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Western Theater Battles and Campaigns

Need a primer on a Western Theater event? WTCW readers can now enjoy a brief explanation of an event they may read about on the blog or see on the Book Recommendations page. Thanks to William Bechmann for writing most of these summaries and providing the images.

This page remains under construction.

Kentucky Neutrality Violated

On September 3, 1861 Confederate forces under General Leonidas Polk entered Kentucky to occupy and fortify the heights of Columbus, Kentucky. Three days later, General Ulysses S. Grant occupies Paducah, Kentucky at the mouth of the Cumberland River.

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Battle of Camp Wildcat

The Battle of Camp Wildcat occurred on October 21, 1861 in Laurel County, Kentucky. This battle was part of the Kentucky Confederate offensive or operations in eastern Kentucky. The battle is considered one of the first Union victories in the war and marked the second engagement of troops in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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Battle of Belmont

The Battle of Belmont, Missouri occurred on November 7, 1861. Union soldiers under the command of Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant overran Confederate Camp Johnston at Belmont. Camp Johnston (modern private property farmland) was located across the Mississippi River from Columbus, Kentucky. The Union soldiers were forced to flee Belmont when additional Confederate soldiers arrived after the initial assault. Although Grant claimed victory, the Union gained no ground and left the Confederates in firm control of this section of the Mississippi River. 

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Battle of Rowlett's Staion

The Battle of Rowlett's Station, Kentucky occurred on December 17, 1861. Fought at the railroad whistle-stop of Rowlett's in Hart County between the Union's 32nd Indiana, also known as the 1st German, and Terry's Texas Rangers, or the 8th Texas Cavalry. The event saw the outnumbered Union infantry hold their ground against a larger mounted force and the death of Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry. This small engagement was celebrated across the Union.

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Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro)

The Battle of Stones River, outside of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, commenced on December 31, 1862 and ended on January 2, 1863. Of the major battles of the American Civil War, the Battle of Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union's repulse of several Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Federal morale after the devastating defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Battle of Orchard Knob

The attack on Orchard Knob occurred on November 23, 1863 during the siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 14,000 Union soldiers advanced on the hill occupied by 600 Confederates. After taking the position, Union forces entrenched as the army prepared to break the Confederate siege. Casualties were light and the move set the stage for the Battle of Missionary Ridge.

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Battle of Lookout Mountain

The Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, was fought on November 24, 1863. Union soldiers under the command of Major General Joseph Hooker assaulted the mountain and defeated Confederate forces under the command of Major General Carter Stevenson. Lookout Mountain was one engagement of the Chattanooga campaign between Major General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Military Division of the Mississippi and Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of the Tennessee.

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Battle of Missionary Ridge

The Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, fought outside of Chattanooga, was fought on November 25, 1863. Union forces under the command of Ulysses S. Grant attacked Missionary Ridge and broke the Confederate line. The Confederates faced devastating losses, especially in artillery, and retreated back to northern Georgia. Due to the loss, Confederate General Braxton Bragg tendered his resignation to President Jefferson Davis.

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Battle of Ringgold Gap

The Battle of Ringgold Gap, Georgia was fought on November 27, 1863. This battle was part of the Chattanooga Campaign after the Union victory at Missionary Ridge. This Confederate defense by Major General Patrick R. Cleburne gave the artillery and wagon trains of the Army of Tennessee safe passage and enabled them to retreat through the mountain pass.

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Battle of Spring Hill

The Battle of Spring Hill, Tennessee occurred on November 29, 1864. This battle was part of the 1864 Middle Tennessee Campaign. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant General John Bell Hood attacked a Union force, under the command of Major General John M. Schofield, as it retreated from Columbia through Spring Hill. Because of a series of command failures, the Confederates were unable to inflict serious damage on the Federals and could not prevent their safe passage north to Franklin during the night. 

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