Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign
Since his arrival in Knoxville on 3 September 1863,USA Gen. Ambrose BURNSIDE has been creating a plan to run the Confederates out of Northeast Tennessee. He sends Gen. Samuel Perry CARTER[brother of bridge burner W.B. Carter] and his cavalry to clear the roads and byways from Virginia. Not content to sit and wait for developments, Burnside personally leads a cavalry division and troops from Gen. Edward FERRERO’s infantry division to assist Carter.
Battles of Blue Springs
Fighting on the Same Ground Twice
On the morning of October 10, 1863, Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s campaign suddenly arrived at Blue Springs (present-day Mosheim) when Union cavalry attacked Confederate Gen. John S. Williams’s troops. By noon, the Confederate lines were stretched to the breaking point. At 5 P.M., Union infantrymen broke through the forward line of rifle pits, but heavy cannon and musket fire from the main Confederate positions drove them back. Three more assaults on the main Confederate line failed when Confederate Infantry and artillery fire shot them to pieces. After dark, the Confederates withdrew. The Federals pursued them in the morning, and later that day they met again in Rheatown. The tired Confederates escaped toward Jonesborough.
Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem’s cavalry force marching from Bulls Gap met a small Confederate force on the same battlefield on August 23, 1864. The Federals engaged Confederate Col. Henry L. Giltner’s 4th Kentucky Cavalry pickets and drove them back two miles toward the ridge south of Greeneville Road, where they encountered more Confederate troops. Giltner’s men repulsed repeated Union attacks. Then William Brown, a local boy, pointed out a “by road” to Union Col. John K. Miller who used it to reposition his 13th Tennessee Cavalry. His next attack turned the Confederate left flank. A frontal assault then broke the Confederate line and resulted in “a running fight, which was closed by night two miles beyond Greeneville, the enemy halting and endeavoring several times to reform.” Gillem reported Union control of Greene County was again assured, for the time being.
Lloyd’s Official Map of the State of Tennessee, 1863 Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Alvan C. Gillem Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen John S. Williams Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
W. Marker is in Mosheim, Tennessee, in Greene County.
At or near 6766 West Andrew Johnson Highway, Mosheim TN 37818.
3 OCTOBER 1863
CSA Gen. John WILLIAMS and his cavalry set out to disrupt Union communications, hoping to take t he town of Bull’s Gap on the East Tennessee & Virginia [ET&VA] Railroad. On 3 October, Williams encounters USA Gen. Samuel P. Carter’s Union Cavalry at Blue Springs, Greene County, Northeast Tennessee—about nine miles from Bull’s Gap. Gen. Carter, unsure of the size of Williams’ force, withdraws.
4 OCTOBER 1863 Burnside’s troops at Knoxville travel by cars on the ET&VA Railroad to Bulls Gap, 56 miles away. It will take a few days to move that many men.
10 OCTOBER 1863: Battle of Blue Springs
10 o’clock a.m.
Burnside’s Union force—the 9th Army Corps with part of the XXIII Army Corps—meet the enemy at BLUE SPRINGS. They launch an attack at the Confederate center at 10 a.m., while cavalry under Col. John W. FOSTER [of Blountville fame] sweeps around Williams’ right flank. Capt. Orlando POE, the Chief Engineer, performs a reconnaissance to find the best place for an infantry attack.
5 o’clock p.m.
Burnside sends in Ferrero and his infantry at 5:00 p.m., breaking into the Confederate line, causing heavy casualties. The Federals order a charge and completely rout the Rebels.
The Confederates withdraw after dark.
The Federals take up the pursuit in the morning.
