05 July, 2007

Negley Attempts to Force Liberty Gap

Tennessee Campaign, 1863
News from the Front: June 24th to July 1st

June 24th
The Army of the Cumberland under Major-General William Starke Rosecrans advances out of Murfreesboro. Standing between them and the Confederate heartland of Atlanta is General Braxton Bragg's Army ofTennessee. It is arrayed on and behind Highland Ridge, just north of Tullahoma.
Major-General George Henry Thomas' XIV Corps, in the centre of the Union advance consolidates his divisions into two large divisions, under Brigadier-Generals Rousseau and Negley.
Arrayed along the Highland Ridge and towards McMinnville, General Leonidas Polk's Corps sets up a supply depot in Wartrace.

June 25th
Meanwhile Major-General Simon Bolivar Buckner, in command of the Department of East Tennessee fortifies Knoxville. Whenever Burnside's Army of the Ohio moves against him, he intends to be ready.
Arrayed near the western edge of the Highland Ridge, Lieutenant General William J. Hardee's Corps sets up a supply depot in Shelbyville.

June 26th
Thomas's XIV Corps continues its advance towards the advance guard of Hardee's Corps: Stewart's Division

June 27th
Stewart, sensing an opportunity advances off its position on the ridge and hits Reynold's Division hard. The 4th Division of XIV Corps is shown to be only a regiment, with a company of Cavalry and is swept aside.It has done its job though and now Thomas is sure of Stewart'sstrength.

June 28th
Wanting to assure himself of his enemy's strength Hardee scouts out the 2nd Division of XIV Corps and discovers it to contain most units from both Negley's 2nd and Reynold's 4th Divisions.

June 29th
Withers' Division at Beech Grove and Cleburne's Division at Bell Buckle are scouted out by Mitchell's southward-bound Cavalry Division, in advance of Major-General Alexander D. McCook's XX Corps.
Given the obvious strength against him and the failure of nearby Confederate Divisions to back him up, Stewart withdraws back to his original position on the Ridge, near Liberty Gap.
In the vicinity of Knoxville, Buckner has moved his Brigades underJackson and Preston and his Cavalry Division under Pegram southwards to Loudon. Is this a move to reinforce the Tullahoma front?

June 30th
Major-General Thomas Crittenden's XXI Corps finally begins to move, sidling towards McMinnville.
Buckner sets up a supply depot in Knoxville, surely his previous move looks now more like the simple securing of a fallback position south of Knoxville?
With no retreat from the strong defensive line north of Tullahoma, Southern morale flies high. Is Davis' faith in Bragg justified?
The 3rd Division of XIV Corps under Brannan is short of supplies, even though it's so close to the Union-controlled railheads at Murfressboro. Can Rosecrans manage this army?
Cleburne, sensing a big Union push coming, fortifies Bell Buckle.

July 1st
Negley's command advances up Liberty Gap and Stewart's daring flank attack on him is undone by Negley's brave attack. Everything should favour Stewart but when battle is joined, his centre and right haven't made it from their positions further up the ridge and only his artillery batteries hold the centre!

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