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This Week in the Civil War
Friday - 10/11/2013, 8:19am EDT
By The Associated Press
(AP) - This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Oct. 13: Confederate loss in Virginia
Confederate fighter A.P. Hill abruptly encountered two columns of Union soldiers at Bristoe Station, Va., and attacked, 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. The Associated Press, in a dispatch Oct. 11, 1863, cited Union forces as saying they had suspected Hill and his corps were lurking in the area in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains. And indeed it was so. When fighting erupted at Bristoe Station on Oct. 14, 1863, Union soldiers quickly took up defensive positions behind an embankment of Virginia's Orange & Alexandria railroad. Despite the pounding they received, the Union columns successfully fended off Hill's assault before withdrawing once the fighting had subsided _ toward Centreville, Va. Hill also retreated, tearing up a section of the railroad regularly used by Union forces. But Hill's defeat at Bristoe Station left a black spot on his reputation and angered Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Meanwhile, AP reported that about 900 new conscripts were traveling this week from New York and Vermont for training in the Washington area to bolster Union forces depleted by heavy fighting at Gettysburg and elsewhere in 1863.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Oct. 20: Grant takes new command, heads to Chattanooga, Tenn.
After the Union's bruising defeat at Chickamauga, in the northwest corner of Georgia not far from Chattanooga, Tenn., Ulysses S. Grant heads to take charge of federal troops hemmed in at Chattanooga now besieged by Confederate forces all around. This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Grant arrived in that eastern Tennessee city on the front lines of war and immediately began the task of creating a secure federal supply line. His aim: to immediately re-arm and expand the hold of Union troops who had been precariously holding the city against Confederates on the surrounding mountain heights. This month 150 years ago, Grant formally took charge of tens of thousands of troops in a broad new Military Division of the Mississippi, his star rising in President Abraham Lincoln's eyes after a Grant victory in July at Vicksburg, Miss. In little more than a month's time, the pugnacious Grant would order an offensive to break a Confederate siege, knocking the secessionists from their positions overlooking Chattanooga from atop Missionary Ridge and other heights.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Oct. 27: Skirmishes in Tenn., girding for more major fighting.
With Ulysses S. Grant on the scene in Chattanooga, Tenn., federal forces in late October 1863 quickly began resupplying and adding new troops in the city besieged by Confederate forces on high ground nearby. This week 150 years ago in the Civil War saw skirmishing at scattered locations in Tennessee as Confederate and Union forces sized each other up as major fighting appeared to be only a matter of time. The New York Times, among leading East Coast publication, lauded Grant's rise to the new Military Division of the Mississippi _ in command of three armies. "The first work of Gen. Grant will doubtless be to combine these armies, as far as possible, into one active body." Added The Times: "This army, massed and properly handled ... were it wielded and directed by one strong hand, guided by a broad brain, could trample out any Southern army, or march to any point, or achieve any object in the Confederacy." For now that one strong hand for the Union would be found in Ulysses S. Grant. In the fall of 1863, he was beginning to unify the huge fighting force in a bid to smash through Confederate defenses and lay the groundwork for later campaigns against Atlanta and beyond.
This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 3: Confederates moves toward Knoxville, Tenn.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered one of his most capable commanders, James Longstreet, to send forces against Union rivals and advance toward Knoxville, Tenn. The so-called Knoxville Campaign by Longstreet would drag on through November 1863, part of a series of skirmishes and military assaults in eastern Tennessee 150 years ago in the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate forces were seeking to control eastern Tennessee in the fall of 1863 and Longstreet began pushing toward Knoxville over muddy roads in a bid to assault Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's Union forces defending Knoxville. A Confederate siege of Knoxville would open on Nov. 17, 1863, but after two weeks of trying to starve out the garrison and one disastrous assault, he would scuttle the siege. Not only would Longstreet ultimately fail in his quest to take Knoxville, but Union forces would largely take control of eastern Tennessee after Grant also ended the Confederate siege of Chattanooga in the autumn of 1863.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)