10 OCTOBER 1863: New York Times article
OPERATIONS IN EAST TENNESSEE
OFFICIAL DISPATCH FROM GEN. BURNSIDE
A Brilliant Action at Bull’s Gap
COMPLETE DEFEAT OF THE REBELS
Knoxville, Tenn., Oct. 10, 1863
Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck. General-in-Chief, Washington:
On the 8th [of October] inst. The enemy held down as far as Blue Springs, and a cavalry brigade of ours held Bull’s Gap, supported by a small body of infantry at Morristown. I, accordingly, dispatched a brigade of cavalry around by Rogersville to intercept the enemy’s retreat, and with a considerable body of infantry and artillery moved to Bull’s Gap. On Saturday, the 10th inst., I advanced a cavalry brigade to Blue Springs, where they found the enemy strongly posted and offering a stubborn resistance. Skirmishing continued until about 5 o’clock, … when I sent in a division of infantry, who charged and cleared the woods, gallantly driving the enemy in confusion until dark.
During the night the enemy retreated precipitately, leaving their dead on the field and most of their wounded in our hands. We pursued in the morning with infantry and cavalry. The intercepting force met them at Henderson’s but owing to some misunderstanding, withdrew and allowed them to pass with only a slight check. The pursuit was continued until evening, when I withdrew most of my infantry and returned to this place. Gen. [James] Shackelford with his cavalry and a brigade of infantry continued the pursuit, the enemy making a stand at every important position; but he had driven them completely from the State, captured the fort at Zollicoffer, and burned the long railroad bridge at that place and five other bridges, and destroyed the locomotives and about thirty-five cars. His advance is now ten miles beyond Bristol.
Our loss at Blue Springs and in the pursuit was about 100 killed and wounded.
The enemy’s loss was considerably greater.
About 100 prisoners were taken.
A. E. Burnside, Major-General
Published October 17, 1863
UNION REPORTS ABOUT THE BATTLE OF BLUE SPRINGS
10 OCTOBER 1863: Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s description of the Battle of Blue Springs
I left Knoxville on the morning of the 9th [of October] and overtook our forces on the same day at Bull’s Gap. On the following morning the advance was ordered and at Blue Springs, midway between Bull’s Gap and Greeneville, the enemy were found, posted in heavy force and a strong position, between the wagon road and railroad to Greeneville. Our cavalry occupied him with skirmishing until late in the afternoon.
Colonel Foster’s brigade was sent around to the rear of the enemy, with instructions to establish himself on the line over which he would be obliged to retreat, at a point near Rheatown. It was not desirable to press he enemy until Colonel Foster had time to reach this point. I directed Captain Poe (my chief engineer) to make a reconnaissance of the enemy’s position, with a view to making the attack at the proper time.
The ground was selected upon which the attacking force was to be formed, and at half past 3 o’clock, believing sufficient time had been given to Colonel Foster to reach the desired point, I ordered General Potter to move up his command and endeavor to break through the center of the enemy’s line. By 5 p.m. he had formed General Ferrero’s division for the attack.
When the order to advance was given, this division moved forward in the most dashing manner, driving the enemy from his first line.
During the night he retreated and we pursued early in the morning, driving him again beyond the Watauga River, beyond which point our cavalry was directed to hold him. Col. Foster’s brigade, which had been sent to cut off his retreat, met with serious difficulties in way of rough roads, so that he did not reach the point on the enemy’s line of retreat in time to make the necessary preparations to check him until our pursuing forces came up. …
A. E. BURNSIDE,
10 OCTOBER 1863: Action at Blue Springs
On the morning of the 10th, an advance was made toward Greeneville. The enemy was encountered, posted on the high ground east of Blue Springs, and between the Greeneville road and the ET&VA Railroad, and offered a stubborn resistance to our cavalry, holding them in check for some hours. …
The attack was gallantly made and was eminently successful, the enemy being driven entirely from his position in advance to that occupied by his reserves. It was now quite dark, and everything was prepared to dislodge him from the latter early in the morning, by which time Col. [John W.] Foster was expected to be in the main road east of Greeneville and directly in the enemy’s rear, a position he did reach before daybreak.
The enemy, having had information of this movement, retreated long before daylight from our front, and attacking Foster, succeeded in pushing him from their line of retreat and in making good their escape.
ORLANDO M. POE, Capt., U. S. Engrs.
