Union General Samuel D. Sturgis received a report on the night of December 28, 1863, that a brigade of Confederate cavalry was in the neighborhood of Dandridge that afternoon. Surmising that the Rebel cavalry force was split, Sturgis decided to meet and defeat, and possibly capture, this portion of it. He ordered most of his troopers out toward Dandridge on two roads.
After these troops had left, Major General William T. Martin, commander of General Longstreet’s Confederate cavalry, now reunited, attacked the remainder of Sturgis’s force at Mossy Creek, Tennessee, which included the First Brigade, Second Division, XXIII Army Corps, commanded by Col. Samuel R. Mott, at 9:00 am.
First, Sturgis sent messages to his subordinates on the way to Dandridge to return promptly if they found no enemy there. The Confederates advanced, driving the Federals in front of them. Some of the Union troopers who had set out for Dandridge returned. Around 3:00 pm, fortunes changed as the Federals began driving the Confederates. By dark, the Rebels were back to the location from which they had begun the battle.
Union pursuit was not mounted that night, but Martin retreated from the area. After the victory at Mossy Creek, the Union held the line about Talbott’s Station for some time.
Result: Union victory
Location: Jefferson County, TN
Campaign: Operations about Dandridge 1863-64
Date: December 29, 1863
Principal Commanders: Brig. General Samuel D. Sturgis [US];
Major General William T. Martin [CS]
Forces Engaged: Cavalry Corps, Army of the Ohio and 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, XXIII Army Corps [US]; Longstreet’s corps, Army of Norhtern Virginia (Sturgis reported that the Confederate cavalry was supported by a brigade of infantry; approx. 2,000 men) [CS]
Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US 151; CS unknown)