Battle of Fair Garden

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Battle of Fair Garden

January 27, 1864


Same day


Sevier County, Tennessee


Western Theater


Operations about Dandridge, Tennessee


Union victory

33 star flag.png
Conf Navy Jack.png

Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps,
Army of the Ohio

Cavalry Division,
Department of East Tennessee


Samuel D. Sturgis
Brigadier General, USA
Edward M. McCook
Colonel, USA

William T. Martin
Major General, CSA





After the Battle of Dandridge, the Union cavalry moved to the south side of the French Broad River and disrupted Confederate foraging, as well as captured numerous wagons in that area. On January 25, 1864, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, commander of the Department of East Tennessee, instructed his subordinates to do something to curtail Union operations south of the French Broad River. On the 26th, Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis, having had various brushes with Confederate cavalry, deployed his troopers to watch the area fords. Two Confederate cavalry brigades and artillery advanced from Fair Garden in the afternoon but were checked about four miles from Sevierville. Other Confederate forces attacked a Union cavalry brigade at Fowler’s on Flat Creek, and drove it about two miles. No further fighting occurred that day. Union scouts observed that the Confederates had concentrated on the Fair Garden Road, so Sturgis ordered an attack there in the morning. In a heavy fog, Col. Edward M. McCook’s Union division attacked and drove back Maj. Gen. William T. Martin’s Confederates until about 4:00 pm. At that time, McCook’s men charged with sabers and routed the rebels. Sturgis set out in pursuit on the 28th, and captured and killed more of the routed rebels. The Union forces then three of Longstreet’s infantry brigades crossing the river. Realizing his men's weariness, his lack of supplies, ammunition, and weapons, and the overwhelming strength of the enemy, Sturgis decided to retreat. Before leaving, Sturgis decided to attack Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong’s Confederate cavalry division which he had learned was about three or four miles away, on the river. Unbeknownst to the attacking Federals, Armstrong had fortified his position and three infantry regiments had arrived to reinforce him. The Union troops accordingly suffered severe casualties in the attack. The battle continued until dark, when the Federals retired from the area. The Federals won the overall battle but the fatigue of continual fighting and lack of supplies and ammunition forced them to withdraw. (NPS summary)