Chief Engineer, Army of the Ohio.
Map of the Blue Springs battlefield, New York Herald newspaper, 27 October 1863
CONFEDERATE REPORTS ABOUT THE BATTLE OF BLUE SPRINGS
10 OCTOBER 1863: The fight at Blue Springs
GREENEVILLE, 10 October 1863.
Gen. SAM. JONES, Jonesborough:
We have had a very hard fight to-day, beginning at 10 a. m., and ceasing at dark. The line of skirmishers was 2 miles long, which so extended my lines that the enemy at 5 o’clock, with 2,000 infantry, broke my center and attacked the batteries. They were repulsed with great slaughter. I have no complete returns, but hope my loss will not exceed 100—several valuable officers. The enemy charged along the entire line from right to left, and only succeeded in center by the use of grape and canister. We hold our position. The enemy rests on his. The force is greater than I telegraphed on 8th.
Jno. S. WILLIAMS, Brig.-Gen.
[Jno. was a popular way of spelling ‘John.’ Who knows why?]
J. S. WILLIAMS, Greeneville:
I congratulate you on to-day’s fight. Have you any doubt of your ability to hold your position? Was the fight at Greeneville, or beyond that point? Has Col. Witcher joined you with his command?
SAM. JONES, Maj.-Gen.
10 OCTOBER 1863: Battle of Blue Springs
Excerpt from the diary of Edward O. Guerrant.
The anticipated advance of the Enemy upon our position was made this morning about 10 O’C[lock]. From 10 A. M. until 5 P. M. the battle continued without any material advantage to either party, our object being only to hold our position against superior numbers & operate a diversion for Genl. [Robert] RANSOM, or rather now to save ourselves, now 75 miles from any base or support.
About 11 A. M. [John] Witcher (immortal Witcher) with his 34th Batt’n. (125 in no.) which came up on us this morning with their old, torn battle flag, fresh from the fields of Maryland & Pennsylvania, made a charge & drove the Enemy. Col. Carter commanded the right wing (1st. Tenn, 16th Ga. Peters Regt & Witcher’s Batt’n about 800 in number) & Col. H. L. GILTNER commanded our left wing (4th Ky. 10th. Ky. & Mays Regt-about 900 in no) along the ridge we had two howitzers in one battery, two parrot guns in another and Schoolfield’s four little guns in another. During the day the artillery fought several duels. Sometimes shelled the woods. Shells from the Enemy’s guns struck in front of our battery & ricocheted immediately over it. Other struck the trees by it. (I allude to Loyd’s guns where the General & staff took position.) I have a Minnie ball that struck in [front] of me-another passed between Capt. Jenkins (who heard our cannon at Rheatown 18 miles [away] & camp up about 4 P. M. ) & me.
About 5 P. M. furious assault by 1000 or 1500 infantry, with artillery throwing canister was made upon Mays Regt. commanded by Lt. Col. Ed. TRIMBLE which consisted of not more than 150 or 200 men. After a most gallant resistance, in which fell several of our brave Kentucky boys, this gallant handful of men were compelled to give way, but only to fall back by the flank upon Col. Giltner Regt. about 200 yards. Mays Regt constituted our centre – being on Col. Giltner’s right. They were driven from the heavily timbered woods where we had out Head Quarters a few days ago. Thus the Enemy had broken our line & separated Col. Carter & Col. Giltner. But both wings held their position, their rear being protected by a farm of open fields commanded by our artillery. But the enemy emboldened by his success in driving back a handful of men had the temerity to attempt a flank movement upon Col. Carter by advancing through these open fields. The column consisted of some 1000 or 1500 Infantry (some of the Michiganders) and advanced from the woods in splendid style into the open fields and were opened upon by our artillery which sent them heeling it back in style neither so imposing nor splendid. They heeled it to the cover of the woods, & did not attempt another such movement. The fight continued from this until night without any other marked change in our position, the Enemy holding the timber in our centre but unable to use it to advantage. During the day they attempted a flank movement upon both of our flanks, but were checkmated.
