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r- 7 X. 

(Breat Commanbera 



®l)e (Bttat Commanbera 0eric0. 

Edited by General James Qrant Wilson. 

Each, lamo, cloth, gilt top, $1.50 net; 
postage, II cents additional. 

Admiral Farragut. By Captain A. T. Mahan, U. S. N. 

General Taylor. By General O. O. Howard, U. S. A. 

General Jackson. By James Parton. 

General Greene. By General Francis V. Greene. 

General J. £. Johnston. 

By Robert M. Hughes, of Virginia. 

General Thomas. By Henry CoppIie, LL. D. 

General Scott. By General Marcus J. Wright. 

General Washington. 

By General Bradley T. Johnson. 

General Lee. By General Fitzhugh Lee. 

General Hancock. By General Francis A. Walker. 

General Sheridan. By General Henry £. Da vies. 

General Grant. By General James Grant Wilson. 

General Sherman. By General Manning F. Force. 

Commodore Paul Jones. 

By Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

General Meade. By Isaac R. Pennypacker. 

General McClellan. By General Peter S. Michie. 

General Forrest. By Captain J. Harvey Mathes. 

In preparation. 

Admiral Porter. By Jambs R. Solby, late Assistant Secretary 
U. S. Navy. 

General Schofield : An Autobiography. 



• ••• 




.■ u 



• • 




Copyright, 1902, 

j4ll rights reserved. 

Published March, 19W 



The writer of the following work served with in- 
fantry commands of the Confederate army, mostly as 
adjutant of a regiment or on brigade staff duty, for 
nearly four years. It was not his fortune to ride with 
General Forrest during the war, yet he knew this re- 
markable character somewhat intimately, as well as 
^ members of his staff and hundreds of his men who 
^1., are still engaged in the activities of private life. From 
^ the associations of war and of peace, impressions 
zfwere formed as to the personality and the mettle of 
1 Forrest and the soldiers who made him famous. In 
^ the limited space permitted the most salient points have 
o been presented, while many incidents, some of them 
^ humorous as well as pathetic and thrilling, have been 
passed over or only given brief mention. The Re- 
bellion Records, so replete with official reports, as 
published by the Government with approximate accu- 
racy and fairness; the Memoirs of Generals Grant, 
Sherman, and Thomas, and numerous other Union 
officers of lesser rank ; the Campaigns of General For- 
rest, by General Thomas Jordan and John P. Pryor, 
issued in 1868; the Life of General Forrest, by Dr. 
John A. Wyeth (1899) ; The Seventh Tennessee Cav- 
alry, Forrest's old regiment, by John P. Young, of 
Memphis, and many other publications and papers 
have been freely consulted in the preparation of this 
work. The aim has been to gather and put together 


in consecutive order the facts in regard to General 
Forrest's eventful life from early youth to his death 
at the comparatively early age of fifty-six. Thanks 
are returned to General James Grant Wilson for 
many valuable suggestions as to the scope and spirit 
of judicial treatment which it is hoped will be found 
to pervade this volume ; to General Marcus J. Wright, 
of the War Department, for kindly aid in the revision 
of some chapters; to the surviving members of Gen- 
eral Forrest's staff, including especially his son. Cap- 
tain William M. Forrest, and Lieutenant-Colonel John 
W. Morton, who was chief of artillery, and to many 
others of the old command who have lived to enter 
upon the twentieth century; and also to Captain 
Alfred G: Tuther, Dr. Joseph P. Alban, General 
Milton T. Williamson, and other Union officers 
now living in Memphis, who have kindly supplied 
interesting facts which were as missing links in the 
history of some of Forrest's campaigns. Many au- 
thorities have been drawn upon and pains taken by 
correspondence and personal interviews to revive and 
make available the memories and impressions of old 
soldiers who were in the campaigns described, wear- 
ing either the blue or the gray. If these and such 
as these can approve the efforts made to do some- 
thing in the line of reliable and unbiased history, then 
the earnest desire and patriotic ambition of a Con- 
federate veteran will have been realized. 

J. Harvey Mathes. 

Memphis, Tenn., February, igo2. 



I. — Ancestry and early life i 

II. — First campaign in Kentucky .... 23 

III. — The battle of Fort Donelson .... 34 

IV. — Battle of Shiloh. — Capture of Murfreesboro 54 

V. — Operations on Bragg's flank .... 73 

VI. — Battle of Parker's crossroads . . . . * 82 

VII. — Repulse at Dover. — Success at Thompsons 

Station 96 

VIII. — Streight's expedition overtaken and captured 109 

IX. — Spring Hill to Chickamauga . . . .128 

X. — In a new field. — Promoted to major-general 153 

XI. — General William Sooy Smith's defeat . .173 

XII. — Third raid into West Tennessee . . .197 

XIII. — Capture of Fort Pillow 214 

XIV. — Brice's crossroads 233 

XV. — Severe repulse at Harrisburg, July 14, 1864 . 252 

XVI. — A daring raid on Memphis 264 

XVII. — Forrest's command reorganizes. — Sudden and 
successful move through north Alabama 
INTO Middle Tennessee. — Johnsonville . 282 

XVIII. — Covering Hood's disastrous retreat from 

Nashville 306 

XIX. — Final campaign in 1865. — General Wilson's 
capture of Selma. — Then the surrender. — 
And General Forrest's farewell address 
at Gainesville, Ala 333 




XX. — General Forrest after the war. — A quiet, 


OF FIFTY-SIX. — Some reminiscences and com- 

career . . . 358 

Appendix : 

General Lee's account of the battle of 
Harrisburg, July 14, 1864 .... 379 

General Forrest's orthography . . . 382 

Index 385 



Portrait of General Forrest, engraved by Charles B. Hall 
from a photograph taken in Richmond, Va. Frontispiece 

Nathan B. Forrest in early life, from a daguerreotype 

taken in Memphis about 1846 4i 

House in Hernando where Forrest lived when a youth , ii 

Facsimile of letter written in September, 1861, to Dr. 

J. H. P. Westbrook 26 

Map of battle-field of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, 1862 . . 56 

Campaign of the early part of 1863 106 

Map of vicinity of Nashville 124. 

Vignette and autograph of General Forrest . . . 129 

Map of Pontotoc to Corinth 156 

Map of Brice*s crossroads battle-field, June, 1864 . . 240 

Map of the Tennessee River in Alabama .... 314 

Facsimile of letter to Gen. Stephen D. Lee, July, 1865 . 336 

Portrait of General Forrest, enlarged from a tintype 

taken in New York city, i868 373 





Biography is the most instructive and beneficial of 
all the efforts of the pen. It molds national character 
and makes states. By it the greatness of individuals 
is founded. Plutarch's Lives' are to this day read 
most carefully, nay, studied diligently, by the youth 
whose ambition seeks a career as soldier or statesman. 

In a republic it is a matter of special importance 
that the lives of citizens whose services in peace or 
war have been distinguished, should be unrolled before 
their countrymen in the minutest detail possible. 
Thus the aspiration of the humblest is kindled to emu- 
late. Thus all are informed that great deeds and 
achievements are within the reach of those who will 
strive, and that no man's inauspicious conditions of 
fortune or birth are in the way of a citizen of a free 
republic who has the means and ability to achieve. 
Honest, 'truthful biography is like the flame of the 
Parsees' altar, ever inviting — as that did to the worship 
of Deity — the individual to competition in great ac- 
tions, and the people to the contemplation of grand 
performances and gratified admiration for their heroes. 

Therefore the life of Lieutenant-General Nathan 
Bedford Forrest. The subject of this work and a 
twin sister, who was named Fanny, were born on the 


13th of July, 1 82 1, near the site of a little place known 
afterward as Chapel Hill, on Duck River, in Bedford — 
now Marshall County by change of lines — in Middle 
Tennessee. They were the first children of humble but 
respected parents. Their father, William Forrest, was 
a plain, hard-working blacksmith, of whom nothing 
especial is known beyond the fact that he was born in 
Sumner County, Tenn., about the year 1800, and grew 
up in Bedford County, where he married Miriam 
Beck, of a Scotch-Irish family, who at an early day 
had emigrated from South Carolina. William, the 
father of Bedford, was the oldest son of Nathan For- 
rest, who was bom in Orange County, N. C, and 
was married in that State to Miss Baugh, of Irish 
birth or descent. Nathan was the second son of Sha- 
drack Forrest, who lived in western Virginia and was 
of English parentage. Whether he was born in Vir- 
ginia or England does not appear. It seems to be ac- 
cepted as a fact that he was taken to the colony of 
North Carolina about the year 1730, and near the end 
of the century removed with his son Nathan and a 
numerous family of children and grandchildren to 
Sumner County, Tenn., and thence, two years later, to 
Bedford County, where he died at an advanced age. 
Nathan Forrest was the father of eight children — five 
sons and three daughters. The sons were mostly stock 
traders, but one was a tailor. They were all men of 
good character. None of the name can be found in 
that part of the country now. 

From the foregoing brief genealogy it will be seen 
that Nathan Bedford Forrest came of a blended strain 
of English, Scotch, and Irish blood, inheriting the 
qualities of courage, tenacity of purpose, clearness of 
judgment, and alertness of action which enabled him 
to ever make the best of trying occasions, and to be- 
come one of the famous cavalry leaders of the world. 


The Forrests were plain, honest people who were in the 
vanguard of fearless pioneers advancing from the older 
settlements along the eastern coasts to the then far 
West and Southwest. They followed the bridleways 
of civilization, and the trails of the Indian and the 
buffalo. It is related of this branch of the family that 
while they were industrious, temperate, frugal, and in 
every way honorable and respected by their neighbors, 
they were not overfortunate in acquiring wealth. The 
conditions, the hardships, and severe trials of life in a 
wild, unhealthy country were not easy to overcome. 
The necessities of life were barely attainable by sever- 
est labor and the closest economy. The ordinary com- 
forts of to-day would have seemed then as enervating 
and unnecessary luxuries. 

William Forrest and his wife, the father and mother 
of Bedford, had their share of toil and care, and like 
many other poor people, were blessed with a large family 
of children, consisting of eight sons and three daugh- 
ters. In 1834 William Forrest, following the tide of 
emigration ever seeking cheaper lands, removed his 
family to Tippah County, north Mississippi, and settled 
near the site of a hamlet which became known as Salem, 
in the Oklahoma of that period — just vacated by the 
Chickasaw Indians, and being rapidly occupied by white 
settlers. The aborigines were slowly and reluctantly 
disappearing to find new homes west of the Mississippi 
River. But even after that the dominant, aggressive 
palefaces had to encounter many hard lines of soil and 
climate. The new settlers were largely of an adven- 
turous disposition, coming from nearly all the older 
States. There were no universities to speak of in those 
days, and but few colleges or other schools worthy of 
the name. Only a favored and limited number could 
attend any of these even if so inclined. The average 
poor boy might pick up a little elementary learning in 


such far-apart schools as there were, but unless he 
had some dream of ambition above the average, or un- 
usual introspection, he was likely to remain in the fur- 
rows of every-day life. He might make a good citi- 
zen, answer roll-call on muster-day, work the road, 
or serve on the jury when summoned, pay his taxes, 
go to church occasionally, attend corn-shuckings, 
house-raisings, log-rollings, and shooting-matches, and 
might be elected a justice of the peace or school trustee, 
or even go to the Legislature for one term ; yet in the 
course of time he would be numbered with his fathers, 
go to the country church or farm graveyard, and be 
quickly forgotten. 

Nathan B. Forrest grew up in a period when public 
schools in Tennessee and Mississippi were limited to 
sessions of not more than three months a year, and 
often the boys had to stop to sow wheat, haul wood, 
go to mill, and do other work. It is claimed that the 
future general went to school three months in Ten- 
nessee and three in Mississippi. There were some rich 
people in those days in a comparative sense, but often 
these were land poor, and only kept up their credit and 
financial standing by close management and the in- 
crease of slave property. The Forrests were not large 
landed proprietors or the owners of negroes in the 
early part of this century, but they were people of good 
repute, of strong arms and stout hearts, w6ll fitted 
by nature and experience to lead the way in a new 
and wild country. No attempt is made here to go into 
any extensive genealogical research; but it may be 
taken for granted almost as an axiom that whenever 
a man even of most obscure origin grieatly distin- 
guishes himself above his fellows he has good blood 
back of him, and is but a reproduction of some strong 
ancestors. Usually it can be traced, especially on 
his mother's side, without going very far back; and 


SO in this instance it appears that Nathan B. Forrest 
derived more of his aspirations and heroic mold of 
character from his Scotch-Irish mother than from 
the worthy blood of his English descent. But be that 
as it may, he had the will-power and self-assertive- 
ness to rise above the common environments of life 
and to leave a name on the enduring pages of Ameri- 
can history. 

It was in 1837 that William Forrest, the hard- 
working blacksmith, died in Tippah County, Miss. 
Bedford was then not quite sixteen years old. After 
that the aim of the boy — ^the oldest son — seems to have 
been to care for those dependent upon him and his 
mother, rather than to become acquainted with books 
and school-teachers. He worked heroically, and soon 
met with a fair measure of success. In a few years, 
however, malarial and typhoid fevers had reduced the 
family by the death of two sons and three sisters, in- 
cluding Fanny, the twin born with him. Young Bed- 
ford was prostrated himself with the prevalent sick- 
ness of the country, and lay at death's door for many 
weeks. But, speaking from the human standpoint, his 
superior constitution and will-power triumphed, and 
at the age of twenty he was a sound, stalwart young 
man, well equipped for the arduous duties of life be- 
fore him, so far as could then be seen. 

Many instances are related of his prowess and de- 
cision of character in early youth. On one occasion in 
Mississippi his mother and her sister, Fanny Beck, 
returning home on horseback from a visit to a neigh- 
bor who lived several miles away, were pursued by a 
panther. Mrs. Forrest carried a basket of young 
chickens which the wild beast scented. They ran their 
horses at full speed, and Miss Beck urged her sister 
to drop the chickens, but she held on. Coming to a 
creek near home, at dark, it was necessary to slacken 


their speed. There the hungry animal sprang up 
behind Mrs. Forrest, clawing her frightfully upon the 
shoulder and neck, and also severely wounding the 
horse which, wild with the pain and fright, plunged 
and reared in the water until the panther fell into 
the stream. The horse died immediately. Mrs. For- 
rest was badly hurt, and the clothes were torn from her 
back, but. Scotchlike in tenacity, she held to her 
chickens. The screams of the women brought out the 
whole Forrest household, and the loved mother was 
soon tenderly cared for by young Bedford and others. 
After that he took down his old flintlock gun, whistled 
to his hounds, and, in spite of the protests of his 
mother and all, started after the panther. Following 
the trail through briers, tangled vines, and dense woods 
until midnight, the dogs treed the wild beast in the 
depths of the forests. Waiting patiently until daylight, 
Bedford discovered the fierce enemy lying flat on a 
limb, lashing its tail and snarling at the dogs. Then, 
carefully priming his gun from an old-fashioned pow- 
der-horn, he shot the animal through the heart, and 
it fell dead to the earth. By nine o'clock young For- 
rest was back at home with the ears and scalp of the 
panther as a trophy. 

At another time, soon after the death of his father, 
a neighbor's ox committed a series of depredations on 
the Forrest farm, seriously injuring growing crops, 
and easily knocking down any fences that stood in 
the way. Finally the widow's son sent word to the 
owner that he would shoot the animal if found in his 
fields again. The man scornfully and angrily returned 
a message that whoever shot that ox would be shot 
himself. It was not long before young Forrest dis- 
covered the same old forager feeding in his corn-field. 
Securing his rifle, he made haste to the scene and 
shot the thief dead. As he finished reloading, the 


neighbor, in a towering rage, appeared with his rifle 
on the outside of the fence. Starting to climb over 
he heard the second crack of young Forrest's rifle. 
The bullet whistled by, cutting through his clothes; 
he fell to the ground on the outside as if shot, and never 
stopped running until he was safe at home, after which 
there was no other trouble between the Forrests and 
their blustering neighbor. Such an aflFair in the life 
of the boy gave promise of the man which was in his 
mature years abundantly fulfilled. Dr. Wyeth says: 
" Within recent years there was living at Chapel Hill, 
Tenn., an aged lady who was well acquainted with 
the family of William Forrest, and she remembers 
Bedford as a mere child and young boy. But the 
only peculiarity she could recall of him was that when 
at play he could make more noise, and when his mother 
was whipping him he could yell louder, than any child 
in the neighborhood." This too may have been pro- 
phetic of the greater noise he was to make in the 
world. His good Scotch mother, who cooked her Sun- 
day dinners on Saturday, no doubt had a strong Cal- 
vinistic tinge in her character, and believed in the 
laying on of hands, and her eldest son seems to have 
learned at an early day that the fiercer the rebel yell 
the sooner the battle would be over. But there really 
is not much to be learned of Forrest's boyhood davs. 
He was over forty years old before he began to be 
famous early in the war, and the people who had 
known him in his days of poverty, hardships, and ob- 
scurity were widely scattered. There were no chron- 
icles in those days of little hatchet stories, or records 
of the precocious doings and sayings of the backwoods 
lad, however suggestive these may have been. His 
life was a hard one, and had never one gleam of ro- 
mance or bright hope in it until he met, loved, and won 
the noble woman who became his good angel and con- 


trolling spirit all the rest of his days. This event is 
mentioned in its proper order. 

General Forrest's sisters all died early in life. His 
brothers who grew up to manhood were as follows: 
John, next to him, who served in the Mexican War, 
and received a gunshot wound which paralyzed the 
lower half of his body so that he could only walk on 
crutches. He was living at the Worsham House, in 
Memphis, in 1862, when a Union officer with a detach- 
ment of men visited his mother's place a few miles 
northeast of Memphis, and acted in a manner which 
aroused her indignation. All her other sons were in 
the army, so next day she came to the city and told 
John what had occurred. A few days later, as he was 
sitting in front of the Worsham House, the officer came 
along, and John charged him with misconduct and 
threatened to break his crutches over his head. The 
officer began to abuse the whole Forrest family, when 
John arose and attempted to strike him, but his crutch 
was kicked from under him and he fell to the ground. 
As he lay there he pulled a Derringer and shot the 
officer, wounding him so severely that he lay at death's 
door for several weeks, but finally recovered. John 
Forrest was hustled off to a gunboat in port and 
placed in irons and solitary confinement. General For- 
rest sent in a demand for his release or humane treat- 
ment until he could have a proper trial. The com- 
manding general complied with this, and John was 
released upon his own recognizance, as there was cer- 
tainly no danger of his running away, and he was 
afterward acquitted. He lived several years after the 

William Forrest, the third son, a tall captain of 
scouts durinef the war, was a large, handsome man, a 
daring fighter, and was wounded several times. He 
was very quiet in demeanor, but quick in action, and 


in personal difficulties, which he had only on behalf of 
some weaker friend, was a dangerous antagonist. He 
kd the charge near Days Gap on Sand Mountain upon 
Streight's daring little army of rough-riders on the last 
day of April, 1863, and had his thigh-bone shattered by 
a Minie ball ; yet he lived to perform other gallant serv- 
ice, and was in Memphis several years after the war. 
He died in 1876. 

Aaron Forrest, the fourth of these brothers, served 
as lieutenant-colonel of a Mississippi cavalry regiment, 
and diiring the second campaign into West Tennessee 
and Kentucky, under his brother, died of pneumonia 
near Dresden, Tenn. 

Jesse Forrest, the next brother, was colonel of a 
regiment, and served with the courage characteristic 
of his family. He was severely wounded in the at- 
tack on Athens, Ala., in 1864. After the war he en- 
gaged in business successfully in Memphis, became a 
prominent citizen, and reared a large family. He has 
been 4ead several years. 

The sixth and last of the sons of William Forrest 
and Miriam Beck who became adults, born four months 
after his father's death, was Jeffrey. He was the pet 
and pride of his eldest brother, and was given by him 
every advantage of education up to the beginning of 
the war. In that respect Jeffrey was the most cul- 
tured member of the family, and is said to have been 
very popular as well as an accomplished gentleman. 
He had his full share of military genius, became colonel 
of a cavalry regiment, and while commanding a brigade 
in his brother's division was shot through the neck and 
instantly killed at the battle on the prairie near Oko- 
lona, Miss., in 1863. He had been commissioned a 
brigadier-general, but the commission did not reach 
him before his death. 

Six years after the death of William Forrest his 


widow was married to Mr. Joseph Luxton, and t6 
them three sons and a daughter were bom. Two of 
the boys, young as they were, went into the Confeder- 
ate army, making seven of her sons in the service. The 
youngest Luxton, born in 1848, remained at home 
some time after the death of his father, though he 
passed through the lines late in the war. Mrs. Forrest- 
'Luxton has been incorrectly described as a six-footer 
of herculean frame, high cheek-bones, and of rough, 
muscular form and manners. The writer remembers 
to have seen her and formed quite a different impres- 
sion. He has also talked with Mr. J. M. Coleman, who 
resides (1902) near Memphis, and was her neighbor 
while she lived in Shelby County, and with others who 
knew her as well as Mrs. Luxton. They agree that she 
was about five feet ten inches in height, and weighed 
one hundred and eighty pounds. She had dark hair, 
and, like her oldest son, had bluish-gray eyes, was 
positive in character, and as a widow was head of her 
family, but kind-hearted and very pacific and gentle in 
expression unless aroused to assert herself. She was a 
strong character, a loved wife and loving mother, and 
worthy of the race of heroes whom she bore. Soon 
after the war she removed with her younger children 
to Texas, where one of her sons, Matthew Luxton, 
became sheriflF of Uvalde County. She died in 1868, 
and was buried in Navasota. 

Taking up the thread of Nathan B. Forrest's ante- 
bellum life, several interesting facts may be mentioned. 
After three or four years' hard work on the farm with 
the assistance of his younger brothers, the family was 
placed in fairly comfortable circumstances. He often 
told in later years how he would plow all day and then 
sit up late at night making buckskin leggings, shoes, 
and coonskin caps for himself and brothers, for in 
those days everything the people wore was home- 


made, and scarcely anything was bought from the 
country stores except a little sugar and coffee. In 
1841, when the people of Texas were engaged in a 
struggle with Mexico for her independence, young 
Forrest caught the military ardor of the times and 
joined a company of volunteers, organized by Captain 
Wallace Wilson, and in February of that year started 
from Holly Springs with his comrades for Texas. At 
New Orleans, however, they were disappointed as to 
transportation by steamer to Galveston. The company 
was disbanded, and many of the members returned 
home ; but Forrest and a few others pushed on to Hous- 
ton, where they found that their services were not 
required. Some of these ardent young men obtained 
money from friends and were able to return. Bedford 
Forrest went to work making rails on a plantation, 
and when he had earned enough money returned to his 
home after an absence of four and a half months. Soon 
after he was prostrated with a fever contracted in 
Texas. Restored to health, he labored industriously 
for a year on his mother's farm, and in the meantime 
became quite a dealer in horses and cattle. 

In the autumn of 1842 an uncle, Jonathan Forrest, 
offered him an interest in an established business of 
the same kind, including a livery stable in the town of 
Hernando, twenty-five miles south of Memphis. This 
he gladly accepted, and remained there for several 
years. He was successful, and soon able to enlarge his 
sphere of operations and accumulate some capital. On 
the 20th of March, 1845, he was drawn reluctantly 
into a personal and fatal rencontre, which brought him 
into great local prominence, and made a lasting im- 
pression upon all who knew the young man. Her- 
nando was little more than a frontier town, and it was 
the habit of many people to go armed. His aged uncle 
had been drawn into a controversy on account of hav- 


ing gone on the bond of one James Martin, the guar- 
dian of some orphan children. A family named Mat- 
lock was involved in some way also. Bedford was 
drawn into it merely through sympathy. On the morn- 
ing in question the Matlock brothers — William, James, 
and Jeflferson — accompanied by their overseer, named 
Bean, came to town and purposed to attack the elder 
Forrest. Bedford happened to come across the square 
at the moment, and protested against four men assault- 
ing one. The whole party immediately turned on him 
and a general fusillade followed. The first shot at 
Forrest missed ; ten others were fired by the attacking 
party. Young Forrest was wounded, but not seriously. 
He had only a double-barreled pistol, which he used ef- 
fectively. A bystander handed him a bowie-knife, and 
he made a rush for the Matlocks ; three of them were 
wounded, two seriously, and all, with Bean, were 
driven from the field. In the melee Jonathan Forrest, 
the uncle, came out of his place and received a mortal 
wound at the hands of Bean, who then turned and 
fled into an office near by. Bedford Forrest quickly 
followed, and found Bean hiding under a bed. Drag- 
ging him out, Forrest exclaimed : " You deserve death 
at my hands, but I am too brave a man to murder one 
so completely in my power ; I give you your life ; " and 
then turned him over to the civil authorities.* The 
sympathy of the community was entirely with For- 
rest, and after he gave himself up to the officers of the 
law he was released without bond. The others when 
arrested were held without bail, and only released after 
long confinement, vigorous prosecution, and heavy 
payment of costs and other expenses. 

Another incident will serve to illustrate the coolness 

* Statement of F. W. Chamberlain, an eye-witness now liv- 
infr in Hernando, Miss., taken by Captain J. A. Loudon, of 
Memphis, in June, igoo. 


and courage of the man and the times in which he 
lived. Riding one day on the road from Hernando 
to Holly Springs with Mr. James K. Morse, a promi- 
nent lawyer of the former place, they were suddenly 
met by one James Dyson, a planter of the neighbor- 
hood, noted for desperate and bloody deeds, who cher- 
ished a mortal grudge against the lawyer. Without 
one word of warning Dyson raised a double-barreled 
gun and shot Morse through the heart with a rifle-ball, 
and then turned the other barrel on Forrest and threat- 
ened to shoot him merely because he had witnessed the 
atrocious murder. Forrest, however, had drawn his 
pistol and cocked it, and told Dyson to make sure 
work, for it would be his time next. Dyson lowered 
his gun and rode off. He said afterward that his re- 
maining barrel was only loaded with buckshot, and he 
was afraid that he could neither kill nor disable For- 
rest. He was arrested, vigorously prosecuted by For- 
rest, and convicted of murder in the first degree ; but 
he had money and was not hanged. 

The next great event in the life of Nathan B. For- 
rest was his dashing courtship and marriage to Miss 
Mary Ann Montgomery, a woman of gentle blood, of 
Revolutionary ancestry, good education, and most lov- 
able character. Their meeting was accidental and 
most romantic. He was riding along a road several 
miles from Hernando one Sunday morning, and found 
a carriage and horses with two ladies and the driver 
stuck fast in the middle of a wide creek. Two young 
men on their way to church were sitting on their horses 
liear by as interested spectators. Forrest immediately 
dismounted, waded out to the carriage, and offered to 
carry the ladies ashore, which he quickly did one at 
a time. They proved to be Mrs. Montgomery and 
daughter. Going back into the stream he and the 
driver succeeded in getting the carriage and horses to 


the bank and helped the ladies back to their seats ; then, 
turning upon the tender young men on the horses, he 
gave them a piece of his mind, and threatened to thrash 
them both within an inch of their lives if they did not 
leave at once, and they took the hint. The ladies were 
profuse in their thanks, and Forrest, introducing him- 
self, asked permission to call on them, which they read- 
ily granted. He lost but little time, and when he made 
his appearance at their mansion a few days later he was 
surprised and disgusted to find the same two young 
gentlemen in the parlor, waiting for the ladies, and told 
them tersely that their room would be worth more 
than their company. Again they left without standing 
upon the order of their going. One of them was a 
minister, or preparing to be such. Forrest was cor- 
dially welcomed, and at once fell in love with the 
beautiful Miss Montgomery. On his second visit he 
proposed ; the lady was surprised, and of course hesi- 
tated; he then bluntly told her that if she accepted 
either of the two young men paying court to her, or 
any one like them, she would be neglected and left to 
take care of herself as she was that Sunday in the creek, 
but that he had a business and would be able to give 
her a good support. He wound up by declaring he 
was determined to marry her, and that the next time 
he came he would bring a minister and marriage license 
with him ; and so he did, and they were married on the 
25th of September, 1845, ^ ^^w weeks after they first 
met.* Forrest's decision and action in this impulsive 
love-affair was characteristic of the man. It was a 

* Miss Montgomery was born in Middle Tennessee on the 
2d of October, 1826, hence was nearly five years younger than 
the man she married. She was of Virginia ancestry, of Revo- 
lutionary stock, and it was understood in her family that she 
was a descendant of a brother of General Montgomery, killed on 
the lofty east cliffs of Quebec. 


very happy marriage, and they were devoted to each 
other as long as both lived. They had one' son, Wil- 
liam, bom September 28, 1846, who followed his father 
into the army at the age of fifteen, and served with 
him until the surrender, and a daughter, Fanny, born 
two years after, who died at the age of five years. 

Forrest continued to live in Hernando and pros- 
pered in business until 1849, when he suffered a severe 
loss from a venture in the manufacture of brick for the 
erection of a large academy. This, however, occurred 
through a breach of trust of an agent in Memphis 
empowered to draw money from bank. In the same 
year he removed to Memphis, and became a dealer 
in real estate and slaves. Among the many narrow 
escapes of his life may be mentioned one that occurred 
in the spring of 1852 off the coast of Texas, some busi- 
ness having called him to that State. When this was 
accomplished he was in haste to return, and near 
Houston took passage in a weak old steamer, the 
Farmer, for Galveston. The captain was a drunken, 
reckless man. Forrest retired early, but was disturbed 
by a noisy set of gamblers ; and getting up to quell the 
racket, which he did, he was surprised to find the boat 
in a race with another steamer. The chimneys were 
red hot, the furnace in a roar, the timbers fairly creak- 
ing, and the drunken captain having more fuel thrown 
under the boilers. His boat was ahead ; he was within 
six miles of Galveston, and swore he would " get there 
first or blow the old tub and every soul on board to 
h — 11." Mr. Forrest protested in vain, then walked 
abaft and waited for the explosion, which soon came 
with terrific force. . The vessel was shattered to splin- 
ters and sixty lives, including that of the captain, were 
lost. The competing racer came up and took off the 
survivors, Forrest among the others, half-dressed as 
he had been when he left his stateroom a few moments 


before. His only injury was a bruised shoulder, but he 
aided actively in rescuing the wounded and transfer- 
ring the dead. 

There was some prejudice even in those days in the 
South against a man known as a negro-trader, al- 
though it was as legitimate as horse-trading or any 
other business. But Forrest, by his integrity and fair 
dealing and the humane manner in which he treated 
the slaves in his hands, overcame this feeling to a 
great degree, and soon acquired the respect and good- 
will of the community. Old citizens, who remember so 
far back, unite in saying that he avoided and refused to 
allow the separation of negroes of the same family. 
He took in as a partner Robert L. Balch, who after- 
ward was a private and still later became by election 
major of Forrest's famous regiment. If only from the 
motive of self-interest Forrest would have been kind 
to his slaves. He was a man of strikingly handsome 
appearance and dressed well ; the negroes were proud 
to belong to him, for he required them to be neat 
and tidy in appearance, and of course they were well 
fed and housed. He hs^d a slave-yard enclosed by a 
high brick wall on Adams Street near Third in Mem- 
phis. Continuing on these lines of business, and also 
maintaining a large sales stable of fine horses until 
1859, he had acquired quite a fortune, and disposing 
mainly of his interests in Memphis he bought two 
large cotton plantations in Coahoma County, Miss., and 
one in Tunica County and other real estate. He also 
was interested with Dr. A. K. Taylor, of Memphis, in 
another plantation twelve miles above the mouth of the 
St. Francis River in Arkansas, and the year before 
the war he raised and marketed one thousand bales of 
cotton at a net profit of at least thirty thousand dollars. 

In 1857 ^^ incident occurred in Memphis which 
brought Forrest before the people in a new and unex- 


pected light. Two men, father and son, Joe and John 
Able, had lived in the city and rendered themselves 
notorious as gamblers and by various acts of violence. 
The father killed a man in a saloon and made his 
escape. In June of that year John Able, the son, met 
a man named Everson at the Worsham House, and 
charged him with having insulted his (Abie's) mother. 
Suddenly and without warning he struck Everson with 
a pistol which was discharged, and the latter fell, shot 
through the brain. Able went to jail, but as his char- 
acter was not the best, and several such deeds had gone 
unpunished, the people became wildly excited, and soon 
assembled in great numbers at the Worsham House, 
resolved upon swift punishment. Bedford Forrest 
came upon the scene, mounted the balcony, and made a 
strong talk in favor of moderation and a law-abiding 
course, and concluded by announcing that a meeting 
of citizens would be held the next evening at the city 
hall, Exchange Building, to consider the action best 
to be taken for the suppression of such acts of violence. 
This had its effect for the time, and the crowd slowly 
and sullenly dispersed. 

The evening following a large and excited crowd 
assembled in and around Exchange Building. The 
mayor presided and Forrest was one of the vice-presi- 
dents, but they were in a volcano of human passion. 
Suddenly a clear, fierce voice rang out : " Oh, let's 
hang Able and be done with it ! '' A thousand other 
voices seconded the motion, and the crowd adjourned 
in a run for the jail at the foot of Jefferson Street on 
the levee, only three squares distant. The jailer gave 
up his keys to the ringleaders, and the young prisoner 
was brought out half-dressed. A rope was thrown 
around his neck, and he was hurried up to the navy- 
yard near by, followed by a bloodthirsty mob. After 
some little delay the rope was adjusted to a beam, and 


all was ready for the swinging. At this moment For- 
rest, who had remained at the hall to consult briefly 
with the mayor and other cool-headed, law-abiding citi- 
zens, made his way through the crowd and appeared 
by Abie's side. The young nian, only twenty years old, 
a mere boy in appearance, was perfectly cool, and was 
protesting that he was justified in what he had done, 
and would be acquitted if allowed a fair trial. His 
mother and sister had reached him, and were pleading 
for his life with tears in their eyes. But the infuri- 
ated crowd shouted : " Hang him ! Hang him ! " 

This was a moment of supreme crisis. Forrest, 
as he leaped upon the platform like an athlete, as he 
was in fact, drew a knife, cut the rope from Abie's 
neck, and announced that he would return the prisoner 
to the legal authorities. Nothing but the surprising au- 
dacity of the act saved Able or even Forrest. A few 
of the latter's friends rallied around him, and they 
started for the jail. The dumbfounded ringleaders re- 
covered in a moment and pursued. Forrest dropped 
behind some lumber-piles with Able and the crowd 
actually ran over them, sweeping away their little 
escort and striking with knives and clubs as they went. 
After the mob swept by, Forrest reached the jail with 
Able alone, and securing the prisoner safely in his 
cell, came out to find the mob in force threatening to 
tear down the building to get their intended victim. 
Forrest drew his revolver and coolly announced that 
he would shoot the first man who approached the door. 
There was no ringleader to face this imperturbable 
man, and the mob of three thousand slowly melted 
away. Forrest awoke next day to find himself famous, 
at least in a local way ; the papers were full of the thrill- 
ing event, and this man was the hero of the hour. He 
had vindicated a principle in a time of wild excite- 
ment, and set the people to thinking as seldom before. 


While Bedford Forrest never had any taste or am- 
bition in a political way, or sought an office, he was in 
1858 elected alderman of Memphis and served one 
year, exercising the excellent judgment and quickness 
of decision for which he was noted in larger affairs. 
In 1859 he was reelected, but before the end of his 
official year, being called away, he resigned. Return- 
ing, however, he was rechosen by the board of alder- 
men, upon whom devolved the selection, as his own 
successor. He was very watchful of public interests, 
and enjoyed the fullest confidence of his associates 
and the people, for he was known to be absolutely and 
ruggedly honest and fearless. Mayor R. D. Baugh, 
who was in office when Forrest was aldermanj said 
afterward : " While alderman, General Forrest never 
offered a resolution to the board on any subject or to 
carry out any measure, no matter how unpopular it 
might be at first, that he did not stick to it and work 
at it until he carried it triumphantly through." 

