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The Battle of Collierville was a battle of the American Civil War, in Shelby County, Tennessee. Four minor battles occurred in 1863 at Collierville, Tennessee, during a three-month period. The two largest battles occurred on October 11 and November 3, 1863. The battle on October 11 was the largest land battle fought in Shelby County, Tennessee. The reports from the Union commanders in official records also refer to the town as Colliersville.

October 11

On Sunday, October 11, 1863, the Confederate forces of Confederate Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, advanced from its base in Oxford, Mississippi to attack the union garrison at Collierville. His forces consisted of the 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th Tennessee Cavalry, the 1st, 3rd, 12th, and 18th Mississippi Cavalry and the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, along with Buckner's Battery. Buckner's Battery was armed with a 6-pound, a 10-pound and four breech-loading, rapid-fire Williams Gun. Union forces were commanded by Union Colonel D. C. Anthony of the 66th Indiana Infantry, which had established defenses at the railroad depot and a stockade having 8-foot-high walls and also along a line of rifle-pits.

General Chalmers's plan was to approach from the south and cut the telegraph lines, burn the railroad trestles, and surround the fort. The 7th and 13th Tennessee and 2nd Missouri Cavalries were to attack from the west, while Colonel Richardson's brigade consisting of the 12th, 13th, and 14th Tennessee and the 12th Mississippi Cavalry attacked from the east. The artillery supported by the 18th Mississippi Battalion was placed on a ridge in the center within 600 yards of the fort and railroad depot. Colonel McGuirk's 3rd Mississippi Cavalry and 1st Mississippi Partisans were sent around the right flank for an attack from the north and gain possession of the town.

About 12 noon, a train constraining Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived from Memphis with the 13th Infantry Regiment (United States), which brought the total number of men fighting in the battle to about 4,000. The 13th U.S. was ordered to the left of the 66th Indiana into the woods. Moving north, Colonel McGuirk's command came upon a 40-acre Union cavalry camp on the north side of the town. After routing the Union 7th Illinois Cavalry into the river bottoms and capturing 150 prisoners and 5 stands of colors, McGuirk's men loaded 18 wagons of supplies and destroyed an additional 30 wagons. Because of this delay, Colonel McGuirk was unable to attack the fort from the north as planned.

The battle raged around the fort and depot, and eventually the Confederates drove all the Union forces into the fort, the depot or railroad cuts for protection. Neither side was able to gain control of the battle. Fearing reinforcements from Germantown, the Confederates withdrew without taking the fort. The battle lasted 5 hours. Union losses were 164 killed, wounded or missing and Confederate losses were 128 killed, wounded or missing. General William T. Sherman narrowly escaped capture as the Confederates boarded his train and captured personal items, including his horse, Dolly.

November 3

The battle on November 3 was intended to be a Confederate cavalry raid to break up the Memphis & Charleston Railroad behind Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's XV Army Corps, then in the process of marching to the relief of Chattanooga. But, when Confederate Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, leading a cavalry division riding up from Mississippi, learned that only one Union regiment was left to defended Collierville, he decided to attack. Union Col. Edward Hatch possessed more men than Chalmers supposed, stationed at Collierville and at Germantown, five miles to the west. Scouts warned Hatch of Chalmers's approach from the south, so he ordered Collierville's defenders to be prepared and rode from Germantown with cavalry reinforcements.

General Chalmers, as he had done only three weeks earlier, attacked from the south with McCulloch's and Slemon's brigades. The Union garrison was defended by eight companies of the 7th Illinois Cavalry Regiment and two howitzers. Col. Hatch quickly arrived with the 6th Illinois and 2nd Iowa Cavalry Regiments. The Confederates launched an attack with only part of Slemon's brigade, believing faulty intelligence that it was lightly defended. The Union 2nd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Cavalry opened fire with their repeating Colt revolver rifles and repulsed the attack. Surprised by the unexpected appearance of the enemy on his flanks, Chalmers concluded that he was outnumbered, called off the battle, and, to ward off Union pursuit, withdrew back to Mississippi. Chalmers reported the loss of 6 killed, 63 wounded, 26 prisoners, including Colonel James Z. George, commanding the 5th Mississippi Cavalry. Hatch reported the loss of approximately 60 casualties. The Memphis & Charleston Railroad remained open to Tuscumbia, Alabama, for Union troop movements.

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