Thus ended the Battle of Blue Springs fought on Saturday 10th. Oct. 1863 in Greene County, 2 1/2 miles from Blue Springs & 7 1/2 miles from Greenville. Federal forces, estimated at 5000 commanded by Maj. Genl. Burnside. Confederate forces 1700, commanded by Brig. Genl. Jno. S. Williams.
~ Diary of Edward O. Guerrant, a Confederate staff officer.
UNION REPORT ABOUT THE SKIRMISH AT HENDERSON’S MILL
11 OCTOBER 1863: Skirmish at Henderson’s Mill
Report of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., October 17, 1863-10 p. m.
On Saturday, the 10th, advanced a cavalry brigade to Blue Springs, where they found the enemy strongly posted and offering a stubborn resistance. Skirmishing continued till the arrival of the infantry, about 5 p. m., when I sent in a division of infantry, who charged and cleared the woods gallantly, and drove the enemy in confusion till dark. During the night the enemy retreated precipitately, leaving their dead on the field and most of their wounded in our hands. We pursued in the morning with infantry with infantry and cavalry. The intercepting force met them at Henderson’s [Mill] but, owing to some misunderstanding, withdrew and allowed them to pass with only a slight check. The pursuit was continued until evening …
A. E. BURNSIDE, Maj.-Gen.
CONFEDERATE REPORT ABOUT THE SKIRMISH AT HENDERSON’S MILL
11 OCTOBER 1863: Skirmish at Henderson’s Mill
A Confederate staff officer’s account of the skirmish at Henderson’s Mill
When several miles beyond Greenville on the road to Jonesboro’ Gen. Alfred E. JACKSON’s advance (Genl. Jackson Brigade of 500) constituted our advance Guard, was fired upon just at daylight. It was within two miles of Henderson’s mill-where we were going to Camp, and I was going to the front by order of Genl. Williams to halt the column there. The beautiful morning star, harbinger of coming day, was shining like a diadem on the brow of night – & we were peacefully, tho’ regretfully pursuing our way – when all at once a volley of musketry into the head of the column woke up to the feast of death.
One of Genl. Jackson’s Staff was captured & perhaps a few of his men killed. It was too dark to see more than 100 yards in the heavy timber in which the Enemy were concealed. I had just reached Genl. Jackson who was again advancing his column of infantry to drive them from the woods – supposing they were East Tennessee Bushwhackers – when a furious volley was again poured into us from behind the trees not 75 yards in front. To prevent being shot from my horse, as Yankees generally shoot too high, I dismounted in an instant, but soon found myself left alone in the road under a heavy fire, all the others having sought the generous protection of the neighboring trees. My horse was wild with excitement – so that I could not mount him until Rufus Todd held him for me.
As soon as our men got shelter, they opened briskly upon the Enemy, & soon our artillery came up & shelled the woods. It was not yet good light. Genl. Williams immediately coming up ordered Jackson forward with Thomas’ Legion (Infantry) and Carter to charge with his brigade of Cavalry. The boys went in with a shout charging gallantly, driving the Yankees from one position to another. The General was in the front cheering the men onward – as he appreciated the critical position in which we were placed.
The Enemy confidently expecting us to remain at Blue Springs, had thrown a heavy cavalry force under Col [James E.] Carter (4 reg’ts of 2500 men – the same who went to Bristol and burnt Blountville,) in our rear to hold us in check until the forces on the other side could come up; therefore we must fight out or be captured: “horse, foot & dragoon,” artillery & transportation, & all.
Our men I say went in gallantly drove the Enemy back, & only once gave up any ground & then a batt’n of Mounted men were driven from the woods, but were soon rallied – (the Genl. assisting) & returned to the fight. The Enemy used their artillery at first, but when we once got them started, they never got time to unlimber again. The fight lasted until about 71/2 [7:30] A.M. & ended by the flight of the Enemy before the impetuous charges of our boys, who never stopped but kept on, never giving the Yankees time to rally & form.
