Historic Markers Across Tennessee

The Battle of Campbell Station

Marker ID:  
Location: 405 Campbell Station Rd, Knoxville, TN
County: Knox
Coordinates: N 35° 53.267    W 084° 10.033
  35.88778333    -84.16721666
Waymark: None


The Battle of Campbell Station
History of the Farragut Area

On Nov. 4, 1863, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet — with two divisions, about 5,000 cavalry and approximately 12,000 troops — was detached from the Confederate Army of Tennessee near Chattanooga to attack Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's Union Department of the Ohio troops at Knoxville. Knoxville was a vital stronghold for both armies as it was where supplies for the South were brought in from Virginia by rail.

Although opposing forces first confronted each other briefly at Loudon, it was just the start of the race to Knoxville. With approximately 5,000 troops, General Burnside's Union forces, although greatly outnumbered by Longstreet's troops, were ordered to draw the Confederate army to Campbell Station and delay their advance to Knoxville. This strategic site was chosen by Burnside as a defensive location due to its high ground.

On a cold and miserable Nov. 16, the battle began. Under General Burnside, the Union troops arrived first with barely enough time to set up defenses on the high ground near the present day intersection of Concord Road and Kingston Pike. After six hours of heavy fighting, the Confederates failed to break through the Union line, and night fell. Total casualties were about 348 Confederate and 338 Union troops.

Delaying the Confederate forces enabled the Union troops already in Knoxville to prepare fortifications. Through the night, Burnside's division continued to race Longstreet towards Knoxville, taking them away from General Braxton Bragg to the south. Successful in their mission to delay the Confederate's offensive, Union troops continued to Knoxville to join forces in the successful defense of the city. The Battle of Campbell Station was described by one officer as being, from beginning to end, the "prettiest little fight" ever fought.

Farragut Museum.