This week in the Civil War | Confederates moves toward Knoxville, Tenn.

November 1, 2013 

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Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered one of his most capable commanders, James Longstreet, to send forces against Union rivals and advance toward Knoxville, Tenn.

The so-called Knoxville Campaign by Longstreet would drag on through November 1863, part of a series of skirmishes and military assaults in eastern Tennessee 150 years ago in the Civil War.

Union and Confederate forces were seeking to control eastern Tennessee in the fall of 1863, and Longstreet began pushing toward Knoxville over muddy roads in a bid to assault Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s Union forces defending Knoxville.

A Confederate siege of Knoxville opened Nov. 17, 1863, but after two weeks of trying to starve out the garrison and one disastrous assault, he scuttled the siege.

Not only did Longstreet ultimately fail in his quest to take Knoxville, but Union forces largely took control of eastern Tennessee after Grant also ended the Confederate siege of Chattanooga in the autumn of 1863.

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