Speaking of Nathan B. Forrest when he was still an 
alderman. Captain J. A. Loudon, now of Memphis, 
says : " It was on the wharf at Memphis, in the fall 
of i860, that I first met him. The event was dramatic, 
and made a lasting impression on my mind, as it fully 
brought out the grand character of the man. ^ly 
father, Captain John Loudon, had a contract for laying 
a stone wharf in front of the city, and the work was 
nearing completion. That portion extending from the 
foot of Union Street to Beal had been left until toward 
the last, owing to some springs which it was hoped 
would be dried bv hot weather and thus secure a bet- 
ter foundation. This section was paved, measured, 
and accepted by the city engineer. Then a sudden rise 
of the river occurred, and after it receded it was dis- 
covered that the stonework had dropped down over the 
springs. At my father's request the mayor and council 


went to examine the work and determine what should 
be done. I was but a youth, yet deeply interested. 
They marched by twos, my father and the mayor at the 
head of the little procession, Nathan B. Forrest and a 
strong, stout alderman bringing up the rear, and I 
fell into line behind. 

" Presently an alderman near the front dropped 
out and joined the next set of twos, then the next, 
and so on to the last. His first words were: 

" ' Mr. Forrest, we have concluded to condemn the 
whole of this work.' 

" ' For what reason do you condemn the whole of 
this wharf ? The portion we have passed has stood and 
is standing the test admirably, and much better than 
I thought it would. Why, I remember to have seen 
mule-drays sink in the quagmire here where we are 
walking, which is perfectly sound and safe ; and re- 
member we have not reached the sunken portion which 
we have been called upon to inspect.' 

" The first speaker answered : * We have concluded 
to condemn the whole job ; this will break up old man 
Loudon, and then we can give the work to one of our 
friends ; and we want you to help us.' 

" Forrest's bright gray eyes blazed as he turned on 
the speaker and thundered forth : * You infernal scoun- 
drel ! Do you dare to ask me to be as d d a rascal 

as yourself? I have a big notion to pitch you into 
the Mississippi River. Now, I warn you if you ever 
presume to address such a damnable proposition to me 
in future I will break your rascally neck.' 

" Every man in the column had halted and heard 
every word that Forrest said, and after that resumed 
the march in silence. Reaching the sunken portion, 
my father explained that the pavement could be made 
to stand by inserting a honeycomb or open stone sewer 
to drain the water off under the surface. Mr. For- 


rest took the lead in the interview, and my father's 
proposition was agreed to and the work was repaired 
and still stands. The alderman who would have swin- 
dled my father and turned over the job to some of his 
friends was silent, and his conspiracy was at an end." 

Several years before the war, the noted phrenolo- 
gist, Dr. Orson G. Fowler, of New York, visited Mem- 
phis and, as usual on his tours, delivered a free lec- 
ture in a public hall. Near the close of this he called 
upon the audience to choose persons present to be ex- 
amined phrenologically. There was a loud call for 
" Forrest,'' and presently a tall, but muscular, well- 
dressed, farmer-looking man stepped briskly down the 
aisle and up on the rostrum. 

Dr. Fowler looked at him with admiration for a 
moment, ran his hands lightly over his head, and said 
very impressively : " Here is a man who would have 
been a Caesar, a Hannibal, or Napoleon if he had had 
the opportunity. He has all the qualities of a great mil- 
itary genius. If he could not go over the Alps he 
would go through them ; " and proceeded in this strain 
at some length, predicting that if Mr. Forrest ever had 
the opportunity he would yet distinguish himself in 
some way. The planter retired amid tumultuous ap- 
plause, little dreaming that in less than seven years he 
would be a lieutenant-general with world-wide and 
enduring fame. 

We have now followed Nathan B. Forrest in a 
fairly consecutive order of events from his birth in 
a plain log cabin to the culmination of his voca- 
tions in i86o-'6i as a business man and planter in 
north Mississippi and Memphis. He had passed 
through varied and trying experiences, and had 
reached a point where he might reasonably expect to 
rest upon his well-earned competency. Having led an 
active and strictly temperate life, he was in the full en- 


joyment of perfect health and physical vigor. Six 
feet two inches high, weighing one hundred and eighty- 
five pounds, straight as an Indian, of perfect, symmetri- 
cal frame, confident of his own strength and resources, 
he was the beau ideal of a volunteer soldier.* 

* The Forrest family Bible with many private papers was 
burned, with General Forrest's temporary residence on Presi- 
dent's Island, near Memphis, about a month before his death in 
the autumn of 1877. The loss was irreparable, and accounts 
largely for the absence of exact dates as to births, marriages, 
and deaths, in the foregoing chapter. 



On the 14th of June, 1861, Nathan Bedford For- 
rest, the wealthy Southern planter, then in his fortieth 
year, enlisted at Memphis as a private in Captain 
Josiah S. White's company of troopers and took his 
place in the ranks. This became " Company D " in the 
Sixth Tennessee battalion, stationed for a time at 
Randolph on the river, above Memphis, and afterward 
belonged to the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry surrendered 
under Lieutenant-General Forrest at Gainesville, Ala., 
in May, 1865. Forrest had been a State's-right Demo- 
crat, but was opposed to a dissolution of the Union so 
long as there was any hope of peace between the sec- 
tions ; but after President Lincoln's proclamation of 
April 15, 1 86 1, he saw the storm coming, and at once 
decided to cast his lot with the South. About the loth 
of July Private Forrest received a despatch from Gov- 
ernor Isham G. Harris calling him to Memphis, where 
he was given authority to raise a regfiment for the pro- 
visional Government of the Confederacy, then estab- 
lished at Montgomery, Ala. Forrest immediately in- 
serted a notice in the Appeal, calling for five hundred 
able-bodied men to report to him at the Gayoso Hotel, 
to constitute a battalion of mounted rangers. All who 
could were to furnish horses and arms — shotguns and 
pistols preferred, the men to be credited with such 
property when mustered into service. Knowing that 
neither the State nor Confederate Government could 
3 23 


arm and equip his command efficiently, he made a trip 
to Kentucky, visiting Paris, Lexington, Mount Ster- 
ling, and Frankfort to look for recruits and arms. 
Not finding many recruits at once, he ventured to 
Louisville about the 20th of July, and there with his 
own means bought five hundred Colt's revolvers, one 
hundred saddles, and other equipments. These were 
loaded into wagons at night by six young volunteers 
— not over eighteen years old — ^and started on the 
road south. Thence going to Bradenburg, Meade 
County, Ky., Colonel Forrest mustered in a com- 
pany of ninety men — the Boone Rangers, under Cap- 
tain Frank Overton — ^which became the first company 
of the regiment ultimately formed. The men left in 
small parties, and rendezvoused near Nolin Station on 
the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Forrest followed 
with his wagons, overtook the men there, and they all 
proceeded safely through the country to Memphis. 
Meantime Captain Charles May had organized a com- 
pany called the Forrest Rangers. These two formed 
the nucleus of the battalion which was organized with 
eight companies about the ist of October, 1861. They 
were as follows : Company A, Captain Overton, Brad- 
enburg, Ky. (ninety strong) ; Company B, Captain 
Bocat, southern Alabama (eighty strong) ; Com- 
pany C, Captain May, Memphis (ninety strong) ; 
Company D, Captain Gould, Texas (ninety strong) ; 
Company E, Captain Trewhart, Gadsden, Ala. (eighty 
strong) ; Company F, Captain Kelley, Huntsville, Ala. 
(ninety strong) ; Company G, Captain Logan, Harrods- 
burg, Ky. (about forty-five strong) ; Company H, Cap- 
tain Milner, Marshall County, Ala. (eighty-five strong) ; 
altogether about six hundred and fifty strong. In the 
second week of October an election of field officers was 
held. Nathan B. Forrest was chosen lieutenant-colonel 
without opposition, and Captain D. C. Kelley became 


major; Lieutenant C. A. Schuyler was appointed adju- 
tant, with J. P. Strange, a young merchant of Memphis, 
as his sergeant-major. Soon after the organization 
Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest was ordered to march to 
Fort Donelson, at Dover, Middle Tennessee, and the en- 
tire battalion reached there in the latter part of October. 
The command was indifferently armed, half the men 
having only shotguns. Fort Donelson, then an unim- 
portant place comparatively, was commanded by Colo- 
nel A. Heiman, of the Tenth Tennessee Infantry, with 
about five hundred men. Forrest was ordered to look 
out for gunboats coming up Cumberland River. Pro- 
ceeding as far as Canton, Ky., he was ordered by Gen- 
eral Lloyd Tilghman to report to his headquarters at 
Hopkinsville, Ky. ; thence he was ordered about the 
middle of November to the Ohio River to report move- 
ments between the Cumberland and Green rivers. 
Reaching Princeton, Major Kelley with a detachment 
made a detour and captured a steam transport on the 
Ohio River loaded with sugar, coffee, blankets, and 
other desirable supplies. Just as he returned with 
the booty word came that the gunboat Conestogo had 
gone up the Cumberland River to seize some clothing 
stored at Canton for the Confederates. Forrest set 
out with the whole battalion, and riding all night 
made the distance of thirty-two miles in eight hours, 
reaching the place next morning. A four-pounder 
piece of artillery was brought along from Princeton. 
The gunboat soon came in sight, and after recon- 
noitering shelled the woods to feel for an enemy. 
Lieutenant Sullivan responded with his little four- 
pounder, but was compelled to retire to a safer position. 
The commander of the Conestogo kept up the firing 
for several hours, but, concluding it might not be safe 
to land, closed the port-holes and steamed back down 
the river. This was the first experience of Forrest and 


his men under fire from a gunboat. They were in 
concealment, and fired at the port-holes of the gunboat, 
but with what effect was not then known. No casual- 
ties were reported in the battalion. Returning to 
Hopkinsville on the 21st of November, the command 
was reenforced by two companies of cavalry from 
Alabama— one the McDonald Dragoons, under Cap- 
taiti Charles McDonald, and the other under Captain 
D. C. Davis, from Huntsville, Ala. — these making ten 
companies in all. 

In the latter part of November Lieutenant-Colonel 
Forrest, in accordance with his own ideas and request, 
was ordered by Brigadier-General Charles Clark to 
make a reconnaissance in force in the direction of Cal- 
houn on the north bank of the Green River, Kentucky, 
where General Thomas L. Crittenden was reported to 
be at the head of a large Union force of infantry and 
cavalry. He advanced to Greenville, where he captured 
some ammunition and equipments; thence to Casey- 
ville, on the Ohio River, and on toward the village 
of Marion, Crittenden County. Near that place he 
narrowly escaped a bullet intended for him which killed 
the surgeon of his regiment. Dr. Van Wick. Forrest 
took charge of a detachment, intending to arrest one 
Jonathan Bells, a Unionist charged with having caused 
the imprisonment of a prominent Southern sympa- 
thizer. Approaching the house of Mr. Bells, Dr. Van 
Wick, riding beside Forrest, was shot dead by some 
one within who escaped by the back door. Had Colo- 
nel Forrest worn as showy a uniform as his surgeon 
he doubtless would have ended his career there in the 
wilds of western Kentucky. * A detachment sent after 
the murderer of Dr. Van Wick met ten Baptist min- 
isters, noted for their Union sentiments, who had just 
returned from a meeting of a church association in Illi- 
nois, and they were brought before Colonel Forrest. 


He held eight of them as hostages and sent the other 
two to Illinois to recover some Kentuckians of alleged 
Southern sympathies who had been captured by a raid- 
ing party from that side. The emissaries were success- 
ful, and all the preachers were soon discharged to go to 
their homes. This expedition returned to Hopkinsville 
after an absence of some three weeks, and brought in 
quite a supply of hogs, horses, and various articles for 
the use of the army. There was a considerable Federal 
force in pursuit, but no action resulted. On December 
28th a company of forty Tennesseeans under command 
of Captain Starnes and Lieutenant McLemore over- 
took and joined Forrest. This was at Greenville. The 
roads were very heavy with mud and ice, and move- 
ments were made with difficulty. The advance, some 
two hundred strong, was moved out eight miles, and 
there the report came by a scout that a Federal force 
of about five hundred had crossed the road a few miles 
distant, and was moving in the direction of Sacramen- 
to, a small place. The news inspired the command to 
ride up briskly, although the men and horses were 
already tired. During this movement, rapid as it could 
be made, a well-mounted Kentucky girl rode up by the 
side of Colonel Forrest and cheered him and his men 
on to the charge. Her head was uncovered, her tresses 
flying in the air, and her face aflame with enthusi- 
asm. The colonel — always a ladies' man — in a modest 
way alluded to the incident in his official report. This 
sentimental Joan of Arc was politely asked to retire 
before the real fighting began. 

Pushing on rapidly, the Confederates overtook the 
Federal rear-guard within a mile of Sacramento. The 
Union cavalry seemed in doubt as to whether the pur- 
suers were friends or foes. Forrest seized a Maynard 
rifle from one of his men and fired the opening shot, 
which settled that matter. He had by this time gath- 


ered about one hundred and fifty of his men who had 
straggled after a ride of thirty miles that day, and 
pushed forward only to fire and fall back. The Fed- 
erals followed, and as the other Confederates arrived 
Forrest ordered flank movements by Major Kelley 
and Captain Starnes. Meantime he had dismounted 
some of his troopers and engaged the enemy directly in 
front. This was his first opportunity to adopt the tac- 
tics which he afterward employed with such success. 
As Starnes and Kelley swung in on the right and 
left Forrest led a charge in the center. The Union 
forces fled and were hotly pursued — shooting and 
shouting as they went, and all poured pell-mell 
through Sacramento. Captain Merriwether, a Ken- 
tucky Confederate, was shot dead with a pistol-ball 
through his brain. Colonel Forrest with his saber 
struck down and mortally wounded the Federal Cap- 
tain Bacon; Private W. H. Terry, by Forrest's side, 
received a fatal saber-wound at the hands of the 
Federal Captain Davis. Forrest, running at full speed, 
collided with the captain, and both went down together. 
Davis was severely injured, and at once surrendered. 
Forrest was bruised, but not seriously hurt. During 
the conflict he struck down three of his opponents ; of 
the gallant few who turned to fight none escaped. It 
was a short, thrilling conflict. The pursuit was con- 
tinued some three miles. The Confederates reported 
two killed and three privates wounded. Major Mur- 
ray, commanding the Federal detachment, reported 
one officer — Captain Bacon — and eight soldiers killed, 
and forty missing out of the one hundred and sixty- 
eight men of Jackson's regiment in the engagement. 
The Federals also lost Captain A. N. Davis, captured, 
and Lieutenant John L. Walters, missing.* Forrest 

^— — ■■■■■ ^1^—^ ■ ■ I ■ ■ ' ^^^m^mm^m^^ 

♦ Rebellion Records, vol. vii, p. 63. 


had perhaps two hundred men in the fight, with about 
one hundred coming up from the rear — men who had 
straggled in after a long, hard ride. Of this early 
sanguinary conflict on the border-line. General Thomas 
L. Crittenden, of the Union army, reported to General 
Don Carlos Buell as follows : 

Calhoun, Ky., December 30, 1861. 

In the fight beyond Sacramento we lost eight killed 
and eight, perhaps thirteen, captured. Over four hundred 
rebel cavalry surprised one hundred and sixty-eight of 
Jackson's cavalry as they were returning from a scout to 
South Carrollton. Major Murray and other officers be- 
haved with great gallantry, supported by about forty-five 
men. The charge was repelled and the men resisted the 
whole body of the enemy for ten minutes, when some das- 
tard shouted, " Retreat to Sacramento ! " Most of the 
men fled, of course, and did not stop at Sacramento. Cap- 
tain Albert G. Bacon was killed and seven privates. The 
rebels took away three wagon-loads of dead and wounded. 
Although outnumbered and partially surprised, I think 
my men had the best of the fight. I rode out to Sacra- 
mento yesterday and found Jackson burying the dead — six 
of our men. Five or six of our men were so badly wounded 
that we could not bring them in. 

On January 3, 1862, General Crittenden reported: 
" As it was, the casualties of the enemy were equal to 
ours. We had, however, to mourn the loss of ei^ht 
gallant soldiers and three oflficcrs of uncommon brav- 
ery and soldierly qualities: Captain A. G. Bacon, 
killed, Captain A. N. Davis, captured, and Lieutenant 
John L. Walters, missing:." 

Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest, in his report from 
Hopkinsville, December 30, 1861, states in substance 
that : " Under orders to reconnoiter to the front, I 
moved from camp on Thursday, the 26th, with detach- 
ments from Companies A, C, and D, First-Lieutenant 


Crutcher and Captains May and Gould ; detachment of 
twenty-five men of Captain Merriwether's company 
under his command. Major Kelley, with detachments 
from Companies E, F, and G under Lieutenants Hamp- 
ton and Cowan, had been ordered to Grenada to await 
orders. Saturday, 27th, at Greenville, formed a junc- 
tion with a detachment of forty cavalry from Russell- 
ville under command of Captain Starnes and Lieu- 
tenant McLemore, who with Major Kelley were await- 
ing my arrival. The command — about three hun- 
dred strong — moved forward in one column. We 
had advanced about eight miles down the Rumsey 
Road when we learned that the enemy — five hundred 
strong — had that morning crossed from Calhoun to 
Rumsey. As the news ran down the column it was 
impossible to repress jubilant and defiant shouts, which 
reached the height of enthusiasm as the women from 
the houses waved us forward. A beautiful young 
lady, on horseback, smiling, with unbound tresses in 
the breeze, met the column just before our advance- 
guard came up with the rear of the enemy, infusing 
nerve into my arm and knightly chivalry within my 
heart. One mile this side of Sacramento we came up 
with the rear-guard of the enemy, who halted. Taking 
a Maynard rifle I fired on them, and they rode off 
rapidly to a column which formed just over the brow 
of a hill. The head of my column arriving, I or- 
dered it forward, but after skirmishing ordered it 
back, dismounting a number of men for sharpshoot- 
ers, and ordering left- and right-flank movements 
by Kelley and Starnes. The rest of my men coming 
up, we charged in the center with a shout all along 
the line. The enemy broke in confusion. Some offi- 
cers made a stand, but soon followed their men at 
full speed. The best mounted of my men overtook 
them and applied the saber freely at Sacramento, and 


CQntinued the diase two miles beyond. At this point 
Captain Bacon and Captain Burges were run through 
with saber thrusts, and Captain Davis, thrown from 
his horse, became my prisoner with a dislocated shoul- 
der. The enemy, without officers, threw down their 
arms, and depended alone upon the sp)eed of their 
animals. My horses were run down, and I deemed it 
best to call oflF the chase, having many wounded men 
clinging to their saddles to prevent themselves falling 
to the ground. Returning, we found many dead and 
wounded. Captains Bacon and Burges were made as 
comfortable as possible at the nearest farm-houses. 
There were killed on the field and mortally wounded, 
who have since died, about sixty-five; wounded and 
taken prisoners, about thirty-five. Among the killed 
were two captains and three lieutenants and several 
non-commissioned officers. . . . Our loss was Captain 
Merriwether and Private Terry killed, and three pri- 
vates slightly wounded." Various officers and men are 
complimented for their gallantry. The discrepancy as 
to losses on each side — so common in the war — is 
something for the intelligent reader to decide upon for 

The following order indicates another change of 
commanders at Hopkinsville : 

Headquarters Western Department, 

Bowling Green, Ky., Navanber 15, 1861. 

Brigadier-General Clark: 

General : I am instructed by General Johnston to say 
you will proceed to Hopkinsville in obedience to orders 
you have received. Six companies of cavalrj' under Colo- 
nel Forrest have been ordered to that point. General Pil- 
low will not take charge of the o|>erations projected at that 
point. You will receive no troops from General Polk. 
... * W. W. MacKall, a. A,'G. 

* Rebellion Records, vol. iv, p. 551. 



Forrest made the following report : 

HoPKiNSViLLE, Ky., November 14, i86z. 
W. W. MacKall, Assistant Adjutant-General : 

' I have been operating with my command of eight com- 
panies near Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, by order of 
General Polk. Finding the country impracticable for cav- 
alry and with scant subsistence, I moved part of my com- 
mand to Canton, north side of Cumberland River, leaving 
two companies at Dover. I am of no use south of Cum- 
berland ; desire my command united and can do vast serv- 
ice with General Tilghman. Will he so order ? 

N. B. Forrest, Commanding Tenn. Cavalry. 

The following order throws some light upon the 
plan of Confederate operations : 

Headquarters Western Department, 

Bowling Green, Ky., November i, 1861. 

Brigadier-General Tilgh man's Cavalry y Hopkinsville: 

General Johnston directs you to dr'-w back your com- 
mand to Clarksville. . . . Send your sick and baggage to 
the rear first. At Clarksville employ your men in mak- 
ing defensive works planned by Major Gilmer. Maury's 
battery of artillery has been ordered to Clarksville. It 
is understood that a regiment of cavalry [Forrest's] is 
on the north side of the Cumberland and below. . . . 
If so, apprise the colonel of your new position, that he 
may not be attacked unawares. Colonel Gregg's regi- 
ment of Texas troops ought to reach Clarksville to-day. 
The value of the railway from this place to Clarksville 
must not be lost sight of in the pressure of other business. 

W. W. MacKall, A, A.-G, 

After the Sacramento affair Lieutenant-Colonel 
Forrest returned to Hopkinsville, where his men went 
into camp and were occupied with routine duties, drill- 
ing, grooming the horses, making themselves comfort- 
able, and getting ready for further hard service. 


Scouting parties were sent out from time to time, but 
nothing important occurred until about the loth of 
January, 1862, when General Clark ordered the regi- 
ment, as it might now be called, to move forward on 
a reconnaissance in the direction of Calhoun. Forrest 
soon reported a Federal force, supposed to be ten thou- 
sand strong, on Green River, ready to move. He was 
ordered to return and burn the bridges on Pond River, 
a tributary of the Green, which he did. Federal forces 
were reported coming from Cairo up the Tennessee 
River and from Louisville. General f lark evacuated 
Hopkinsville about the 7th of February, and Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel Forrest covered the rear of this movement 
as far as Clarksville, where he was ordered to report 
with his command to Brigadier-General Pillow, and 
thence was ordered to Fort Donelson on the west bank 
of the Cumberland River. 

The commander of Forrest's Cavalry now began to 
be heard of and to figure in the war. From this time 
on down to the surrender his name was closely con- 
nected with operations in Tennessee, Kentucky, Geor- 
gia, Alabama, and Mississippi, and incidentally with 
events in adjoining States. His recognition came 
slowly and reluctantly even in the house of his friends, 
outside of those close to him, but it came surely. 
There were certain West Point and political elements 
in the South as well as in the North that were none 
too favorable to the rapid promotion of volunteers, 
and N. B. Forrest overcame those in his way only by 
supreme self-reliance, will-power, and genius for war. 
That he was a natural-born soldier and leader of men 
was demonstrated in every skirmish and battle ^ in 
which he was engaged. The Federals found out what 
manner of man he was long before he was properly 
appreciated at Richmond. 



The battalion was in excellent shape and spirits and 
fairly well mounted, although not very well armed and 
equipped, when it reached the neighborhood of Fort 
Donelson on Sunday, the 9th of February, 1862, and 
was ferried across Cumberland River the next day. On 
Tuesday (nth) the men went into camp in the rear of 
the entrenchments, and while the horses were yet feed- 
ing on the first forage drawn, an order came from 
General Pillow to move out on the road toward Fort 
Henry, about ten miles distant on the Tennessee River. 
This supposed Confederate stronghold, though gal- 
lantly defended, had fallen into the hands of the Feder- 
als on the 6th of February after a fierce bombardment. 
General Tilghman and about ninety men were cap- 
tured, and the rest of the garrison escaped across the 
country to Fort Donelson. 

It may be remarked here, as something singular 
in the topography of the country, that the Tennessee 
and Cumberland rivers, having their sources widely 
apart in the Allegheny and Cumberland mountains, 
converge closely together at the points known as 
Dover, or Donelson, on the north, and Fort Henry on 
the southward, and thence pursuing almost north- 
west and parallel directions, empty some fifty or sixty 
miles farther on into the Ohio River at Smithland 
and Paducah, Ky. Hence Commander Footers flotilla 
could easily, after demolishing Fort Henry, run down 



the Tennessee River and up the Ohio and Cumberland 
rivers in ample time to take part in the assault upon 
Fort Donelson. 

Many changes and improvements had been made in 
the defenses of Fort Donelson since Colonel Forrest 
first reported there three or four months previously. 
Major J. F. Gilmer, a native of North Carolina, a 
West-Pointer, and an experienced military engineer, 
who afterward became chief engineer of the Confeder- 
ate army, had laid out the works of the place and 
superintended their erection. His idea seems to have 
been more to obstruct the river and prevent gunboats 
from going up to Nashville than to resist a strong land 
force. Everything possible with the limited means and 
supply of tools at hand had been done for the defense 
of the place, including the mounting of heavy guns in 
the water batteries. This formidable armament em- 
braced a lo-inch columbiad of a hundred and twenty- 
eight pounds, a rifled 32-pounder (64-pound bolt), 
eight 32-pounders, and two 32-pound carronades. 

Brigadier-General Bushrod R. Johnson, an officer 
of military education and experience, reached the place 
and assumed command on the 7th of February; and 
Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow, who had been a 
major-general in the Mexican War, appeared upon the 
ground on the 9th, to succeed General Lloyd Tilgh- 
man, captured at Fort Henry, and went to work with 
great energy. Reenforcements poured in, and with 
them came Brigadier-General S. B. Buckner, regarded 
as an accomplished officer, with a division of new 
troops; and on the 13th General Floyd, of Virginia, 
the senior in rank, arrived with two small brigades 
from Bowling Green. The entire Confederate force 
hastily concentrated there was estimated at something 
over fourteen thousand, rank and file, although Gen- 
eral Grant in his Memoirs claims that there were 


twenty-one thousand men within the Confederate lines. 
This, however, may be an open question, and is not 
of real consequence in a work of biography. 

Tuesday morning Forrest advanced on the west 
toward Fort Henry only about three miles when he 
encountered a detachment of Federal cavalry which 
he attacked with his usual vigor, forcing the Union 
troopers back upon a heavy column of infantry and 
then withdrawing. The next morning (Wednesday, 
1 2th) he advanced with his own command of ten com- 
panies, three companies of Kentucky cavalry, and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt's battalion of Tennesseeans — 
a force of about thirteen hundred men, over which he 
had command as acting brigadier-general. The Ken- 
tucky companies were commanded respectively by 
Captains J. K. Huey, Wilcox, and Williams. This 
was the entire strength of the Confederate cavalry at 
Fort Donelson, and some of that was without ex- 
perience, training, or strict discipline. A sharp engage- 
ment soon followed, and lasted several hours. Forrest 
dismounted a part of his men, fighting them as infantry, 
and from an advantageous position on a ridge checked 
the advance in front of him. The Federals made a 
skilfully conceived flank movement, but were met and 
repulsed by Major David C. Kelley. The Union infan- 
try support then came forward in force, and Forrest fell 
back, skirmishing as he went until within the entrench- 
ments of Dover, which were menaced at dusk by the 
advance of Grant's army. 

Skirmishing was resumed on the morning of 
Thursday (13th), the Federals moving up like regulars, 
and the Confederates acting mainly on the defensive 
within breastworks. Forrest, however, was on the 
outside most of the day, making observations and tak- 
ing an active part. He was on the skirmish line, and 
depended more upon his own eyes than upon field- 


glasses. Once during the day he seized a gun and 
brought down one of Birge's Federal sharpshooters 
who was making himself very troublesome from a tree 
several hundred yards distant. The Federals made 
charge after charge with reckless gallantry, but for the 
time being were repulsed with heavy losses. There 
was no decisive result. That night the weather, which 
had been quite pleasant, suddenly turned cold with 
gusts of sleet and snow, which continued for two or 
three days, and was especially severe upon the illy clad 
Southern troops. 

On Friday afternoon, the 14th, Flag-Officer Foote, 
of the Federal navy, made a grand assault upon the 
water batteries and the outer works of Fort Donelson 
facing the river. His flotilla consisted of three iron- 
clads, each of thirteen guns of the heaviest caliber, and 
two wooden but well-armed vessels, nine guns each, in 
the rear. Some of the guns were rifled lOO-pounders, 
and there were lighter pieces in the bows and stern. 
After Footers effective work at Fort Henry he could 
reasonably expect to speedily reduce Fort Donelson. 
The bombardment that afternoon was a magnificent 
affair; only one of the heavy Confederate guns (com- 
manded by Lieutenant Hugh L. Bedford) was able 
to respond, as its mate was accidentally spiked. The 
others were worked effectively at short range, and 
the flotilla was repulsed and drifted away in a crip- 
pled condition, not to appear upon the scene again. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest, with his major, D. C. 
Kelley, better known as " the fighting preacher,'' rode 
up from the flanks and witnessed the spectacular duel 
which fairly shook the earth. Forrest became greatly 
excited, and Major Kelley told it of him afterward 
that he exclaimed : " Parson, for God's sake, pray I 
Nothing but God Almighty can save that fort ! " 

On Saturday morning, the 15th, bitterly cold. For- 


rest set his troops in motion at four o'clock and led 
the advance of Pillow's command on the left. Skir- 
mishing began early ; by six o'clock the battle opened 
in earnest and raged for two hours, the Confederates 
seemingly having the best of it. Without waiting for 
orders or reenforcements Forrest made a flank move- 
ment, charged a battery, and captured six pieces of 
artillery, four brass and two 24-pounder iron pieces, 
and lost a number of men. Here his horse was 
shot, and his brother. Lieutenant Jeffrey Forrest, had 
his horse killed under him and was badly hurt by the 
fall. After this he moved his regiment from the left 
toward Buckner's position in the center, and from 
there, supported by the Second Kentucky Infantry, 
charged upon two guns with strong infantry support 
on the flanks and in the rear. The cavalry and infantry 
went in together under a terrific fire; the losses were 
heavy on both sides. Forrest and his men got to the 
guns first, but the Kentuckians were at their heels, and 
after a close hand-to-hand fight the guns were taken 
and the gunners killed or carried away with the Fed- 
eral infantry. 

Here Captain Charles May, of the Forrest Rangers, 
who had asked to be allowed to lead the charge, was 
killed. Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest's horse — repeatedly 
wounded — received a fatal shot and fell dead under his 
rider. Another was quickly secured by Forrest, who 
rode forward with one or two of his men to recon- 
noiter, and suddenly came in view of a battery and 
strong force of infantry, and, as he turned to dash 
away, this battery opened fire and a shell plowed 
through his horse's body just under the saddle-skirt, 
and the cavalry leader was once more left on foot. He 
ran to the rear, joined his command, and reported to 
General Pillow, who had ordered Buckner and other 
infantry to fall back within the works. This was about 


two o'clock Saturday afternoon. Forrest was ordered 
to remain upon the field and gather up the wounded, 
the guns, and other military supplies to be found, and 
was so occupied until about six o'clock. Several thou- 
sand stands of small arms were thus secured and sent 
inside the entrenchments, as well as the six guns of the 
captured battery. But as most of these were included 
in the surrender of the fort next day, they were of 
little or no service to the Southerners. 

The Federals had undoubtedly suffered very heav- 
ily, and the Confederates, while losing also, felt that 
they had won a victory to be followed up next day, 
little dreaming of surrender or retreat. It was during 
and near the close of this bloody fight that Captain 
Porter, an old United States naval officer whose bat- 
tery had been severely cut up, and who was himself 
wounded by a shot through the thigh, on being car- 
ried away, cried out to a stripling of a lieutenant, 
" Morton, don't let them have the guns ! " Forrest 
heard Porter's exclamation, and afterward found 
young Morton and made him his chief of artillery, in 
which position he greatly distinguished himself. 

A little after midnight, or early in the morning of 
the i6th of February (Sunday), Lieutenant-Colonel 
Forrest was summoned to headquarters, where, to his 
surprise, he found Generals Floyd, Pillow, and Buck- 
ner, with some other officers, holding a council of war 
and discussing a surrender to General Grant. Nothing 
could have startled or aroused him more. It was 
argued that the Federals had received heavy reen- 
forcements, and that the Confederates were short of 
ammunition, hungry, tired out, half-frozen, and un- 
equal to further resistance. Generals Floyd and 
Buckner were ready to give up ; Pillow was in favor 
of continuing the fight. " That was what they came 
there for," he said. Forrest declared that the army 



was not penned up, surrounded, or whipped, and 
stalking out to his camp he selected two reliable men 
— Adam Johnson, afterward a Confederate general 
officer, and B. H. Martin, who became lieutenant- 
colonel of a Kentucky regiment — and securing a trusty 
citizen as a guide he sent them to investigate the situa- 
tion. They returned in an hour and reported that the 
way was open for retreat ; that the water to be forded 
was only up to the flanks of their horses, and that they 
saw no enemy, and only some old camp-fires fanned 
into a blaze by the high winds or kindled by wounded 
men. Forrest returned and begged for a retreat of 
the army if it was necessary, even offering to furnish 
the rear-guard. Ammunition was expected by boat 
from Clarksville any hour, and did come at daylight, 
and as to rations, although perhaps not well distrib- 
uted, General Grant afterward reported that he cap- 
tured enough rice to supply his army for twenty days. 
It was decided, however, to surrender. Forrest an- 
nounced that they could not surrender his regiment, 
and was told that he could go if he started before a flag 
of truce was sent. Returning to camp, he aroused his 
men and told them he was going out if he died in the 
attempt. They mounted their horses and followed him 
out, all except one company, which was somehow left, 
without losing a man or seeing an enemy. Similar risks 
were successfully taken hundreds of times later on in 
the war by soldiers on both sides, but Forrest set the 
example and was a pioneer. General Pillow held the 
correct theory, and came away or rather got away 
ahead of Forrest. General Floyd took a steamboat 
and escaped up the river. Numbers of cavalry, be- 
sides Forrest's own men, as well as infantry, followed 
him, and reached Nashville or went to their homes to 
recuperate. One-half or two-thirds of the ten thousand 
or more men who were surrendered unconditionally by 


General Buckner on the i6th of February could have 
been saved to fight under Albert Sidney Johnston at 
Shiloh. Still, the surrender was made in good faith, 
as it seemed inevitable. Instances are yet related of 
infantrymen who rode behind Forrest*s men on their 
horses across the backwater of Lick Creek and thus 
escaped capture. 

There has been much said and written, much crimi- 
nation and recrimination, especially on the Southern 
side, as to the causes leading up to the surrender of 
Fort Donelson. The main reasons are found in the 
facts that General Grant's army, accompanied by a 
strong, though not entirely effective flotilla, outnum- 
bered the Confederates about two to one, was far bet- 
ter armed, equipped, and clothed, and, being from the 
North, could better endure the rigors of unusually in- 
clement weather, such as prevailed the last two days of 
the fight and investment. The Confederates offered a 
determined resistance, and perhaps made the best of 
their strength and resources, but they were under the 
impression that their ammunition was nearly ex- 
hausted, when, in fact, a boat-load reached Dover from 
Clarksville on the morning of the surrender. Then the 
idea prevailed that they could not get away, and yet 
Forrest and his men, and Generals Pillow and Floyd 
and parts of their commands escaped without seeing a 
single Federal soldier in the way. The part taken by 
Forrest, then only a lieutenant-colonel, is set forth with 
sufficient clearness in a report he made early in Feb- 
ruary, 1862, and is well worth producing:. In sub- 
stance it is as follows : " I arrived from Hopkinsville 
at Fort Donelson, Monday evening, February loth, 
and finished crossing my command Tuesday morning 
(nth). On the afternoon of the same day I was 
ordered to reconnoiter in the direction of Fort Henry. 
Three miles from Fort Donelson I met the enemv's 


cavalry, supposed to be six hundred strong, pressed 
them hard about six miles, captured one prisoner, and 
mortally wounded several others. The commanding 
general signified that night his desire that I should 
take charge of all the cavalry at the post. Next morn- 
ing (i2th) I went out with my own regiment, three 
Kentucky companies (Captains Williams, Wilcox, and 
Huey), and Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt's battalion of 
Tennessee cavalry. Five miles on the road to Fort 
Henry my advance met and engaged the advance of 
the enemy. After a skirmish they retreated, leaving 
several dead and wounded. The enemy halted, ma- 
neuvered, and began to move by parallel roads toward 
the fort. I changed my position from the right to the 
extreme left of my line of battle, throwing two squad- 
rons of cavalry across the road, again attacking the 
enemy vigorously. My first squadron dismounted, as 
skirmishers were soon hotly engaged with greatly 
superior numbers. The second squadron was ordered 
to charge, and Major Kelley, commanding the left, 
now center of my line, advanced with three squadrons. 
The enemy gave back, wheeled out of his way, and the 
infantry arose and poured in a terrific volley at short 
range accompanied by a heavy fire of grape. I was 
now able to mount, and drew oflf in good order my 
skirmishers, and, finding the enemy in front in large 
force with none to support me in reach, I ordered my 
cavalry to fall back, and was soon ordered back within 
our entrenchments. This skirmish was from about 
9 A. M. to 2 p. M. We killed during the day about one 
hundred men and wounded several hundred more. The 
enemy advanced no more that day, but planted a few 
cannon and opened fire at long range. General Floyd 
reached the fort in the afternoon, and the whole army 
was engaged in throwing up entrenchments during the 
night on the hills surrounding Dover. 