We drove them some three miles when they left the main road at double quick taking a road to the left towards Kingsport, leaving our way open to pursue our falling back. So we were delivered from a Yankee trap.
Thank God for the gallantry of our troops! The losses we sustained I cannot determine. … Our boys were very much elated with their success, & the way the Yankees “skedaddled.”
Thus ended the battle of Henderson’s Mill – fought between Greenville & Rheatown, Tenn. On the morning of Sunday the 11th.
~ Diary of Edward O. Guerrant.
UNION REPORT ABOUT THE SKIRMISH AT RHEATOWN
11 OCTOBER 1863: Skirmish at Rheatown
Report of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside,
U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Ohio.
KNOXVILLE, TENN., October 17, 1863 10 p. m. On the following morning the advance was ordered and at Blue Springs, midway between Bull’s Gap and Greeneville the enemy were found, posted in heavy force and a strong position, between the wagon road and railroad to Greeneville. Our cavalry occupied him with skirmishing until late in the afternoon. Col. [John W.] Foster’s brigade was sent around to the rear of the enemy, with instructions to establish himself on the line over which he would be obliged to retreat, at a point near Rheatown. It was not desirable to press the enemy until Col. Foster had time to reach this point. I directed Capt. Poe (my chief engineer) to make a reconnaissance of the enemy’s position, with a view to making the attack at the proper time. The ground was selected upon which the attacking force was to be formed, and at half past 3 o’clock, believing sufficient time had been given to Col. Foster to reach the desired point, I ordered Gen. Potter to move up his command and endeavor to break through the center of the enemy’s line. By 5 p. m. he had formed Gen. Ferrero’s division for the attack. When the order to advance was given, this division moved forward in the most dashing manner, driving the enemy from his first line.
A. E. BURNSIDE, Maj.-Gen.
The town of Rheatown, Tennessee
CONFEDERATE REPORTS ABOUT THE SKIRMISH AT RHEATOWN
11 OCTOBER 1863: Battle of Rheatown
Excerpt from the Report of Brigadier-General John S. Williams.
C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Brigade.
Relating to the skirmish at Rheatown. We moved on to Rheatown, where, by some misunderstanding of orders, the artillery took the wrong road, and some time was consumed in getting it back. While waiting for its return the enemy again made his appearance, which, in the absence of our artillery, produced considerable confusion; but order was soon restored and the enemy checked. The artillery was brought back as soon as possible, and from a good position 2 miles east of Rheatown we again gave the enemy battle, which lasted for more than 3 hours, when gradually fell back to Jonesborough. Agreeably to your instructions, I moved Gen. Jackson’s infantry along the line of the railroad and the cavalry toward Blountville.
Brigadier-General John S. Williams.
11 OCTOBER 1863: A Confederate staff officer’s account of the Skirmish at Rheatown.
Col. Giltner had gone into Camp-Gen’l Jackson had diverged from the main column & was a mile off on the R. R. Col. Carter’s Brig – were sitting on their horses in the road above town. The Enemy had made another flank movement & came upon our left, and had placed their artillery in a gap of the ridge just opposite R-town, & commenced shelling our column. Witcher who was in the rear was cut off & came around South of the town & rejoined his Command.
Our artillery was by a misunderstanding all ordered down to the Rail Road with Genl. Jackson & accidentally escaped capture by the Enemy – and before it could be brought up the Enemy had advanced their sharp shooters within rifle shot of our mounted men & opened upon the columns standing in the road. A portion of Col. Carter’s brigade considering rather their safety than their honor-broke to the rear &caused the terrible military phenomenon of a panic resulting in a stampede. They rushed madly forward, dashing through fences, & passed right through our Head Quarters camp, where I was lying down to get a little rest.
