harbor. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, who had commanded the defenses of Charleston and captured Fort Sumter in the first battle of the war, was in overall command of the defenders.

Union forces under Major General Quincy Gillmore attempted to retake the fort at the mouth of the harbor. Union gunners pummeled the fort from their batteries on Morris Island. After a severe bombing of the fort, Beauregard suspecting an attack replaced the artillerymen and all but one of the fort's guns with 320 infantrymen, who repulsed the naval landing party. Gillmore had reduced Fort Sumter to a pile of rubble, but the Confederate flag still waved over the ruins.
Second Battle of Fort Sumter
Part of the American Civil War
Date September 9, 1863
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States Confederate States of America Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Quincy Gillmore P.G.T. Beauregard

Battle of Stony Lake

The Battle of Stony Lake was the last engagement during Henry Hastings Sibley's campaign against the Santee and Teton Sioux in the Dakota Territory.

Closely pursuing the Sioux forces under Chief Inkpaduta since the battle of Big Mound, Henry Hastings Sibley was forced to halt and build a camp due to exhaustion among his animals in his army. On July 28, Sibley resumed the pursuit but quickly encountered a large Sioux force moving on his position. Sibley ordered his troops to take up defensive positions. The Indians probed the U.S. lines and, finding no weaknesses, rode off in such haste that Sibley could not resume his pursuit.




Battle of Stony Lake
Part of the Dakota War of 1862/Sioux Wars
Date July 28, 1863
Location Dakota Territory
Present-day Burleigh County, North Dakota
Result United States victory
Belligerents
United States of America Santee Sioux
Teton Sioux
Commanders and leaders
Henry Hastings Sibley Inkpaduta
Strength
3,000 ?

Battle of Salineville

The Battle of Salineville occurred July 26, 1863, near Salineville, Ohio during Morgan's Raid in the American Civil War. It was one of the northernmost military actions involving the Confederate States Army. The decisive Union victory shattered John Hunt Morgan's remaining Confederate cavalry and led to his capture later that day.

Battle of Salineville Background

In June 1863, Confederate Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan departed his camp in Tennessee on a raid with 2,460 troopers, intending to divert the attention of the Union Army of the Ohio from Southern forces in the state. On July 8, 1863, Morgan crossed the Ohio River at Brandenburg, Kentucky, and entered Indiana, in violation of his orders to remain in Kentucky. After a victory at the Battle of Corydon, Morgan proceeded eastward into Ohio, pursued by Federal troops under Brig. Gen. James M. Shackelford. On July 19, Morgan attempted to cross the Ohio River into West Virginia at Buffington Island, upriver from Pomeroy in Meigs County, Ohio. Some of his men did make it across the river and back to the South. However, Union forces under Brig. Gens. Edward H. Hobson and Henry M. Judah captured an estimated 800 – 1,200 of Morgan's force, while some 300 under Col. Adam "Stovepipe" Johnson managed to cross upriver.

General Morgan and the remaining 400 men of his command escaped, cut off from the river crossings. When another attempt to ford the river failed, he headed north, eventually reaching Columbiana County, still hoping to cross the Ohio River at some point and head back to the South. His route took him through a number of terrified villages, including Moorefield, Harrisville, New Athens, Smithfield, New Alexandria, Wintersville, Two Ridge, Richmond, East Springfield, Bergholz, and Monroeville (Jefferson County). With his horses playing out and his men emotionally and physically exhausted, Morgan trudged northward while his pursuers blocked attempts to reach the river.

The battle and Morgan's surrender

Union General Shackelford continued in pursuit of Morgan, leading a mixed command of cavalry, artillery, and mounted infantry from Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio, as well as the Steubenville Militia. Morgan's weary men were isolated, under constant pursuit, and heading deeper into enemy territory. Eventually, Morgan was flanked and cut off by Union forces on July 26, 1863 at Salineville, near Lisbon, Ohio. Badly outnumbered, Morgan attempted to cut his way out from the estimated 3,000 Federals. He lost 364 casualties (including 23 dead, several wounded, and nearly 300 captured) in a firefight that lasted no more than an hour and a half. Remarkably, General Morgan and a small number of his men initially managed to elude capture. However, at 2:00 p.m., they surrendered to Union Maj. George W. Rue of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry near West Point, Ohio approximately 8 miles northeast of Salineville. Today, a historical marker commemorates the location of the surrender.