" The enemy opened a heavy cannonade from bat- ' 
teries and ten gunboats early on Thursday morning. 
Soon after our entrenchments were attacked at all 
points, and there was scarcely a cessation of small 
arms and artillery for six hours. The musketry ceased 
about I p. M., and the cannonading continued until 
after dark. The gunboats drew off early, supposed to be 
crippled, but returned occasionally. The cavalry was 
but little engaged, acting only as pickets and couriers. 
On Friday I was ordered out with the infantry on 
the left, and after some sharpshooting between the cav- 
alry and the enemy was ordered back into the entrench- 
ments. I was next called on for sharpshooters to dis- 
lodge the enemy who were from heights and trees an- 
noying our infantry. This we accomplished in about 
two hours, returning to my command about the time 
the gunboat attack was made on the fort. Of this at- 
tack I was an eye-witness, and have never seen a de- 
scription which did anything like justice to the attack 
or defense. More determination could not have been 
exhibited by the attacking party, while more coolness 
and bravery was never manifested than was seen in 
our artillerists. Never was there greater anxiety de- 
picted on the faces of brave men than during the ter- 
rific roar of cannon, returned ever and anon by the slow 
but regular report of our one single lo-inch gun. 
Never were men more jubilant than when the victory 
crowned the steady bravery of our little fort ; old men 
wept, shout after shout went up as the gunboats were 
driven back. The army was in the best possible spirits, 
feeling that relieved of their greatest terror they could 
whip any land force that could be brought against 
them. During the night I was called into council with 
the generals commanding, when it was determined to 
bring on the attack the next morning by again passing 
our entrenchments and attacking the enemy's right. 


" Early the next morning (Saturday) I moved out 
on the left and engaged with the sharpshooters until 
our infantry could form. General B. R. Johnson, com- 
manding the left, moved to the front, and after an ob- 
stinate fight the enemy retreated. Finding his flank 
exposed across an open field to front and left, I led my 
cavalry forward, but found the ground a marsh, and 
we were unable to pass it. The enemy formed on the 
edge of a second field to our front and right, but by 
maneuvering we doubtless prevented their attempting 
to flank our infantry. Finding that our infantry would 
cut them off they retreated with their cavalry, which we 
could see in the distance, but not participating during 
the day or night. Our infantry had now driven them 
about a mile, they doggedly disputing the whole- 
ground, leaving dead and wounded scattered through 
the woods and fields up in the ravine. The enemy, 
leaving their third position for the first time, retreated 
in haste. Advancing by a road through a ravine, I 
here passed our line of infantry with my command in 
moving to the center. I charged the enemy's battery 
of six guns which had kept several of our regiments in 
check for several hours, killing and slaughtering a 
great many of our men and horses. I captured the 
battery, killing most of the men, then immediately 
moved on the flank of the enemy obstinately maintain- 
ing their position. They finally gave way, our infantry 
and cavalry both charging them, at the same time com- 
mitting great slaughter. Moving still farther to the 
right, I found a regiment of our cavalry in confusion, 
which I relieved by charging the enemy to their front. 
Here sixty-four of the enemy were found in forty yards 
square. General Pillow coming up ordered me to 
charge the enemy in a ravine. I charged by squad- 
rons, filing the first company of each squadron to the 
right and the second to the left, and, on reaching the 


ravine, firing and falling into the rear of the third 
squadron until the squadrons had charged. We here 
completely routed the enemy, accomplishing what 
three different regiments had failed to do. Seeing 
the enemy's battery to our right about to turn on us, 
I now ordered a charge of this battery, from which we 
drove the enemy, capturing two guns. Following 
down the ravine we captured the third gun, which they 
were endeavoring to carry off, gunners and drivers 
retreating up the hill. In the charge we killed about 
fifty sharpshooters who were supporting the guns. I 
ordered forward scouts, who, returning, informed me 
that the enemy with three guns and three regiments 
of infantry were moving up the road from Fort Henry. 
We had driven the enemy back without a reverse, from 
the left of our entrenchments to the center, having 
opened three different roads by which we might have 
retreated if the generals had not, as was deemed best 
in the council of the night before, ordered the retreat 
of the army. The fight here ended about 2.30 p. m. 
without any change in our relative positions. We 
were employed the remainder of the evening in gath- 
ering up arms and getting off the wounded. I was 
three times over the battle-field, and late in the evening 
was two miles up the river on the road to the Forge. 
There was none of the enemy in sight when dark came 

" Saturday night our troops slept flushed with vic- 
tory, and confident they could drive the enemy back 
to the Tennessee River the next morningl About twelve 
o'clock at night I was called in council with the gen- 
erals who had under discussion the surrender of the 
fort.. They reported that the enemy had received 
eleven thousand rcenforcements since the fight, and 
presumal^ly had returned to the positions occupied the 
previous day. Returning to my quarters I sent out 


two men, who, going by a road up the bank of the 
river, returned without seeing any of the enemy, and 
only fires, which I supposed to be the old camp-fires 
fanned by the high winds into a blaze, and so stated 
to the generals upon my return. General Buckner 
declared he could not hold his position; Generals 
Floyd and Pillow gave up the responsibility of the 
command to him, and I told them I neither could nor 
would surrender my command. General Pillow then 
said I could cut my way out if I chose to do so, and he 
and General Floyd agreed to come out with me. I got 
my command ready and reported at headquarters. Gen- 
eral Floyd informed me that General Pillow had left, 
and that he would go by boat. I moved about a mile 
out on the road we had gone the morning before, 
crossed a deep slough from the river, saddle-skirt deep, 
and filed into the road to Cumberland Iron-works. I 
ordered Major Kelley and Adjutant Schuyler to re- 
main with one company at the point where we entered 
this road, where the enemy's cavalry would attack if 
they attempted to follow. They remained until day was 
dawning. Over five hundred cavalry had passed, a 
company of artillery horses had followed, and a num- 
ber of men from different regiments passing over hard, 
frozen ground. More than two hours had been occu- 
pied in passing. Not a gun had been fired at us. Not 
an enemy had been seen or heard. 

" The enemy could not have reinvested their former 
positions without traveling a considerable distance and 
carrying away the dead and dying, as there had been 
great slaughter upon that portion of the field. And I 
am clearly of the opinion that two-thirds of our army 
could have marched out without loss, and that had we 
continued the fight the next day we should have gained 
a glorious victory, as our troops were in fine spirits, 
believing we had whipped, and the roads through 


which we came were open as late as eight o'clock Sun- 
day morning, as many of my men who came out after- 
ward reported. I made a slow march with my ex- 
hausted horses to Nashville, where we arrived on Tues- 
day morning, the i8th, and reported myself to General 
Floyd, who placed me in command of the city on 
Thursday, the 20th, at the time of his leaving. I re- 
mained in the city until Sunday evening, the 23d, dur- 
ing which time I was busily engaged with my regiment 
in restoring order to the city and removing public 
property. My loss in the battle in killed, wounded, and 
taken prisoners was between three and four hundred 
men. Among the number was Captain May, who fell 
at the head of his company while leading a charge. 
My regiment charged two batteries, taking nine pieces 
of artillery, which, with nearly four thousand stands of 
arms, I had taken inside of our lines." * 

The foregoing is almost a verbatim copy of the 
report signed by Lieutenant-Colonel N. B. Forrest. 
It is reproduced in order to give an idea of the man 
who thus early showed such capacity in the art of war, 
and was to make greater reputation upon other fields. 
It is apparent that he had a will-power and executive 
ability peculiar to himself. Such a man at the head of 
Northern cavalry, composed always of stalwart, fear- 
less men, and supplied with the best arms, equipments, 
and horses that money could buy, would have cut his 
way through from the Ohio to the Gulf and from the 
Potomac to the Mississippi in less than a year. In a 
supplemental report made as late as November 7, 
1862, at Murfreesboro, Forrest, then a brigadier-gen- 
eral of cavalry, made some explanatory statements as 
to the result of the conference of general officers held 

at Fort Donelson on the night of February 15th. He 


* Rebellion Records, vol. vii, p. 385. 


says : " On that day and the day before, a large, fresh 
force said to be twenty thousand strong had reached 
the landing below us. At that time we were invested by 
a force estimated at thirty thousand. All the officers 
present felt the necessity of cutting our way out and 
resuming communications with General Johnston. It 
was therefore resolved to give them battle next morn- 
ing. I understood it to be the ultimate intention to re- 
tire from the place if we succeeded in opening our way, 
but nothing was said about our retreating from the 
field. No order was given to that effect, and no propo- 
sition was offered for that purpose ; no suggestion was 
made of a character to indicate such an intention, and 
no such determination arrived at. 

" On the day of the fight, the 15th, no artillery was 
taken from our entrenchments except one piece late 
in the evening; no rations were prepared or taken in 
the field; blankets and knapsacks were left behind; 
no order for retreat was prescribed ; no quartermaster, 
commissary, or ordnance horses were prepared to ac- 
company a retreat, and if a retreat had been attempted 
from the field of fight it could not have been accom- 
plished. The commands were scattered and mixed in 
fragments;" very many of the men after the middle of 
the day had gone back into the town, and were around 
the fires and up and down the river bank. I had again 
and again during the day sent portions of my com- 
mand into the entrenchments, and had . ammunition 
brought out on horseback. The day itself was mainly 
occupied in the active operations of the fight. Soon 
after the field fight was terminated, fis^hting was begun 
on our right in General Buckner's rifle-pits, which was 
continued until sundown. In my opinion the pursuit 
of the enemy could not have been continued longer 
without coming in contact with a large fresh force, 
which in the scattered and exhausted condition of our 


troops we could not have withstood. The character of 
the country over which we would have had to retreat 
from Donelson to Charlotte was excessively poor and 
broken, and at that time covered with snow and sleet, 
^and could not have furnished a half-day's rations for 
our force." 

The above was probably intended to mollify public 
and official criticism as to some of the generals who 
agreed to the surrender in an hour when many of the 
troops felt that victory was assured. It may be here 
remarked that Colonel Forrest and Generals Pillow 
and Floyd were regarded in certain high quarters as 
guilty of little less than insubordination in getting 
away from Donelson as they did. General Pillow had 
been a major-general in the Mexican War, though not 
a West-Pointer, and fell under the displeasure of cer- 
tain men who never forgave him for having attained 
such a rank, for making one of the most gallant fights 
of the war at Fort Donelson, and for making his escape. 
Therefore, he was never afterward given an important 
command unless temporarily — as at the battle of Mur- 
freesboro, where he commanded a brigade. General 
Floyd for personal and political reasons fared about as 
badly, and was soon relegated out of sight. 

There had to be scapegoats to go out into the wil- 
derness and carry the odium of the great misfortune 
and humiliation of the fall of Fort Donelson, but For- 
rest was not a man to be loaded down that way. He 
cared nothing for petty cabals, jealousies, and mess- 
room talk, but would set out before breakfast and win 
a victory while others were drawing maps, or waiting 
to get a newspaper through the lines or to hear from 
a laggard scout. There were doubtless exaggerated 
reports among the Confederates as to General Grant's 
army, still it outnumbered the effective forces under 
General Floyd by at least two to one, and was large 


enough and strong enough to have taken Fort Donel- 
son ultimately in a fair, open fight. Reenforcements 
had come and were coming, but not in such numbers 
as General Forrest mentions in his supplemental report. 
It is not deemed necessary in writing the life of Gen- 
eral Forrest to go into a minute account of all the en- 
gagements in which he took part, but rather to give 
general results and the parts he took as obtained from 
official and other reliable sources of information. 

Thus it may be stated, to give an idea of the magni- 
tude of the affair at Fort Donelson, that the forces en- 
gaged and the losses sustained on each side at the 
battle or series of battles there were nearly as follows : 
Federal force, in round numbers, twenty-seven thou- 
sand; losses: killed, five hundred; wounded, twenty- 
one hundred ; total, twenty-six hundred. Confederate 
force, fourteen thousand eight hundred and five; 
killed, four hundred ; wounded and sent away, 
eleven hundred and thirty-four; wounded and left, 
three hundred and fifty ; total losses in battle, four- 
teen hundred and eighty-four. The disparity in losses 
is accounted for by the fact that the Union forces were 
all the time in the open field, while the Confederates 
chose their own ground, and fought part of the time 
from behind breastworks. The fall of the fort and the 
loss of over ten thousand prisoners, who otherwise 
mi^ht have taken part soon after at the battle of 
Shiloh, was a terrible disaster to the Confederate cause. 
Had Forrest been at the head of the army instead of 
commanding only a thousand or two effective cavalry, 
he would have led the greater part of it safely away in 
the direction of Nashville without any danger of imme- 
diate pursuit. 

It seems to have been the impression of Forrest 

up to the night of the last councils of war that a fight 

would be made, and that, if not successful, the whole 


force would be withdrawn. He had promised the 
parents of many young men to protect them, and was 
determined to do so. He declared in the council that 
he would rather their bones should bleach on the hill- 
sides than have them go to the open prison pens of 
the North in midwinter; hence his determination to 
carry them away. All of his men who reported es- 
caped. Lieutenant-Colonel Gantt failed, but said after- 
ward that he was mistaken as to the place of rendez- 
vous. Captain Overton's Kentucky cavalry went out, 
but by some means he was left and captured. General 
Floyd, chief in command, in ' abdicating obtained per- 
mission to move out his attenuated regiments, and did 
so. A good many men got out independently that night, 
and the next morning and afternoon. General Thomas 
Jordan, a gentleman of superior military education, a 
student of history and competent military critic, esti- 
mated in the Campaigns of Forrest that not more than 
ninety-five hundred officers and men were actually sur- 
rendered as prisoners of war, the rest having fallen or 

On Tuesday, the i8th, Forrest reached Nashville 
about midday, established camps near the penitentiary, 
and reported in person to General A. S. Johnston, who 
was in the act of leaving for Murfreesboro and who 
directed him to report to General Floyd, who was left 
to ship stores and other public property south. The 
men were too tired to enter at once upon the guard 
and patrol duty assigned them, but most of them had 
their horses shod that afternoon and next day. For- 
rest did not report with his command at General 
Floyd's headquarters until the morning of Thursday, 
the 20th, and then found him preparing to leave for 
Murfreesboro, thirty miles southeast, on the Nashville 
and Chattanooga Railroad. The general directed the 
lieutenant-colonel to send on his command south, but 


to remain a day with a small detachment to look after 
the shipment of supplies. Major Kelley went on in 
command of the battalion. Forrest with forty men re- 
mained until Sunday morning, the 23d, when the head 
of Bueirs column appeared at Edgefield on the oppo- 
site side of the Cumberland River. 

The mayor and other citizens entered into arrange- 
ments for the surrender of the city to General Buell, 
which occurred on the 25th of February, and requested 
Forrest to retire. Having forwardecl vast stores by 
both rail and wagons, as well as destroyed some five 
hundred barrels and tierces of wines and liquors, and 
much other property belonging to the Confederate 
Government, he rode off, covering the retreat of the 
trains of troops and refugees in the direction of Mur- 
freesboro, and reported that night in person to General 

There was a disposition in the public mind of the 
South to hold some one responsible not only for the 
fall of Fort Donelson, but for the evacuation of Nash- 
ville and loss of stores which soon followed. The 
press was furious; the serious business of war was 
on ; a special committee was appointed by the Confed- 
erate congress to ascertain who was to blame. Colonel 
Forrest was interrogated, and in reply stated as to 
Nashville : " I was not in the city at the time of its 
surrender, having left Fort Donelson on the morning of 
its surrender, and reached Nashville on Tuesday, Feb- 
ruary i8th, at about 10 a. m. I remained in the city 
up to Sunday evening — the 23d — following, but was 
there when the enemy came into Edgefield." Here fol- 
lows a statement as to stores, a portion of which had 
been removed before the surrender. It seems that the 
citizens helped themselves with reckless freedom, and 
that a state of chaos, wild confusion, and anarchy pre- 
vailed. On the day after his arrival he attempted to 


drive the mob of struggling soldiers and citizens of all 
classes from the doors of the departments. When 
every other means failed he charged the mob, got sev- 
eral wagons and had them loaded with stores for 
transportation. Large quantities were sent out by the 
two railroads leading south and by wagons, the latter 
going to Murfreesboro. Late in the week a bridge on 
the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad gave way. 
The president of that road had previously (Sunday, 
the i6th) gone off on a special train, taking personal 
baggage, furniture, carriage, horses, etc. 

In reply to an interrogation Colonel Forrest said: 
" It was eight days from the time the quartermaster, 
commissaries, and others connected with these depart- 
ments left the city before the enemy appeared. With 
proper diligence on their part I have no doubt all the 
public stores might have been removed to places of 
safety. I did not meet or hear of Major Vernon K. 
Stevenson " (president of the Nashville and Chatta- 
nooga Railroad). " The city was in a much worse con- 
dition than I can convey an idea of on paper, and the 
loss of public stores must be estimated by millions of 
dollars. The panic was utterly useless, and not at all 
justified by the circumstances.'* Forrest said further 
that in his judgment if the quartermaster and commis- 
sary had remained at their post and worked diligently 
. with the means -at their command, the Government 
stores might all have been saved between the time of 
the fall of Fort Donelson and the arrival of the enemy 
at Nashville. 



General Albert Sidney Johnston, recognizing 
the services and hardships of Colonel Forrest and his 
men, ordered him to march his battalion to Huntsville, 
Ala., and there give his soldiers a furlough until the 
loth of March. This place was reached on Tuesday, 
February 25th, and the order was carried out. The 
men returned promptly at the time set, bringing new 
equipments, fresh horses, and recruits. At the same 
time Captain Jesse A. Forrest, the colonel's brother, 
reported with a new company. The command was 
ordered to Burnsville, Miss., on the Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad, fifteen miles east of Corinth, and 
reached there on the i6th of March. Another com- 
pany was added from Hardeman and Fayette counties 
under Captain C. A. Schuyler, the former adjutant, 
which made a full regiment, notwithstanding the fact 
that Captain Gould's company had been by some mis- 
chance left at Fort Donelson. A reorganization was 
effected whereby Lieutenant-Colonel N. B. Forrest be- 
came full colonel, Major D. C. Kelley lieutenant-colo- 
nel. Private Robert L. Balch was elected as major, 
and J. P. Strange, former sergeant-major, was ap- 
pointed adjutant. The regiment remained quietly in 
camp for several days, but a scout of twenty men from 
McDonald's company was sent out, and soon reported 
that Buell was marching in force to effect a junction 
with Grant's army, which had come up the Tennessee 



River. Forrest promptly reported this fact to General 
Johnston, who decided to strike a blow before the two 
armies could be united, and thus the movements were 
set in motion which culminated in the bloody battle of 
Shiloh. General Grant, with three divisions, including 
much of the force engaged at Fort Donelson, had estab- 
lished a strong line in front of Pittsburg Landing, and 
was followed by three others, commanded by Generals 
Sherman, Hurlbut, and Prentiss. General Buell's 
corps, five divisions strong, one of which diverged to 
Huntsville, was known to be marching through the 
country from Nashville. 

Forrest's regiment, attached temporarily to Breck- 
enridge's division, moved on the 2d of April, and 
marched to Monterey, and thence was ordered down 
the south side of Lick Creek. On Friday night, April 
4th, the regiment was sent forward on picket duty ; on 
Saturday, the 5th, skirmished sharply with the Federal 
outposts, and Colonel Forrest rode to General John- 
ston's headquarters to ask for instructions as to his 
position and duties. That night he slept with his troops 
on the ground, so close to the Federal lines that the 
bands could be distinctly heard. General Johnston had 
planned a surprise, and although some of the com- 
mands moved with painful slowness from Corinth, 
twenty-three miles from Pittsburg Landing, he had his 
lines in good position on Saturday evening, the 5th of 
April. Heavy firing began on the Confederate left 
early on the morning of the 6th. To many of the Fed- 
erals this was a surprise, and they were steadily pushed 
back on the Tennessee River, some three miles distant, 
when the firing became general, and Forrest, not receiv- 
ing any orders, threw his regiment back and across 
Lick Creek, and took a position on the right flank of 
the Confederate line. 

Up to eleven o'clock he received no orders, and 



resolved to go to the front and center, where the 
firing seemed heaviest. Here he found Cheatham's 
division had been repulsed, and proposed to join him 
in a charge across the field. Owing to the condition 
of his men the general decHned ; but Forrest took the 
responsibility alone, and advanced across a field under 
heavy fire, sustaining a loss of several men and horses. 
Continuing the charge, he pressed on through and over 
a part of a battery. The guns were taken possession 
of by the infantry which came up. Forrest fell back, 
and was soon ordered to that part of the field where 
Prentiss's Federal division was hard pressed, and, 
dashing through the infantry, was soon between this 
unfortunate but gallant division and the reserves near 
the river. The surrender of about two thousand men 
soon took place. Forrest kept on the right flank of 
the infantry, and pushed up toward the river until 
checked by a battery or series of batteries, fifty-two 
guns in all, which had made a last stand near Pittsburg 
Landing. Throwing out dismounted men as skirmish- 
ers, he sent word to General Polk that he believed if 
the infantry would press forward the Federals could 
be driven into the river. Some disjointed and desper- 
ate efforts were made by parts of Confederate com- 
mands to dislodge this formidable line of guns, but 
fresh troops from General Buell's advance began to 
arrive, the gunboats opened a heavy fire on the woods, 
and the struggle was reluctantly abandoned by those 
at the front. 

About four or five o'clock Colonel Forrest was or- 
dered to fall back with Chalmers's brigade and go into 
camp on the field. The calamity of the day to the 
Southern side was the death of General Albert Sidney 
Johnston, which occurred in the afternoon while he 
was leading a brigade at the right of the center and 
front. A rifle-ball struck him in the leg and after 


bleeding unconsciously for a short time he fell from 
his horse in a fainting condition, and shortly after 
expired in the arms of Governor Isham G. Harris, of 
Tennessee, and in the presence of a few friends who 
collected around him. The news was not generally 
known to the army that evening. 

General G. T. Beauregard, second in command, 
was on his horse surrounded by his staff and escort, 
some little distance in the rear and on the left. Late 
in the afternoon he decided to call off the troops to give 
them a rest. The encampments of full five Federal 
divisions, well stocked with all the comforts and lux- 
uries possible at that period of the war, were occupied 
by the Confederates, many of whom availed themselves 
of the spoils to an extent which did not add to their 
efficiency the next day. Colonel Forrest and his men 
slept comparatively little that night. Throwing out a 
line of scouts, mostly clad in Federal blue overcoats 
captured that day, he advanced to the front and 
went down to the river bank, where he could see and 
hear the movements of boats bringing up reenforce- 

Seeking General James R. Chalmers far in the 
night, he dechred that something must be done quickly 
or the army would be whipped before noon the next 
day. Getting no satisfaction from this source, he 
sought General Beauregard, and after explaining his 
views was ordered back to his regiment. Early Mon- 
day morning the Federals, greatly reenforced, made a 
forward movement. Forrest was again placed on the 
right flank, and was actively engaged. The Confeder- 
ates had no reenforcements, were worn out, badly 
armed and scattered, and greatly weakened. All the 
ground gained the previous day was lost by two o'clock. 

Forrest was engaged with skirmishers as early as 
five o'clock Monday morning, and compelled to fall 


back upon the infantry, and at seven o'clock General 
Hardee ordered him to retire for the time being. The 
battle raged all along the lines for several hours with 
varying results. There were charges and counter- 
charges. It was a bloody field, as sanguinciry in pro- 
portion to numbers as Gettysburg, on which deeds of 
valor by officers and men illustrated the courage and 
endurance of the American soldier. The cavalry copld 
not be used effectively owing to heavy timber and un- 
dergrowth through which the troops had to move. 
Colonel Forrest for a time looked after stragglers and 
forced them back to the front. About eleven o'clock 
General Breckenridge placed him on the right flank, 
where he was in a heavy engagement for two hours. 
After that General Beauregard ordered him to move 
his regiment near the center, where it was dismounted 
and employed in skirmishing with the Federals as the 
Confederate infantry began to retreat. Breckenridge 
covered the retreat and went into bivouac that night 
about four and a half miles from Pittsburg Landing, 
while Forrest was sent to guard against or report ag- 
gressive movements on Lick Creek. The nature of 
the country did not permit rapid retreat or pursuit. 
The losses of the Confederates in the two days' fight 
were stated as seventeen hundred and twenty-eight 
killed, eight thousand and twelve wounded, and nine 
hundred and fifty-nine missing; total, ten thousand 
six hundred and ninety-nine. The Federal losses were 
seventeen hundred and fifty-four killed, eighty-four 
hundred and eight wounded, twenty-eight hundred and 
eighty-five missing ; total, thirteen thousand and forty- 

Tuesday morning, the 8th, General Breckenridge 
fell back a few miles to a tenable position, leaving the 
cavalry thrown well to the front facing the Federal 
lines. That morning Colonel Forrest, with only about 


one hundred and fifty men, found himself facing on 
the road to Monterey, a heavy Federal force advan- 
cing in three lines. He was soon reenforced by a com- 
pany of Wirt Adams's regiment under Captain Isaac 
Harrison, a squadron of the Eighth Texas, two hun- 
dred and twenty strong, and a detachment of Ken- 
tuckians under Captain John Morgan, making a total 
force of about eight hundred cavalry. Forming these 
in line, Forrest made a stand to await the remainder of 
his regiment and other reenforcemcnts. Two battalions 
of cavalry and a regiment of infantry quickly advanced 
to attack this thin line. The infantry regiment, with 
fixed bayonets, moved forward in fine style, but in 
crossing a stream there was some break in the move- 
ment, and Forrest, seeing an opportunity, ordered a 
countercharge. The Confederates, who had been 
partly concealed behind a slight ridge, dashed forward, 
and at a distance of twenty paces fired an effective 
volley from their double-barreled shotguns. The Fed- 
eral cavalry, taken by surprise, broke and ran over 
their infantry support, causing great commotion and 
some loss of men and horses. Forrest's men dashed 
into the mass of struggling and confused Federals and 
used their revolvers and sabers with some effect, kill- 
ing about fifteen men, wounding twenty-five, and tak- 
ing seventy prisoners. 

The pursuit was continued only a few hundred 
yards. Forrest himself dashed ahead of the routed 
force, and came within fifty yards of the main line. 
His own men halted, and he was left almost alone. 
Turning around he was assailed on all sides by the 
Federals, who shouted, " Kill him ! Knock him off ! 
Shoot him ! Stick him ! " and other cheering saluta- 
tions. Drawing a revolver, he fired right and left, and 
spurred his horse to run the terrible gantlet. In a 
moment he was out of immediate danger, but was 


severely wounded by a pistol-ball, which, entering near 
the spine, ranged around on the left side and lodged in 
his hip. In this desperate strait he reached down, 
caught up a rather small Federal soldier, swung him 
around and held him to the rear of his saddle as a 
shield until he was well out of danger, and then gladly 
dropped his prisoner, who doubtless saved his life. 
His horse was mortally wounded, but escaped with his 
rider through a shower of bullets. Rejoining his com- 
mand behind the ridge. Colonel Forrest went to the 
nearest hospital for surgical treatment. The surgeon 
could not find the ball, and expressed a fear that the 
wound was fatal. The colonel set out for Corinth, 
accompanied by his adjutant, J. P. Strange, and 
reached that place late at night. On the way he suf- 
fered so that he had to dismount, and ride in a buggy. 
The noble horse lived to reach Corinth, but died a few 
hours later. 

The force which Forrest encountered that morning 
proved to have been led by General W. T. Sherman 
in person. In his report to General Grant, dated Head- 
quarters Fifth Division, Tuesday, April 8, 1862, he 
said : " With the cavalry placed at my command and 
two brigades of my fatigued troops I went this morn- 
ing out on the Corinth road . . . and at the fork of 
the road found the enemy in both roads. . . . After 
reconnoitering up the right road I ordered two ad- 
vance companies of the Ohio Seventy-seventh, Colo- 
nel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as skirmishers, and 
the regiment itself formed into lines with an interval 
of one hundred yards. In this order we advanced 
cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged. Tak- 
ing it for granted this disposition would clear the camp 
(in view), I held Colonel Dickey's Fourth Illinois 
Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's cavalry 
came down boldly at a charge, led by General Forrest 


in person,* breaking through our line of skirmishers, 
when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, 
threw away their muskets, and fled. The ground was 
admirably adapted for the defense of infantry against 
cavalry, being miry and crowned with fallen timber. 
As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey's cavalry 
began to discharge their carbines and fell into disorder. 
I instantly sent orders to the rear for the brigade to 
form in line of battle. The broken infantry and cav- 
alry rallied on this line, and as the enemy's cavalry 
came to it our cavalry in turn charged and drove 
them from the field. I advanced the entire brigade 
over this same ground, and sent Colonel Dickey's 
cavalry a mile farther on the road. ... I am satisfied 
the enemy's infantry and artillery passed Lick Creek 
this morning, traveling all of last night, and then be 
left to his rear all the cavalry, which has protected his 
retreat. But signs of disorder and confusion mark 
the whole road. The check sustained by us at the 
fallen timber delayed our advance so that night came 
upon us before the wounded were provided for and 
the dead buried ; and our troops being fagged out by 
three days' hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I 
ordered them back to their camps, where they now 
are." f 

In line with the foregoing extract from General 
Sherman's report, and corroborative of other state- 
ments here made, the following is taken from the re- 
port of Major Thomas Harrison, who commanded the 
Texans, to Colonel J. A. Wharton. This is dated 
Camp near Corinth, April ii, 1862. "Being left by 
you in command of the Texas Rangers, two hundred 

* Colonel Forrest was not yet known as general on the 
Southern side. 

f Sherman's Memoirs, vol. i, p. 243. 


and twenty strong, Tuesday morning last, I remained 
in the rear of our retreating enemy until evening, when 
information was brought me by a member of Colonel 
Forrest's cavalry that a small body of the enemy's 
cavalry had appeared on our right flank. I proceeded 
with my command and a company (forty men) of For- 
rest's cavalry to the point occupied by the enemy ap- 
parently in force. . . . Deeming it unadvisable to at- 
tack so strong a force in advantageous position, I re- 
tired to avoid a flank movement. . . . Met Captain I. 
F. Harrison, of Colonel Wirt Adams's cavalry, with 
about forty men of that regiment. . . . Being joined 
by him I returned to my position near the hospital, 
where I found Colonel Forrest commanding in person 
the company of his cavalry mentioned above. On 
consultation with him it was determined to charge the 
enemy then formed for battle to our front. The charge 
was immediately executed. The front line of the 
enemy's infantry with cavalry in its rear was put to 
flight ; a portion of the latter only after a hard hand- 
to-hand fight with the Rangers had attested their 
superior skill in the use and management of pistol 
and horse. My command not having sabers and our 
shots being exhausted, I ordered a retreat in front 
of a strong line of infantry. Shortly afterward I 
was ordered by General Breckenridge to the rear of 
his infantry and artillery. I suppose forty or fifty 
of the enemy were killed on the ground, and doubtless 
many more were wounded. We captured forty-three 
prisoners. My loss was two killed, seven wounded, 
and one missing. . . . Colonel Forrest was, I learn, 
slightly wounded. .' . . The Rangers sustained the an- 
cient name they bear." 

As a result of this sharp engagement the Fed- 
eral advance was checked, and was not resumed on 
Corinth for many days. Colonel Forrest was granted 


a leave of absence for sixty days, and returned to his 
home in Memphis, where he seemed to recover rapidly. 
Learning, however, that there were dissensions and 
mutterings in his regiment on account of an insufficient 
commissariat, as well as for other reasons and con- 
ditions common to volunteer regiments, he left Mem- 
phis on the 29th day of April, and returned to his 
command at Corinth. A few days later, in making a 
reconnaissance in front of Corinth, he jumped his 
horse over a log, and the jolt caused the bullet to move 
in his hip and gave him intense pain. Returning to 
camp he demanded that his surgeon, Dr. J. B. Cowan, 
at once extract Ihe ball. This required two attempts, 
and prostrated the colonel to his bed for two weeks. 
Recovering from this ordeal, his vigorous constitution 
asserted itself, and Forrest was soon called to a wider 
field of action. 

At the earnest request of Colonel James E. Saun- 
ders, a prominent citizen of north Alabama, over sixty 
years old, who had taken an active part as a volunteer 
staff-officer, General Beauregard reluctantly consented 
to give up Colonel Forrest and place him in command 
of cavalry operations in the rear of Chattanooga. 
Papers were made out, and Forrest was recommended 
for promotion to rank as brigadier-general. His regi- 
ment had been reduced by death, disease, and wounds 
from about six hundred effectives to less than half 
that number. It gave him great concern to think of 
leaving the men who had followed him so faithfully, 
but he was permitted to select a few officers and about 
twenty men to accompany him as escort. These men 
were placed under command of his brother, Captain 
William Forrest. Leaving north Mississippi with the 
valiant old Colonel Saunders and this escort on the nth 
of June, 1862. the party set out through the country, 
and reached Chattanooga on the 19th of that month. 


Colonel Forrest was rejoiced to find at Chattanooga 
the Eighth Texas Cavalry, better known as Texas 
Rangers, then commanded by Colonel, afterward 
Major-General, John A. Wharton. These splendid 
riders, some four hundred strong, from the Lone Star 
State, were to his mind ideal soldiers. In addition to 
these the command soon organized consisted of the 
First Louisiana Cavalry, Colonel John W. Scott, soon 
afterward detached and replaced by the First Georgia 
battalion under Colonel J. J. Morrison; the Second 
Georgia regiment cavalry, Colonel W. J. Lawton ; one 
hundred Kentuckians under Colonel Woodward, and 
the escort. The brigade was crossed over the Tennes- 
see River the 8th of July, and on the 9th was marched 
rapidly by two different routes to McMinnville, reach- 
ing there on the nth. Here two companies of Spil- 
lers's battalion under Major Smith, and two inde- 
pendent companies under Captains Taylor and Wal- 
tham joined the force, bringing it up to about sixteen 
hundred effective men. Late on the afternoon of the 
1 2th the expedition moved in the direction of Wood- 
bury, reaching there about eleven o'clock at night. 
Here it was learned that the Federals had entered the 
village the day before and arrested and carried off to 
Murfreesboro every man, old and young, in the place. 
The women and children were in great distress, but 
Forrest assured them that their kinsmen should soon 
be restored, a promise which he made good. 

It was eighteen miles to Murfreesboro; at one 
o'clock on the morning of the 13th the command was 
on the road with orders to keep well closed up. This 
was the colonel's birthday, and his birthplace was in 
an adjoining county. The head of the column halted 
a few miles out from Murfreesboro at 5 a. m., and 
scouts sent forward soon returned reporting that the 
Federal pickets were only half a mile distant. These, 


fifteen in number, were captured by a detachment from 
Wharton's regiment without firing a gun, and brought 
before Forrest, and from them he learned that Colonel 
Duffield had been superseded the day before by Briga- 
dier-Genera! Thomas J. Crittenden, of Indiana, and 
learned also the location of the different commands in 
and around the town. These consisted of the Ninth 
Michigan Infantry, two companies of the Seventh 
Pennsylvania Cavalry, camped near each other in town ; 
the Third Minnesota, and Hewett's battery of four 
guns a mile and a half beyond ; while the Jail, in which 
a number of Confederates and civilians were confined, 
was guarded by two companies of the Ninth Michigan 
and some small detachments. 

