American Civil War Timeline 1863


9-13 January 1863: Battle of Arkansas Post, Arkansas

Federal combined operation against a Confederate position on the Arkansas river that succeeded but at too high a cost for General Grant, who ordered a withdrawal.

20-22 January 1863

The ‘Mud March’ – a failed offensive by the Army of the Potomac, foiled by heavy rain and mud. Soon afterwards Burnside was replaced by General Joe Hooker.

1 May 1863: Battle of Port Gibson, Mississippi

Part of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign in which a small Confederate army of 6,000 was defeated by 23,000 Union soldiers.

2-5 May 1863: Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia

A Confederate victory that ended a Union offensive and opened the chance of a Confederate invasion of the north.

7 May 1863

Start of the Big Black River campaign, aimed at the capture of Vicksburg, the key to the Mississippi.

12 May 1863, Battle of Raymond, Mississippi

First battle during the Big Black River campaign

14 May 1863: Battle of Jackson, Mississippi

Second victory for Grant during his Vicksburg campaign.

16 May 1863: Battle of Champion’s Hill, Mississippi

Union victory in Grant’s Vicksburg campaign that defeated General Pemberton’s mobile army defending Vicksburg.

17 May 1863: Battle of Big Black River, Mississippi

Second defeat inflicted on the remnants of Pemberton’s army.

19 May 1863:

First Union attack on Vicksburg defeated

22 May 1863

Second Union attack on Vicksburg defeated. After this second failure, Grant was able to settle down into a regular siege.

27 May 1863

Union attack on Port Hudson, 240 miles south of Vicksburg. Repulsed with heavy losses

June 1863

First week of June sees Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania start up the Shenandoah Valley.

7 June 1863: Battle of Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana

Defeat of a Confederate force being sent from Louisiana to help at Vicksburg. Most famous for the impressive performance of two recently formed units made up of Black soldiers.

9 June 1863: Battle of Brandy Station.

Largest cavalry battle of the war. A confederate victory in which a large Union cavalry force, sent on to find General Lee, was repulsed after some initial success.

14-15 June 1863: Battle of Winchester (Second), Virginia

Confederate victory in a battle caused by the failure of a federal army to retreat in time.

14 June 1863

Union attack on Port Hudson repulsed with heavy losses.

14 June 1863

General Rosecrans begins a campaign in Tennessee that drives the Confederates back 80 miles in a week, leaving Knoxville and Chattanooga (a key rail junction) exposed to the Union.

1-3 July 1863: Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Defeat of General Lee’s invasion of the North. The confederate army suffered severe casualties, and was never as effective again. Over a third of Lee’s army became casualties.

4 July 1863: Surrender of Vicksburg.

The garrison of 30,000 was released on parole, on the expectation that they would spread gloom around the Confederacy. General Grant was later to say that the surrender of Vicksburg was the decisive event of the war.

9 July 1863

Port Hudson surrenders after news of surrender of Vicksburg reaches the garrison. The North now controls the Mississippi River.

18 July 1863: Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina

A failed Union attack during the Charleston campaign. Its significance was the impressive performance of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the north’s elite black regiment. This battle changed the general view of Black soldiers in the north.

16 August 1863

Rosecrans begins the Union campaign against Chattanooga.

3 September 1863

Union forces under General Burnside enter Knoxville

8 September 1863

Confederates evacuate Chattanooga. Confederate General Bragg withdraws to Georgia, where he is soon reinforced.

10 September 1863: Battle of Bayou Forche

Battle just outside Little Rock during the Union conquest of Arkansas that saw the Confederate defenders of the city forced to retreat south.

10-13 September 1863

Bragg attempts to defeat separate parts of Rosecran’s army but is let down by his subordinates.

19-20 September 1863: Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia

The bloodiest battle of the western theatre. A Confederate victory, although not as decisive as it could have been, that resulted in the only Confederate siege of a city at Chattanooga.

October 1863

President Lincoln forms a new Division of the Mississippi, to cover the area between the Mississippi and the Appalachian mountains, partly to improve the command structure at Chattanooga. General Grant is appointed to command the new division. A sizable new Union army is soon formed in the area, including 17,000 men under General Sherman.

14 October 1863: Battle of Bristoe Station,

Confederate army under General Hill attacked one Union force, just to find itself under attack by a second.

28-29 October 1863: Battle of Wauhatchie, Tennessee

Accidental battle that marked the only Confederate attempt to break Grant's 'Cracker Line' feeding supplies into Chattanooga.

16 November 1863: Battle of Campbell's Station, Tennessee

Successful delaying action that allowed the Union forces under Burnside to get back inside the defences of Knoxville.

19 November 1863

Start of the Siege of Knoxville

23 November 1863: Battle of Orchard Knob/ Indian Hill, Tennessee

The first battle of Grant’s attack on Chatanooga. The approaches to the Confederate positions on Missionary Ridge were captured.

24 November 1863: Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

First attack by Grant’s new army forces the Confederate forces off Lookout Mountain.

25 November 1863: Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee

Second Union attack outside Chattanooga that included one of the few occasions in the war where a frontal attack against a fortified position succeeded. The battle breaks the siege of Chattanooga.

29 November 1863: Battle of Knoxville, Tennessee

Failed Confederate assault on the Union positions at Knoxville.

4 December 1863

Longstreet abandons the Siege of Knoxville.

14 December: Battle of Bean's Station, Tennessee

A minor Confederate victory that ended the serious fighting in the Knoxville campaign.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 May 2006), American Civil War Timeline 1863 ,

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