Have rode my gray horse until his back was very sore, I was bridling Capt. Jenkins SORRELL – but had only time to put the bridle on – & mounted him bareback & joined Col Carter & some of his officers in trying to rally his men—& after appealing to their sense of patriotism & pride, & their baser sense of fear of being shot for stampeding, about 300 were stopped, dismounted & sent back to a position to hold the Enemy in check until our other troops could get in position & our wagons move[d] out of the way. I gave my grey horse (Charley) to ‘boy’ Arthur to lead, but the stampeders so frightened him that he jerked away & rushed headlong with the crowd.
Col Giltner’s men were soon put in position on the left, & Jimmie SCHOOLFIELD’s Battery of four little William Guns served by 25 as gallant boys as ever lived;- but Col Carter’s men being compelled to give way on the right compelled the withdrawal of our line to another position more defensible where we could check the advance of the Enemy until our trains could move out of the way. A heavy force of the Enemy’s cavalry upon our left flank also rendered a change of position necessary.
Great numbers of the men straggled to the rear, afflicted with all the “ills that flesh is heir to”-and a great deal more than its honest inheritance. We could muster about 1600 men, one fourth of whom or 400 were horse holders, leaving 1200 for action, not more than 800 or 1000 of whom could at any time be brought into battle. We had assurances that we were fighting from 3000 to 5000 mounted men.
From our position near Rheatown, we withdrew about 11/2 or 2 miles to a commanding eminence called Pugh’s Hill – where we fought another engagement we will call by that name. The third time we have delivered battle today – and this is Sunday. Nobody knew it. It’s sweet & once peaceful features were so disfigured in blood, and its heavenly rest & quiet was broken with the roar of cannon & musketry. Alas! how changed!
It was a beautiful & pleasant day, as well I remember: though we had no time to make observations on the weather. Every soul. With all its energies was bent on blood & battle, & saving ourselves, our artillery & transpiration from the enemy. Our position at Pugh’s Hill was a good one, commanding all approached on the centre but liable to be flanked on the right: and this flanking way off fighting is peculiarly in favor with the Yankees. Our dismounted cavalry—withdrew from their former position to this new one in splendid style, and before the Enemy made their appearance, we had our dispositions made to meet them. Genl. Jackson was cut off from us & it was difficult & dangerous to communicate with him at all.
In this engagement the artillery was well handled upon both sides-one of their shells killing and wounding several of our artillerists & artillery horses; and our fire driving back in confusion both their cavalry & Infantry. After quite a severe engagement, in which bombshells & Minnie balls played quite a serious part, Col Giltner comdg. (the Genl. was sick ) ordered the men to fall back to their horses, which were held in the rear of the position.
The enemy pressed so closely on the rear that the “double quick” movement became the popular one, which very soon ended in a disgraceful stampede – one of the most fearful things I ever witnessed. Hundreds & hundreds of men & horses came rushing past, and no effort of officers could stay the impetuous tide. Officer & men of every corps & company, all mingled & crowded together came a headlong speed down the road, through the fields, over fences, across hills & everywhere. Horses riderless and riders horseless all came in the swelling, seething tornado of human flesh and human fear.
At one time I gave up all for lost – and with Capt. Stanton & Capt. Jenkins made arrangement to save ourselves from capture, if possible, or being ridden down by the tornado of stampeders. The Gen’l, all his officer of the line, & staff officers used every exertion in human power to stop the men, but in vain. The horse holders ran away & left our men to their fate who were on foot. Giltner’s fine regiment was in danger of being sacrificed.
The Enemy were pressing closely upon them in superior numbers & many of their horses had been run off by the stampeders. I suppose there were 500 men rushing headlong towards the rear perfectly panic stricken & demoralized. I am satisfied that if the Yankees had charged our brigade with 200 good cavalry they would have routed it, & almost destroyed it, & taken artillery & all. But fortunately they did not have the pluck or the sagacity to take advantage of our disorganized state, & so by luck we were saved. They did endeavor a charge upon our dismounted men as they were falling back to their horses, but a volley sent them charging back.
