Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside the commander of the Department of the Ohio led an expedition into Tennessee to secure the roads and gaps moving into Virginia, also the salt works located in Abingdon, Virginia. Union Colonel John Watson Foster leading cavalry and artillery moved his troops toward Blountsville, Tennessee. On September 22nd 1863 at about noon they engaged troops there under the command of Confederate Colonel James E Carter. The fight went on for four hours with the Union shelling the town. Foster made a flanking movement on the Confederates causing them to withdraw from Blountsville.
The casualties were light on both sides. The Union had 27 losses, and Confederates saw 165. The Sullivan County Courthouse located in Blountsville burnt in the shelling and wasn’t rebuilt until after the war.