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This week in the civil war

Fights hit Arkansas, Tennessee

The days of Jan. 9-11, 1863, witness fierce fighting in Arkansas, 150 years ago during the Civil War.

There, Confederate forces arrayed along the Mississippi River at Fort Hindman harass Union river trade and shipping on the vital waterway.

As 1863 opens, Union troops land nearby in a coordinated offensive and head toward the Confederate defenses, forcing the rebels back from their initial positions in trench works. Union vessels launch raking artillery fire at Fort Hindman, a prelude to an infantry attack.

Ultimately on Jan. 11, 1863, the Confederate command surrenders. More than 6,500 dead, wounded or missing are reported in the wake of the Union victory in Arkansas County.

But the offensive does little to aid Union commanders increasingly anxious to overrun Vicksburg, Miss., and gain a greater grip on the Mississippi River corridor.

The Associated Press this week reports initial accounts of the fighting in Tennessee days earlier, at the outset of the New Year. AP reports federal troops have cleared rebel forces on the roads around Murfreesboro, Tenn., after fierce fighting and what was described by one correspondent as “a terrible slaughter.” The fighting at the outset of 1863 comes as the nation gets set to enter its third year of the conflict.

– Associated Press

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