Forrest quickly divided his force into three sections, 
formed in columns of fours, and advanced quietly on 
the sleeping town. Coming in sight of the tents, the 
order to charge was given, and the whole command 
thundered down the pike yelling like mad. Wharton, 
at the head of the Texans, was soon among the sur- 
prised Pennsylvanians. Some of them were killed, 
others taken prisoners, and others rushed over to 
the Michigan camp, where Colonel W. W. Duffield 
rallied his men and made a gallant resistance, and 
forced the Texans back some distance. Colonel Duf- 
field was wounded, and the command fell upon Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Parkhurst. Colonel Wharton, of the 
Rangers, was seriously wounded, and his command 
thrown into confusion. Parkhurst drew up his men 
within a stockade, added wagons and other impedi- 
menta to his front, and made it warm for the Texans. 
The latter, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Walker, kept up a brisk fire, and waited for reenforce- 
ments, which came in due time. Forrest had charged 
straight to the jail, court-house, and hotel, and captured 
General Crittenden, his staff, and the provost guards. 


but the Federals opened a heavy fire from the court- 
house, and this stronghold was taken by storm. 

The jail was found to be on fire, which was extin- 
guished with difficulty, and about a hundred and fifty 
prisoners released, among them two who had been 
sentenced to be executed that morning. The soldier 
who fired the jail to make a holocaust of the prisoners 
before he rushed to the court-house was identified, 
and it is said did not answer to roll-call when the pris- 
oners were afterward brought before Colonel Forrest. 
Meantime a detachment of troops was sent to reen- 
force the Texans, and Forrest with a considerable force 
followed the Tennesseeans and Georgians who had gone 
to attack the camp beyond town, commanded by Colo- 
nel Lester, and met vigorous aggressive resistance. 
The Federals had moved out for the purpose of join- 
ing the main force in town, leaving a reserve of about 
one hundred men in camp. Forrest made a flank 
movement and captured most of these men after a 
sharp conflict. One Federal fired at Forrest several 
times from behind a wagon at short range. Finally, 
the colonel drew a pistol and shot him down. 

Making a circuit back to Murfreesboro and leaving 
the Tennesseeans and Georgians to hold Colonel Lester 
at bay, he went to the aid of the Texans. Sending a 
flag of truce to Colonels Duffield and Parkhurst he 
stated that he had captured all the other troops, and 
demanded an unconditional surrender in order to pre- 
vent the further effusion of blood, and added the threat, 
which he used so often and so effectively at other times 
and places, that if he had to carry the stockade by storm 
he would not be responsible for the consequences. 
Both Colonels Duffield and Parkhurst had been 
wounded, and in the eight hours' hard fighting they 
had lost eleven killed and eighty-six wounded. At 
twelve o'clock they surrendered the command. Forrest 


could have taken the place, but not without heavy loss. 
His ruse and threat answered a better purpose than an 

Leaving the prisoners under guard he promptly 
turned his attention to Colonel Lester's command, 
which had not surrendered, but was kept in check by 
the troops under Colonel Morrison, of Georgia. For- 
rest moved out on the road, sent in a flag of truce, 
and demanded another surrender, " to prevent further 
effusion of blood," and could truthfully say then that 
all the rest of the Federal forces in Murfreesboro had 
been captured. The ruse was again successful, but not 
until Colonel Lester was permitted to enter the town 
under an escort, and be convinced that the surrender 
had taken place. He returned to his command, and 
immediately surrendered about four hundred and fifty 
infantry and Captain John H. Hewett's Battery B, 
Kentucky Light Artillery, with three smooth-bore 6- 
pounders and one lo-pounder Parrott gun. 

General Crittenden, the Federal commander, in his 
report claimed that Forrest had twenty-five hundred 
men, which was an overestimate, and complimented 
the gallantry of his own men in high and deserved 
terms, for they really put up a splendid fight ; and but 
for the fact that Forrest surprised the garrison and 
cut through between the different commands and took 
them in by detail he would not have won such a sweep- 
ing victory. In his superb managemenf and dash that 
day he evinced the high qualities which seldom ever 
failed him. His own officers were doubtful about tak- 
ing this stockade, which had been so long and bravely 
defended, but his will-power and presence of mind 
swayed everything, and so he won when others would 
have abandoned the field. Knowing that there were 
numerous other Federal garrisons in the neighborhood, 
he hastily gathered together such Government stores 


as could be carried away, destroyed the remainder, 
as well as depots and railroad bridges, etc., and before 
five o'clock was on the march to McMinnville, camping 
nine miles from Murfreesboro that night. 

The prisoners were brought along, as well as the 
four pieces of artillery captured with horses and am- 
munition. Colonel Forrest stated in his official report 
that he captured ten or twelve hundred privates and 
non-commissioned officers. On the 14th the prisoners 
were placed in charge of Colonel Wharton, who was 
still able to ride. The entire command reached Mc- 
Minnville the next night. The privates and non-com- 
missioned officers were paroled there, and the commis- 
sioned officers were forwarded to Knoxville. The Fed- 
eral losses at Murfreesboro seem to have been about 
twenty-three killed and one hundred and seventeen 
wounded. Forrest estimated that he had twenty-five 
killed and sixty wounded, which was probably under 
the real number — at least Colonel Duffield reported 
that he buried more Confederates than Federals.* 

Major-General John P. McCown telegraphed Gen- 
eral Bragg from Chattanooga on the 17th of July that 
— " Forrest captured two brigadier-generals, staff- and 
field-officers, and twelve hundred men, burned two 
hundred thousand dollars' worth of stores, captured 
sufficient stores with those burned to amount to five 
hundred thousand dollars, also took sixty wagons, 
three hundred mules, one hundred and fifty or two hun- 
dred horses, a field battery of four pieces, destroyed the 
railroad and depot at Murfreesboro, and lost sixteen 
or eighteen killed and twenty-five or thirty wounded." 
A writer on the Union side estimated the loss to the 
Government at nearly a million of dollars. Such a 
victory won by freshly organized and poorly armed 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xv, p. i. 


troops, without artillery, created great surprise, but the 
troops were better armed when they came away, as well 
as better clothed. Among the wounded on the Confed- 
erate side was the heroic old Colonel Saunders, from 
Alabama, who was shot through his lungs, supposed 
mortally, but who recovered to see much more service 
as a volunteer staff-officer, and only died in 1898 in 

The Confederates claimed to have paroled seven- 
teen hundred prisoners at McMinnville, including one 
hundred staff employees. Be that as it may, those 
paroled were given two days' rations, and when started 
North were apparently in the best of spirits. Forrest 
sent out scouts in all directions and rested at McMinn- 
ville until the iSth, and then put his column in motion 
in the direction of Lebanon, fifty miles distant, where 
it was reported five hundred Federal cavalry were sta- 
tioned. Reaching the neighborhood of that place on 
the morning of the 20th he was disappointed to find 
that the enemy were on the road to Nashville and pur- 
suit was impracticable. Throwing out pickets to guard 
against surprise, he rested a day with his men, and 
enjoyed the hospitality of the people, who were mostly 
strong Southern sympathizers. His movements were 
not unnoticed. The name of Forrest began to count 
for something among officers on the other side, as the 
following despatches indicate : 

Bowling Green, July 20, 1862. 
Colonel J. F. Miller, Commanding: 

Forrest is at Lebanon, Tenn., with a large rebel 
force. Without doubt he will move on Nashville or Galla- 
tin, or probably will make his way to Kentucky. 

S. D. Bruce,* Colonel Commanding, 

* Rebellion Records, vol. vi, part ii, pp. 11, 190. 


TULLAHOMA, July 22, 1862. < 

Colonel J. B. Fry: I have information this morning 
. . . that Forrest started from McMinnville this morning 
for Lebanon on Friday with one thousand men. He was to 
have been back Saturday, but has not returned. . . . 

W. S. Smith,* Brigadier-General Commanding, 

The prediction of Colonel Bruce was well founded, 
for early on the morning of the 21st Forrest moved 
out on the pike for the Hermitage, near Nashville. 
Reaching there at i p. m., he halted for an hour, and 
met a party of ladies and gentlemen who were cele- 
brating the first anniversary of the battle of Manassas. 

Pushing forward toward Nashville, Forrest learned 
from scouts that General Nelson had gone toward 
Murfreesboro with thirty-five hundred men, mostly in- 
fantry. At Stone River, sevep miles east of Nashville, 
he came upon and captured about twenty pickets in a 
stockade, though some escaped to the city. Swinging 
around to the Murfreesboro pike he captured some of 
the picket force near the lunatic asylum, the rest escap- 
ing. An independent Confederate force happened 
about the same time to make a dash on a picket-post 
on the Franklin pike, and thus the impression was 
made in the city that the place was invested by a large 
force. Forrest next moved on and captured a small 
outpost and twenty prisoners at the bridge over Mill 
Creek, four miles from the heart of the city. Follow- 
ing the creek half a mile northward he captured forty 
more men, and left a company to destroy that bridge ; 
moving a mile farther up the creek to Antioch sta- 
tion the little garrison made a stand, but was quickly 
routed by Colonel Walker's Texas Rangers. Thirty- 
five prisoners were taken there with arms and supplies, 
and the station-house, cars, and a bridge were burned. 

* Rebellion Records, vol. vi, part ii, p. 200. 


A detachment was sent toward Murfreesboro, destroy- 
ing some railroad wood, and taking fifteen prisoners. 

After this day's work Forrest withdrew by a nar- 
row pathway and encamped in the woods about a mile 
from the pike, where his prisoners were paroled. Gen- 
eral Nelson, apprised of Forrest's movements, marched 
back from Murfreesboro in great haste, and his col- 
umns could be heard passing on the pike by Forrest's 
men nearly all night. Nelson being safely in Nash- 
ville, Forrest started back the other way early next 
morning. He had not lost a man during the raid. Six 
miles from Murfreesboro he turned east toward 
McMinnville. Nelson followed again, and reaching 
Murfreesboro with a tired, jade,d lot of men, disgusted 
with trotting on foot up and down the road after For- 
rest's phantom cavalry, gave up the pursuit, and de- 
nounced it as folly in his own forceful way. Forrest 
had caused large forces to be withdrawn from north 
Mississippi and north Alabama, and materially changed 
the situations and dispositions of Federal troops. He 
proceeded hurriedly to McMinnville and rested there 
some time. 

The following despatches indicate something of the 
stir Forrest created in that period : 

Headquarters, Huntsville, July 22, 1862. 
General Smith, Tullahoma: 

Forrest is now between Nashville and Murfreesboro, 
and destroyed three bridges nine miles from Nashville 


Murfreesboro, yu/y 24, 1862. 
Major-General Buell: 

Twenty-third Brigade has passed. Forrest has re- 
turned on the Jefferson pike. In three days I will take 
the field and try to clear out the country. . . . 

W. Nelson, General. 


TULLAHOMA, July 22, 1862. 

Colonel J. B. Fry: One of my scouting parties last 
night captured a morning report of a rebel force en- 
camped near McMinnville. It is addressed to General 
Forrest, Chapel Hill, which lies between Shelbyville and 
Franklin. The rebel has not had time to advise him of 
its capture. Can not we capture him there or at Shelby- 
ville, where I think his army is ? 

W. S. Smith, General. 

MURFREESBORO, Jtily 26, 1862. 

Major-General Buell: John Morgan is retreating 
from Kentucky and will come in at Sparta. I want cav- 
alry, and I want General Jackson, who is now at Nashville, 
to command it. ... I can settle this part of the country 
and stop Morgan and Forrest and be in position to receive 
any forces from Chattanooga, if I can get my orders 
obeyed. If Morgan and Forrest get together they will 
have three thousand five hundred well-mounted cavalry. 
General Manson arrived this morning. 

W. Nelson, General,* 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxii, p. 213. 



On the 24th of July, 1862, Forrest wrote from 
McMinnville to Major W. L. Clay, A. A. A.-G., at 
Knoxville, reporting that he had no public property 
captured across the Tennessee River by Colonel Whar- 
ton's Eighth Texas Cavalry, except eight wagons and 
four mules to a wagon needed by his brigade. He 
had retained the captured battery also, and one hundred 
muskets for recruits secured. He had two engines and 
all the transportation between the break across Mill 
Creek and Murfreesboro. Was of the opinion that the 
enemy would fall back with most of his force to Mur- 
freesboro, and in conclusion said : " We have succeed- 
ed in drawing ten thousand men from Athens via Co- 
lumbia to Nashville and to Murfreesboro, and also 
causing them to move three times in the last five days 
between Nashville and Murfreesboro." 

On the 4th of August Major-General E. Kirby 
Smith, commanding the department with headquar- 
ters at Knoxville, addressing Forrest as general, caused 
the following order to be issued to him : " General 
Bragg having requested it, the major-general directs 
that you remain in that section of the country where 
you are now operating. Starnes's regiment, Howard's 
battalion, and Huwald's mountain howitzer battery 
have been ordered to you. Scott's brigade, consisting 
of his own and Lawton's regiments, have been ordered 
to Kingston. . . . They should have already reached 



there." On the same date Lieutenant E. Cunningham, 
acting aide to General Bragg, wrote the same to Gen- 
eral Forrest, also stating that it would probably be two 
weeks before the reenforcements mentioned would 
reach him ; that Colonel Crawford's regiment of Geor- 
gia cavalry would report to him in a few days; that 
his brigade would be reorganized, and that his com- 
mission as brigadier-general, some time since received, 
would be forwarded as soon as a safe opportunity 

This commission, dated July 21st, was received by 
General Forrest some time later. Governor I sham G. 
Harris had gone on to Richmond to urge Forrest's 
promotion, which seemed to come rather slowly. Gen- 
eral Nelson announced that he would hunt Forrest 
himself, as he had about twelve hundred cavalry. Moves 
and counter moves followed, but nothing of importance 
occurred for some little time. About the loth of 
August General Forrest had occasion to ride across 
the Cumberland Mountains to Chattanooga, leaving 
Lieutenant-Colonel Hood, of the Second Georgia Cav- 
alry, in command. Shortly after he left, a Federal 
force of about three thousand infantry and eight hun- 
dred cavalry was reported moving on McMinnville, 
and Colonel Hood fell back eastward to Sparta, a dis- 
tance of some twenty-five miles. General Forrest re- 
joined the command there after an absence of four days, 
during which time he had ridden two hundred miles. 
Skirmishing followed for a week or ten days, after 
which the command moved over to Smithville, and 
then back to Woodbury in the Federal rear. Resting 
a few hours, Forrest made a feint on Murfreesboro, 
now strongly fortified and not to be surprised again; 
but when within eight miles of that place he turned left 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxiii, p. 743. 


to the branch railroad leading from Tullahoma to 
McMinnville, captured a picket-post of twenty men 
near Manchester, and then proceeded east, destroying 
the road and bridges, until he was again within ten 
miles of McMinnville. Forrest was well aware of 
Bragg's intended movement into Kentucky. Under 
date of Chattanooga, August 7, 1862, the latter wrote 
to Forrest : " You can not cope with the enemy as he 
is now located. My cavalry is slow coming in, so that 
you have not been reenforced as I desired, but when 
it comes you shall have the whole. In the meantime 
cover our front well with a view to the future. We are 
now crossing and massing our troops with a view to 
advance. The enemy has had cavalry as high as Dun- 
lap. . . . Have a mere corps of observation where 
you are and throw the balance of your force into the 
Sequatchie Valley to prevent incursions. After these 
dispositions, if you can possibly be spared, I should 
like to see you." On the 22d of August a staff-officer 
wrote to Forrest : " In reply to yours of August 19th 
the commanding general directs me to say that as soon 
as you accomplish your present object you will return, 
in accordance with instructions, and prepare your com- 
mand for other services. Enemy reported approach- 
ing up the Sequatchie Valley. Artillery will be sent 
soon as possible." * 

Meantime various columns had been organized to 
hasten in and catch Forrest, and he was aware of his 
danger. Nearing McMinnville he determined to pass 
around and take a stand at Altamont, and await the 
advance of Bragg's army. The aim was to avoid 
fighting, escape from the meshes by which he was en- 
closed, and come in touch again with the main army, 
knowing that he had remained full long in Middle Ten- 

» * Rebellion Records, vol. xxiii, p. 770. 


nessee. His force was not estimated by the Federals 
at more than fourteen or fifteen hundred men, and was, 
perhaps, not more than one thousand effectives. Hard, 
active service had thinned the ranks. Endeavoring to 
get to Altamont his scouts one day reported a heavy 
force coming down the road in his front. He wisely 
moved back a short distance, crossed into the dry bed 
of a creek near the road, and let the column pass, the 
same as he did when General Nelson's command 
marched up the pike to Nashville, and then resumed 
the march. At another point he encountered a force 
of infantry with artillery. This was composed of three 
regiments of Wood's brigade and four guns that had 
been encamped near McMinnville, and had been sent 
out to cut off Forrest. The general made a flank 
movement, passed around, and escaped. He knew 
when to run and when to fight. This was a time to 
avoid a fight. Bragg was already impatient because 
he had held out so long on the western side of the 
Cumberland Mountains, and Forrest felt his displeas- 
ure afterward. On this occasion a few shots of shell 
and musketry were fired by the Federals, and the Con- 
federates lost a few horses and mules on the way back, 
but not a single man. 

After many narrow escapes and close calls, the 
" Wizard of the Saddle," with what was left of his 
command and the four pieces of artillery captured at 
Murfreesboro, joined the advance-guard of Major- 
General Braxton Bragg's army at Sparta on the 3d of 
September, 1862, and was gratified to learn that he 
would be allowed to retain the four guns, and also that 
the four Alabama companies of his old regiment, under 
Bocot, added to his command. He had an 
interview with General Bragg at his headquarters some 
twenty miles in the rear of the advance, and was or- 
dered to throw his brigade back toward the 'rear of 



rBuell's army, then moving toward Nashville, and to 
harass liim as much as possible. Buell moved rapidly, 
and soon abandoned that part of the country. When 
Forrest reached McMinnville he learned that the Fed- 
eral vanguard was ten hours ahead, but he came up with 
it at Woodbury, and soon reocciipied Murfreesboro, 
where he saved the court-house from being burned 
by some irresponsible Federal stragglers. Following 
resolutely, he had frequent skirmishes with Buell's 
rear-guard and flankers on to Kashville. which pre- 
vented further straggling and raids on farmhouses. 
For nothing keeps an army so well closed up as the 
enemy's cavalry skirmishing on three sides. Not only 
this, but Forrest often had the supreme effrontery to 
run up his artillery, and use it so effectively as to com- 
pel the infantry to form in line of battle and drive him 
back. This suited him exactly, and he had no objec- 
tion to being repulsed, even if it occurred every hour. 
Crossing the Cumberland River, a few miles east of 
Nashville, he kept up the same tactics, and was joined 
by General Wheeler. 

About the Sth of September Forrest reached south- 
ern Kentucky and reported in person to General Bragg. 
On the loth he reached Glasgow, and a few days later 
the following special order, already virtually given, 
'ssued from Bragg 's headquarters: 

to be commanded by 
s assigned to the right 
~i Major-General 
* ) Allen : Second 
t- (J. P.) Mur- 
Cavalry), four 


Under direction of General Polk this command was 
pushed on to a point beyond Munfordsville, on the Eliz- 
abethtown and Bardstown road, and held there in the 
Federal rear until Munfordsville, with nearly four 
thousand men, was surrendered to Bragg on the 17th. 
From this place he moved up the Louisville and Nash- 
ville Railroad, destroying bridges and capturing some 
small forces, as well as engaging in numerous little 
skirmishes. His brigade had seen such hard service 
since the 6th of July — over two months — that it was 
quite jaded and reduced in numbers, though keeping 
up good spirits. At Elizabethtown, about forty miles 
from Louisville, pursuing a Hne to protect the flank of 
Bragg's army, he threw out scouts and deflected in the 
direction of Bardstown, and, reaching there, reported 
again to General Polk and picketed the roads toward 
Louisville and Frankfort. About the 26th of Septem- 
ber he was summoned to report to General Bragg^s 
headquarters, and there was ordered back to Murfrees- 
boro to take command of the troops remaining in Mid- 
dle Tennessee, gather up recruits and absentees, har- 
ass the garrison at Nashville as much as possible, and 
protect the people from raiding parties. At his re- 
quest he was allowed to take with him his favorite four 
Alabama companies of his old regiment. Setting out 
at once he rode from Bardstown to Murfreesboro, a 
distance of one hundred and sixty-five miles, in five 

During the campaign from Chattanooga he had 
lost in killed and wounded, or by disease, over two 
hundred men, and it was estimated that he had killed 
and wounded three hundred and fifty Federals and 
captured over two thousand prisoners, including one 
brigadier-general, four or five field-officers, sixty regi- 
mental, officers, four pieces of artillery, two stands of 
colors, six hundred horses and mules, a large wagon- 


train, ammunition and supplies for his men, besides 
destroying vast quantities of Government stores, much 
rolling-stock, and many depots and bridges. Tired as 
he and his men and animals were, and needing a rest, 
he was soon actively engaged. Disappointed as he 
must have been at the loss of his brigade, he was de- 
voted to the Southern cause, and took the field with 
all his accustomed ardor. The force found at Mur- 
freesboro was quite small, consisting mainly of the 
Thirty-second Alabama and Freeman's battery of four 
guns. At La Vergne Brigadier-General S. R. Ander- 
son had command of about seventeen hundred Ten- 
nessee militia and one thousand new cavalry. To 
this force Forrest added the Thirty-second Alabama. 
Nearly all of these troops were raw, and when the Fed- 
eral commander came out on a night march from 
Nashville, fifteen miles distant, early in October, they 
broke in wild confusion. The Alabamians made a 
stand, but were overwhelmed. Forrest gathered such 
force as he could and went to the front to find La 
Vergne deserted, and followed on nearly to Nashville. 
He could do nothing, but returned to La Vergne and 
garrisoned the place with Bocot's battalion and Free- 
man's battery with pickets well up the road. 

For several weeks Forrest was actively engaged in 
recruiting at Murfreesboro. A new regiment was or- 
ganized with James W. Stames, who had figured con- 
spicuously at Sacramento, Ky., as colonel. This be- 
came the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, and made a bril- 
liant record. The colonel was killed at Tullahoma in 
1863, and the regiment made its last charge at Benton- 
ville, N. C. The Eighth Tennessee Cavalry was or- 
ganized with George G. Dibbrell as colonel and Jef- 
frey E. Forrest, the general's youngest brother, as 
major. The Ninth was organized under Colonel J. B. 
Biffle. To these were added the Fourth Alabama Cav- * 


airy under Colonel A. A. Russell, and a battery under 
Captain Freeman and Lieutenant John W. Morton, 
constituting a brigade under the command of Briga- 
dier-General Forrest. 

Major-General John C. Breckenridge came upon 
the scene and assumed command of all the troops, 
bringing with him a force of some three thousand men. 
General Forrest moved up to La Vergne, and to his 
force was added the Eighth Tennessee and Gunter*s 
Alabama battalion. Strong expeditions were sent out 
to intercept Federal foraging parties and to reconnoi- 
ter. The Confederates in front of Nashville by the 5th 
of November numbered about thirty-five hundred cav- 
alry and three thousand infantry under Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Hanson. Forrest matured the idea of taking 
Nashville, and obtained General Breckenridge's con- 
sent. The attack was to be made November 6th. The 
advance began at daylight, and the pickets at the 
lunatic asylum were driven in and captured. All 
was ready when an order came from General Breck- 
enridge, under instructions from General Bragg, to 
recall the troops. This was done, but Forrest was 
much disappointed, and moving across to the Frank- 
lin pike joined for a time with his troops in a heavy 
skirmish with the Federals, in which artillery was 
freely used on both sides. After this, leaving forces 
to picket the different roads, he fell back to La 

Again he was ordered to report in person to General 
Bragg, who, after the battle of Perryville, had swung 
around with his army by Knoxville and Chattanooga 
to Murfreesboro. There he was ordered to take com- 
mand of a brigade and move to Columbia, Tenn., with 
a view to crossingf the Tennessee River on an expedi- 
tion into West Tennessee. In vain he plead that the 
* regiments were not suitably armed or equipped with 


guns for such work. Bragg was inexorable, and For- 
rest obeyed orders. A promise was made that proper 
arms would be supplied at Columbia, but this was not 
done. The command, about eighteen hundred strong, 
reached Columbia December 6, 1862. 



Four days after Forrest reached Columbia he re- 
ceived peremptory orders to cross the river into West 
Tennessee. Again he appealed to the general of the 
army for better arms and equipments, but in vain, for 
he was given to understand that he was to go — guns 
or no guns. Whether Bragg had made up his mind to 
sacrifice Forrest's command if need be to make a diver- 
sion in the direction of Memphis between the armies 
of Grant and Rosecrans, or thought the resourceful 
brigadier would take care of himself as usual, does not 
appear. Forrest, however, was the man above all oth- 
ers for such a desperate enterprise. Sending ahead a 
small detachment of troops and workmen he caused 
two small flatboats to be constructed near Clifton, and 
concealed them in a slough on the east side of an island. 
This work had to be conducted with the utmost caution 
to avoid discovery. The little army of forlorn hope 
reached this place on the isth of December twenty- 
one hundred strong, and of this number not more 
than fifteen hundred were effective. The troops were 
Starnes's Fourth Tennessee, Dibbrell's Eighth, Biffle's 
Ninth, Russeirs Fourth Alabama, Cox's Tennessee 
battalion, Woodward's two Kentucky companies, Cap- 
tain William Forrest's scouts. Freeman's battery, and 
the general's escort. Napier's battalion, four hundred 
strong, joined afterward at Union City, but was too 
poorly armed to be of real service at that time. Here 


was a most desperate undertaking in midwinter — going 
into the enemy's country as now occupied, the river 
patrolled by gunboats, and Federal troops scattered 
everywhere. Forrest felt all this keenly, but went to 
work with celerity. The small boats would carry only 
twenty-five men and horses at a time ; the river was 
three-quarters of a mile wide ; there was a pelting cold 
rain, and the men had no tents. Pickets were scattered 
up and down the river to look out for gunboats, and 
the crossing, effected continuously, occupied almost a 
day and night. 

On the morning of the 17th the command moved 
out eight miles and stopi)ed to dry clothing, examine 
caps and ammunition, and groom horses. Fortunately 
for the command, a citizen, sent ahead by Forrest for the 
purpose of securing caps for shotguns and pistols from 
his agents within the lines, reported that night with 
fifty thousand caps, an ample supply for the time being. 
On the morning of the i8th he moved toward Lexing- 
ton, and when near there encountered pickets, and back 
of them a considcral)le Federal force, and a sharp en- 
gagement ensued. The Federals had three regiments : 
the Fleventh Illinois, under Colonel Robert G. Inger- 
soll ; the Second Tennessee, under Colonel Hawkins ; 
the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, three hundred strong, under 
Adjutant Harrison, and a battery. Colonel Ingersoll 
had marched out to Beech Creek, five miles east of 
Lexington, and was proceeding farther eastward, when 
Captain O'Hara joined him with sixty-eight men, and 
reported that the Confederates, about one thousand 
strong, were advancing. Colonel Ingersoll slowly 
withdrew in good order. Captain Frank B. Gurley, 
sent forward by Forrest with twenty men in advance of 
his battalion, had a slight skirmish with the advance- 
guard, and captured one or two of their number. The 
bridge at Beech Creek was dismantled, and the Second 


Tennessee Cavalry (Federal) was drawn up in line on 
the west bank, but was driven back by a heavy fire from 
the other side. In twenty minutes Forrest had the 
bridge-sills replaced with fence-rails, and Gurley's men 
passed over. Meanwhile Colonel IngersoU formed all 
his troops in a good position in the edge of some timber. 
The Federals made a gallant stand, but were driven 
back with loss on both sides. Another stand was made 
near the town, with artillery and cavalry well posted. 
Forrest, with DibbreH's and Biffle's regiments and his 
escort, threw himself on the Federal line and broke it, 
leaving Colonel Ingersoll's regiment and a section of 
artillery to face a superior force. The Fourth Ala- 
bama was subjected to a heavy fire, and Captain Gurley 
made a detour up a ravine to the right to a point not 
more than one hundred yards from the two guns, and 
with his squadron in advance charged at full speed 
upon the section. The gunners fought with despera- 
tion, but were run over. This, in conjunction with 
Forrest's charge;, stampeded the Second Tennessee and 
Ohio Cavalry, and the day was lost. Forrest's main 
command was concentrated, and the battle was over. 
The two 3-inch Rodman guns of the Fourteenth 
Indiana Battery, handled so well under Lieutenant 
McGuire, were held and used by Forrest until the end 
of the war. Colonel IngersoU afterward reported 
eleven killed and eleven wounded, and besides the 
wounded, one hundred artd forty-seven prisoners — 
total, one hundred and fifty-eight, including six officers. 
The guns, he says, were taken with every man but one, 
and a nioment after he was himself taken. Forrest, in 
his report, says he captured two guns, one hundred and 
fifty prisoners, including Colonel IngersoU and Major 
L. A. Kerr, also some seventy horses, which were im- 
mediately put in service in the batteries. These ac- 
counts substantially agree. 




Ingersoll estimated the Confederate force at five 
thousand', with eiglit 12-pounder guns. It was For- 
rest's policy to always exaggerate his own forces. 
Later on in this campaign, when he captured some 
drums, he had them beaten at night at wide distances 
apart to create the impression that he had a large in- 
fantry force on the field. -According to Colonel Inger- 
soU's report, he had only a total effective force of seven 
hundred and seventy-three men. Those who escaped 
fled to Jackson, closely pursued, Forrest followed, 
and made a feint on the little city, which was garri- 
soned by a heavy force, and it was known to the Con- 
federate leader that General Grant was hurrying troops 
to the protection of railroads and fortified places. 
Colonel Dibbrell was sent north that night, reached 
Carroll Station on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and 
at daylight fired into a passing train and captured a 
stockade with one hundred prisoners, and ammunition, 
stores, tents, etc. Four hundred of Dibbreil's men were 
still armed with flint-locks, and part of these were ex- 
changed for better guns, Dibbrell rejoined Forrest, at 
Spring Creek on the morning of the 20tb. The Fourth 
Alabama and Second Tennessee battalions were sent 
south of Jackson to destroy bridges and other property 
on 'the two railroads runing through to Corinth and 
Bolivar, and Forrest continued to menace Jackson, as 
if seriously intending to assault the place, and really 
drove in both cavalry and infantry with his artillery 
and flank movements. The Federal troops engaged 
were the Forty-third, Sixty-first, and Eleventh Illi- 
nois, Fifth Ohio, and one company of the Second West 
Tennessee. Forrest had only Starnes's and Bifile's 
regiments and Major Woodward's two Kentucky com- 
panies besides his escort and artillery. 

The Union forces within Jackson were probably ten 
thousand strong, with thirty pieces of artillery. On the 


morning of the 20th the entire Confederate force, ex- 
cept the Fourth Alabama — left to keep up appearances 
— moved rapidly north. The command was divided. 
Colonel Starnes moved on Humboldt, captured the 
stockade and over one hundred prisoners, and burned 
supplies, depot, trestle and bridge, and also took four 
caissons, with horses and harness, and five hundred 
stands of arms. Dibbrell, with his regiment and two 
pieces of artillery ujider Lieutenant Morton, was sent 
to take the stockade and destroy the bridge at Forked 
Deer Creek, but was repulsed. Forrest reached and 
charged on Trenton at three o'clock that afternoon, 
the 20th, but found the place well defended, and had 
two men killed and one wounded. His artillery was 
brought into play, and a surrender was signified in a 
few minutes. Forrest claimed to have captured seven 
hundred prisoners, though Colonel Jacob Fry, the com- 
mander, admitted to only about two hundred and fifty 
men, including himself, of the Sixty-first Illinois, 
Colonel Hawkins, Second Tennessee Cavalry, and nine 
officers of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illi- 
nois Infantry and the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. For- 
rest's force present was Biffle's regiment, Cox*s battal- 
ion, the escort company, and Freeman's battery. 

The entire number of prisoners now on hand and 
brought up later amounted to about twelve hundred. 
All were paroled ; the officers and men of Hawkins's 
regiment allowed to return home ; the remainder, some 
eight or nine hundred, were sent, under escort com- 
manded by Lieutenant-Colonel N. D. Collins, to Co- 
lumbus, Ky., to be turned over to a Federal commander. 
The general spent the night in paroling prisoners and 
destroying supplies not needed. The capture and de- 
struction of property amounted to several hundred 
thousand dollars. 

On the morning of the 21st he burned the depot 


with six hundred bales of cotton, two hundred barrels 
of pork, and a large quantity of tobacco in hogsheads, 
which had been used as breastworks. Russell's regi- 
ment, the rear-guard, gave a fine account of itself, re- 
pulsing an infantry column at Spring Creek and reach- 
ing Trenton, as well as Starnes's and Dibbrell's regi- 
ments, on the morning of the 21st, when the entire 
command moved toward Union City. Two companies 
of Federals were captured at Rutherford Station, and 
trestles and bridges were destroyed on to Kenton Sta- 
tion, where Colonel Thomas J. Kenney, of the One 
Hundred and Nineteenth Illinois, with part of his com- 
mand — some two hundred and fifty men — was cap- 
tured, also twenty-two sick men in the hospital, who 
were paroled. The afternoon was mainly occupied in 
burning about seven miles of trestle, and the follow- 
ing day, the 22d, some fifteen miles of track and trestle 
in the Obion bottom were destroyed, also some more 
stockades. The prisoners taken were paroled. 

Reports came that a heavy force of Federals, esti- 
mated at ten thousand, was coming up from Jackson; 
yet Forrest determined to advance to Union City, 
twenty miles distant. Reaching there at 4 p. m. on the 
23d, he dashed in and captured the place without firing 
a gun. A day or two was spent in destroying railroad 
bridges, masonry, and trestles over the north and south 
forks of the Obion River. By Christmas evening a 
clean sweep had been made of the Mobile and Ohio 
Railroad from Jackson, Tenn., to Moscow, Ky. ; only 
one bridge was left. It was now time to start back. On 
the morning of the 26th the command, which had in- 
creased somewhat in numbers, if not in strength, was 
started for Dresden, twenty miles distant. That day 
the bridge on the branch road running to Paducah was 
burned. Little more was left to be done on that line 
At night the command reached Dresden, destroyed all 


Government supplies found, and tore up the railroad. 
Next day (27th), still on the march, it was learned 
that two brigades of infantry were moving out to in- 
tercept the command. The river bridges were down, 
and the enemy guarded ail the crossings. 

One old bridge, half-way between McKenzie and 
McLemoresville, supposed to be impassable, had been 
overlooked; Forrest made for this, and all through 
the night of the 27th labored with his men to erect or 
brace up a causeway through the miry bottoms a quar- 
ter of a mile on each side, and to strengthen the old 
bridge. On the morning of the 28th he drove over the 
first wagon with his own hands; the artillery, long 
loaded train, and troops followed. It was a narrow es- 
cape from a dangerous dilemma. The Federals were 
hunting for him, but not in such a place as that. While 
the work was going on Colonel C. L. Dunham marched 
a Federal brigade of infantry directly across Forrest's 
line of retreat at a point only five miles away. 
When the Confederates came out of the bottoms and 
reached McLemoresville Dunham's rear-guard had 
just passed; other brigades were in the immediate 
neighborhood, and could have easily surrounded and 
captured Forrest had their commanders but known 
where he was. 

