In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Tullahoma Campaign begins, 1863

On today's date, Wednesday, in 1863, Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans finally begins his attack on the Confederate forces under Gen. Braxton Bragg, whose headquarters is in Tullahoma, Tennessee. It was a cool and dry day for June in this part of Tennessee, one of the last in a short campaign that will be fought in nearly constant rain and mud.

Rosecrans had an elaborate plan. While Bragg's attention was focused on what he expected to be the main attack on his strongly defended poison at Shelbyville, Rosecrans would attack Bragg's right flank at Hoover's and Liberty Gaps, which were defended by Lieut. Gen. William J. Hardee's Corps.

Leading the Union cavalry on a demonstration toward Shelbyville, Maj. Gen. David S. Stanley advanced a strong force from Triune down the Lewisburg Pike. His troops were first to encounter Confederate resistance. Outside of Eagleville the Federals ran up against units from Wheeler's cavalry. In the fighting, the Confederates fell back from hill to hill, making the Federal advance difficult. The fight eventually reached the village of Rover, where Union troops took the abandoned Rebel post. The Federal force then pushed on near to Unionville, where it ran up against the main line of the infantry corps of Gen. Leonidas Polk.

The Confederates mounted a flank attack, but night put an end to the first day of fighting. Overnight, Gen. Stanley pulled his force back to Rover. Although Rosecrans had made no significant gains on this first day of his Tullahoma Campaign, he had accomplished his feint of diverting Bragg's attention to the west, away from his main objective to attack Hardee's force in the east against the Confederate army's right flank.

Source: Civil War Maps by Hal Jesperson

Sources: Tullahoma: The Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee, Michael R. Bradley; The Army of Tennessee, Stanley F. Horn

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