Major Rue later reported that General Morgan, upon first seeing the Major and his troops approaching, surrendered to one of his own prisoners, an Ohio Militia captain named Burbridge, who then immediately paroled Morgan and his fellow officers, an act that would have allowed them to return home to Kentucky as noncombatants. Rue disregarded that "surrender" and insisted that Morgan formally surrender to the Union forces, ignoring the paroles. Troops escorted Morgan to Columbus, Ohio, where he and many of his officers were imprisoned in the Ohio Penitentiary. Many of his captured soldiers were sent to Camp Chase and other prisoner of war camps in the North.

In July and August 1863 Ohio Governor David Tod led an inquiry into Morgan's surrender. Governor Tod concluded that Captain Burbridge was actually James Burbick, a private citizen of New Lisbon, Ohio, who had never served an as officer in the Ohio Militia. As such, Governor Tod ruled that he had no authority over Morgan, and that Morgan’s surrender to Union forces stood.

Another Confederate action, the St. Albans raid, was farther north than the Battle of Salineville. On October 19, 1864, thirty Confederates slipped southward from Canada and raided St. Albans, Vermont. However, they were not an official command of the Confederate army. General Morgan’s place of surrender at West Point is considered to be the northernmost point reached by an officially organized Confederate body during the Civil War.


Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake

The Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake was fought between United States forces and Sioux Indians of the Dakota Territory.

A combined force of Santee and Teton Sioux forces had been defeated at the battle of Big Mound. They fled that battlefield and were chased endlessly by U.S. cavalry. General Henry Hastings Sibley, the cavalry leader, and the cavalry traveled 14 miles before catching up to the Natives the next day, July 26.

The Sioux were ready for battle, but neither side made any initial attacks. The heaviest fighting occurred when the warriors attempted to flank the U.S. camp, but their attack was called off after encountering resistance from U.S. infantry and mounted forces. The Indians withdrew from the field and were again in retreat with Sibley's forces close behind.

Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake
Part of Sioux Wars/Dakota War of 1862
Date July 26, 1863
Location Dakota Territory
Present-day Kidder County, North Dakota
Result United States victory
Belligerents
United States of America Teton Sioux
Commanders and leaders
Henry Hastings Sibley Inkpaduta
Strength
3,000 ?
Casualties and losses
7 killed
15 wounded
?

Battle of Big Mound

The Battle of Big Mound was a United States Army victory over the combined Santee and Teton Sioux forces in the Dakota Territory.

After suppressing the Dakota War of 1862, Henry Hastings Sibley was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. Sibley departed from Fort Ridgely and marched into the Dakotas after the Santee Sioux who had led the uprising. In the Dakota Territory, the Santee were joined by the Teton Sioux.

On July 24, Sibley received reports of a large Indian force nearby and established a camp. A few Indians approached Sibley's camp expressing friendship, but when a surgeon was killed, the Indians fled behind ridges surrounding the camp. There, they were joined by the rest of the Indian force, which began firing upon the soldiers. The army's response was at first scattered, but Sibley gathered a force together and attacked the entrenched Indian positions. The attack succeeded and the Indians were driven from the ridges and a scattered retreat followed. Mounted troops pursued the fleeing warriors across the prairie until dark.

The battle scattered the Sioux force and their morale began to raise. The people retreated further into the Washington Territory closely pursued by Sibley. The two forces met again the following day at the Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake. Casualties are unknown for both sides.
Battle of Big Mound
Part of the Dakota War of 1862/Sioux Wars
Date July 24–25, 1863
Location Dakota Territory
Present-day Kidder County, North Dakota
Result U.S. victory
Belligerents
United States of America Santee Sioux
Teton Sioux
Commanders and leaders
Henry Hastings Sibley Inkpaduta
Strength
3,000 ?
Casualties and losses
20 10

Battle of Manassas Gap

The Battle of Manassas Gap or Battle of Wapping Heights, took place on July 23, 1863, in Warren County, Virginia, at the conclusion of General Robert E. Lee's retreat back to Virginia in the final days of the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces attempted to force passage across the Blue Ridge Mountains and attack the Confederate rear as it formed a defensive position in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Despite successfully forcing the passage at Manassas Gap, the Union force was unable to do so before Lee retreated further up the valley to safety, resulting in an inconclusive battle.

Battle of Manassas Gap Background

Following the defeat of the Confederates at the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia retreated across the Potomac River at Williamsport, Maryland, and withdrew into the Shenandoah Valley. Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Army of the Potomac, in pursuit of the Lee's broken army, decided to try to flank the Confederate army by crossing the river east of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Harpers Ferry and Berlin, Maryland, into the Loudoun Valley and then forcing a passage across the Blue Ridge in Lee's rear. To this end, on July 23, Meade ordered the III Corps, under Maj. Gen. William H. French, to cut off the retreating Confederate columns at Front Royal, Virginia, by forcing passage through Manassas Gap.