On the west, a few miles away, was a brigade com- 
posed of the Seventy-seventh, Thirty-ninth, and Sixty- 
third Ohio, under Colonel John W. Fuller ; while Gen- 
erals J. C. Sullivan and I. N. Haynie were marching 
from Trenton to unite with Dunham. General G. M. 
Dodge and the First Brigade, composed of the Second, 
Seventh, and Fifty-second Illinois, and the Third Bri- 
gade, made up of the Seventh, Fiftieth, and Fifty-sev- 
enth Illinois regiments, two batteries of the Missouri 
Light Artillery, the Fifth Ohio, and Stewart's cavalry, 
occupied the country to the front and south of Forrest, 


and these forces were strengthened at Purdy by a sec- 
tion of artillery and the Fifty-eighth Illinois regiment, 
and General Clinton E, Fisk was at Columbus, Ky., 
begging for permission to take four thousand men and 
go out to " Defeat and skedaddle the entire rebel 
horde." General J. C, Sullivan wired General Grant 
on the 29th of December from Huntingdon : " I have 
Forrest in a tight place ; the gunboats are up the river 
as far as Clinton, and have destroyed all the boats and 
ferries. My troops are moving on him in three direc- 
tions, and I hope with success." 

Forrest thus surrounded by well-trained and well- 
commanded troops was certainly in a close place. He 
had accomplished much in the destruction of Govern- 
ment and railroad property, and had interrupted com- 
munication, and prevented reen force ments from going 
to Rosecrans, then moving on Murfreesboro, or to 
the Union forces intended eventually to take Vicksburg. 
It was to be a run for the Tennessee River, forty miles 
distant, or a fight, and he decided on the latter. Emerg- 
ing from the Obion bottoms in a somewhat bedraggled 
and dilapidated condition, Forrest's command moved 
out to the hamlet of McLemoresville, where he gave his 
men and horses a much-needed rest. However, he 
soon learned from scouts that a Federal force, esti- 
mated by country people to be ten thousand strong, was 
at Huntingdon, only twelve miles distant. So on the 
morning of the agtli Forrest moved on toward Lex- 
ington, and had to pass over rough and miry roads. 
The heavily loaded wagons and artillery were drawn 
slowly. That night he encamped within six miles of 
Lexington. General Dunham was coming on one side 
and General Fuller on the other. Captain William For- 
rest, with his Independents, was sent out to reconnoiter, 
and soon encountered Dunham's brigade, which took 
a position at Parker's crossroads, almost in Forrest's 


front. Four companies were sent to look oiit for Ful- 
ler's brigade and report its advance, if made to reen- 
force Dunham. This detachment went wrong some- 
how, and thus when Forrest became engaged Fuller 
came upon his rear* in the hour of Confederate victory 
and imperiled the whole command. Forrest had felt 
that he could easily handle one Federal brigade at a 

Dunham had been driven back by twelve o'clock, 
and Colonel Biffle, coming up at this opportune mo- 
ment, joined in the charge. Here Colonel T. A. Na- 
pier risked his life without orders and fell mortally 
wounded. The Confederates captured three pieces of 
artillery. Starnes and Russell reached the rear of the 
Federals and captured their wagon- and ammunition- 
train, and their defeat or capture seemed assured. For- 
rest sent in a flag of truce, demanding an unconditional 
surrender; but just in the moment of apparent ac- 
quiescence a heavy fire came from the rear. This was 
from Fuller's brigade, and was a complete and stun- 
ning surprise. Colonel Fuller was in immediate com- 
mand of the brigade making the attack. Many horses 
were killed. Forrest lost the guns captured, and was 
only able to bring off six of his own. Some three hun- 
dred of Forrest's men, dismounted and fighting as in- 
fantry were captured ; that all were not captured is a 
wonder. The Confederate leader here manifested his 
genius in the face of an appalling situation. He or- 
dered his artillery out between the lines of enfilading 
fire, rallied his men, threw out a strong rear-guard, 
made a show of fight, and got away with the great bulk 
of his command. 

The firing from his rear came while a flag of truce 
was flying and in a moment of supposed victory. If 
the detachment sent out to watch for Fuller had not 
lost its way this complete surprise could not have oc- 


currcd. The Confederate leader, however, never lost 
his head for a moment, but brouji^l^t to bear the most 
skilful management possible under the circumstances. 
Using his ever-faithful escort and Dibbrell's rcfjiment 
as a rear-guard he protected his retreat with surpass- 
ing address and show of force — even using his artillery 
and creating the impression that he was making an ad- 
vance. This was all the easier to do by such a leader 
on account of the exaggerated reports put out in re- 
gard to the size of the force.* The federals estimated 
this to be from eight to ten thousand men, when it did 
not really amount to as many as twenty-five hundred, 
including the recruits picked up at difTerent points. 
His fighting force at Parker's crcjssroads, including 
Biffle's regiment, which came up late, was about twen- 
ty-two hundred and fifty. Hilllle had been detached 
twenty-four hours i)reviously, and had captured and 
paroled one hundred and twenty oflicers and n)en seven 
miles east of Trenton. Starnes had also been detached, 
but both came to the battle. 

(leneral Sullivan, who came upon the field when 
the battle was over, telegraphed to (leneral (Irant: 
"We met lM)rrest seven thousand strong, and after 
a contest of four hours routed him with great slaugh- 
ter. We have captured six guns, over tliree hundred 
prisoners, over five hundred horses, and a large nmn- 
ber of wagons and teams, and a large (piantity of 
small arms. Colonel Cox and Major Strange, I'or- 
rest's adjutant, and one ai(le-de-can)p, and a numl)er 
of other officers captured; Colonel Napier killed," etc. 
On the 2d of January, 1863, he added: "The rel)el 
loss, as estimated by I'orrest, is fifteen hundred killed, 
wounded, and missing. Their dead, I have good 
reason to believe, is two hundred ; their prisoners over 
four hundred. Mv loss will not exceed one hundred 
killed and wounded ; prisoners sixty-three. ... I have 


ordered Colonel Lawler, with three thousand of his old 
troops and eight pieces of artillery, to follow the re- 
treating enemy to the river. Forrest's army is com- 
pletely broken up. They are scattered over the coun- 
try without ammunition. We need a good cavalry com- 
mand to go through the country and pick them up." * 
Colonel Dunham reported twenty-three killed in his 
brigade, one hundred and thirty-nine wounded, and 
fifty-eight missing. A subsequent list showed two 
officers and twenty-five enlisted men killed, seven offi- 
cers and one hundred and thirty-three men wounded, 
three officers and sixty-seven men captured — ^total, two 
hundred and thirty-seven. 

Besides the death of Colonel Napier, a promising 
young officer, General Forrest lost by capture his adju- 
tant-general, Major J. P. Strange. This occurred at a 
time when the surrender of Dunham's brigade was re- 
garded as a certainty. So confident was Strange of 
this that he rode alone to the ordnance train of eighteen 
wagons and took possession of it and its escort of 
twenty-two men, and began to make an inventory of 
his capture; but just then Sullivan's men came upon 
the scene, and the major was taken prisoner. He was 
sent to Alton Prison, Illinois, and not exchanged for 
four or five months. 

After the battle Forrest concentrated his command 
as quickly as possible and moved rapidly on Lexington 
— twelve miles distant, where the men and animals 
were fed and the wounded cared for. At two o'clock 
the next morning, January i, 1863, the command was 
on the move toward Clifton. Ten miles out a halt was 
made for three hours, and there the prisoners, some 
three hundred in number, were paroled. Moving on 
the general was informed by scouts that a heavy force 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xvli, part i, p. 552. 


was coming out from Purdy to intercept him, and he 
found a force of some twelve hundred cavalry across 
his line of march. Dibbrell charged directly through 
the center; Biffle and Starnes charged right and left, 
and the road was soon cleared. The Federals lost some 
twenty killed and wounded and about fifty prisoners, 
while the Confederates did not lose a man. However, 
Lieutenant-Colonel W. K. M. Breckenridge, command- 
ing the Sixth Tennessee Union Cavalry, reported only 
six prisoners lost on this occasion. 

Forrest knew the importance of getting out of West 
Tennessee, and sent ahead to have the two sunken boats 
raised on the eastern side of the river to be brought 
over at a signal. His advance reached Clifton about 
noon January ist, and he at once rushed over the artil- 
lery and ammunition and a few men. Once across, the 
guns were placed in position to protect the crossing if 
need be. Scouts were sent out to look for gunboats, 
but fortunately for the Confederates none appeared. 
Some of the men constructed rude rafts, and most of 
the horses were made to swim over. Fully one thou- 
sand were in the water at one time. The entire com- 
mand of about twenty-one hundred men and horses, 
six pieces of artillery, and a train of wagons, with cap- 
tured stores, crossed over the river in ten hours. This 
did not include quite the entire force, as one detach- 
ment of one hundred men and other small scattering 
parties crossed at different points, and afterward re- 
joined the main command. The Federal pursuit 
through mud, ice, and drenching cold rain or sleet was 
heavy, but not active. Forrest kept his men well in 
hand, and really encountered no serious check or ob- 
stacle in his forty miles' march from Parker's cross- 
roads to Clinton. 

He had been gone seventeen days; had marched 
about twenty miles a day, nearly half the time in rain 


or snow; had fought one battle, and had numerous 
smaller engagements and skirmishes ; killed, wounded, 
and captured about fourteen hundred of the Federal 
troops, including four colonels of regiments captured ; 
had captured four pieces of artillery — losing three af- 
terward; destroyed much railroad and Government 
property ; cut Grant off from railroad communication 
with the North, so that rations and forage could not 
be issued in a regular way for two weeks, and caused 
Grant to change his base from the interior and return 
to La Grange and Grand Junction on the Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad, besides preventing reenforce- 
ments from going to Rosecrans in front of Nashville.* 
All in all, this was, perhaps, one of Forrest's most 
remarkable campaigns, when the difficulties and the 
superior forces against him are taken into account. 
Starting in with about twenty-one hundred men all 
told, and picking up nearly five hundred raw recruits, 
losing nearly five hundred in killed, wounded, and cap- 
tured, he rccrosscd the river with nearly or quite his 

* On December 20, 1862, when General Grant with his army 
was at Oxford, Miss., confronting Pemberton and the Confed- 
erates, and Sherman was moving a large force from Memphis 
by river to take Vicksburg by getting to Pemberton's rear, Van 
Dorn with a force of mounted men appeared at Holly Springs, 
in Grant's rear, captured the garrison of fifteen hundred men 
under Colonel Murphy, of the Eighth Wisconsin, and destroyed 
a vast quantity of stores, valued at between three and five million 
dollars, including food, forage, and munitions of war. Grant 
was compelled to fall back in consequence, and he pronounced 
it a disgraceful capture to the officer commanding, and he adds : 
'* At the same time Forrest got on the line of railroad between 
Jackson, Tenn., and Columbus, Ky., doing much damage to it. 
This cut me off from all communication with the North for more 
than two weeks, and that interval elapsed before rations of for- 
age could be issued from stores in the regular way." — Personal 
Memoirs of U. S. Grant, vol. i, p. 433. 


original number of men, all well armed and supplied 
with an abundance of captured ammunition, blankets, 
coffee, etc. Besides which he brought out five hundred 
surplus Enfield rifles and eighteen hundred blankets and 
knapsacks. Going iti with seven pieces of artillery he 
brought out six, one having exploded in the battle. 
General Bragg was quite complimentary in his report 
to Richmond, and the Confederate Congress passed a 
vote of thanks to Brigadier-General Forrest and his 

Note. — It was while on this expedition and at Trenton, 
Tenn., that General Forrest came into possession of a handsome 
sword of the Damascus pattern, such as had been worn by offi- 
cers of the old United States dragoons. This is the one which 
he had sharpened to a point and on the edge, and used so often 
in personal encounters from that time until the end of the war. 
It is still in the possession of a member of the Forrest family. 
The writer is assured by Captain William M. Forrest, Dr. J. B. 
Cowan, and other members of his staff and command, that, con- 
trary to other statements, he wore his sword only on the left 
side and drew it with his right hand, though, being left-handed, 
or ambidextrous, he sometimes transferred it or his pistol, when 
in action, to his left hand. 




After the battle of Murfreesboro, or Stone River, 
fought December 31, 1862, General Bragg fell back to 
Shelbyville, where General Forrest reported to him in 
person, and was ordered to remain at Columbia, Tenn., 
and throw out pickets to protect the left flank of the 
Confederate army against the Federal forces in front. 
For two or three weeks little of importance was done 
more than to recuperate the command. Toward the 
last of January General Forrest was ordered by Major- 
General Wheeler, who had become chief of cavalry in 
that department, to take eight hundred men and inter- 
rupt as far as possible the navigation on Cumberland 
River, and he made some moves with small forces to 
that end. On the 26th of January, however, he was 
summoned to Bragg's headquarters and informed that 
General Wheeler had planned the capture of Fort Don- 
elson, and was already en route with part of the For- 
rest brigade, which he must follow and command. 
Coming up with the expedition after two days' hard 
riding he found his troops scantily supplied with sub- 
sistence and ammunition, and calling upon General 
Wheeler caused both his own and Wharton's brigades 
to be inspected. The fact was revealed that both bri- 
gades were short of ammunition and cooking utensils. 
There were only fifteen or twenty rounds of ammuni- 


tion for small arms and forty-five or fifty for the 

The weather was bitterly cold, and Forrest protest- 
ed that the men were not in a condition to make the 
attack, and that even if successful in taking the garri- 
son of five or six hundred men, the place — one hundred 
miles from the base of supplies — could not be held, 
while the Confederate loss would necessarily be heavy. 
Therefore he urged the abandonment of the enterprise. 
However, it was too late, and he was ordered to move 
on Dover by way of the Cumberland Iron-works. 

Dover was now the fortified place, not old Fort 
Donelson. Forrest's force consisted of a portion of the 
Fourth Tennessee, Fourth Alabama, Cox's, Napier's, 
and Holmes's battalions. Woodward's Kentuckians, 
and four guns — in all about eight hundred men. At 
the iron-works, nine miles from Dover, he charged 
and captured a company of Federal cavalry, except 
three or four men who escaped and gave the alarm. 
The entire command came in sight of Dover about 12 
M. on the 3d of February. Forrest was assigned to the 
right, about eight hundred yards from the outer rifle- 
pits ; Wharton's brigade was placed on the south and 
southwest, but the Eighth Texas was detached and 
sent out in the direction of Fort Henry to guard against 
an attack from that quarter. A demand for uncondi- 
tional surrender was sent in and promptly refused. All 
arrangements were made to charge at half-past two 
o'clock, it being the thought and really the only hope 
that the works could be successfully carried by a rush 
of the whole line. 

About two o'clock General Forrest observed some 
small detachments of Federal infantry coming toward 
the river, and thinking that they were abandoning the 
place he ordered a charge. This was a double mistake, 
for the movement, in fact, was only a change of posi- 


tion. The Federals fled back to the main works, but 
Forrest and his horsemen, following at breakneck 
speed, found themselves facing a murderous fire from 
small arms and artillery, and were compelled to hastily 
retreat. Forrest's horse was killed under him and his 
men thought their leader was killed, although he was 
unhurt in the fall. The whole line was soon arranged 
for another attack on foot. This was made in splendid 
but reckless style, and was only partially successful; 
again Forrest had a horse killed under him, and in the 
fall he was seriously hurt. The troops secured good 
positions, but could not carry the works, and their 
losses were very heavy. Ammunition was nearly ex- 
hausted, and the firing ceased. The Federals, suspect- 
ing this, sallied out and captured twenty-five or thirty 

Wharton was more successful on his line, driving 
the Federals from a strong position, and capturing a 
i2-pounder rifle-gun and killing some forty-eight or 
fifty horses out of the sixty-four belonging to the 
battery. The garrison was driven into a small space, 
but held an impregnable position against troops with- 
out ammunition. The assailants held on with scant 
protection until the moon rose on the scene. The lead- 
ers could do nothing but withdraw. A detail was sent 
to the landing near the fort and burned a boat loaded 
with supplies ; others gathered up such of the wounded 
as could be removed on horseback or in wagons, and 
brought away a lot of captured and much-needed blank- 
ets. The i2-pounder gun was also removed with a 
caisson full of ammunition. Federal reenforcements 
were coming from Fort Henry, but did not arrive in 
time to pursue the repulsed Confederates. The com- 
mander of the fort was Colonel A. C. Harding, of the 
Ei^hty-third Illinois Infantry, who had a force of about 
six hundred men and a fine batterv. He handled the 


troops with spirit and skill, and made an effective de- 
fense. He reported thirteen killed, fifty-one wounded, 
and forty-six prisoners. 

Forrest lost about two hundred men in killed, 
wounded, and captured, or nearly one-fourth of his 
command. Colonel Frank McNairy of his staff was 
killed. Colonel W. D. Holman, of Napier*s battalion, 
was wounded, and also three of his captains, who were 
captured. Wharton's command lost seventeen killed, 
sixty wounded, and eight mising — a total loss to the 
Confederates of two hundred and eighty-five. The 
Federal commander, Colonel W. W. Lowe, who moved 
over from Fort Henry, reported that he found one hun- 
dred and thirty-five Confederates dead and held fifty 
prisoners. The command moved slowly away soon 
after dark, and some gunboats coming up opened a 
furious though harmless fire, shelling the woods in the 
direction the Confederates had taken. That night in a 
cabin by the roadside three or four miles from Dover, 
Generals Wheeler, Forrest, and Wharton talked over 
the misfortunes of the day. Forrest was suffering from 
his fall, and was in a tempestuous state of mind. He 
said that he had advised against the movement, but 
obeyed orders. General Wheeler addressed him in his 
firm but courteous manner, and stated that he assumed 
the blame for any mistake made. This only aroused 
Forrest the more. He said : " General, you can go and 
tell that to the parents and wives and sisters of my 
brave boys who fell to-day, but I will tell you this one 
thing with all due respect, and you may take my sword 
now if you want it : I will go into my coffin before I 
will fight under you again, and you can put that in your 
report to General Bragg." 

General Wheeler seemed much touched and told 
him that he could not and would not take the sword of 
so brave a man, and regretted that he had such feeling. 


Captain D. E. Myers, a Kentuckian, and now (1902) a 
well-known lawyer of Memphis, was a quiet witness of 
this scene, and but recently related it at more length to 
the writer — and it is a fact that while Forrest and 
Wheeler afterward cooperated with each other on op- 
posite flanks of the army in great engagements and 
were ever good friends personally, Forrest kept his 
word, and never again fought under orders from 
Wheeler. They were different types of men, of differ- 
ent education and ideas, each one great in his own 
way and sphere. 

On the 4th the little army began the return to Co- 
lumbia, but made a wide detour by way of Centreville, 
to avoid General Jeff C. Davis and other Federal com- 
manders on different roads. On the way Major G. V. 
Rambaut, a favorite staff-officer with General Forrest, 
and Colonel Charles M. Carroll, who was acting as aide, 
riding ahead with a small detachment lost the way and 
rode into a Federal column and were captured. Ram- 
baut was sent to join Major Strange in prison at Alton, 
111., and was exchanged with him four or five months 

Forrest resumed his post at Columbia on the 17th of 
February to the left of Bragg's army, while General 
Wheeler, with Wharton's brigade, took a position on 
the right flank. In this month Russell's Fourth Ala- 
bama was detached from Forrest's brigade, and its 
place was taken by the Eleventh Tennessee, formed by 
the union of Holmes's and Douglass's battalions, while 
Cox's and Napier's battalions were united as the Tenth 
Tennessee Cavalry. The skeleton Confederate regi- 
ments were often thus consolidated, especially in the 
last two years of the war. While Forrest was still giv- 
ing his men and horses a little rest at Columbia, Major- 
General Earl Van Dorn arrived from Mississippi with 
three brigades of cavalry, about forty-five hundred 


rank and file. These were Frank C. Armstrong's, with 
King's buttery, four guns; J. W, Whitiield's and 
G. li. Cosby's brigades. The Federals had strong 
forces at Franklin and Triune. The Confederates were 
thrown forward across Duck River, and some sharp 
skirmishing occurred for the next ten days. 

Shortly after this the battle of Thompsons Station 
took place, in which General l''orrest, surrounded as he 
was on his own side and confronted on the other by as 
brave men as ever mounted a horse, Hashed a saber, or 
looked over gleaming carbine or cannon from either 
end, retrieved himself from the sting of the Dover 
affair. As early as the 19th of February he advised 
General Wheeler that a movement In reconnaissance, 
and in good shape and force, might be expected by 
the Federals coining out from Franklin. His idea was 
that with Van Dorn's command, his own, Roddey's, 
and Wharton's converging from difTerent points, the 
Federal advance could be destroyed. His foresight 
was wonderfully clear. He seemed by intuition to know 
what the enemy would or should do. Hence, when 
Major-General Rosecrans, a methodical and sagacious 
commandcr.hcgan to make arrangements tor the spring 
and summer campaign, and sent a strong force down 
the pike toward Unionvillc and IJuck River. Chapel 
and Spring Hill, it was no surprise except in results. 

Van Dorn, advised by Forrest — who was always at 
the front — of what to expect, advanced his five bri- 
gades in all, a force of about six thousand men and 
twelve pieces of artillery, on the 4th of March, and took 
a position near Thompsons Station — some four miles 
in front of Spring Hill. Cosby's brigade, however, was 
detained at Duck River, and was not engaged in the 
battle that ensued, Forrest, with about two thousand 
men, was placed on the extreme right. General W. H. 
Jackson, commanding a division composed of Arm- 


Strong's and Whitfield's brigades and King's battery, 
had gone ahead of the other troops and advanced with- 
in four miles of Franklin, and at that point encountered 
a Federal column of nearly three thousand troops, 
accompanied by the Eighteenth Ohio Battery of six 
Rodman rifled guns. Of this force, six hundred were 
cavalry, all under Colonel John Coburn, of the Thirty- 
third Indiana Infantry. His command of infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery, and a large train of eighty wag- 
ons made a splendid appearance on the pike, and Gen- 
eral Jackson was content to indulge in an artillery duel 
for two hours. Finally, the Federal commander, al- 
though fearing that he was outnumbered, made a dash 
with his cavalry, and the Confederates fell back to the 
vicinity of Thompsons Station on the Alabama and 
Tennessee Railroad. Here the rest of Van Dorn's 
troops came up and formed in line about dark. The 
Federals advanced, and the two lines slept not far apart 
that night. Colonel Coburn was in such a position 
that there was nothing for him to do but fight. 

General Van Dorn gave him abundant opportunity 
early in the morning of the 5th of March. Coburn sent 
back half his surplus baggage with forty of his wag- 
ons and faced the situation like a brave man. Forrest, 
as stated, was far over on the right with about two 
thousand men and Freeman's battery of six guns and 
was eager for a fight, for he knew he had a fighting 
chance. It was nearly ten o'clock before the heroic 
Coburn advanced within fighting range. He had good 
reason to be cautious. The Thirty-third and Eighty- 
fifth Indiana, with two guns, formed the right, and the 
Twenty-third Wisconsin and Nineteenth Michigan the 
left wingf. Farther to his left dismounted cavalry occu- 
pied a thicket of cedars on the crest of a ridge, and back 
of that the cavalry reserve, under Colonel Thomas J. 
Jordan; the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio 


was also in reserve with the train. A general charge 
of all arms was made, and the artillery fire was rapid 
and effective. King's battery was charged by infantry, 
but well defended by Whitfield's brigade and Earle's 
Third Arkansas regiment behind a stone fence. As the 
Federal cavalry was repulsed Forrest threw Freeman's 
battery to the front, swept the advancing infantry, and 
drove the battery from the field. Colonel Starnes with 
his two regiments was detached and sent to the right, 
while he, with the remainder of his command, moved 
still farther around to the right and rear to cut off the 
Federal retreat toward Franklin. The Federals, forced 
back by Starnes, made a stubborn stand behind a stone 
fence, and Forrest made two charges before they sur- 
rendered and were sent to the rear. 

In this affair the general again, and as usual, had a 
horse shot under him. Swinging around still farther 
he charged up a steep hillside and faced a severe fire 
from infantry. This was the final charge of the day, 
and in it Captain Montgomery Little, of the escort, fell 
mortally wounded by Forrest's side, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Edward Buller Trezevant, of the Fifth Ten- 
nessee Cavalry, was killed. But the charge was suc- 
cessful. Colonel Coburn, beaten back and abandoned 
by many of his command, surrendered to General For- 
rest in person with a force of nearly fifteen hundred 
officers and men. With him were also surrendered 
Colonel Gilbert and Major W. R. Shafter, who, as com- 
mander-in-chief of the United States forces, aided by 
General Wheeler, led the command against the Span- 
ish army at Santiago, Cuba, in 1898. Forrest, who al- 
ways appreciated gallantry in his opponents, permitted 
the officers to retain their horses and side-arms.* 

As soon as Colonel Coburn surrendered Forrest 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxiii, part i, p. 84. 


sent a detachment after the Twenty-fourth Ohio In- 
fantry and the wagons, but only succeeded in capturing 
seventy-five men, and nearly all these had been in the 
thick of the fight. The Ohio regiment escaped as a 
unit, and was afterward denounced by Colonel Coburn. 
The Federal cavalry lost twenty-seven men and their 
artillery, and had one man slightly wounded. In the 
final charge Forrest was on foot, and had about six- 
teen hundred of his men in the field. His losses were 
nine killed, fifty-eight wounded, and two missing — 
total, sixty-nine. Cosby's brigade was only partially 
engaged, and had only three wounded. Whitfield lost 
twenty-five killed, one hundred and thirty-seven wound- 
ed, and ten missing — total, one hundred and seventy- 
two out of fourteen hundred men on the field. Arm- 
strong's losses were killed seventeen, wounded ninety- 
one — total, one hundred and eight out of nearly one 
thousand men in action. Both these brigades were 
heavily engaged, and at one time Armstrong's entire 
brigade was thrown to the left to the relief of Whit- 
field, who was being pressed, and together they charged 
as infantry, and drove the Federals from a strong posi- 

It was while this heavy fighting was going on that 
Forrest swung around to the rear, and by the last grand 
charge of the day made certain the capture of four regi- 
ments, numbering, officers and men, thirteen hundred. 
The Federal losses appeared to be eighty-eight killed 
and two hundred and six wounded — total, two hundred 
and ninety-four. Total loss — killed, wounded, and 
captured — nearly sixteen hundred out of two thousand 
eight hundred and thirty-seven, according to Colo- 
nel Coburn*s report. A Confederate correspondent, 
who was on the field and reported the battle next day, 
claimed that twenty-two hundred prisoners were taken, 
which is probably more nearly correct. Reports of 



such events are liable to be conflicting even when made 
officially. The Confederates had to mourn the loss of 
some good men and officers. Colonel Samuel G. Earle, 
of the Third Arkansas Cavalry, was killed leading a 
charge; also Captain Alfred Dysart, of the Foarth 
Tennessee, and Captain William Watson, of General 
Armstrong's staff. Rev. Stephen D. Crouch, of Jack- 
son's brigade, was among the slain, and Lieutenant 
John Johnson, of the Ninth Tennessee, was killed white 
carrying the flag of the regiment. These and other 
losses were keenly felt even in the hour of victory. 

General Van Dorn, with the prisoners and prop- 
erty captured, withdrew on the 5th to Spring Hill, leav- 
ing a line of pickets near Franklin, and soon after fell 
back to Columbia. Forrest was sent north of Duck 
River on the nth with two brigades to hold in check 
a force of cavalry and infantry reported to be advan- 
cing under General I'hil Sheridan, and was ordered to 
cover the withdrawal of troops on picket duty near 
Thompsons Station, The river was very high, and 
the crossing accomplished with difficulty after some 
sharp skirmishing. On the ijth Forrest again occu- 
pied Spring Hill, and on the 25th, with a limited force, 
captured Brentwood with five hundred and twenty- 
one men and officers of the Twenty-second Wisconsin, 
under command of Colonel Bloodgood, taking stores, 
tents, etc. ; and also captured and destroyed the Har- 
peth Bridge and stockade with two hundred and fifty 
officers and men of the Twenty-second Michigan In- 
fantry. Forrest had with him only his escort of sixty, 
the Fourth Mississippi, Tenth and Sixth Tennessee 
regiments, and two guns, all told about one thousand 

On the return the Second Michigan Cavalry dashed 
into the rear of the Tenth Tennessee, which stampeded, 
and was soon in front of the column, losing one killed. 


three wounded, and nineteen captured. Forrest was 
near the front, and after a desperate effort succeeded 
in checking his panic-stricken troopers, but not until 
the Michiganders had recaptured several of the wag- 
ons loaded with stores. Forrest and Stames retook 
some of these wagons, drove back the Federals some 
distance, and then continued their march to the rear 
without losing a prisoner. The Confederate loss was 
one officer and three men killed, thirteen men wounded, 
and thirty-nine missing. The Federal loss was four 
killed, nineteen wounded, and four missing in the cav- 
alry, and seven hundred and fifty men and officers taken 
at Brentwood and at Harpeth Bridge. 

General Bragg on March 31st announced to the 
army the engagements at Thompsons Station and 
Brentwood in most complimentary terms, stating that 
twelve hundred and twenty-one prisoners, including 
seventy-three commissioned officers, were taken at the 
former place, and seven hundred and fifty men and 
thirty-five officers at the latter, and especially men- 
tioned Major-General Van Dorn and Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Forrest, saying that : " The skilful manner in 
which these generals achieved such success exhibits 
clearly the judgment, discipline, and good conduct of 
the brave troops of their command," etc., a compli- 
ment from General Bragg, the rugged martinet, which 
must have been greatly enjoyed by the more rugged 
volunteer General Forrest. Van Dorn was a West- 
Pointer, an experienced and accomplished officer of 
the regular army, and was in line for further promotion 
and honors, although he was sensitive on account of the 
praise accorded Forrest by the Southern press and 
people at large. This latter fact brought about some 
feeling between the two generals. 

Some writer in the Chattanooga Rebel gave For- 
rest credit for the success at Thompsons Station and 

Map of ihc campaign of the early part i>! i 


Brentwood, and Van Dom, in a personal interview, 
attributed the authorship to a member of Forrest's 
staff. General Forrest denied any knowledge of the 
matter in his usual vigorous style of expression, and 
Van Dorn accepted the statement with all the dignity 
and courtesy of the chevalier that he was. Forrest 
offered his hand, saying, " We have enough to do 
fighting the enemies of our country without fighting 
each other." 

Forrest continued in command of scouting parties 
and on outpost duties until about April 9th. General 
Van Dom, on the loth, sent two divisions under Gen- 
erals W. H. Jackson and Forrest, thirty-one hundred 
strong, besides Freeman's battery, apparently to attack 
Franklin, commanded by General Gordon Granger, an 
old-time fighter of the regular army. This was perhaps 
a mere diversion in favor of Bragg's right wing at 
Tullahoma. Granger was strongly fortified, and had 
twice the force of Van Dorn. Besides that, Stanley 
straggled in, so to speak, unexpectedly with his brigade 
of sixteen hundred, having disobeyed instructions and 
come in conflict with Stames's brigade and Freeman's 
battery some two miles in the rear of Armstrong. The 
battery was taken by surprise in the flank, and Captain 
Freeman was captured with his guns and thirty-six 
men, the flanks having been left unguarded. Colonel 
Starnes came to the rescue and recaptured the guns, 
but in the rush to get the prisoners away a member 
of the Fourth Regular Cavalry shot Captain Freeman 
dead because he was so exhausted as to slacken his 
gait. This incident produced a painful and shocking 
impression among the Confederates. General Forrest 
was stricken with grief, and some of his men carried 
a feeling of deadly resentment to the end of the war. 
Captain Freeman was greatly esteemed and beloved as 
^n officer and a Christian gentleman. Forrest and 


Lieutenant Douglass joined in an assault upon Stan- 
ley's troopers, driving them across the Harpeth River, 
and at dark the command returned to Spring Hill. 

In this fight Stanley lost six killed, nineteen 
wounded, and seventeen missing and prisoners; total 
forty-two. Armstrong's brigade (Confederate), one 
killed, eleven wounded, two missing; Starnes's, three 
killed, sixteen wounded, and two missing; Forrest's 
escort, four wounded; Freeman's battery, one killed, 
one wounded, and twenty-nine prisoners; total, sev- 
enty. The Confederate cavalry now enjoyed a brief 
respite, only to enter upon more active service. 


streight's expedition overtaken and captured. 

In the early part of the war such cavalry leaders 
as Forrest and Wheeler, John Morgan, Mosby, and 
J. E. B. Stuart, and their men, fighting mostly upon 
their own ground, seemed to have the advantage in 
horsemanship, in alertness, dash, and in the use of 
sabers, shotguns, and pistols. But as they began to 
wear out and exhaust their resources, and possibly 
some of their earlier enthusiasm, they realized that 
their opponents were possessed not only of courage, 
but training, method, and great powers of endurance. 
Sheridan and Wilder and Wilson and Kilpatrick be- 
came famous as hard riders and fighters, and there 
were hundreds of others on the Union side not less 
worthy of mention. Among those who sought and 
tnade a place in history, even though he went down in 
defeat, was Colonel Abel D. Streight, of Indiana. It 
became known that General Rosecrans was anxious 
to find a leader who would undertake to cut the rail- 
road lines of the Confederacy, and destroy bridges, 
arsenals, foundries, and other Government works in 
Bragg's rear, and thus strike a blow at his base of sup- 
plies. Colonel Streight presented himself with a well- 
defined plan which was at once accepted. He was a 
courageous, stalwart man, and proposed to carry the 
war into the heart of the Confederacy. Bragg had 
fallen back to TuUahoma, where his army spent part of 



the winter of 1865, and was not able to take the 
aggressive. Chattanooga was a strategic point — the 
gateway to the Southern country. Colonel Streight's 
idea of making a raid was somewhat after Forrest's 
methods. Rome, Ga., only a few miles from Kingston, 
on the Western and Atlantic Railroad, a trunk line 
connecting Atlanta with Chattanooga and with the 
railroad system on to Knoxville and Virginia, was 
selected as the objective point. Rome was connected 
with Kingston by a branch line and was the seat of 
important works. 

Colonel Streight was allowed to select his force, to 
be mounted on mules, take his own way, and start at 
will. This seemed a brilliant scheme and opportunity 
for the gallant colonel. He chose as his command his 
own regiment, the Fifty-first Indiana; the Seventy- 
third Indiana, Colonel Gilbert Hathaway ; the Third 
Ohio, Colonel Orris A. Lawson; the Eighth Illinois, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew F. Rodgers, all infantry ; 
and two companies of Union Alabama cavalry under 
Captain D. D. Smith. The entire force, officers and 
men, was about two thousand strong. The Alabamians 
were from a part of the country to be invaded, and 
were useful as guides. This command left Nashville 
on eight small steamers on the loth of April, dropped 
down the Cumberland River to Palmyra, and from 
there marched across to Fort Henry on the Tennessee 
River, and, not being entirely supplied with mules, 
gathered up such others as could be found on the way. 
On the 17th, the command was reembarked on the 
boats which had been sent around through the Ohio 
and up the Tennessee rivers. Two gunboats, with a 
brigade of marines under General Ellett, were added 
as an escort to the transports, and on the 19th this 
formidable expedition reached Eastport, Miss. Colonel 
Streight reported at Bear Creek, twelve miles distant, 


to General Grenville M. Dodge, who was in command 
of the infantry and cavalry, eight thousand strong,* 
and had instructions to facilitate the proposed move- 
ment by every available means. 

Dodge had already skirmished sharply with Gen- 
eral P. D. Roddey's small brigade of cavalry, and 
telegraphed to Corinth for Fulton*s brigade, two 
thousand strong, and another battery, thus increasing 
his force to some ten thousand men. He was to keep 
up a bold front, and Streight started across the country 
without delay. The movement had been conducted 
as secretly as possible and at greater speed than scouts 
or spies could travel. It was unfortunate for Colonel 
Streight that he had decided to use mules instead of 
horses for his mounted infantry. The first nig^ht at 
Eastport these animals gave vent to a chorus of brays 
that startled the country for miles around. Some of 
Roddey's men slipped into the corral and stampeded 
about four hundred of them, and Colonel Streight, in 
his report, says it took two days to recover two hun- 
dred, and more time at Tuscumbia to supply the place 
of the others. This caused a serious delay, and gave 
Forrest time to reach the neighborhood. So if it is true 
that ancient Rome was once saved by the cackling of 
geese, it can be as well authenticated that a modern 
Rome was saved by the braying of mules. 

