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HARDTACK and HARD TIMES: Battle of Kingsport Ceremony 2013.

December 14th, 2013 12:44 pm by Ned Jilton

HARDTACK and HARD TIMES: Battle of Kingsport Ceremony 2013.

Lantern lighted and placed at the base of the monument in remembrance of the soldiers who fought at the Battle of Kingsport. Photo by Ned Jilton II

Civil War re-enactors gathered in the rain Saturday on the Greenbelt along the north fork of the Holston River for the annual commemoration of the Battle of Kingsport. A couple hardy souls even set-up a Civil War camp Friday and spent the night.

The ceremony remembering the Dec 13, 1864 Battle took place Saturday morning near the Battle of Kingsport monument. Following a few opening comments and prayer, local educator and re-enactor, Scott Smith spoke briefly about the battle and some of the people involved. The assembled re-enactors then fire three volleys in tribute to those who fought the battle.

Held in conjunction with the Netherland Inn’s 1818 Christmas, after the ceremony some of the re-enactors retired to the inn to take part in the festivities there.

The best overall description of the battle that I have found so far was written by Union Maj-Gen Alvan C. Gillem who commanded the attacking forces. In his report of the battle, starting when his forces past through Rogersville, he wrote.

“The enemy were driven in confusion in the direction of Kingsport. They were pursued until 8 p. m., when my command was halted ten miles east of Rogersville to rest and feed. At 12 p. m., after four hours' rest, I resumed the pursuit, and at daylight reached the bank of the North Fork (Holston River), opposite Kingsport, having marched forty-four miles in the previous twenty-four hours.”

“The enemy were found strongly posted a cedar thicket on a bluff commanding the ford, and also in the village of Kingsport.”

“After consultation with Major-General Stoneman, the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry was ordered to proceed up the river and cross at Kyle's Ford, two miles and a half above, and turn the enemy's right flank, whilst I, with two battalions of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Stacy, and the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, under Major Hornsby, should cross the river and attack them in front.”

“To cover our crossing Major Wagner, with the Third Battalion of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was ordered to take a position in the shrubbery and behind the fences near the river on the west bank. At my request Major-General Burbridge ordered a regiment to support Major Wagner, and also one to cross the river at the same ford by which the Eighth Tennessee passed, but this regiment did not reach Kingsport in time to participate in the engagement. So soon as the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry made its appearance on the enemy's right flank, the Thirteenth and Ninth Regiments, with the exception of Wagner's battalion, charged across the river and attacked them in front.”

“This movement completely surprised them, and after a feeble resistance, considering the advantage of their position, they fled in confusion, and were pursued for seven miles. The pursuit only ended when the enemy, loosing all semblance of organization, scattered through the woods for safety. The enemy's loss in this charge was 18 killed, 84 prisoners, including Colonel R.C. Morgan, commanding brigade. Their subsistence and ammunition train of 14 wagons and 4 ambulances fell into our hands.”

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