Tullahoma Campaign (June 24 – July 3, 1863)

Also Known As: Middle Tennessee Campaign

Updated: January 02, 2016

The Tullahoma Campaign, also known as the Middle Tennessee Campaign, was a series of military engagements fought in south-central Tennessee from June 24 through July 3, 1863, during the American Civil War. The campaign secured middle Tennessee for the Union.

On October 24, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln relieved Major General Don Carlos Buell of his command of the Army of the Ohio and placed Major General William Rosecrans in charge of the newly-formed Army of the Cumberland. Upon Rosecrans' promotion, Union General-In-Chief Henry Halleck made it clear that "… the Government demands action, and if you cannot respond to that demand some one else will be tried." Rosecrans established headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee and quickly prepared his army for battle. On December 26, he moved his army south to engage Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee encamped at Murfreesboro. The two armies met at the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863), and Bragg was forced withdraw to Tullahoma, Tennessee, thirty-six miles to the south, yielding Murfreesboro to Rosecrans.

After the Battle of Stones River, Bragg deployed his army in a defensive line nearly seventy miles long along the Duck River, north of Tullahoma. He intended to prevent Rosecrans from capturing the strategically important city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bragg used small groups of pickets to protect four gaps in the mountains leading to his headquarters in Tullahoma (Liberty, Hoover, Guy and Bellbuckle Gaps), and he deployed his cavalry to secure his flanks.

In the meantime, Rosecrans established winter quarters at Murfreesboro, where his army remained relatively inactive for the next five and one-half months. During that time, Rosecrans resisted pressure from his superiors to press Bragg. Lincoln, Halleck and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton feared that Rosecrans's inactivity would enable Confederate leaders to detach soldiers from Bragg's army to relieve Union General Ulysses S. Grant's operations against Vicksburg. Finally, under threat of being relieved of his command, Rosecrans moved into action on June 23, 1863.

As events turned out, Rosecrans's preparations during the winter and spring were fruitful. Fearing that the Federal cavalry was overmatched, Rosecrans and Colonel John Wilder devised a plan to mount infantry troops on horses, deploy them rapidly to advantageous positions, and then have them dismount for battle. Rosecrans and Wilder added to the firepower of this "Lightning Brigade" by arming them with newly introduced Spencer Repeating Rifles.

On June 23, Rosecrans feigned an attack against the western end of Bragg's line before making his main thrust against the gaps in the mountains. The next day, Wilder's "Lightning Brigade" attacked Hoover's Gap and easily dislodged the Rebel defenders. Wilder resisted several Confederate counterattacks, and by June 26, Bragg's troops were withdrawing toward his headquarters at Tullahoma. With the threat of Wilder's regiment at his rear and Rosecrans's main force bearing down on him after the Union victory at the Battle of Hoover's Gap, Bragg made successive retreats to Decherd and Cowan over the next several days, before withdrawing over the mountains to Chattanooga on July 3.

The Tullahoma Campaign was a brilliantly planned success for the Union forces in Tennessee. Unfortunately for Rosecrans, it was overshadowed by events happening at Vicksburg and Gettysburg at the same time. Although Bragg was able to evacuate his army, Rosecrans succeeded in driving the Confederacy out of Middle Tennessee with very few losses. The Union army suffered a reported 569 casualties (eighty-three killed, 473 wounded, and thirteen captured or missing). Confederate casualties during the Tullahoma Campaign are unknown because Bragg wrote no battle reports, but the Union army captured 1,634 Rebels.

Ohio units that participated in the Tullahoma Campaign included:

Infantry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

9th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

11th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

13th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

14th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

15th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

17th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

18th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

21st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

26th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

33rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

36th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

38th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

41st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

49th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

51st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

64th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

69th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

89th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

90th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

92nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

93rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

94th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

101st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

105th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Artillery units:

1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery

18th Battery Ohio Independent Artillery

20th Battery Ohio Independent Artillery

Cavalry units:

1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

 

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Tullahoma Campaign," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 21 Nov 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=568>

APA Style

"Tullahoma Campaign." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved November 21, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=568

Comments powered by Disqus

Help support the ongoing development of Ohio Civil War Central by clicking the banner and then purchasing products from Amazon.com.

Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War