Colonel Streight moved out of Eastport, April ist, 
and joining General Dodge in a movement against 
Tuscumbia brought up the rear. General Roddey 
was out on the front oflfering a stubborn resistance, 
and it took two or three days to reach the place. There 
the raiding command was carefully inspected, and men 
not fit for the expedition were left behind. This re- 
duced Streight's force, as he slates, to about fifteen 

* Rebellion Records, series i, vol. xxiii, p. 286. 


hundred effective men, but they had nearly all seen 
hard service and were splendidly armed and equipped. 
Meantime Forrest had been ordered by General 
Bragg to make a forced march from Spring Hill, 
Tenn., to Decatur, Ala., to aid Roddey in checking 
the Federal advance, for the real nature of the move- 
ment was not then known to the Confederates or even 
suspected. It might be a reconnaissance in force or 
wuth the more serious design of forcing Bragg -back 
on or beyond Chattanooga, as was eventually effected. 
Forrest disposed of his forces to advantage : Edmond- 
son's Eleventh Tennessee was ordered to cross the 
Tennessee River at Bainbridge, a few miles above 
Florence, and Forrest, with the Fourth, Ninth, and 
Tenth Tennessee, and Morton's battery crossed at 
Browns Ferry, on the 26th, near Courtland, but left 
Dibbrell with the Eighth Tennessee and one gun on the 
north side to patrol the river in the direction of Flor- 
ence, and thus create, if possible, a diversion. Forrest 
and Roddey fought and fell back across Town Creek. 
On the 27th Dodge learned that Forrest was in his 
front, succeeded in crossing the creek, and the Con- 
federates retired toward Courtland. Streight was al- 
ready well under way on the road to Rome. Under 
cover of all this fighting, which had no other object, 
he quietly left Tuscumbia on the night of the 26th. 
Rain was pouring down, the roads were muddy, and 
progress was made slowly, but everything was favor- 
able to a quiet start. By ten o'clock next morning, 
the 27th, the command fed at Russellville, eighteen 
miles from Tuscumbia, and at sunset went into camp 
at Mount Hope, thirty-eight miles from the starting- 
point. Here a message was received from Dodge giv- 
ing assurance that he had Forrest on the run, and 
directing Streight to push on, which he did, reaching 
the village of Moulton on the afternoon of the 28th. 



No enemy had been met or heard of. Next morning 
the lightning brigade resumed its march, taking the 
road east toward Blountville. 

It was not until the evening of the 28th that For- 
rest received a report throug;h a citizen from Tuscum- 
bia that a body of mounted Union troops, some two 
thousand strong, had passed throufjh Mount Hope in 
the direction of Moulton. He saw through it all in an 
instant, and formed his plans accordingly. Certain 
troops were ordered to occupy the attention of General 
Dodge and at least prevent pursuit ; Dibbrell was 
directed through a courier to attack Dodge's outposts 
at Florence, use his artillery freely, and make as great 
display of force as possible ; Roddey was to take his 
Alabama regiment, Edmondson's Eleventh Tennessee, 
and Julian's battalion, throw these troops between 
Dodge and Streight, and follow the raiders. The 
assignments were quickly made, and Forrest himself 
looked after the details. Like Colonel Streight he 
picked his men and artillery, saw that the horses were 
shod and ammunition properly distributed. Three 
days' rations were cooked for the men. and two days' 
rations of corn issued for the horses, Forrest selected 
as his immediate command Starnes's and Biffle's regi- 
ments, two pieces of John W. Morton's battery, and 
Ferrell's battery of six pieces which had been with 
General Roddey. 

At one o'clock on the morning of the 29tb, Forrest 
moved out of Courtland, about the same hour that 
Streight was making his start for the day. The Con- 
federate leader and his men rode along doggedly 
through the rain and mud until eight o'clock, when an 
hour was taken to feed and rest. Moulton was reached 
.by noon, and then another hour was given to take off 
saddles and feed. Forrest knew by this time that 
Streight had about fifteen hundred men, most of them 


well trained and as hard fighters as the West ever 
produced. His own command was only twelve hun- 
dred strong, but composed of veterans who had been 
with him in many battles and would follow him into 
the jaws of death. The ride was resumed early in 
the afternoon at a brisk gait, and by midnight the ad- 
vance was within four miles of Days Gap, a notch 
in Sand Mountain reached from the valley below by 
a narrow, stony, winding road. There the men in the 
lead were allowed to lie down and were soon asleep, 
and by daylight the column had closed up. Captain 
William Forrest and his scouts, however, advanced 
cautiously and captured a vidette without giving an 
alarm. Streight's camp-fires were located, but nothing 
was done that night. At dawn on the 30tli he was 
on the move with his command well up the mountain. 
The rear-guard had not left the fires when the boom 
of a cannon gave notice that an enemy was in pursuit. 
The column filed up the zigzag road, and Captain For- 
rest was close behind with his yelling troopers. 

General Forrest was on the move as early as 
Streight, and ordered Biflfle*s and Starnes's regiments 
to make a flank movement through another pass. Colo- 
nel Streight anticipated this, and hurried on to a 
point where he could make a stand at a well-chosen 
place three miles from the Gap. He was closely pur- 
sued by Forrest's scouts, and the advance of Edmond- 
son's and Roddey's regiments and Julian's battalion. 
The mountain plateau is quite broken and well adapted 
to defensive purposes. Streight selected a strong posi- 
tion on a ridge circling to the rear and not easily 
flanked, as on the right there was a precipitous ravine 
and on the left an almost impassable marsh. The com- 
mand was formed in ambuscade with two 12-pound 
howitzers in the center, but concealed. Presently 
Captain Forrest drove in Captain Smith's rear-guard. 


and when once within the trap a whole line rose up 
and delivered a volley at short range. Captain For- 
rest fell with a crushed thigh-bone from a Minie ball, 
and many of his men and horses were killed and 
wounded before the others could be withdrawn. For- 
rest had only about one thousand men on the mountain 
after the long ride from Courtland, the forced march 
from Spring Hill, and subsequent fighting which 
weakened his force. 

Those who reached the bivouac late the night be- 
fore were still resting themselves or grooming their 
horses at the foot of the mountain. Two of Morton's 
guns came up, and four from Ferrell's batter>', and 
opened fire on the Federal position, though not eflPect- 
ively. Edmondson's men were dismounted and 
thrown into line; Roddey and Julian, mounted, were 
deployed to the right, while Forrest's escort and the 
scouts were placed on the left. The movement was 
made precipitately and not in concert. Edmondson 
advanced within a hundred yards of the Federal line; 
Roddey and Julian recklessly rode ahead of Edmond- 
son's regiment, and in an instant nearly the whole 
line was exposed to a murderous fire and was soon 
driven back in confusion, except that Edmondson and 
the scouts fell back in fairly good order. Colonel 
Streight took advantage of the movement and ad- 
vanced on a charge which was quite effective. 

The Confederates were driven back over their own 
guns, and obliged to leave two of them with caissons 
and ammunition. Some of the horses were killed and 
others hopelessly entangled in chains, harness, and 
bushes. This ended the fight for the day at that 
place. It began at six and ceased at eleven o'clock. 
The losses were considerable on both sides. Forrest 
claimed to have found fiftv or seventv-five Federal 
dead and wounded on the field; while Streight in his 


report claims to have taken about forty prisoners and 
found a large number of wounded and about thirty 
Confederate dead on the field. The Federals lost 
Lieutenant-Colonel Sheets, Fifty-first Indiana, mor- 
tally wounded, and Lieutenant Pavey, Eighteenth Illi- 
nois, of Colonel Streight's staff, seriously wounded. 
In a field hospital were found about seventy-five of the 
Federal dead and wounded, and thirty Confederates. 

Forrest was enraged at the loss of his two guns 
from Ferreirs battery, and never forgave the young 
lieutenant in charge. He made the air blue with his 
" remarks," and bewailed the absence of Starnes's and 
Biffle's regiments, but they were off on a flank move- 
ment and not within call. Summoning all his energy 
and drawing his saber he ordered every man to dis- 
mount and hitch his horse to a sapling — there were to 
be no horse-holders. Those guns had to be retaken 
or all perish in the attempt ; without the guns they 
would have no more use for horses. Soon after eleven 
o'clock he moved forward to attack the same position, 
and was surprised to find only a small rear-guard, 
which fired a few shots and then fled on mule-back. 
The main command had taken the road to Blounts- 
ville, carrying the two captured pieces. It took the 
Confederates nearly an hour to go back, unhitch their 
horses from the saplings, and form in column ready 
to resume the march. 

The policy of these two bold spirits was now well 
defined. Streight was resolved to keep his command 
well in hand and ride on to some point where he could 
burn railroad bridges and destroy Confederate Govern- 
ment property. Forrest's was to run him down day 
and night, and his orders were to shoot at anything 
blue, and keep up the scare. His only dread was that 
Streight might switch off and make a detour back to 
the Tennessee River. Riding on rapidly Forrest was 


delighted to see Biffle's and Stames's regiments (the 
latter commanded by Major McLemore in the absence 
of Q)lonel Stames, caused by illness) coming in on 
the left from their long ride around Days Gap. Q)lo- 
nel Roddey could now be spared. His regiment and 
Julian's battalion were ordered to return to the front 
of General Dodge, and Edmondson's regiment, the 
Eleventh Tennessee, accompanied by Major C. W. An- 
derson of the staflF, was ordered to march on the left 
toward Somerville and keep in a line parallel with 
Streight to prevent an escape in that direction. For- 
rest retained for the rest of this running fight only his 
escort and Forrest's scouts and Biffle's and Stames's 
regiments. This selection, with a larger force at his 
command, showed how certain he was of winning the 

The advance of the Fourth Tennessee overtook 
Streight's rear-guard at Crooked Creek, about ten 
miles south of Days Gap, in the afternoon, and sharp 
skirmishing began at once. Colonel Streight said in 
his ref)ort : " The enemy pressed our rear so hard that 
I was comi>elled to prepare for battle. I selected a 
strong position about one mile south of the crossing of 
the creek on a ridge called Hog Mountain. The whole 
force soon became engaged. About an hour before 
dark the enemy charged right and left, but with the 
help of the two pieces of artiller}' captured in the 
morning, and the two mountain howitzers, we were 
able to repulse them. . . . About lo p. m. the 
enemy were driven from our front, leaving a large 
number of dead and wounded on the field . . . and 
as soon as possible we moved out. The ammunition 
which we had captured with the two guns was ex- 
hausted, and being very short of horses I ordered the 
guns spiked and the carriages destroyed. . . . We 
had but fairly got under way when I received informa- 


tion of the enemy's advance. In one of these thickets 
I placed the Seventy-third Indiana. The enemy ap- 
proached. The head of the column passed without 
discovering our position. The whole regiment opened 
a destructive fire, causing a complete stampede of the 
enemy. . . . We were not again disturbed until we 
had marched several miles, when they attacked our 
rear-guard vigorously. I again succeeded in ambus- 
cading them, which caused them to give up the posi- 
tion for the night. We reached Blountsville, forty 
miles from Days Gap, about ten o'clock in the morn- 
ing. Many of our mules had given out, leaving their 
riders on foot, but there was very little straggling be- 
hind the rear-guard." 

The losses of the Federals were greater than those 
of the Confederates in that evening fight. The latter 
lost only a few killed and wounded, but claimed to 
find some fifty Federals killed or wounded on the 
field; also captured some thirty wagons and teams 
scattered through the woods. The lines were very 
close together. General Forrest was seen everywhere 
moving among his men. He escaped unhurt, but had 
one horse killed and two wounded under him. An 
attack on Colonel Streight's horse-holders in the rear 
and a charge in front at the same time, decided him 
as to the time to move on. It was as gallant and stub- 
born a fight on both sides there in that far-off moun- 
tain desert as ever was made by American soldiers, 
and reflected the highest credit upon officers and men. 
The subsequent fights that night produced no decisive 
results. The last one was at two o'clock in the morn- 
ing, which gives an idea of the persistency of the pur- 
suit. It was three o'clock on the morning of May ist 
that Forrest's troops were permitted to lie down for a 
two hours' rest, after forty-eis:ht hours' riding, which 
included nearly eighteen hours' fighting. 



Meantime, as they slept, Streight's mounted infan- 
try descended the eastern side of the mountain into a 
valley of comparative plenty, reaching Blountsville at 
ten o'clock, where corn was found for the mules and 
something for the men as well. It was May-day, and 
the village was full of country people who, without 
intending to do so, contributed a large number of fresh 
horses and mules to the unexpected raiders. Ammuni- 
tion and rations were hastily distributed to the men. 
It was decided to get along with pack -mules ; the 
wagons were bunched and set on fire, and the command 
moved on toward Gadsden. Just then Forrest's ad- 
vance came upon the scene, accelerated the departure 
of Captain Smith's rear-guard, extinguished the fires 
of the burning wagons, and secured a supply of food 
for the hungry men. But there was not much to pick 
up in the way of horses and mules, for Streight's men 
swept the country as far as they could reach on each 
side of the road. The course of flight and pursuit wa.s 
almost east. Brisk skirmishing was kept up in a run- 
ning way until Streight's band reached the east branch 
of the Black Warrior, some ten miles out from Blounts- 
ville. The ford was rocky, and the crossing was only 
accomplished after some fighting and the use of both 
skirmishers and the howitzers on the ea.'^t bank pro- 
tected the entire force until it was safely across the 
little river. Nothing was lost there except two pack- 
mules drowned. These were loaded with hardtack, 
which some of Forrest's men rescued before it had 
time to get soft. 

After a brief rest at this point Streight rode on as 
rapidly as possible : Forrest followed with his escort 
in the lead. This was the fourth night's consecutive 
march. Early on the mominEj of the 2d the Confeder- 
ate general, with some iiftv picked men besides his 
escort, came up with the Federal rear-guard, and a 


sharp conflict was kept up for a distance of fifteen 
miles to Black Creek. This is a sluggish stream with 
very high banks, and at this point on the road from 
Blountsville to Gadsden, in 1863, it was spanned by an 
uncovered wooden bridge over which Colonel Streight 
rushed his entire force except one man, set the bridge 
on fire, and faced about with his howitzers. Forrest 
himself captured the vidette after chasing him at 
breakneck speed. 

Now it would seem that Forrest was baffled at last, 
and that his wily foe might take a well-earned rest and 
ride on to Rome by easier stages. The stream was not 
regarded as fordable, and the nearest bridge, two miles 
away, was dilapidated and unused. At this crisis, while 
the Confederate commander was in a quandary and 
waiting for his artillery and the rest of his command to 
close up, a plain, womanly, country girl, Emma San- 
son, appeared upon the scene, and by her tact and 
quickness of judgment did much to change the fortunes 
of the day and the campaign. But for her Streight 
might have taken Rome. Near by this bridge was a 
little country one-story home of four rooms, with wide 
halls and porches, where lived the widow Sanson and 
two young daughters. One son and brother was in 
the Nineteenth Alabama Infantry, and another in a 
Georgia regiment, and these worthy ladies, like so 
many others in the South, were struggling along as 
best they could. Recognizing Forrest as a Confederate 
officer, the girl came out from the house, answered all 
his questions intelligently, and added that there was 
an old ford near by her mother's farm where she had 
seen cows cross in very low water, and if she had a 
horse and her saddle put on it she would go and show 
him the place. 

"No time for that; get up behind me," he said, 
which she did instantly. Just then the mother came 


out, and excitedly inquired where she was going. Gen- 
eral Forrest explained politely, and ordering a courier 
to follow, was off with the modern Maid of Saragossa 
at his back. The ford was not very far away. The 
general and his fair guide dismounted, and he crawled 
down a ravine to the water, the girl, however, follow- 
ing him closely. He quickly satisfied himself that his 
men could use the cow crossing. On the return they 
were both under fire, as the Confederates were sharply 
engaged with the Federal rear-guard across the chasm 
which had been spanned by the burned bridge. Forrest 
brought his brave young charge back to her mother, 
and was profuse in his thanks. He was a man of ten- 
der and sentimental moods, and remained to talk to 
the ladies as long as he dared take time. He gave Miss 
Emma a horse, asked her to send him a lock of her 
hair, and also wrote her a note of thanks, written in 
pencil, on the leaf of a note-book. This is yet in ex- 

The old ford, or Lost Ford, was speedily made 
available. The cavalry carried over by hand the am- 
munition from the caissons ; the guns and empty cais- ■ 
sons were pulled across by ropes, and soon all was in 
readiness for a rapid march. The advance-guard 
dropped in unexpectedly at Gadsden, four miles dis- 
tant, and hastened Colonel Streight's departure, or at 
least stopped the destruction of some small commissary 
stores in the place. In his report he says : " The enemy 
followed closely and kept up a continuous skirmish 
with the rear of the column until 4 p. M., at which time 
we reached Blount's plantation, fifteen miles from 
Gadsden. Here I decided to halt. The command was 
dismounted, a detail made to feed the horses and mules 
while the remainder of the command formed in line 
of battle. Meantime the rear-^uard became seriously 
engaged and was driven in. The enemy at once at- 


tacked our main line, but was repulsed, fell back to a 
ridge where he massed his force as if for a more de- 
termined attack. It was becoming dark, and I decided 
to withdraw unobserved, if possible, and conceal my 
command in a thicket a half mile in our rear, there to 
be in ambush and await his advance. In the meantime 
I had ordered Captain Milton Russell, Fifty-first In- 
diana, to take two hundred of the best-mounted men 
selected from the whole command, and proceed to 
Rome and hold the bridge until the command could 
come up." The colonel also mentions with deep regret 
the loss of the gallant Colonel Hathaway, of the Sev- 
enty-third Indiana, who fell mortally wounded in the 
engagement ai Blount's plantation. 

The last ambuscade was a failure. It was set once 
too often. Forrest suspected it, made a flank move- 
ment, and the bold raiders were compelled to resume 
the march in the direction of Center. The idea of send- 
ing Captain Russell and two hundred men ahead to 
hold the bridge at Rome was well conceived, although 
it proved disastrous. General Forrest, at Gadsden, had 
sent a trusted courier, John H. Wisdom, by a slightly 
circuitous route to Rome to notify the people of the 
coming invasion ; hence Russell found the bridge well 
defended and had to turn back on the 3d to share the 
common calamity of the expedition. Russell crossed 
the Chattooga River on a boat which the citizens soon 
afterward moored out of sight. Streight pressed on 
warily, and reaching this ferry could not find the boat, 
and turned up the river several miles to a bridge 
which was passed over and burned. At sunrise he 
passed Cedar Bluff, twenty-eight miles from Gadsden ; 
at nine o'clock that day he stopped to feed, and the 
men fell down dead asleep at once. A message came 
from Captain Russell that he could not take the bridge 
at Rome. Then again came the report of a flanking 



force nearer Rome than he was. All this in the pres- 
ence of his worn-down men and animals, with the pros- 
pect of that ubiquitous dare-devil Forrest flaring up 
with artillery in the advance at any moment, made the 
situation appalling. Yet he was ready and wilhng to 
do and dare whatever man could do in such a dire 
crisis. Rome as a captured city began to seem a long 
way off. 

After the fight at Blount's plantation and the break- 
ing up of the ambuscade, Forrest, feeling sure of the 
game, called off for the night, and gave his men nearly 
ten hours' rest. Meantime the few stragglers came up 
in time to share this. The command present was not 
more than five hundred strong, officers and men, illus- 
trating the survival of the fittest as to powers of en- 
durance and fighting qualities. At an early hour they 
were in motion, comparatively fresh and ready for the 
fray. Reaching the place where Streight burned th^ 
last bridge near Gaylesviile, the ammunition was car- 
ried over and the cannons and caissons pulled across 
as at Black Warrior, and none of the ammunition got 
wet, as complained of by Colonel Streight in his re- 
port. Forrest looked after such matters for himself. 

Little time was lost in passing this bridge of ashes. 
Streight's men had marched all night; Forrest's slept, 
and then covered the same ground in a few hours. 
About half-past nine o'clock the Federals were found 
at breakfast, which was quickly left at the sound of 
cannon and .small arms. The Confederates came up, 
skirmished slightly, and took some horses and mules 
and other spoils. Colonel Streight rallied his men on 
a ridge in a field; Forrest threw McLemore's regiment 
to the left, Bifile's to the right, and made a show of 
charging with his escort and a detachment from a 
skirt of timber in the center. Skirmishing began, but 
Streight's men, as he says in his report, were so t 


hausted that they fell down in line of battle, and while 
looking over their gun-barrels, with fingers on the 
triggers, many of them went to sleep. 

At this opportune juncture Forrest sent in Captain 
Henry Pointer of his staff with a flag of truce to demand 
a . surrender of the Union commander and his men, 
with his favorite expression, " To avoid the further 
effusion of blood." Colonel Streight desired a per- 
sonal interview, which was granted. Forrest's terms 
were : " Immediate surrender. Your men to be treated 
as prisoners of war; officers to retain their side-arms 
and personal property." During the conversation Colo- 
nel Streight asked, " How many men have you ? " 

" I have men enough right here to run over you 
and a column of fresh troops nearer Rome than you 

Just then a section of Forrest's artillery came in 
sight about three hundred yards off, at which the 
colonel showed a little impatience. General Forrest 
quietly said to an officer that the artillery must not 
come any nearer. The section, however, kept around 
the crest of a hill, so as to appear like many small bat- 
teries going into position. " How much artillery have 
you, general ? " asked the colonel. 

" Enough to blow you to pieces in thirty minutes," 
was the reply, all of which was pure audacity. 

Colonel Streight dreaded the idea of surrendering 
to an inferior force, and even claimed afterward that 
he was outnumbered three to one, and so he was, if he ' 
believed Forrest. He must see his officers, he said. 
" All right ; it will soon be over, one way or the other," 
answered Forrest, indifferently. His officers were 
unanimously in favor of surrendering, and the colonel 
agreed to this in a perfunctory manner. It had been 
his fight all the way through, but this was not his sur- 

Map of the vicinity of Nashville. 


The men stacked arms and were marched back in a 
field, and as soon as possible Forrest managed to get 
his force between them and their guns. Colonel 
Streight made a short address to his men, thanking 
them for their gallantry and calling upon them to give 
three cheers for the Union, which were given with a 
burst of enthusiasm. General Forrest was present, 
but made no objection to this as he respected brave 
men wherever found, and had gained a great vic- 
tory over these. The officers were started directly to 
Rome, twenty miles distant. .On the way they met 
the gallant Captain Russell, who, with tears in his eyes, 
surrendered his two hundred brave men. The captured 
men bivouacked on the ground that night and were 
marched into Rome the next day. Colonel Biffle's regi- 
ment gathered up the arms, and thus closed one of the 
most remarkable and desperately contested undertak- 
ings of the war. 

On Monday, May 4th, the main body of prisoners 
was started by rail by way of Atlanta for Richmond. 
Colonel Streight and his officers were forwarded by a 
different train, and it is interesting as a matter of his- 
tory here to mention the fact out of its order that he 
and four of his officers escaped from Libby Prison by 
the tunnel route on a dark night in February, 1864. 
He reentered the service, and his report of his expedi- 
tion was dated Chattanooga, Tenn., August 22, 1864, 
although it was not transmitted to headquarters until 
the loth of December, 1864. In this he assigns the 
poor mules as one great cause of his defeat, and says 
that if General Dodge had detained Forrest only one 
day longer, he would have been successful. He claims 
to have started in with only fifteen hundred men, and 
estimates his losses as fifteen officers and about one 
hundred and thirty men killed and wounded; prison- 
ers lost, two hundred and fifty; total, three hundred 


and forty-five.* This would leave eleven hundred and 
fiftv-five officers and men surrendered to a force of 
less than six hundred. General R. J. Oglesby in his 
report says : " One of Dodge's men, who was with 
Streight and escaped, says that when they were taken 
they were worn out, and Forrest captured them with 
five hundred men. Streight thought a large force was 
after him." 

General Bragg reported to Richmond : " May 3d, 
between Gadsden and Rome, after five days and nights 
of fighting and marching, General Forrest captured 
Colonel Streight and his whole command, about sixteen 
hundred men, with rifles, horses, etc.," and the Con- 
federate Congress promptly passed a vote of thanks 
to General N. B. Forrest and the officers and men of 
his command. Forrest and his men were received in 
Rome with demonstrations of great joy, especially by 
refugees from Tennessee. He was the hero and idol 
of the hour, and all Georgia seemed ready to rise up and 
do him honor. As a testimonial the citizens presented 
him with a superb horse and proposed to give him a 
public entertainment. But he did not pause to rest 
upon his laurels. Two days were spent in selecting 
and shoeing the best of his own and the captured 
horses. Some of the latter, however, were afterward 
claimed by citizens along the line of Streight's march 
and restored to them. By the morning of the 6th, he 
had remounted his men and supplied his artillery. 
That afternoon a public entertainment was to have been 
given, but a rumor came that a heavy Federal raid was 
moving from Tuscumbia toward Talledega, and it 
was indefinitely postponed, as Forrest moved at eight 
o'clock that morning toward Gadsden. 

There he learned that the rumor was groundless. 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xviii, p. 285. 


Marching directly by the shortest route, he reached 
Decatur on the loth, and recrossed to the north bank 
of the Tennessee. Turning over the command to Colo- 
nel Biffle on the nth, General Forrest proceeded by 
rail to report to General Bragg at Shelbyville. On the 
way he was given an enthusiastic greeting and pre- 
sented with another fine horse by the people of Hunts- 
ville. Reaching Shelbyville on the 13th, General 
Bragg gave him a reception of unusual warmth, and 
proposed to have him made a major-general and to 
place him in chief command of the cavalry of the army. 
Forrest modestly demurred to this, and suggested the 
name of another officer for the promotion. After re- 
maining some days at headquarters he received orders 
to return to Spring Hill and assume command of the 
cavalry on the flank, as General Van Dorn had been 
killed during his absence. Upon reaching there on the 
1 6th he at once assumed command. 



When Forrest assumed command at Spring Hill 
the forces under him were Brigadier-General Jackson's 
division, composed of Cosby's and Whitfield's brigades, 
and to this was soon added his own brigade com- 
manded by Colonel Starnes. Soon afterward, however, 
Jackson's division was ordered back to Mississippi. 
The remaining brigades, Starnes's and Armstrong's, 
were on picket and scout duty until about the last 
of June. Reconnaissances in force were made, and 
numerous sharp little encounters ensued. In one of 
these daring advances, however, General Forrest nar- 
rowly escaped with his life by mistaking a signal flag 
for a flag of truce. 

On the 4th of June he advanced with his two 
brigades on Franklin to ascertain what force was there. 
The pickets were driven in, some captures made, and 
Forrest charged into the town. Colonel J. P. Baird, of 
the Eighty-fifth Indiana, and his soldiers took refuge 
in a strong little fort on a hill near by. There he be- 
gan to signal vigorously to General Gordon Granger 
at Triune, fifteen miles to the east. Forrest mistook 
this to be a flag of truce, and ordering his men to 
cease firing, sent one forward himself and rode toward 
the front. Before he had attracted official attention, a 
Federal officer rose up from behind a hedge and 
shouted, " General Forrest, I know you, and don't want 
to see you hurt ! Go back ! That's no flag of truce up 



there ! " Forrest saluted and rode off. Looking back 
he saw that a detachment had arisen at short range, and 
he again saluted. He supposed that probably the offi- 
cer was one of the number he had captured at Mur- 
freesboro, all of whom he had treated kindly. Getting 
back into town, and moving; up the artillery, he held 
the place several hours, opened the jail and released 
some Confederate prisoners, ■ 
and had his men help them- 
selves freely to Government 
and sutler's stores, Arm- 
strong had crossed the Har- 
peth with Woodward's bat- 
talion and part of the First 
Tennessee to reconnoiter east- 
ward in the direction of Tri- 
une, and soon met four regi- 
ments of cavalry coming from 
that direction, and fighting 
stubbornly, was forced back 
across the river, losing eight- , 
een killed or wounded out of 
thirty-eight in his escort. He was protected, however, 
in crossing by Colonel Hobson's regiment of Arkan- 
sana. Forrest heard the firing and advanced with a 
part of his force to the scene, but being certain that 
a heavy force was in front withdrew with Starnes's 
brigade and encamped for the night within three miles 
of Franklin. Armstrong with his brigade resumed the 
picket line. 

Some days later Starnes's brigade was detached and 
sent forward to Triune. After driving in and cap- 
turing some pickets he swung around toward Nash- 
ville, and rcturninc; burned the bridge at Brentwood 
which had been rebuilt since the affair of the previous 
April. On the 20th, Forrest made another demon- 


stration on Triune with nearly his entire division. 
Crossing the Harpeth he encountered and drove in a 
regiment of Federal cavalry, and bringing up Morton's 
artillery to within four hundred yards of the main en- 
campment opened fire. The Federal force then went 
into the rifle-pits, and several batteries returned with 
a heavy shelling. An infantry brigade moved into 
position to enfilade Forrest, and realizing that he had 
gone far enough he quickly withdrew. The Federal 
cavalry pursued and some skirmishing ensued. Major 
Jeffrey Forrest succeeded in bringing out on this occa- 
sion several hundred head of horses and mules and 
half as many fat cattle found guarded in a pasture. 

The Federal cavalry had by this time become quite 
formidable, whatever it may have been in the early 
days of the war, for General Rosecrans, as early as 
May ID, 1863, wrote to the Federal quartermaster-gen- 
eral that he had on hand cavalry horses six thousand 
five hundred and thirty-seven, mounted infantry one 
thousand nine hundred and thirty-eight, also orderlies 
and escorts two thousand and twenty-eight. Allowing 
twenty-five per cent off for disabled horses he would 
still have had about seven thousand eight hundred and 
seventy-five available for service. Hence from that 
time on he doubtless had more cavalry than Bragg. 

During the period that Forrest assumed command 
at Spring Hill, and began to follow Bragg out of Mid- 
dle Tennessee, an unfortunate incident occurred which 
seemed to sustain the idea that he bore a charmed life 
and was impervious to danger. It has been mentioned 
already that he was greatly incensed at the loss of the 
two guns in the battle of Days Gap during Streight^s 
raid. When the artillery was reorganized young Lieu- 
tenant Gould, of Nashville, who had been in charge 
of this section, was placed in another command. No 
charges had been made, but the lieutenant construed 




his transfer as an imputation upon his courage and 
honor, and undertook to redress his grievance by mak- 
ing it a persona! affair. 

One day when Forrest was dining at the house of 
a friend in Columbia, the lieutenant called and asked 
for an interview, but was told that the general would 
see him at the quartermaster's office at three o'clock. 
He was there ahead of time and busily engaged in 
talking when the lieutenant arrived. Forrest hap- 
pened to have a closed pocket-knife in his hand and 
walked out into the hall with the young man, not sus- 
pecting any hostile feeling much less an attack upon 
his life. The lieutenant at once began to speak in a 
nerv'ous, excited manner about being left out of the 
battery. Forrest said that he did not care to discuss 
the matter but that his decision was final. The lieu- 
tenant suddenly fired a pistol through the pocket of a 
linen duster. A large ball struck the general just 
above the left hip, and passed through and around 
his body. Forrest grasped his assailant's right hand 
with his own, while with his left he pressed his pocket- 
knife to his mouth, opened it with his teeth and lingers, 
and gave the lieutenant a terrible slash, cutting two ribs 
apart, which proved to be a mortal wound. The young 
man ran away, and Forrest went to a surgeon, who told 
him that he feared his wound might prove fatal. He 
then started out to finish his assailant and found him 
lying on a counter in a store ; but being assured that 
the lieutenant could not live, gave orders that he should 
be carried to a hotel and cared for. 

Forrest was weak from loss of blood and had to 
be carried away himself, but he soon rallied. A few 
days later the young officer was dying and sent for 
him. He admitted that he had acted rashly and begged 
the general's forgiveness, adding: "I am so thankful 
that I am the one to die and that you are spared to the 


country." The interview was very touching; Forrest 
was all forgiveness and tears, and expressed the deep- 
est regret over the occurrence. The strong man was a 
child again, and gave way to his emotions. Those who 
knew the young man say that while he appeared to be 
slow and imperturbable he had the soul of a soldier and 
was at once courageous and supersensitive. Forrest's 
powerful constitution triumphed, and he was soon in 
the saddle again. Referring to this affair afterward he 
said that he never wanted to kill anybody except an 
enemy, and then only when fighting for his country. 

The long-contemplated advance of Rosecrans*s 
army began on the 226. of June ; Bragg was well ad- 
vised of the fact, but did not care to risk another 
great engagement north of the Tennessee River as de- 
feat would mean utter ruin. Forrest was ordered to 
fall back to Tullahoma by way of Shelby ville. Major- 
General Wheeler had been assigned charge of the 
movement and protection of the immense wagon-trains 
loaded with supplies collected for the whole army at 
Shelbyville. Forrest reached the outskirts of the town 
on the afternoon of June 27th, expecting to join 
Wheeler in crossing Duck River. Wheeler, however, 
had been hard pushed, and moved so rapidly that For- 
rest could not come up with him. He had crossed 
his command over Duck River and was on the south 
side ready to burn the bridge, when Major Rambaut 
came up and reported that Forrest with two brigades 
was in sight and liable to be cut off. 

General Wheeler, with characteristic gallantry, re- 
crossed to the north side of the river accompanied by 
General Martin and five hundred of his men, taking 
two pieces of artillery, which were placed in position. 
This was scarcely done when the Union cavalry in 
great force came thundering down on a charge. The 
guns, loaded with canister, were fired, but this did not 



stop the solid mass of charging troopers ; they ran 
over everything until they took those guns ; Wheeler 
and Martin could make no resistance. The bridge was 
at once in the hands of the enemy, and blockaded at 
that by an overturned caisson. Those brave leaders 
saw but one way out and that was a desperate chance. 
Rallying their men, Wheeler and Martin spurred their 
horses over the bank and plunged full fifteen feet down 
into the swift, muddy river, greatly swollen by recent 
rains. They were followed by the men without pause, 
and nearly all disappeared when they first struck the 
water. As they rose and struggled for the opposite 
bank the Federals opened fire upon them, and it was 
estimated that forty or fifty were killed and drowned. 
Generals Wheeler and Martin escaped unhurt, General 
Gordon Granger failed to pursue that night, and the 
great wagon-train was soon beyond his reach. 

Meantime Forrest, realizing the situation, made a 
dash for the nearest bridge, four miles east of Shelby- 
ville, crossed safely over and went around to the pro- 
tection of the train. On the 28th of June he overtook 
the main army at Tullahoma and was assigned to duty 
in the direction of Manchester, east of army head- 
quarters. Colonel Starnes with his brigade was placed 
on that road, and on the 30th of June, in front of Tulla- 
homa, encountered Crittenden's corps of Rosecrans's 
army, and in a heavy skirmish was mortally wounded. 
He was on the picket-line at the time encouraging his 
men to stand their ground. Starnes was an accom- 
plished physician and gentleman and one of Forrest's 
best leaders. His loss was severely felt. That same 
night Forrest and his escort came in contact with a de- 
tachment of Wilder's famous brigade, capturing and 
killing a few and stampeding the After this he 
was assigned the duty of securing and holding a pass 
in the Cumberland Mountains, near Cowan, Tenn., as 


a part of the plan of Bragg's retreat to Chattanooga. 
From this point he covered the retreat of Hardee's 
corps moving over the mountains into the Sequatchie 
Valley, and had several sharp collisions with Federal 
cavalry, but these were not of serious consequence, 
although illustrating the vim and efficiency of both 
the Confederate cavalry and artillery and the tireless 
energy of the Union troops. 