Battle

At dawn, French began his attack on Brig. Gen. James A. Walker's Confederate brigade (the Stonewall Brigade, part of Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson's division) defending the pass. The fight was slow at first, with the superior Union force using its numbers to push Walker from his defensive position back through the gap. In the late afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., French made a concerted assault on Walker's division, driving them from the gap. The Confederates were quickly reinforced by Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes's division and artillery, stalling the Union advance. By dusk, the Union attack became uncoordinated and was abandoned. During the night, Confederate forces withdrew into the Luray Valley. On July 24, the Union army occupied Front Royal, but Lee's army was safely beyond pursuit.

Battle of Manassas Gap Aftermath

The small fight was inconclusive. The Union army was able to successfully gain passage through the gap in the Blue Ridge and occupy Front Royal, but not before Lee was able to withdraw further up the valley to safety. By failing to cut off the Confederate retreat and bring Lee into battle, the Army of Northern Virginia was allowed to reorganize and regroup. By the end of the summer both armies had taken their familiar positions opposite the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, setting the stage for the Bristoe and Mine Run campaigns in the fall.

Battle of Manassas Gap
Part of the American Civil War
Date July 23, 1863
Location Warren County, Virginia
Result Inconclusive
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
William H. French Richard H. Anderson
Strength
Divisions Divisions
Casualties and losses
440 total (US and CS) 440 total (US and CS)

Second Battle of Fort Wagner

The Second Battle of Fort Wagner or Second Assault on Morris Island or the Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, was fought on July 18, 1863, during the American Civil War. Union Army troops commanded by Brig. Gen. Quincy Gillmore, launched an unsuccessful assault on the Confederate fortress of Fort Wagner, which protected Morris Island, south of Charleston Harbor. The battle came one week after the First Battle of Fort Wagner.

Second Battle of Fort Wagner Background

Fort Wagner, or Battery Wagner as it was known to the Confederates, controlled the southern approaches to Charleston Harbor. The fort was commanded by Brig. Gen. William B. Taliaferro. An attempt was made on July 11 to assault the fort, the First Battle of Fort Wagner, but it was repelled by rifle and artillery fire. Brig. Gen. Quincy Gillmore intended to repeat his assault, but first executed feints to distract the Confederates attention, the Battle of Grimball's Landing on July 16.

The approach to the fort was constricted to a strip of beach 60 yards (55 m) wide with the ocean to the east and the marsh from Vincent's Creek to the west. Upon rounding this defile, the Union Army was presented with the 250-yard south face of Fort Wagner, which stretched from Vincent's creek to the sea. Surrounding the fort was a shallow moat riveted with sharpened palmetto logs, as abatis, and the moat on the seaward side had planks with spikes positioned beneath the water. The armament of Fort Wagner on the night of July 18 consisted of one 10-inch seacoast mortar, two 32 lb. carronades, two 8-inch shell guns, two 32 lb. howitzers, a 42 lb. carronade, and an 8-inch seacoast mortar on the land face. Company A of the 1st South Carolina Artillery also had two guns positioned outside of Wagner's southern face by Vincent's creek to provide enfilading fire. The sea face of Wagner was armed with one 32 lb. carronade, one 10-inch Columbiad, and two 12 lb. howitzers. The garrison of Battery Wagner consisted of the 1st South Carolina Artillery, the Charleston Battalion, the 31st North Carolina, and the 51st North Carolina.

Battle

Gilmore ordered his siege guns and mortars to begin a bombardment of fort on July 18 and they were joined by the naval gunfire from six monitors that pulled to within 300 yards of the fort. The bombardment lasted eight hours, but caused little damage against the sandy walls of the fort, and in all, killed only about 8 men and wounded an additional 20, as the defenders had taken cover in the bombproof shelter.

The 54th Massachusetts, an infantry regiment composed of African-American soldiers led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, led the Union attack at dusk. They were backed by two brigades composed of nine regiments. The first brigade was commanded by Gen. George Crockett Strong and was composed of the 54th Massachusetts, 6th Connecticut, 48th New York, 3rd New Hampshire, 76th Pennsylvania, and the 9th Maine regiments. The second brigade was commanded by Col. Haldimand S. Putnam of the 7th New Hampshire as acting brigade commander. His brigade consisted of the 7th New Hampshire, 62nd Ohio, 67th Ohio, and the 100th New York regiments. A third brigade under Gen. Stevenson was in reserve, with General Truman Seymour commanding on the field, but did not enter action.

