Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet took a detachment of two divisions and 5,000 cavalry from the Army of Tennessee, with orders to attack Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside who was traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee. Both armies traveled similar routes trying to beat the other to Campbell’s Station. Campbell’s Station was the point where the Kingston Road and Concord Road meet, and Burnside had to get there first if he was going to get to Knoxville. If Longstreet could get to Campbell’s Station before the Union troops, they would be forced to fight outside of the works around Knoxville.
Burnside’s troops marched hard through the rain on November 16th 1863, arriving at the intersection at Campbell’s Station just 15 minutes ahead of the Confederates. Longstreet planed an attack against both flanks of Union force, with Confederate Major General Lafayette McLaws hitting the right flank and Brigadier General Micah Jenkins the left. The Union right was hit hard and had to redeploy, but the Union left held its ground. Burnside’s withdrew his men three quarters of mile in an orderly movement. Longstreet halted his attack and Burnside was able to move his troops to Knoxville.
Union casualties in the battle were about 400. The Confederate’s lost about 570 men.