Dibbrell succeeded to the command of Starnes's 
brigade, and held the pass until July 4th, when, as no 
Federal force appeared, he followed the army to the 
Tennessee River. Armstrong had been sent on to Jas- 
per to protect the flank on the northeast side, and as 
soon as the army crossed the river and was concen- 
trated at Chattanooga, Forrest followed with his divi- 
sion, went into camp, and for two weeks gave his men 
a rest. On the 24th of July he was ordered to King- 
ston on the north side of the river, and given command 
of the Confederate cavalry in East Tennessee. This 
was a wide field, in which Union sentiments largely 
prevailed, and his assignment involved much hard 
work as well as some desultory fighting. 

Colonel Dibbrell, with only three hundred men, 
had been sent with his Eighth Tennessee regiment to 
the neighborhood of Sparta, his old home, to con- 
front a corps of Rosecrans*s army, reported to be at 
McMinnville. An attempt was made by the Federal 
Colonel Robert H. Minty, with a force of seven hun- 
dred and seventy-four effectives, who marched all 
night, to surprise Colonel Dibbrell, but was at a disad- 
vantage, and really fell into a trap on Calfkiller Creek. 
Forrest heard of this, and sent Colonel McLemore with 
two hundred men of the Fourth Tennessee and some 
ammunition to the relief of Ditbrell. There were other 
and minor engagements, but Dibbrell was on his own 
ground and remained master of the situation. His 



campaign was a small but brilliant success over greatly 
superior numbers. On the 22d of August he received 
orders from Forrest to return and report at Kingston. 
Several of his officers and men had been allowed to 
go home to see their families and equip themselves for 
the fail and winter campaign, and some failed to re- 
port or deserted. So he crossed over to the east side 
of the Cumberland Mountains with only one hundred 

A squadron of the Eleventh Tennessee penetrated 
as far northeast as Wartburg, Morgan County, Tenn,, 
encountered a heavy Federal column of all arms, and 
after a daring brush escaped. Pcgram's division had 
been kept well to the front to watch the various moun- 
tain passes. On the 31st of August Forrest received 
orders to evacuate East Tennessee with all his force 
except Scott's brigade, which was to remain at Loudon, 
on the East Tennessee, Virg^inia and Georgia Railroad 
where it crosses the Tennessee River some fifteen miles 
south of Kingston, and burn the big bridge at this place 
on the approach of the enemy. This was done ulti- 
mately after some hard fighting. The presence of so 
much Confederate cavalry in East Tennessee, some of 
it more than a hundred miles east of Chattanooga, gave 
rise in Union quarters to an apprehension that a move 
was to he made on Kentucky. Forrest moved south 
with celerity, but the wires were kept hot inquiring as 
to his movements or whereabouts for several days. 
Erag:g was getting ready to evacuate Chattanooga, and 
when Forrest arrived there his forces were so dis- 
tributed as to best cover the movement. 

General Rosecrans and his chief of staff. General 
James A. Garfield, were at Trenton, Ga., and had or- 
dered General Stanley with a force of thirteen regi- 
ments to make a raid in T5ragg's rear, and thus perhaps 
accomplish what Streight had failed to do. Stanley 


had his misgivings, but Garfield wrote him a very en- 
couraging letter on the 7th of September, assuring him 
that Forrest's whole force and nearly all of Wheeler's 
were in the neighborhood of Chattanooga, and could 
not be brought to bear on his expedition. Stanley was 
urged and ordered to make a move that was expected 
to sever the enemy's communication with Atlanta. The 
Federal forces had crossed the Tennessee River at 
various points and were moving south by different 
routes widely apart, without meeting much concerted 
resistance. As the evacuaition of Chattanooga began 
Forrest was ordered to hasten with Armstrong's divi- 
sion toward Rome, to assist in repelling the cavalry 
movernent reported in that direction. Reaching Som- 
erville by forced marches he found Wharton's division 
of Wheeler's cavalry there, and learned that the enemy 
was climbing the mountain near Alpine, some forty 
miles from Chattanooga. Selecting about twelve hun- 
dred of his own men he moved forward in conjunction 
with Wharton and checked the movement; then was 
ordered back to report to General Bragg at Lafayette, 
and there directed to ascertain the enemy's movements 
in the direction of Chattanooga. 

On the afternoon of the loth he learned that two 
divisions of Crittenden's corps had advanced across the 
Chickamauga at Red House Bridge on the Ringgold 
road, nine miles out from Chattanooga. Seeing that 
Crittenden had no near support, he planned for his 
capture, and so advised Bragg and Polk, who were 
only six miles away, but received no response. He 
even procured guides and prepared to go around and 
take Red House Bridge, but all for naught. To a man 
of Forrest's intuitive perceptions of the art of war 
and executive ability, it must have been very galling to 
find that he had been sent on such a wild-goose chase. 
At midnight he went to look for General Bragg, and 


found that he had gone to Lafayette and ordered 
thither all the infantry in that neighborhood. 

Hastening back, Forrest placed Scott's brigade, 
only nine hundred strong, and four pieces of artillery, 
across Crittenden's line of march and stubbornly con- 
tested his advance on the nth, but was gradually 
forced back to Ringgold and thence to Tunnel Hill. 
One or two positions were held with desperate tenacity. 
Finally Pegram, who had been hanging on the Federal 
right flank in the direction of Lafayette with part of 
his division, joined Forrest, and Dibbre!! came up with 
his brigade from Dalton where he had been sent after 
the movement to Alpine. Here Forrest made a final 
stand in a strong position. His meu were dismounted 
and fought as infantry. Pegram handled his men 
with great skill, and Colonel Hart of the Sixth Georgia 
made a charge upon a large force of infantry and cap- 
tured over fifty prisoners. The Federals retired, and 
at Ringgold moved westward and took the position 
which had been vacated by Polk and Buckner. In this 
isolated position they remained two days. General 
Bragg, finally ordered Polk to attack Crittenden on 
the morning of the 13th, but the latter had quietly and 
prudently concluded to rejoin the main force or part of 
it some hours before. This was set down by military 
critics as another of Bragg's lost opportunities. 

Several times during this campaign Rosecrans's 
commands were so widely separated without the possi- 
bility of immediate reenforcement that Bragg could 
have destroyed a corps. The effective force of each 
army may be roughly estimated as follows ; Rose- 
crans, fifty-two thousand three hundred and ninety- 
two infantry and artillery, and seventy-five hundred 
cavalry; in round numbers sixty thousand, with one 
hundred and seventy guns. Brarg had about thirty- 
five thousand bayonets, seventy-five hundred cavalry 


rank and file, and one hundred and fifty guns; and 
five small brigades from Virginia and Mississippi ar- 
rived at Ringgold on the 17th. In the absence of 
General Hood these were assigned to the command 
of Brigadier-General Bushrod R. Johnson. General 
Rosecrans on the i6th despatched to General Burn- 
side, near Knoxville : " The enemy intend us all the 
mischief in their power. It is of the utmost impor- 
tance that you close down this way to cover our 
left flank. We have not the force to cover our flank 
against Forrest now. He could cross the river above 
us before we could discover it. I want all the help we 
can get promptly."* Thus we have some idea of the 
general situation and of the especial operations of For- 
rest up to date without going into numerous minor 
details. Rosecrans had slowly brought together the 
bulk of his army in the Chickamauga Valley, south of 
Lees and Gordons Mills. Bragg had massed his 
forces around Lafayette, and there was a division of 
six brigades at Catoosa and Ringgold. 

This brings us to the very edge of the great battle 
of Chickamauga, in which Forrest took such an active 
part. Bragg issued an order to take the offensive, 
although the clash of arms could not have been much 
longer averted. General Bushrod R. Johnson, who had 
fought so well with Forrest at Fort Donelson, was to 
bring on the engagement. Early on the morning of 
the i8th of September Johnson moved out from Ring- 
gold with four brigades: (i) his own; (2) McNair's; 
(3) Gregg's, and (4) J. B. Robertson's (Hood's old 
brigade), forty-two hundred strong and twelve guns. 
He was to cross Chickamauga Creek at Reids Bridge 
and sweep up-stream (southward) and clear the road 
toward Lees and Gordons Mills. This was the ex- 

.^ ^ - 1 ■ m " 

* Rebellion Records, part iii,, p. 691. 


139 ■ 

treme right of infantry with Forrest, and only a 
small command at that on tlie farther flank. He had 
been resting at Dalton for a few days with his escort 
and only a remnant of John Morgan's command, about 
two hundred in all, while the remnant of his division 
was scattered at different points of observation. Next 
on Bnshrod R. Johnson's left was Major-General 
William H. T. Walker's division, and then Buckner's. 

Johnson approached Reids Bridge about noon on 
the i8th ; Forrest with his small force went to the 
front, and Pegram's division, coming up, was placed 
on the left as a support. Skirmishing began at Pea 
Vine Creek, Forrest bringing on the fight, and the 
Federals, after a gallant fight, were pushed back by 
cavalry and infantry, and recrossed without having 
time to burn the bridge. Thus it happened that For- 
rest brought on the great battle. 

The entire Confederate force at that point crossed 
the Chickamauga, was joined by Pegram's division, 
and marched up the creek in the direction of Alexan- 
ders Bridge. Major-General John B. Hood reached 
the ground about 4 p. M., and assumed command of 
the troops on that part of the field. After scouting and 
picketing to the right of the position. Forrest bivou- 
acked with his troops in the rear of Hood's line. That ■ 
night, about nine o'clock, he rode with General Hood 
to Bragg's headquarters, where he was instructed to 
develop the enemy early next morning on the extreme 
Confederate right and report his movements to the 
nearest commanders. He was assured of prompt re- 
enforcements if he brought on a general engagement. 
General Walker was especially directed to respond to 
all his requisitions. 

Early on the morning of the 19th, Forrest led 
Pegram's division northward to Jay's sawmill, abottt 
three-quarters of a mile west of Reids Bridge, and 


there encountered a heavy Federal force. Realizing that 
he was outnumbered he sent Major W. C. Anderson 
of his staff for Armstrong's division, seven miles south 
with Polk's corps, and also called on Walker for a 
brigade of infantry. Dismounting his small force, ex- 
cept Rucker, he deployed his men as infantry and 
forced back the Federal skirmishers several hundred 
yards. The Federals assumed the defensive; Rucker 
charged with his two battalions, the Twelfth and Six- 
teenth, dashed down upon the main force in gallant 
style, but was met by a heavy fire, and after losing 
some men and taking a few prisoners, had to fall back. 

It was discovered that while the Confederates had 
moved up the creek (southward) the previous evening, 
the Federals had shifted their forces down toward 
Chattanooga. The Confederates were outflanked, and 
reenforcements came slowly to Forrest. Only Dib- 
breirs brigade could be spared in the forenoon, and 
upon arriving, about twelve o'clock, this was dis- 
mounted and was soon in the thick of the fight, but no 
infantry came. Ordering Pegram to hold his position 
at all hazards, Forrest dashed off to look for infantry 
support. Pegram obeyed orders but at a heavy cost. 
In his report he says : " It became apparent that we 
were fighting overpowering numbers. General For- 
rest having sent several messages for the infantry to 
come up finally went for them himself, ordering me 
to hold the position until their arrival. In obeying 
the order our loss was about one-fourth of the com- 

Colonel Gaudius C. Wilson's brigade of Georgians 
at last came to the rescue, and swung into line on Pe- 
gram's left. The Union line was driven back and a 
battery captured. Forrest was now in command of all 
the troops on this end of the line, and with Wilson's 
veterans drove back two lines of the enemy until a 



third was discovered in a strong position. Just then 
Genera! M. D. Ector appeared on the field with his 
brigade, mainly Texans, and, reporting to General For- 
rest, was thrown to Wilsons right, while the dis- 
mounted cavalry was pushed still farther over on the 
Confederate flank. Before these forces could be well 
aligned the Federals, being reenforced, came forward 
with a heavy column which flanked Wilson's lefL A 
terrific fire opened, and Forrest's entire line was forced 
back. Even the captured battery was lost because the 
horses were all killed, and the Confederates were un- 
able to run ofif the guns by hand. 

Morton's and Huggins's batteries, which had been 
close up at the front, were barely able to get away in 
the face of a Federal charge made with fixed bayonets 
in magnificent style. The horses of one gun in Hug- 
gins's battery were all killed or wounded, but Forrest 
quickly utilized the horses of four members of his 
escort and had the guns dragged off to a place of 
safety. The Federals, under General Thomas, had 
concentrated five divisions in front of. Jay's sawmill, 
and throwing up solid breastworks were enabled to 
open a sweeping fire from small arms and artillery. 
Forrest had as yet only two small divisions of cavalry, 
including Armstrong, who came up with his remaining 
brigade about one o'clock, less than thirty-five hundred 
efifectives with eight guns, and four of Walker's bri- 
gades, which had come up with sixteen guns ; altogether 
about nine thousand and seventy-five men. General 
W. H. T. Walker assumed command of all the infan- 
try'. This combined force made a superb charge and 
broke through two Federal lines, capturing many pris- 
oners from as many as seven different regiments, and 
all the artillery in the immediate front. But a third 
Federal line was discovered which overlapped the 
Confederates, and obliged them to retreat hastily. 


Meantime Cheatham's division of five brigades — 
Jackson's, Maney's, Strahl's, Preston Smith's, and 
Marcus J. Wright's, of Polk's corps — had crossed the 
Chickamauga about 7 a. m. at Dalton's Ford, and 
moving northward a short distance, remained in line of 
battle until after 12 m. At a late hour in the events 
of the day, Cheatham received orders to reenforce 
Walker. At i p. m. he moved to the right and took 
a position with three brigades in front — ^Jackson's, 
Smith's, and Wright's — and the two others in reserve. 
Quickly moving his Tennesseeans to the front, they 
were soon in conflict with the movement which was 
pressing back Walker and Forrest. The sanguinary, 
fluctuating fight raged for several hours, Forrest and 
Walker continually taking part. In on^ of the hottest 
places Forrest had the horse killed under him which 
was presented by the citizens of Rome, Ga. At one time 
the Federals were forced back three-quarters of a 
mile, but with reenforcements were able to turn the 
tide of battle once more. 

Maney's and Strahl's brigades and Turner's North 
Carolina battery, supported by Major John W. Dawson 
with a battalion from the One Hundred and Fifty- 
fourth Tennessee, withstood the counter-movement 
successfully for a time until Forrest brought up two of 
his own batteries, Huggins's and Huwald's eight guns, 
with the Fourth and Eighth regiments and Starnes's 
battalion of Dibbrell's brigade, and opened fire on the 
Federal left flank at a range of only eighty yards, and 
turned back the solid line of blue that had been sweep- 
ing everything before it. The battle, although not 
general, and covering a field little more than a mile 
long and three-quarters of a mile wide, had raged 
nearly all day. Rosecrans's forces, quite in contrast 
to their first widely scattered positions south of the 
Tennessee River, were better concentrated and more 




methodically pressed into the fight than the Confeder- 
ates, although the fortunes of the day seemed at times 
to be in favor of the latter, and at nightfall they held 
more ground than at any time during the day. 

Cleburne's division of Hill's corps was held east- 
ward of Chickamauga until late in the afternoon, and 
then ordered to cross at Thedfords Ford and report to 
General Polk and thence to the Confederate right, 
where a line was formed about a mile long facing west- 
ward and with the right just in advance of Jay's saw- 
mill, three hundred yards in rear of Cheatham. At six 
o'clock these two divisions were ordered to attack 
across the battle-ground of the day ; Key's and Sem- 
ple's batteries were run up within sixty yards of the 
Federal lines, and opened a rapid fire. Polk's brigade 
of Cleburne's, and Jackson's and Smith's of Cheatham's 
divisions were also pushed to the front, when the 
Federal divisions nnder Johnson and Eaird gave way 
leaving several pieces of artillery with caissons, and 
losing also three hundred prisoners and the colors of 
the Seventy- seventh Indiana and Seventy-ninth Penn- 
sylvania. Cleburne and Cheatham advanced fully a 
mile, readjusted their lines, and bivouacked upon their 
arms. In this engagement the Confederates lost one 
of their superior brigade commanders. General Pres- 
ton Smith, and at the same time two of his gallant and 
excellent staff officers, Captain John Donelson. his ad- 
jutant-general, and an aide. Captain Thomas H. King. 

While the heavier fighting of the day took place 
on the Confederate right it was not confined to this 
quarter. Preston's and Stewart's divisions of Buck- 
ner's corps crossed Chickamauga at Thedfords and 
Daltons fords, and remained in line of battle in that 
neighborhood until in the afternoon, when the latter 
was ordered to the right with no specific instructions. 
Clayton's brigade was thrown into action, and in one 


hour lost nearly four hundred officers and men killed 
and wounded. The brigade was replaced by John C. 
Brown's Tennesseeans, who forced back the Federal 
lines and captured eight rifled guns, five of which were 
carried oflf the field. Bates's brigade was next thrown 
in, and in conjunction with Clayton's pushed the Fed- 
erals across the Chattanooga road, but near sunset fell 
back, bringing some captured artillery and several hun- 
dred prisoners, including a lieutenant-colonel of the 
staff of Major-General Thomas. The loss of these 
brigades was severe.. 

The battle had extended farther to the left also. 
Preston's division of Buckner's corps, and Bushrod 
Johnson's and McLean's of Hood's corps, after re- 
maining in line of battle about a thousand yards east- 
ward of Vinyard's house from 7 A. m. to 2 p. m., sus- 
tained an attack which, with the aid of Bledsoe's and 
Everett's batteries, was repulsed. Bushrod Johnson 
was ordered to attack in return. A stubborn engage- 
ment ensued, and the Federals were driven across the 
road and Fulton's brigade of Tennesseeans made a suc- 
cessful flank movement on a battery, Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel R. B. Snowden, of the Twenty-fifth Tennessee, 
leading the charge. This was soon repulsed and the 
brigade fell back rapidly east of the road, leaving 
seventy-five prisoners of the Twenty-seventh Tennes- 
see and the captured guns, but a rally was made and 
the advancing column was again driven westward of 
the road. About 3 p. m. Trigg's brigade of Preston's 
division was sent to Buckner to support Robertson's 
Texans of McLean's division. The Federals were 
forced into their works, but soon opened a galling fire 
which was most disastrous, especially to the Sixth 
Florida, and the Confederates fell back as darkness 
came on, and without going very far rested on their 
arms for the night. 



The Federal divisions mostly engaged that day 
were Thomas's, Davis's, McCook's, and Wood's, of 
Crittenden's corps, with a brigade of Sheridan's divi- 
sion that came up last and, as General Rosecrans 
says, saved Wood's division from disaster. Brannan 
also came upon the field late in the afternoon. The 
Federal army-corps were all engaged, except two divi- 
sions of Sheridan's corps and Mitchell's cavalry, and 
they were brought squarely into action. The Confed- 
erates were fought by detail and, while making many 
splendid dashes, were often at a disadvantage in the 
face of superior numbers. There was a fatal want of 
concentration. About twelve thousand veterans of the 
infantry were not engaged at all. Br ecken ridge's di- 
vision, three thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine 
rank and file, was ordered across the Chickamauga so 
late as to enable it to reach a position in the rear of 
Cleburne only at eleven o'clock at night. Hindman's 
division, five thousand six hundred and twenty-one 
bayonets, aggregate six thousand one hundred and two, 
also remained eastward of the creek until the middle 
of the afternoon, and reached the scene of Bushrod R. 
Johnson's fighting after sunset. Two of Preston's bri- 
gades, three thousand eiTectives, were likewise unem- 
ployed. During the day General Thomas moved still 
nearer Chattanooga as a wise military precaution, and 
threw up heavy earthworks at night. 

A little after daylight, on Sunday, September 20th, 
Breckenridge moved up and took a position on Cle- 
burne's right. This now became the extreme right of 
infantry, with Forrest, as usual, on the flank. Lieu* 
tenant -General Longstreet arrived at Catoosa Station 
on the afternoon of the 19th, and at ii p. m. reported 
at army headquarters. The plan of battle for next 
day was explained to him by General Bragg. The right 
fjand division was to be commanded by Lieutenant- 


General Polk. This embraced Hill's corps, Walker's 
reserve corps, and Cheatham's division of his own 
corps, covered on the right flank by Forrest's two cav- 
alry divisions, Armstrong's and Pegram's. The left 
grand division was to be commanded by Longstreet. 
This was composed of Buckner's corps, Hindman's 
division of Polk's corps, Bushrod R. Johnson's pro- 
visional division, and Hood's and McLaws's divisions 
of Longstreet's own corps. The battle was to open 
early in the morning on the right, to be followed in 
succession toward the left. These orders were not 
communicated to General Hill, who was only apprised 
of the facts at 8 a. m. by General Bragg in person. By 
a fatal miscarriage of orders the attack was not made 
until 9.30 A. M. Breckenridge advanced at that hour, 
and by ten o'clock was fully engaged. Forrest's com- 
mand stretched northward some two miles to the 
Chickamauga. Scott was absent watching the move- 
ments of Granger. Hindman's division was on the 
extreme left, and next on the right was Bushrod R. 
Johnson's division drawn up in several lines ; Wheeler 
covered that flank and watched the passes and fords. 

Armstrong's division was dismounted to fight as 
infantry, with the exception of the First Tennessee 
and McDonald's battalion, retained as cavalry. For- 
rest advanced with Pegram's division in reserve, and 
within half a mile struck a brigade of Baird's division 
and was soon in a warm skirmish about the time that 
Breckenridge became heavily engaged. The Kentuck- 
ians fought desperately and lost heavily. Here fell 
mortally wounded Brigadier-General Ben Hardin 
Helm, an accomplished and almost idolized com- 
mander. The Second and Ninth Kentucky and three 
companies of the Forty-first Alabama were engaged 
in this bloody affair. The remainder of the brigade 
advanced across the Chattanooga road, captured a sec- 




tion of Napoleon guns and retired, and rejoined other 
regiments of the hrigade to the rearward. In two 
hours' hard fighting the Kentuckians suffered terrible 
losses, and General Breckenridge spoke of it as " one 
of the bloodiest encounters of the day." Meantime 
there was heavy fighting farther on the left with vary- 
ing results, while Forrest and Armstrong moved for- 
ward on the right and, meeting little resistance, soon 
passed the alinement of infantry. 

Being reenforced by Adams's and Stovall's brigades 
of Breckenridge's division, the Confederate cavalry 
presented a formidable front. General Thomas called 
for help, which was ordered from Rosecrans's right. 
At this instant Gordon Granger's corps came in sight 
at a double-quick, this being the reserve of the Army 
of Tennessee, Forrest opened on the column with 
three batteries and retarded Granger's march for an 
hour until reenforcements came to him from Thomas. 
After further fighting at close range Granger was 
enabled to join the main command. Owing to the 
fierceness of the Confederate attack on the right, 
although begun at a late hour and in an irregular man- 
ner, Rosecrans was compelled to draw reenforcenients 
from his right and Jhus weaken his lines to the south. 
This gave Longstreet an opportunity of which he was 
prompt to take advantage. The battle in that direction 
was decidedly in favor of the Confederates, although 
the losses were terrible on both sides. 

The Confederates on the right had been hurled 
against well-manned breastworks and superior num- 
bers all day, and the advantages gained by Forrest and 
Breckenridge at times were only temporary. It was 
all important for the Federals to keep an open road to 
Chattanooga. The accession of Granger's force added 
forty-five hundred fresh bayonets and twelve guns to 
Thomas, and at the last he had fully eight divisions, 


thirty-five thousand strong, under bis ever watchful 
and vigorous command. At one time in the afternoon 
there was a lull in the operations of the right Confed- 
erate wing of fully two hours, caused by some lack in 
active management. This only gave Thomas the more 
time to strengthen his position. Some of the hardest 
and best fighting on the right was done by Forrest's 
old brigade, Armstrong's and Dibbreirs. Late in the 
afternoon there was superb work done by Brecken- 
ridge's, Liddell's, Cleburne's, and Cheatham's divi- 
sions. All monuments erected in Chickamauga Park to 
the Federal dead are, in a reflected light, monuments 
to their foes who fell wearing the gray. For without 
the latter the other would never have lived in history 
or been wrought into speaking figures by the sculptor. 
The Federal right wing was routed, and the Con- 
federates under Stewart, Bushrod Johnson, Hindman, 
Buckner, and others, under the masterful direction of 
Longstreet, occupied the gap in their lines and hurried 
the fleeing masses toward Chattanooga. Forty cannon 
were captured, three thousand prisoners, and ten regi- 
mental colors. The Confederate losses were propor- 
tionately heavy, being one thousand and eighty-nine 
officers and men killed, six thousand four hundred and 
six wounded, and two hundred and seventy-two miss- 
ing, an aggregate of seven thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-seven out of twenty-two thousand eight hundred 
and eighty-two officers and men engaged.* At night- 
fall Longstreet's forces bivouacked on the field and 
filled ammunition-boxes, expecting to go in pursuit of 
the enemy early next morning. It should be added 
that Wheeler operated actively and efl^ectively on the 
left, and late in the afternoon followed the fleeing Fed- 
erals and captured about one thousand prisoners. 

♦ Longstreei*s report. 


Forrest says of the final assault made on the right 
on the 20th, that he " employed fourteen pieces of 
artillery, terminating on the right flank the battle of 
Chickamauga. My command was kept on the field on 
the night of the 20th, and men and horses suffered 
greatly for want of water. The men were without 
rations, and the horses had only received a partial feed 
once during the two days' engagement." General D. 
H. Hill, who first saw Forrest on the field early that 
morning, complimented him in the highest terms of 
eulogy, and said : " I would ask no better fortune, if 
again placed on a flank, than to have such a vigilant, 
gallant, and accomplished officer guarding its ap- 
proaches," etc. The fleeing Federals from the right 
made undignified haste in the direction of Chattanooga, 
twelve miles distant, carrying with them their com- 
mander-in-chief, General Rosecrans, two corps com- 
manders, McCook and Crittenden, and Assistant- 
Secretary of War Charles A. Dana, who was repre- 
senting the President of the United States and the 
Secretary of War on the field. Thomas held his 
troops together at Snodgrass Hill, and followed more 
leisurely. Mr. Dana sent a sensational telegram to 
Mr. Stanton, comparing Chickamauga to Bull Run. 
He had been on the right wing, and subsequently modi- 
fied his despatch. Many years afterward he wrote a 
description of the battle, and spoke of making his way 
into Chattanooga " through a panic-stricken rabble." 
Forrest and his men slept near where the last fighting 
occurred that Sunday evening, and at four o'clock on 
Monday morning, the 21st, with General Armstrong 
and a strong advance-guard, moved toward Chatta- 
nooga on the Lafayette road* . Nearing Rossville, they 
charged with their four hundred troopers upon a Fed- 
eral rear-guard of cavalry. The latter fired a volley 
and fled toward Chattanooga at full speed. In this 


charge Forrest's horse was mortally wounded and soon 
fell dead. 

At the end of the pursuit the Confederates were 
on a spur of Missionary Ridge, and captured four Fed- 
erals out of trees where they, had been stationed as 
observers. Taking a pair of glasses from one of these 
Forrest mounted to the platform in a tree-top from 
whence he had a good view of the town and valley of 
Chattanooga and surrounding mountains, and while 
standing there in the observer's place, he dictated to 
Major Charles W. Anderson a despatch to General 
Polk to be forwarded to General Bragg, giving his 
impressions. These may have been optimistic, but 
they possibly had the effect of changing the plans 
of the Confederate commander-in-chief, that is, if he 
intended to pursue or attempt to flank the Federals. 
It was certain that Rosecrans's army was crowd- 
ing into Chattanooga, and there was evidence of a 
retreat back across the Tennessee River. The streets 
of the town were blocked with a floundering mass of 
troops, artillery, army wagons, ambulances, and beef 

Coming down from the tree Forrest dictated various 
other despatches to Bragg and Polk giving his views 
of the situation. Then he moved forward and north- 
ward to a point within four miles of Chattanooga over- 
looking the place, and found a Federal force too strong 
to be assaulted by his men. McLemore led the Fourth 
Tennessee to a point within three miles of Chattanoo<:j^a. 
This was the Confederate high-water mark from the 
raging tides of the bloody battle of Chickamauga. 
McLemore could have been easily captured by the 
Federals if they had not been hastening to join the 
main force. He captured numerous prisoners, and 
was recalled by General Forrest, who had seen a de- 
moralized army crowding into Chattanooga, and look- 




ing back saw the Confederate army lying listless and 
torpid after two days' battle. 

This was not his idea of war. He would have 
thrown Bragg's entire force on Chattanooga, and was 
deeply chagrined at the policy of inaction, but General 
Bragg sent Iiim word that he had set hi? infantry in 
motion toward Chattanooga by the Red House Bridge 
road, all the approaches to which were to be picketed 
by his cavalry. At ten o'clock that evening he called at 
General Bragg's headquarters and_ was assured that a 
general advance would be made next morning. For- 
rest assembled his force at 8 a. m. on the 22d, on Mis- 
sionary Ridge, and seeing no signs of an advance 
moved down into the valley of the Chattanooga and 
drove back the Federal cavalry and infantry pickets 
to within half a mile of the town. His men were dis- 
mounted and extended in a line nearly two miles long. 
After that different roads were occupied and picketed. 
Dibbrell sustained a loss of several officers and fifty 
or sixty of his men killed and wounded in seizing the 
road around the northern end of Lookout Mountain. 
McLaws's division of Longstreet's corps came up at 
one o'clock, but merely to serve on picket duty. For- 
rest urged General McLaws to join him in an attack 
upon the still demoralized enemy, but he declined upon 
the ground that his orders would not permit it. Sev- 
eral attempts were made during the day to dislodge 
Dibbrell. and he only held on by fighting hard with 
his men dismounted. He had the Fourth, Eighth, 
Tenth, and Eleventh Tennessee regiments and Starnes's 
battalion, and he was not relieved until 12 m. the 
next day. although Forrest had repeatedly asked for 
an infantry brigade to take the place. His lines ex- 
tended from L.ookout Mountain on the west to the 
Tennessee River on the east, and his troops and horses 
were quite worn out and weak from hunger. On the 


23d the command was ordered to Tyners Station on 
the railroad, some nine miles east of Chattanooga, to 
find food and forage. 

This practically ended Forrest's connection with 
the Army of Tennessee under General Bragg, although 
he did not withdraw at once. He had expressed him- 
self rather freely in regard to Bragg's failure to follow 
up the battle of Chickamauga, which doubtless came 
to the latter's ears. So in Bragg's report of Decem- 
ber 28th he merely said : " Brigadier-General Forrest's 
report will show equally gallant and valuable service§ 
by his command on our right." A few days later For- 
rest was relieved of his command, and this was ac- 
cepted as an evidence of General Bragg's displeasure. 



Only twenty-four hours were allowed the com- 
mand to rest at Tyners Station when, in accordance 
with definite orders received from army headquarters, 
it was again set in motion. Pegram's and Scott's 
brigades and Rucker's Legion were detached to picket 
the Tennessee eastward to Hiwassee River, forty 
miles above Chattanooga, while Forrest was to take 
Armstrong's and Davidson's brigades and move be- 
yond to check a movement under Burnside supposed 
to be coming from 'Knoxville. He was reenforced at 
Cleveland by Hodge's brigade, eight hundred strong, 
and passed on to Charleston, twelve miles distant. 
Throwing Davidson to the right and Armstrong to 
the left, he moved forward on the main road. With 
Dibbrell's and Hodge's brigades and Morton's and 
Huggins's batteries, he drove in the pickets encountered, 
and under cover of eight guns rushed his men across 
the Hiwassee at Charleston and forced the Federals 
from their positions on the east side. In this dash the 
Confederates reported eight or ten killed and wounded, 
while the Federal loss was supposed to be much larger. 
Armstrong came in on the left and joined in the pur- 
suit for five or six miles. A running fight continued 
from Charleston to Loudon, a distance of forty-one 
miles, and some sharp engagements occurred at several 

An order overtook Forrest at Loudon which 


changed the course of his life. The commanding gen- 
eral could well be charged with having nursed his 
wrath and his deep-seated dislike until the aggressive 
brigadier-general was well and safely out of sight. He 
chose a time to deliver a blow which would have been 
fatal to most men of Forrest's rank. The order was 
as follows: 

Missionary Ridge, September 28, 1863. 
Brigadier 'General Forrest, near Athens, 

General: The general commanding desires that you 
will, without delay, turn over the troops of your command 
previously ordered to Major-General Wheeler. 

This was construed as a direct personal thrust. 
Forrest was on good terms with General Wheeler 
socially, but he had never recanted the vow he made 
on the evening of the Dover affair. 

Falling back at once to Cleveland he turned over all 
of his command to General Wheeler except Dibbrell's 
brigade and Huggins's battery, which he was allowed 
to retain for the time being. He dictated a vigorous 
protest to General Bragg and followed this up by a 
visit in person, during which he indulged in language 
of denunciation to which the ears of the commander-in- 
chief were unused. Dr. J. B. Cowan, who accompanied 
Forrest when he called upon General Bragg, without 
being informed as to the object of the visit in advance, 
states (1902) that Forrest refused to take Bragg's 
offered hand and denounced him in the strongest pos- 
sible language for having relieved him for the third 
time of his command. Forrest said in part: 

" You commenced your cowardly and contemptible 
persecution of me soon after the battle of Shiloh, and 
you have kept it up ever since. You did it because I 
reported to Richmond facts while you reported damned 
lies. You robbed me of my command in Kentucky and 
gave it to one of your favorites — men that I armed and 


equipped from the enemies of our country-. In a spirit 
of revenge and spiie, because I would not fawn upon 
jou as others did, you drove me into West Tennessee 
in the winter of 1862, with a second brigade 1 had or- 
ganized, with improper arms and without sufficient 
ammunition, although I had made repeated applica- 
tions for the same. You did it to ruin me and my 
career, Wlien in spite of this I returned with my com- 
mand well equipped by captures, you began again your 
work of spite and persecution, and have kept it up; 
and now this second brigade, organized without trouble 
to you or the Government, a brigade which has won a 
reputation for successful fighting second to none in the 
army, taking advantage of your position as command- 
ing general in order to further humiliate me. you have 
taken these brave men from me. I have stood your 
meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the 
part of a damned scoundrel and are a coward, and if 
you were any part of a man I would slap your jaws and 
force you to resent it. You may as well not issue any 
more orders to me for I will not obey them, and I will 
hold you personally responsible for any further indig- 
nities you endeavor to inflict upon me. You have 
threatened to arrest me for not obeying your orders 
promptly. I dare you to do it ! And I say to you that 
if you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my 
path it will be at the peril of your life."* Bragg sal 
down on a stool in the back part of his tent and lis- 
tened to this fierce tirade without making a movement 
or saying a word in reply ; nor did he order Forrest's 
arrest or appear to take any further notice of the in- 
cident, but that he cherished a strong animosity against 
Forrest even after he went to Richmond was demon- 

• Wyeth's Life of Forresl. pp. 265, 266. and letter from Dr. 
James B. Conaa. in possession of the author. 


strated in various ways. Forrest did not offer to 
resign, but told his friends that he would do so and 
seek a new field rather than suffer further persecution. 
He was given to understand, however, that his com- 
mand would be restored to him as soon as General 
Wheeler returned from a move in the rear of Rose- 
crans's army. Resting upon this assurance he ob- 
tained a leave of absence for ten days to go to La 
Grange, Ga., and meet his wife whom he had not seen 
for eighteen months. Hardly had he settled down to 
rest at La Grange when he received an order dated 
October 3d placing him directly under the command 
of Major-General Wheeler. Regarding this as another 
personal affront and abuse of power, as well as a 
flagrant violation of former assurances, Forrest was 
greatly incensed and resolved never to fight again 
either under Wheeler or Bragg, even if it became neces- 
sary to resign his commission and seek some other 

Another cause of this rupture may be found in 
the fact that as early as August 9, 1863, General For- 
rest, while stationed at Kingston, East Tennessee, had 
written to General S. Cooper, adjutant-general at 
Richmond, proposing and asking permission to re- 
cruit a large force within the enemy's lines for the 
purpose of interrupting the navigation of the Missis- 
sippi River between Cairo and Vicksburg. As a nu- 
cleus he wished to have about four hundred and fifty 
men from his command, his escort of sixty, McDon- 
ald's battalion of one hundred and fifty, the Second 
Kentucky Cavalry, two hundred and fifty, and four 
3-inch Dahlgren or Parrott guns with eight No. i 
horses to each gun and caisson, two wagons for the 
battery, one pack-mule to every ten men, and two hun- 
dred rounds of ammunition for small arms and artil- 
lery. He also asked that Captain W. W. Carnes, of 





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Memphis, connected with Bragg's army, be detached 
to command the battery. This communication was 
sent to pass through General Bragg, and may have 
given offense. Ten days later a copy was sent 
direct to President Davis but no action was taken. 
With such a commission and force as Forrest de- 
sired he could have given great trouble. Bragg 
could not afford to give up such a man. and the value 
of his practical ideas was not understood at Rich- 

Mr. Davis was, however, very favorably inclined 
toward Forrest, and coming upon the scene about the 
time of the disagreement proved to be his stanch 
friend. He would not entertain the idea of a resig- 
nation, but wrote Forrest a gracious and encouraging 
letter, appointing a day for a meeting at Montgomery, 
Ala., when he should have returned from a trip to 
Mississippi. They met and had a long and satisfactory 
conference. Forrest was assured that he should be 
transferred to north Mississippi with such forces as 
Cieneral Bragg had to spare. Forrest traveled with 
President Davis and suite as far as Atlanta and pro- 
ceeded thence directly to headquarters. General Bragg 
promised him that he should have for his new field of 
action besides his escort company, McDonald's and 
Woodward's battalions, but the written order received 
next morning withheld Woodward's battalion. The 
parting of Forrest from his old command, with which 
he had shared so many dangers and hardships, was 
very trying and touching after such a long and close 

The pathetically small force starting with Forrest 
to Mississippi consisted of the field and staff, eight : 
escort company, sixty-five; McDonald's battalion, one 
hundred and thirty-nine; Captain J. W, Morton's bat- 
tery, sixty-seven; total, two hundred and seventy- 


nine.* Proceeding directly to Rome the command was 
detained a few days in preparing for the march across 
the country by way of Talladega, Tuscaloosa, and 
Columbus to Okolona, Miss., and arrived at the latter 
place about the middle of November. The troops of 
Forrest's old command remaining with the army gave 
up their leader with deep regret. The Fourth, Eighth, 
Tenth, and Eleventh Tennessee Cavalry had been or- 
ganized by him as a brigade and commanded by him 
in his West Tennessee raid the year before, at Thomp- 
sons Station and in the capture of Streight's com- 
mand, and in various engagements. These and other 
troops united in a petition to General Bragg praying 
that they might also be transferred with General For- 
rest, if consistent with the welfare of the service. But 
the general was not able, even if he had been willing, 
to give up so much cavalry from the main body of the 

While the small force already mentioned was 
marching through the country, Forrest, without a 
brigade, went around by rail, and reached Okolona on 
the 15th of November and found a few of his veterans 
already there. On the way he had stopped to have a 
conference with General Joseph E. Johnston, who gave 
him a hearty welcome to his department, approved his 
plans, and issued orders to General Stephen D. Lee, 
chief of cavalry, to support him as far as possible in 
all his projects. 