The assault began at 7:45 p.m. and was conducted in three movements. The 54th Massachusetts attacked to the west upon the curtain of Wagner, with the remainder of Gen. Strong's brigade and Col. Putnam's brigade attacking the seaward salient on the south face. As the assault commenced and bombardment subsided, the men of the 1st South Carolina Artillery, Charleston Battalion, and 51st North Carolina Infantry took their positions. The 31st North Carolina, which had been completely captured during the battle of Roanoke Island, remained in the bombproof shelter and did not take its position in the southeast bastion. When the 54th Massachusett's reached about 150 yards from the fort, the defenders opened up with cannon and small arms, tearing through their ranks. The 51st North Carolina delivered a direct fire into them, as the Charleston Battalion fired into their left. The 54th managed to reach the parapet, but after a fierce struggle, including hand-to-hand combat, they were forced back. The 6th Connecticut continued the assault at the weakest point, the southeast, where the 31st had failed to take its position. General Taliaferro quickly rounded up some soldiers to take the position, while the 51st North Carolina and Charleston Battalion fired obliquely into the assailants. Behind the 6th Connecticut, the 48th New York also successfully reached the slopes of the bastion. The remainder of Strong's brigade did not reach that far, as three of the defending howitzers were now in action and firing canister into their flanks, bringing them to a halt. Colonel Putnam quickly brought up his brigade, but only about 100 or 200 men from the 62nd and 67th Ohio reached the bastion. The Confederates attempted to counter-attack twice, but were beaten back after having the officers leading the charge shot down. As the Union assault continued to crumble, due to lack of reinforcements from General Stevenson, Taliaferro was reinforced by the 32nd Georgia Infantry, which had been transported to the island by Brigadier General Johnson Hagood. The fresh troops swept over the bastion, killing and capturing the rest of the Union troops that remained.

By 10 p.m. the bloody struggle had concluded with heavy losses. Gen. Strong was mortally wounded in the thigh by grape shot while trying to rally his men. Col. Putnam was shot in the head and killed in the salient while giving the order to withdraw. Col. Chatfield of the 6th Connecticut was mortally wounded. The 54th Massachusetts's colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, was killed upon the parapet early in the action. Some confederate reports claim his body was pierced seven times, with the fatal wound a rifle bullet to his chest.

Second Battle of Fort Wagner Aftermath

In all, 1,515 Union soldiers were killed, captured, or wounded in the assault of July 18, although this number has never been accurately ascertained. Gen. Hagood, the commander of Fort Wagner on the morning of July 19, stated in his report to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard that he buried 800 bodies in mass graves in front of Wagner. Only 315 men were left from the 54th after the battle. Thirty were killed in action, including Col. Shaw and Captains Russel and Simpkins, and buried together in a single grave. Twenty-four later died of wounds, fifteen were captured, and fifty-two were reported missing after the battle and never seen again. The men of the 54th Massachusetts were hailed for their valor. Their conduct improved the reputation of African Americans as soldiers, leading to greater Union recruitment of African-Americans, which strengthened the Northern states' numerical advantage. Confederate casualties numbered 174.

The fort was reinforced by Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood's brigade shortly after the assault had ended. The garrison of Fort Wagner was then changed during the night, and Gen. Hagood assumed command. He was relieved by Col. Laurence M. Keitt, who commanded the fort until it was abandoned on September 7. Gen Hagood wrote a book titled Memoirs of the War of Secession, in which he states that the constant bombardment from the Union guns had unearthed such large numbers of the Union dead buried after the assault of July 18, and the air was so sickening with the smell of death, that one could no longer stand to be in the fort. The constant bombardment caused Confederate soldiers who were killed during the siege to be buried in the walls of Wagner, and they were also constantly being unearthed. Following the Union repulse, engineers besieged the fort. The Confederates abandoned the fort on September 7, 1863, after resisting 60 days of shelling, it having been deemed untenable because of the damage from constant bombardment, lack of provisions, and the close proximity of the Union siege trenches to Wagner.

Second Battle of Fort Wagner
Part of the American Civil War
Date July 18, 1863
Location Morris Island, South Carolina
Result Confederate victory
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Quincy A. Gillmore
Truman Seymour
George Crockett Strong
John Lyman Chatfield
Haldimand S. Putnam
Robert Gould Shaw
Johnson Hagood
William B. Taliaferro
Strength
5,000 troops 1,800 garrison troops
Casualties and losses
246 killed,
880 wounded,
389 captured
36 killed,
133 wounded,
5 captured