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Friday, November 08, 2013 8:01 am

This Week in the Civil War

By The Associated Press

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 10: Fighting in Virginia.

Union soldiers crossed over the Rappahannock River on Nov. 7, 1863, at Rappahannock Station and captured hundreds of Confederate fighters in the process. As fighting erupted, there were hundreds of casualties near a place called Kelly's Ford before the Confederates retreated further south. The fighting came about the time Gen. Robert E. Lee's fighting force was preparing to go into winter quarters near Culpeper, Va. The AP reported on Nov. 9, 1863, on the fighting. "It will be seen that a severe battle has been fought on the Rappahanoock," said the dispatch, reporting Confederate fighters had moved in the direction of Culpelper. "The number of Confederates taken prisoners is twelve hundred," said the dispatch, adding, "In the attack on the redoubts on the north side of the river, the Confederates are reported to have suffered severely."

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This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 17: Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." Fighting in Tennessee.

President Abraham Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address" on Nov. 19, 1863, at the Gettysburg battlefield, one of the most famous addresses by a politician in American history. The occasion: a dedication ceremony planned near the Gettysburg battlefield to give a better burial site to fallen soldiers than the shallow earthen graves they were initially given after the epic battle in July of that year. A former Harvard president was designated the featured speaker at the dedication and Lincoln was asked to speak as an afterthought, but would go down in history with his short by memorable speech that opened "Four score and seven years ago ... " Elsewhere, Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside plunged Nov. 16, 1863, into the thick of fighting with Confederate opponents near Knoxville, Tenn. The Confederates struck on the flank of Burnside's column but Burnside was able to maneuver his troops and get them on the march to Knoxville. The Confederate attack by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet ended with a Union victory and Knoxville firmly in Union control.

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This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, Nov. 24: The Battle Above the Clouds.

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Union troops scaled Lookout Mountain southwest of federally held Chattanooga, Tenn., and ousted Confederates dug in with artillery on the heights. The attack by nearly 12,000 Union soldiers drove the Confederates off the mountaintop overlooking Chattanooga, effectively ending a siege of Union forces holding the city below. Fog covered the Union forces as they went up the 1,700-foot mountainside, aiding their offensive in what later would became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds." By late in the day on Nov. 24, 1863, Confederates under pressure of the Union offensive abandoned their artillery posts atop the summit and withdrew. A day later, Union forces would definitively break the Confederate siege lines ringing Chattanooga with another withering offensive, this one aimed at another height called Missionary Ridge.

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This Week in The Civil war, for week of Sunday, Dec. 1: Fighting subsides at Knoxville, Tenn.

Confederate James Longstreet abandoned his attempted siege of Knoxville, Tenn., on Dec. 4, 1863, withdrawing from the area after his failed bid to weaken the Union's growing grip on the state. The withdrawal of Confederate forces was closely watched by pursuing Union forces. Although the Confederate attempt to take Knoxville had ended, the fighting was not yet over in this corner of Tennessee. More skirmishing and battles would continue in the cold days of December 1863 as Longstreet's forces clashed with Union forces at various sites. But then Longstreet would pull out of the area entirely and have his fighters settle into winter encampments as the Civil War dragged on 150 years ago this week.
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