Gen. Burnside was assigned to the command of the Department of the Ohio in the spring of 1863, his district including Kentucky and East Tennessee. The IX Corps left Virginia at this time and was assigned to his command; but, having planned an active campaign in East Tennessee, and needing additional troops, he organized the XXIII Corps from the regiments then stationed in Kentucky.
This new corps was formed April 27, 1863, with Maj. Gen. George L. Hartsuff in command. Gens. Julius White and Milo S. Hascall were assigned to division commands.
The proposed campaign in East Tennessee was postponed, as the IX Corps was ordered to Vicksburg, to reinforce Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's army; but in August, the IX Corps returned to Kentucky, and the advance of the XXIII Corps commenced. The 2nd Division (White's) made its rendezvous at New Market, from whence it marched on the 19th, arriving at Loudon, Tenn., on the 4th of September. Gen. James Longstreet's Corps had been detached from Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army, and, in October, 1863, marched into East Tennessee to drive out Burnside's Army of the Ohio, as the united forces of the Ninth and XXIII Corps were then designated.
The fighting was continuous, minor engagements occurring almost daily, and on November l6th a spirited battle occurred at Campbell's Station, in which White's Division was actively engaged. Burnside moved next to Knoxville, which place was invested and finally assaulted by Longstreet, but without success. At Campbell's Station, and at Knoxville, the corps was commanded by Gen. Mahlon D. Manson.
On the 4th of April, 1864, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield was assigned to the corps, and he commanded it during the Atlanta Campaign, which was the most eventful period of its existence. In the spring of 1864, Hovey's Division of Indiana troops, newly recruited, joined the corps at Charleston, Tenn., and was designated as the 1st Division. The 2nd Division was commanded by Gen. Henry M. Judah, and the 3rd Division by Gen. Jacob D. Cox, with which organization it started on the Atlanta campaign. But on June 6, 1864, the 1st Division was broken up and divided between the other 2 divisions. While on the Atlanta campaign, Gen. Judah was succeeded by Gen. Hascall in the command of the 2nd Division. The greatest loss of the corps during that campaign was sustained May 14, 1862, at the battle of Resaca. It also encountered some hard fighting near Kenesaw and at Utoy Creek.
After the fall of Atlanta, and while Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Army was wending its way to the Sea, the XXIII Corps joined Thomas' Army in the Tennessee campaign against Hood. The corps was still under the command of Gen. Schofield, while the 2 divisions, 2nd and 3rd, were commanded, respectively, by Generals Ruger and Cox. These 2 divisions contained 30 regiments of infantry and 4 batteries of light artillery. Their returns for October 31, 1864,--just before starting on the Tennessee campaign--show 10,624 officers and men present for duty. The corps was actively engaged at the battle of Franklin, but at Nashville it was largely held in reserve. In the latter action, Ruger's (2d) Division was commanded by Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch.
In January, 1865, the corps moved from Nashville, via Washington, to North Carolina, Cox's Division landing at Fort Fisher, February 9, 1865. Moving up the river, the corps fought at Fort Anderson, and at Wilmington, February 21st, capturing the latter place. In the meantime, another division was formed, and designated as the 1st Division, with Gen. Ruger in command. This division was actively engaged in the victory at Kinston, N. C. (Wise's Forks), which resulted in the occupation of Goldsboro. Cox succeeded Schofield, the latter having been promoted to the command of the Army of the Ohio, which, since the arrival of the XXIII Corps in North Carolina, comprised 2 corps--the X (Terry's) and XXIII.
On the 10th of April, 1865, the XXIII Corps numbered 14,293 present for duty, and was composed of 3 divisions --Ruger's, Couch's, and Carter's. It remained in North Carolina while Sherman's Army, with which it had made a junction at Goldsboro, marched northward to Washington. The corps was discontinued on August 1, 1865, many of the regiments having been mustered out before that.