Michigan FlagAnson Croman20th Michigan Flag
Company F, 20th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment

American Civil War



In March, 1863, the 20th Michigan moved to Kentucky where they skirmished and battled with Confederates near the Cumberland River.


Vicksburg Campaign

In June, 1863, the 20th Michigan was transferred to reinforce General Grantís army and naval forces besieging Vicksburg, Mississippi.

General Grantís army, along with naval units on the Mississippi River, had started the siege of Vicksburg. Mississippi in May, 1863.


In June the IXth Corps, which included the 20th Michigan, had joined as reinforcement to General Grantís army.


The IXth Corps served under General Sherman and was positioned north and east of Vicksburg to protect General Grantís flank.

Regiment symbol (regiment20MI) north of Vicksburg  above "Sherman" is the approximate position the 20th Michigan during the siege of Vicksburg until its surrender on July 4, 1863.

Regiment symbol (regiment20MI) north of Jackson, Mississippi is the approximate position of the 20th Michigan during the assault and recapture of Jackson, Mississippi by July 16, 1863.

After Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, 1863, the IXth Corps with the 20th Michigan moved east to Jackson, Mississippi. For the second time in this campaign, Jackson was placed under siege.

Union captured Jackson by July 16.

Contemporary map with orange regiment symbol (regiment20MI) at the approximate location of the 20th Michigan during the July, 1863 campaign to recapture Jackson, Mississippi.
After the fall of Vicksburg, the 20th Michigan participated in another assault to recapture Jackson, Mississippi. The State Capitol Building survived the burning of the city.
Today the Old Capitol is the  Mississippi the State Historical Museum.

Michigan State Memorial, Vicksburg National Military Park,Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Vicksburg Campaign Sites in 2016

From Mississippi, the IXth Corps and the 20th Michigan was sent to Tennessee.

Tennessee (Knoxville)

In August 1863, the 20th Michigan returned to Kentucky.


In October, the 20th Michigan crossed through the Cumberland Gap to eastern Tennessee.


Many people in eastern Tennessee were strongly pro-Union. One of President Lincolnís priorities was to secure the area and provide them protection from the Confederates.


In September 1863, after the Confederate victory at Chickamauga, Georgia, the main Union army retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Confederates cut them off and placed Chattanooga under siege.


At the same time, a large Confederate force moved into eastern Tennessee.


The Union forces, including the 20th Michigan, withdrew into defensive positions in Knoxville, Tennessee.


By November 25, 1863, reinforcements under General Grant relieved the siege of Chattanooga. That freed Union forces to go join those now cut off in Knoxville.


Before the Union reinforcements could arrive, the Confederates assaulted what they hoped was the weakest point of Knoxvilleís defenses, Fort Sanders on the far northwest corner of Knoxville.

1863 map of Knoxville with both Fort Sanders and the 20th Michigan.
Fort Sanders with position of the 20th Michigan and the direction of the main Confederate attack.


Before the attack, the Union soldiers soaked the sloped dirt walls of Fort Sanders. After the water froze the icy slope would be even more difficult for the Confederates to scale.


On November 29, 1863, the Confederates attacked and failed in their attempt to take Fort Sanders. The 20th Michigan suffered 19 casualties, with two killed, eight wounded, and nine captured


November 29, 1863 Confederate assault on Fort Sanders, Knoxville, Tennessee.


Drawing illustrates almost the exact position of the 20th Michigan.

With General Shermanís relief force approaching from Chattanooga, the Confederates gave up and withdrew.


The 20th Michigan remained in and around Knoxville until March 1863, when it was ordered back to Virginia.

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All material not in the public domain © 2004 - 2018 Leonard H. Cizewski

Last Major Update; November 27, 2013
Last Minor Revision: July 13, 2018
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Posted: May 24, 2004

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