Col Giltner’s reg’t being on the extreme right, & furthest away from the horses, experienced the greatest difficulty in getting out, & indeed three of his Captains and 40 or 50 of his men did not succeed in getting to their horses at all, but were cut off from the Enemy, & those not captured were dispersed in the woods. The Col. ordered his horse holder to stand by their charge until his men came up, or the Yankees captured them. He would not leave his men on foot to be rode down or captured by the enemy.
Jim Schoolfield’s battery unlimbered on the roadside & sent a broadside into the Yankee column which checked their advance, & saved many a brave, footsore fellow from capture. The battery & its gallant boys deserve immortal honor. At intervals of every half mile guards were placed to stop all men going to the front, & with drawn pistols threatened to shoot any man who dared to pass. By this means the pace of the fugitives was reduced to a moderate travelling gate, from the ‘240’ style at which they had started, & in this way we pursued our march on through Leesburg to Jonesboro. I came forward to Leesburg to find my horse, that had gotten away, and overtook Arthur leading him just at Leesburg. Since yesterday our men & horses have gone without food or rest night & day & fought four times.
Our losses in this last fight a Pugh’s hill were more serious than at any time today. Giltner alone lost about 50 killed, wounded & missing out of his reg’t – most of whom it is hoped will come up. Three of his captains … were lost. The loss of the Enemy must have been severe, as our men fired deliberately, & sometimes at 50 paces. We learned from a prisoner that they lost 60 this morning at Henderson’s mill. They must have lost more [of] both at Rheatown & Pugh’s Hill. So, without food or rest, we marched 35 miles and fought four times since yesterday morning. I never was so exhausted …
~ Diary of Edward O. Guerrant
Blue Springs Church and Cemetery
The amputated limbs of the wounded and some of the dead from the Battle of Blue Springs of 10 October 1863 are said to be buried in a mass grave in this cemetery.
14 OCTOBER 1863: Skirmish at Blountville
Confederate forces evacuate Zollicoffer [Bluff City]
The enemy advanced & endeavored to force our position at Blountville, but did not succeed, & turned our right flank, (as usual.)
The movements of the enemy forced Gen’l. Williams to concentrate his forces at Zollicoffer & fall back to Abingdon [VA]. It was supposed the Enemy would gain Bristol before us, The cars at Zollicoffer were loaded with store[s], sick, & wounded, & hastened past Bristol, to prevent capture. The Gen’l & all the troops evacuated Zollicoffer about 10 P. M.
~ Diary of Edward O. Guerrant, October 14, 1863.
Within days, Williams and his men have retired to Virginia.
Burnside’s troops return by cars to Knoxville on 15 October 1863.
“Battle of Rheatown, Sometimes called the Rheatown Races,” 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, Carter’s Company B, accessed 23 October 2021, 1sttennesseecavalryregiment.blogspot.com/2013/12/battle-of-rheatown-sometimes-called.html
“Battle of Rheatown,” War of the Rebellion, Serial 051, Chapter XLII, The Ohio State University, accessed 20 February 2021, ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/051/0641
“Blue Springs,” Battles of the Civil War, War of the Rebellion, The Ohio University, August 11-October 19, 1863, accessed 13 October 2021, ehistory.osu.edu/battles/blue-springs
“Blue Springs (October 10, 1863), “ East Tennessee Campaign (September-October 1863), Legends of America, accessed 13 October 2021, legendsofamerica.com/tn-civilwarbattles/7/#blue-springs
A Confederate staff officer’s account of the Skirmish at Rheatown: 1sttennesseecavalryregiment.blogspot.com/2013/12/battle-of-rheatown-sometimes-called.html
“East Tennessee Campaign,” Tennessee Civil War Sourcebook, Tennessee State Library and Archives, accessed 10 February 2021, tnsos.net/TSLA/cwsourcebook/index.php
“East Tennessee Campaign,” War of the Rebellion, Serial 051, Chapter XLII, The Ohio State University, accessed 20 February 2021,