At that time there were only three small Confeder- 
ate cavalry brigades in north Mississippi. These fur- 
nished details for a line of outposts from Panola 
eastward to the south bank of Tallahatchie River, by 
way of Rocky Ford to Saltillo or Baldwin on the 
Mobile and Ohio Railroad, with scouts well out in 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxi, part iii, p. 646. 



front to watch hostile movements of the enemy. One 
of these brigades was subdivided into semibrigades 
under Colonels McCulloch and Slemmons, commanded 
by General James R. Chalmers on the left, while 
Brigadier- General Ferguson and Colonel Ross with 
their brigades went to the right of Rocky Ford. The 
Federals had strong forces at Memphis and Corinth, 
and well-defended posts between these two points, 
some ninety miles apart, on the Memphis and Charles- 
ton Railroad, and could easily and rapidly throw 
troops from one place to another. They had at least 
ten thousand available men. There was supposed to be 
another Confederate brigade at Okolona, under Colonel 
R. V. Richardson, but instead of being two thousand 
strong, as appeared on paper, it numbered only about 
two hundred and fifty. Colonel Richardson could only 
produce two hundred and seventy-one guns, one hun- 
dred and fifty-one pistols, and two hundred and forty- 
seven horses fit for duty. He explained that he had 
brought many of the men out of West Tennessee in 
the summer and that they had gone back without per- 
mission to secure heavier clothing and had taken with 
them five hundred and seventeen rifles. Another regi- 
ment was promised Forrest, but it reported at Okolona 
with only one hundred and fifty men. and one-fourth of 
these were without arms. Forrest's own force had been 
reduced by want of mounts and by sickness and 
fatigue to about two hundred and fifty rank and file. 
To this was added four hundred raw troops who had 
never smelled gunpowder in battle, yet most of these 
uUimately became very effective soldiers. 

Forrest's plan was to break througji the strongly 
fortified line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, 
go into West Tennessee and collect supplies and re- 
cruits to be rushed back the same way, and he was not 
deterred by the insignificance of his command. He 



had confidence that once inside of the lines he could 
rally the fighting element in sufficient strength to or- 
ganize an effective force. General S. D. Lee was to 
cover the movement, and assembled two brigades at 
New Albany. Generals Forrest and Lee and Colonel 
Richardson met there on the 29th of November. It 
had been raining for over a month and all the streams 
were overflowing. 

A bridge had to be built across the Tallahatchie, 
and the passage was not effected until the 3d of De- 
cember. Ferguson led his own and Ross's brigades 
northward by way of Ripley; Chalmers with a demi- 
brigade under McCulloch crossed at Rocky Ford to 
join Ferguson, and Slemmons crossed at Panola and 
was advancing to threaten the railroad westward from 
La Grange. Ferguson approaching Saulsbury, seven 
miles eastward of La Grange, encountered a picket- 
post four miles south of the place, and pressed forward 
upon the main body. Morton's artillery opened fire 
briskly ; the way was clear for Forrest to pass over the 
danger line, and parting company with General Lee 
and his force, he boldly led his little band into West 
Tennessee. He had nothing to retard his progress but 
two guns of Morton's battery and five light ordnance 

Pushing on with scouts well thrown out he reached 
Van Buren, ten miles from the railroad, and camped 
there that evening. The scouts reported no pursuit in 
sight. Moving on, Forrest reached Bolivar at 8 a. m. 
on the 5th, where he and his men were welcomed with 
demonstrations of great joy. Resting only two hours, 
during which time an old bridge was repaired so as to 
afford a means of crossing the Hatchie, he was again 
on the move. Scouts were thrown toward Memphis 
and Corinth to report any hostile movements intended 
to cut off his retreat. Late in the afternoon of the 


W 6th he 

^P tire po 

^ pie fori 



6th he reached Jackson and was welcomed by the en- 
tire population, and as his coming was expected am- 
ple forage and subsistence were found already prepared. 
There he found Colonel Tyree H. Bell, whom he had 
known in Eragg's army, and who had been sent within 
the lines with a small detachment to give it out. that 
Forrest was coming to occupy West Tennessee per- 
manently, and to stir up those who had been sent into 
that section of the State to raise commands or gather 
up absentees from the army ; and Colonel Bell, who had 
been senior colonel of Preston Smith's brigade, was 
well calculated to rally the people and render valuable 
assistance to Forrest. 

Three regiments were rapidly recruited and organ- 
ized, and although not armed were eventually marched 
out under Colonels A. N. Wilson, John T. Newsom, 
R. M. Russell, and Lieutenant-Colonel D. M. Wisdom, 
veterans who had already seen much service in other 
commands. Colonel C. R. Barteau's Second Tennes- 
see regiment was afterward joined with these regi- 
ments, forming a brigade of which Colonel Tyree H. 
Bell became commander. Forrest had not reckoned 
without his host, for as early as the 6th of December, 
he advised General Johnston from Jackson that he was 
highly pleased with the prospect : that be bad gathered 
together about five thousand men, and if not molested 
he thought by the first of January he could put about 
eight thousand efi'ective troops in the field. 

The Federal authorities were quick to learn of 
Forrest's coming, even before he crossed the Talla- 
hatchie. At first the movement was treated rather in- 
differently, but as recruiting stations were soon estab- 
lished in out-of-the-way places in nearly every county 
of West Tennessee and some in Kentucky, vigorous 
measures were resolved upon by Generals Grant and 
Sherman to kill, capture, or expel the intruders. E 


peditions were formed against Forrest at Columbus, 
Ky., and Fort Pillow. It was not these he dreaded 
so much, but others that might come out from Mem- 
phis or some other point on the railroad in his rear. 
He requested that General Stephen D. Lee with all the 
cavalry that could be spared be brought up to West 
Tennessee with arms and ammunition needed for the 
new troops. He believed if this was done the Mem- 
phis and Charleston Railroad could be destroyed and 
five or six thousand head of beef cattle driven out for 
the use of the army, and added : " If I hear that he is 
coming to help me I will build a pontoon bridge across 
the Hatchie and will have the cattle gathered up by 
the time he can reach me. I am in great need of money 
and have had to advance my quartermaster and com- 
missary $20,000 of my private funds to subsist the 
command thus far.* 

He also sent an aide-de-camp, Major M. C. Calla- 
way, to Richmond, to impress upon the President the 
importance of destroying the Memphis and Charleston 
Railroad and blockading the Tennessee River in order 
to make sure of holding the granaries and cattle of 
West Tennessee for the supply of the army, and also 
asked that Generals Pillow and Armstrong be sent to 
his assistance. These requests were unheeded, but 
President Davis was not unmindful of Forrest's serv- 
ices and merits, and on the 13th of December in a 
communication to General Johnston said : " Brigadier- 
General Forrest is promoted to the rank of major-gen- 
eral, and will, I hope, supply your wants in northern 
Mississippi and West Tennessee so as to enable you to 
draw Major-General Lee to the southern portion of 
your department." 

The Federal forces were closing in from different 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxi, part iii, p. 489. 


directions ; General William Sooy Smith was reported 
to be coming from the direction of Nashville and 
Columbia; General A. J. Smith from Columbus, Ky., 
and General Grierson from the direction of Memphis 
were moving upon Forrest, and Brigadier-General 
Crook was coming from Huntsville. The column from 
Corinth had moved as far as Purdy and was on the road 
to Jacks Creek. Those coming from the northward 
were as far south as Trenton and McLemoresville by 
the 22d, and scouts reported a cavalry force two thou- 
sand strong divided between Somerville and Bolivar, 
while the infantry was still numerously posted on the 
line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. General 
Grierson concentrated nearly all of his command at 
La Grange, a favorable point for heading off Forrest 
or for throwing troops up and down the railroad. 

Colonel Richardson, who had been stationed at 
Brownsville, twenty-eight miles northwest of Jackson. 
had recruited his force to one thousand men, and was 
ordered on the 22d of December to put this little 
brigade in motion southward and cross the Hatchie 
at Estenaula, eighteen miles west of Jackson, which 
was accomplished on the 24th. Very few of his men 
had ever been under fire and only three hundred were 
armed. Soon after crossing the river the command 
came in collision with the advance of the Seventh . 
Illinois Cavalry, five hundred strong, under Colonel 
Prince. Meantime Neely's Fourteenth Tennessee Cav- 
alry and Lieutenant-Colonel D. M. Wisdom, with 
about one hundred and fifty of Colonel J. E. Forrest's 
old regiment, came to Richardson's support, and in 
the animated skirmish which ensued the Confederates 
were at first scattered in the face of well-trained and 
well-handled troops, but rallied and held their ground. 
After nightfall the Federals withdrew. 

In preparing to leave West Tennessee Forrest had 


subdivided his forces as follows: The first command 
under Colonel Richardson, the second under Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel D. M. Wisdom, and the third under Colo- 
nel Tyree H. Bell. The latter moved out from Jack- 
son with two pieces of artillery, fifty wagons, loaded 
with valuable supplies, and several hundred head of 
cattle and hogs. Wisdom came up with Richardson 
in time to take active part in the fighting of the day, 
the first on the move southward. During the day he 
detached eighty men under Lieutenants H. A. Tyler 
and John O. Morris to check the advance of Federal 
flankers. A charge and hand-to-hand fight ensued. 
Lieutenant Morris met a Federal cavalryman in the 
charge, and both fired and fell mortally wounded. It 
was bloody work for a few minutes, and the assailants 
seemed to have the advantage. After this the Federals 
extended their main lines, and after nightfall on that 
Christmas eve Wisdom fell back in the direction of the 
main command with Major Philip Allin, commanding 
McDonald's battalion, covering the movement. 

General Forrest with his staff and escort turned 
southward at 6 p. m. on the 24th and brought up the 
rear. Colonel Bell was occupied all that night and 
until midday of the 25th in crossing the river with his 
train and cattle. He had only one small, frail ferry- 
boat at his command, and this was so weak that it was 
once capsized with the loss of one man, two horses, 
and a wagon-load of supplies. Forrest's scouts re- 
ported heavy Federal forces at Somerville, Bolivar, 
Middleburg, La Grange, and other points. He was 
evidently expected to return by the way he had entered 
West Tennessee. Colonel Prince, with the Seventh 
Illinois regiment, had advanced to within four and a 
half miles of Estenaula, where he was attacked by 
Richardson and Wisdom, who were pressed back three 
miles to Slough Bridge, but there made the successful 



stand already mentioned. In his report he says : " At 
this point we were unable to drive them farther ; we 
were, however, able to hold our ground without diffi- 
culty, and did so until 8 p. M." 

Later in the night Prince was again attacked, this 
time by Forrest's escort, sixty men present, under 
command of Lieutenant Nathan Boone, who charged 
through a corn-field, making noise enough for a bri- 
gade. Richardson's command was ordered to the sup- 
port but was not needed that night. The Federals, 
believing that the assailants were supported by a large 
force, fell back and continued the march to Somcrville, 
reaching there about daylight the next morning. For- 
rest had now crossed his trains and entire command 
over Hatchie River. In front of him was Wolf River, 
a sluggish stream rising eastward and emptying into 
the Mississippi River at Memphis, and a little farther 
on was the well-guarded Memphis and Charleston 
Railroad. It would be as perilous to march up toward 
the headwaters of these two swollen streams as to 
go nearer Memphis. All the bridges on Wolf River 
were supposed to be burned, and the fords, if any at 
that season of the year, were closely guarded. Three 
trains at La Grange had steam up in their engines 
ready at short notice to throw troops east or west on 
the railroad at any point required. 

Before General Forrest left Jackson he had re- 
ceived word from Colonel Tliomas H. Logwood, who 
had ventured within the lines north of Memphis on 
recruiting service, that the bridge over Wolf River, 
near Lafayette, thirty-one miles east of Memphis, had 
been set on fire but only partly burned, and that it could 
be easily repaired. The general determined upon this 
as the point of exit. Colonel Bell was selected to ad- 
vance with three hundred men and put the bridge in 
condition for the passage of troops and trains when 


these should arrive. A small detachment of Federal 
troops who had just arrived on the southern side 
were driven off early on the morning of the 27th, and 
in a few hours the bridge was ready for the main com- 
mand to pass. 

Richardson's brigade, as his command was now 
designated, was somewhat increased by volunteer re- 
cruits after crossing the Hatchie River, and on the 
afternoon of the 2Sth advanced upon Whiteville, 
where the men were entertained that night by the 
citizens. Early on the morning of the 26th the march 
Was resumed in the direction of Somerville. Five miles 
from that place a Federal advance-guard was encoun- 
tered. Richardson had only three hundred armed men, 
but made a show of fight and a display of his unarmed 
levies, creating the impression that he had a large 
effective force. The situation was critical for Rich- 
ardson for some time, but Forrest, who was moving on 
the road from Estenaula direct to Somerville, with his 
escort and McDonald's battalion, fieard the firing and 
came to the rescue. Leading a charge, he forced the 
Federals back, and the pursuit was continued for some 
miles. Several Confederates were killed and wounded, 
among the number three of Forrest's escort, including 
Sergeant A. H. Boone, brother of Lieutenant Boone. 
The Federals lost, according to Forrest's report, eight 
or ten killed and wounded and thirty prisoners, and a 
train of six wagons loaded with subsistence and am- 
munition; also an ambulance and some horses and 

Colonel Prince in his report says : " The enemy 
having gained our rear we were compelled to retire, 
and, owing to the broken character of the ground, 
in some disorder. The loss the enemy sustained in 
killed and wounded must have exceeded our entire 
loss, which will not exceed forty killed, wounded, and 


missing," The way was now open to the repaired 
bridge at Lafayette. Colonel Faulkner, accompanied 
by Major Strange, had been sent to make a feint on 
Memphis with directions to escape toward Hernando, 
Miss., if hard pressed, and a force of two hundred 
men was thrown on the left of Lafayette to create ■ 
the impression that an escape would be attempted be- 
tween that place and Moscow. A detachment was sent 
south of the river to tear up and obstruct the railroad 
two miles east and two miles west of the crossing- 

All was ready by 4 p. m. on the 27th, and Forrest's 
main command, with artillery, wagons, recruits, and 
stock began passing over Wolf River. This was 
rapidly and safely accomplished under the general's 
personal supervision ; yet everything was still at stake. 
A strong, bold dash of Federal cavalry might scatter 
the trains and stock and unarmed men to the woods 
and swamps, and leave but few to make their way 
south of the Tallahatchie. Once across, the unarmed 
men, with trains and cattle, were ordered to take the 
road to Holly Springs by way of Mount Pleasant, 
and make an all-night march. To cover this movement 
Forrest threw out a detachment eastward upon Mos- 
cow, with orders to fall back if hard pressed. At the 
same time he moved in the opposite direction with 
his escort — three hundred armed men and Morton's 
two pieces of artillery. Two miles out from the ham- 
let he met and drove back an advance of Federal cav- 
alry. Here his scouts came up from Lafayette and 
Moscow and reported the movement of cavalry and in- 
fantry' in force from that direction. 

The scouts were reenforced and sent hack to open 
as hot a skirmish as possible, in order to divert atten- 
tion from the train escaping southward. This an- 
swered the purpose, but the enemy overtook Forrest 


near Colliersville, twenty-five miles east of Memphis, 
and a noisy skirmish ensued. Some prisoners were 
taken on both sides. Among others General Forrest 
had the misfortune to lose his chief engineer, Captain 
John G. Mann, who made himself useful, however, by 
intimating that General Stephen D. Lee was near by 
with his entire cavalry force. This seemed so plausible 
after the demonstration that Lee had made upon Sauls- 
bury on the 4th of December with McCulloch's and 
Ross's brigades, that the Federal commander withdrew 
to Lafayette and remained there for the rest of the 
night. The Federal forces at Colliersville were within 
their fortifications; rain, which had been falling for 
twelve hours, suddenly ceased, and a strong, cold wind 
sprang up from the northwest. The priceless train 
was well on its way to Holly Springs, and before mid- 
night Forrest headed his small command in that direc- 
tion, and by daylight of the 28th was in Mount Pleas- 
ant after a day and night of continuous work, march- 
ing and fighting. He was now beyond the danger of 
immediate pursuit, and the command proceeded by easy 
marches across the country to Como, Panola County, 

On the 28th he was met by General Chalmers with 
his command, to aid, if necessary, in covering the re- 
turn. On the same day he proceeded to Holly Springs 
and reported to General Stephen D. Lee that he had 
returned safely with the greater portion of his troops, 
regretting very much that he had to leave so early. 
Colonel Faulkner with his regiment, and Major 
Strange of Forrest's staflF, who made the flank move- 
ment on Memphis, arrived in Como on the first day of 
January without the loss of a man on the perilous ad- 
venture. The weather was colder than had been 
known for many years, and the troops, having no tents, 
were scattered around to find shelter in the vacant 


^M houses 
B boring 


i on the neigh- 

houses of the village and in the cabin 
boring plantations. 

Forrest foresaw the difficulty of reorganizing about 
three thousand fresh troops, including fragments of 
sixteen different commands, and wrote to the Govern- 
ment at Richmond that he could see no way of making 
these troops effective except by an order from the 
War Department annulling all authority previously 
given to raise troops, accompanied with the order to 
consolidate into full companies and regiments all the 
troops in West Tennessee and north Mississippi. He 
added : " By adopting this method I can get six full 
regiments of cavairy. or about four thousand men ; 
the remainder would have to be conscripted. I think 
with this cavalry organized, I can conscript ten thou- 
sand men and place them in the service." The Secre- 
tary of War acceded to these suggestions, and on the 
Z4tli of January, 1S64, issued orders accordingly. It 
was a coincidence that the day Forrest entered West 
Tennessee, the 4th of December, 1863, his commission 
as major-general was issued at Richmond, although 
he was unaware of his promotion to that grade until 
after his return to Mississippi, 

It can be briefly stated of this last expedition that 
he entered West Tennessee at Saulsbury on the 4th 
of December with five hundred effective men, two guns, 
and five ordnance wagons, and recrossed the Memphis 
and Charleston Railroad near Lafayette (now Ross- 
ville) on the 27th with thirty-five hundred well- 
mounted men and his artillery, forty well-loaded 
wagons drawn by stout teams, two hundred beef 
cattle, and three hundred hogs. Large forces, es- 
timated all the way from ten to twenty thousand 
strong, were in motion to cut off his retreat, and had 
he remained a few days longer the destruction of his 
command would have been inevitable. His escort and 


Other veterans were devoted to him, and he was ably 
sustained in all his efforts by Major J. P. Strange, 
Adjutant-General Captain Charles W. Anderson, 
A. D. C, and Major G. V. Rambaut, A. C. S., of his 
staff, as well as his young son, Willie M. Forrest, who 
acted as aide and afterward became captain on his 
father's staff. Many of the men just from home were 
not even supplied with blankets, but endured the hard- 
ships, privations, and exposure encountered in march- 
ing one hundred and forty miles with the utmost 
patience and fortitude. 

Upon General Forrest's return to north Mississippi 
he learned that General Joseph E. Johnston had been 
relieved from duty as commander of the department 
by President Davis, and succeeded by Lieutenant- 
General Polk. He telegraphed to the latter the results 
of his expedition, and in reply was informed of his 
promotion and that he would be assigned to a district. 
On the 15th of January, leaving General Chalmers in 
command, he reported to General Polk's headquarters 
at Jackson, Miss., and was there given command of 
a district, designated as " Forrest's Cavalry Depart- 
ment." This included all the cavalry in West Tennes- 
see and in north Mississippi as far as the southern 
boundaries of Monroe, Chickasaw, Calhoun, Yalo- 
busha, and Tallahatchie, and parts of Sunflower and 
Bolivar counties lying north of a line drawn from the 
southern corner of Tallahatchie and extending to 
Prentiss on the Mississippi. In this field he found 
ample use for all his energies and resources, and was 
even called upon at times to take part in other depart- 
ments, such were the exigencies and desperate straits 
of the Confederacy. At Jackson he obtained arms and 
ammunition, and promptly returned to prepare for 
active operations. 

But he was confronted by many annoyances and 


W dima 
H^ arour 



difficulties. The troops brought back from West Ten- 
were mostly raw and in the habit of roaming 
around at will, and fighting independently. They were 
brave enough, but unused to strict military discipline, 
as they were far from the armies in the field, and from 
any recognized headquarters or authority. Then there 
were officers and men who had aspirations, and were 
not easily satisfied. Many of the men straggled off 
homeward, but were usually pursued and brought 
back promptly. The entire command, however, raw 
recruits and veterans, soon felt the iron hand and 
magic presence of Forrest. When he was a martinet, 
if at all, it was for the good of the service, and when 
not compelled to be severe he was the kind-hearted, 
gentle commander who could be approached easily by 
a private soldier. It is a matter of doubt whether the 
conventionalities and methods imparted by a West 
Point education would have made him a more effective 
leader in the field, hut he would have started out with 
better ideas of discipline and the science of war, and 
would have more easily obtained recognition in high 

Four small brigades were organized: The First, 
under General R. V. Richardson, all from West Ten- 
nessee, fifteen hundred strong. 

Second, including Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, 
Mississippi, and Arkansas troops, commanded by Colo- 
nel Robert McCulloch, sixteen hundred strong. 

Third, Tennessee troops under command of Colonel 
Tyree H. Bell, two thousand strong; and the 

Fourth, composed of Tennessee and Mississippi 
troops under command of Colonel Jeffrey E. Forrest, 
one thousand strong. 

On the 25th day of January, 1864, General Forrest 
issued three orders: (i) Announcins; the Hmits of his 
command; (2) his staff, and (3) the provisional or- 


ganization of batteries, regiments, and brigades. 
McCulloch's and Forrest's brigades were organized 
as a division under Brigadier-General James R. Chal- 

Major-General Forrest established his headquarters 
at Oxford as a more central position for watching 
movements both from Memphis and Vicksburg. His 
command was poorly clothed and armed, and much 
discontent prevailed. Nineteen men who deserted in a 
body were captured, brought back to Oxford, and 
ordered to be shot by the finding of a court martial. 
The prisoners were blindfolded on their coffins, with 
a firing squad in front ready for the word " Fire ! " 
Leading citizens of the town had made an appeal to 
General Forrest, and at the last moment he granted a 
reprieve. That he fully intended to have these men 
shot there can hardly be a doubt, but the pleas of the 
clergy and ladies afforded him a pretext for holding 
up the sentence. The incident created a profound im- 
pression and there was little more desertion after that. 



Major-General W. T. Sherman, a master spirit 
of the war, resolved early in 1864 to break up the use- 
less line of railroad from Memphis to Corinth and 
thence southward to Meridian, and in an order dated 
Memphis, January 27, 1864, he placed all the cavalry 
of the Department of Tennessee under the command 
of General Wilham Sooy Smith. He estimated that 
this force would be full seven thousand men, and supe- 
rior and better in all respects than the combined cav- 
alry of the enemy in the State of Mississippi. Out- 
lining his plan, he says: " I will in person start for 
Vicksburg to-day, and with four divisions of infantry, 
artillery, and cavalry move out for Jackson, Brandon, 
and Meridian, aiming to reach the latter place by 
February loth. General Banks will feign on Pasca- 
goula and General Logan on Rome. I want you with 
your cavalry to move from Collierville on Pontotoc and 
Okolona; thence sweeping down near the Mobile and 
Ohio Railroad disable that road as much as possible, 
consume or destroy the resources of the enemy, break 
up the connections with Columbus, Miss., and fiHtiUy 
reach me at or near Meridian as near the date I have 
mentioned as possible. , . . You have the best and 
most experienced troops in the service, and they will 
do anything that is possible. I will send up from 
Haynes Bluff an expedition of gunboats and trans- 
ports combined to feel up the Yazoo as far as tlie 



present stage of water will permit. This will discon- 
cert the enemy. My movement on Jackson will also 
divide the enemy so that by no combination can he 
reach you with but a part of his force." General Sher- 
man went on to say : " I wish you to attack any force 
you meet and follow them southward, but in no event 
be drawn into the forks of the streams that make up 
the Yazoo, nor over into Alabama. Do not let the 
enemy draw you into minor affairs, but look solely to 
the greater object: to destroy his communications 
from Okolona to Meridian and thence eastward to 
Selma. From Okolona south you will find abundance 
of forage collected along the railroad, and the farms 
have standing corn in the fields. Take liberally of all 
these, as well as horses, mules, cattle, etc. As a rule, 
respect dwellings and families as something too sacred 
to be disturbed by soldiers, but mills, barns, sheds, 
stables, and such like things use for the benefit and con- 
venience of your command. If convenient send into 
Columbus and destroy all machinery there and the 
bridge across the Tombigbee, which enables the enemy 
to draw supplies from the east side of the valley ; but 
this is not of sufficient importance to delay your move- 
ments. Try and communicate with me by scouts and 
spies from the time you reach Pontotoc. Avoid any 
large force of infantry, leaving them to me. We have 
talked over this matter so much that the above covers 
all points not provided for in my orders of to-day."* 
General Grant was freely consulted, and seems to have 
shared with General Sherman the thought and hope 
that the movement might be continued to Selma and 
even to Mobile. 

General Sherman's aim was to go to Meridian and 
to have General Smith's picked command meet him 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, pp. 1 81-184. 


there. This was all set forth in various orders and 
confidential communications. The general at least was 
frank, and gave the subordinate commander to under- 
stand ihat "war was hell," and that in the enemy's 
country they could help themselves to the necessaries 
of life and something over. All tile commands were 
to go in light marching order ; and in one order Gen- 
eral Sherman said : " Do not hesitate to take any kind 
of provisions or fire-wood, for the enemy must not 
only pay for damages inflicted on our commerce, but 
for the expenses incurred in the suppression.'' This 
related to people living on the Yazoo and Mississippi 
rivers. General Forrest, of course, could have no 
accurate idea as to the details of all these well-matured 
plans. The foregoing extracts and condensations of 
orders as published officially in the Rebellion Records 
give some idea of the situation to be confronted by 
his command. 

Taking it for granted that Smith would start on 
time, General Sherman moved out from Vicksburg 
on the 3d of February with twenty thousand men and 
artillery in proportion, divided into two columns which 
marched in parallel lines, and meeting with little effect- 
ive resistance, reached Meridian on the 14th, and 
remained in that section of the country until the 20th 
of the month. General Smith had been ordered to 
take the aggressive from Memphis on or before the 
1st of February.. He moved to Collierville, twenty-five 
miles eastward, and there, waiting for Waring's bri- 
gade, which was marching slowly through from Colum- 
bus, Ky., remained several days. Waring's troops had 
been retarded by heavy rains and swollen streams, and 
upon arrival at Collierville were held two or three days 
to recuperate and have their horses shod. Hence the 
entire command was not ready lo start until the nth 
of February. It was seven thousand strong, equipped 


in light marching order and armed with Colt repeat- 
ing rifles, modern carbines, and army revolvers. 
Twenty pieces of artillery accompanied the expedition. 
It was expected by General Sherman that Forrest 
would be easily brushed away, and that the march to 
Meridian, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles, 
could be made by the loth of February. The day after 
that date General Smith made the start from Collier- 
ville. As late as February 28th General Sherman was 
ignorant of General Smith's movements, for having re- 
turned to Vicksburg he issued on that date Special 
Field Orders No. 22, in which he said (Sec. I) : " The 
army in the field now at Canton will remain there until 
about March 3d to hear from and assist, if necessary, 
the cavalry expedition under command of Brigadier- 
General William Sooy Smith, which should have left 
Memphis February 2d at farthest but did not until 
about the nth. If heard from General McPherson 
with his corps will await his arrival, or until he can 
communicate with him and order General Smith to the 
vicinity of Big Black Bridge to await further orders, 
or to act offensively should a cavalry force appear 
this side of Pearl River. . . . (Sec. Ill:) Should 
General McPherson hear of the safety of the cavalry 
command referred to, or hear no tidings at all of it, 
on or before the 3d next, he will resume his former 
command at Vicksburg." 

On the 7th of February General Polk notified For- 
rest that General Sherman was leading a column from 
Vicksburg toward Jackson, Miss., and that an expedi- 
tion had been sent up the Yazoo River. Colonel Jeffrey 
Forrest was sent to Grenada with the Fourth Brigade, 
one thousand strong, and fit for duty. About the 
same time General Forrest learned that a large cavalry 
force was soon to leave Memphis, and realizing at once 
that these two movements had a common purpose and 


objective point, disposed his forces as best he could to 
meet the emergency in his immediate front. General 
Chalmers, already south of tlie Tallahatchie, was or- 
dered to guard the crossings of that river ; McCulloch 
was stationed at Panola ; Bell at Belmont ; Richardson 
at Wyatt and Toby-Tubby Ferry, and McGuirk at 
Abbeville. On the evening of the nth, Captain 
Thomas Henderson, chief of scouts, reported the ad- 
vance of a large Federal force toward Holly Springs by 
the Germantown and Byhalia roads. General Chalmers 
was ordered to concentrate at Oxford, which was ac- 
complished after heavy skirmishing at Wyatt and 
Abbeville. But the initial movements of General 
Sooy Smith were mere feints of General McMillin's 
infantry brigade temporarily attached to the com- 

McMillin had marched to Hernando, directly south 
of Memphis, on the 7th, then on the gth moved on 
Senatobia, and after that had daily skirmishes with 
Forrest's forces on outpost duty until the 13th, when he 
reached Wyatt on the Tallahatchie. General Smith, 
after he left CoHterville on the nth, moved upon that 
point as if intending to force a crossing there, and, 
when at a convenient distance, suddenly turned his 
cavalry column toward New Albany, crossed there on 
the i6th and I7tb, and headed directly for the rich 
prairie region around Okolona on the Mobile and Ohio 
Railroad. General Chalmers was ordered to keep on 
the right flank of the enemy, and on the afternoon of 
the i4fh left Oxford for Houston, forty-five miles dis- 
tant. Colonel JciTrcy Forrest was ordered to march 
the Fourth Brigade from Grenada to West Point on 
the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and establish a line of 

Gener.1l William Sony Smith's report. Serial ST- "ol. x 
i. p. 256. Rebellion Records. 


communication by couriers with General Chalmers at 

General Forrest, with Bell's brigade, his artillery 
and escort, left Oxford on the 14th for Grenada, and 
remaining there only a short time, pushed on rapidly 
to Starkville, twenty-five miles west of Columbus; 
thence on the i8th he communicated with General 
Chalmers, who joined him the next day. Colonel 
Jeffrey Forrest engaged the Federal column on the 
road to Aberdeen, a few miles north of Prairie Station, 
and was pushed back toward West Point on the Mobile 
and Ohio Railroad in a series of light skirmishes. 
This was a rainy season; all the streams were out of 
their banks, and the commands on both sides found it 
difficult to march rapidly across the country. Colonel 
Barteau, in command of Bell's brigade, the general 
being sick, was detached on the morning of the 20th 
to cross the Tombigbee at Columbus, and repel any at- 
tempts the Federals might make to cross at Aberdeen 
and move down on the east bank. He found that the 
Federals were massed as far southward as West Point, 
and took a position at Waverly, whence he might 
recross and strike the enemy in the flank. 

General Forrest left Starkville at daybreak on the 
20th with McCulloch's brigade and six hundred of 
Richardson's commanded by Colonel Neely, his artil- 
lery, staff, and escort, and marched as rapidly as pos- 
sible to the support of Colonel Jeffrey Forrest, who 
was still skirmishing and falling back. At 2 p. m. he 
reached the Sook-a-Toncha, a branch of the Oka- 
tibbee, which could only be crossed by a bridge about 
thirty yards in length, four miles west of West Point. 
The stream was deep and sluggish and the bridge 
was approached over a long, narrow, and weak 
causeway. Forrest, however, pushed through and 
beyond West Point, and found Jeffrey Forrest engaged 



with the Federals, the latter being in force and well 
in line of battle on the prairie. Forrest was hoping for 
General S. D. Lee to arrive, and reluctantly fell back 
behind the creek again. He was not ready to fight, 
and hoped to draw the enemy into a pocket formed 
by the confluence of the Tombigbee, a navigable river, 
and several smaller streams. This gave the Federals 
opportunity to burn much more property, which in- 
cluded cotton-gins, cotton bales, granaries, stacks of 
com and fodder, and other property. 

The Federal commander had given orders to respect 
private property and claimed afterward that this was 
done. But in the rush of such a movement in a region 
of Confederate sympathizers and facing hostile forces 
of unknown strength, there was little time for dis- 
crimination, and when the torch was once applied the 
flames swept away public and private propertv alike. 
General Forrest placed his forces back of the bridge 
mentioned, and led McCulloch's brigade four miles up 
the creek, where a small party of Federals had crossed 
and it was supposed a flank movement was being made. 
A few of the Union troops were killed, and twenty- 
three captured. Next morning, the 21st. the bridge 
was again crossed and a heavy skirmish opened. 
which lasted until noon, when the Federals fell back 
precipitately without apparent cause. Forrest with 
his escort and one hundred of Faulkner's Kentuckians 
dashed to the front, and found the enemy in full re- 
treat. Ordering Forrest's and McCulloch's brigades 
forward, and leaving word for General Chalmers to 
guard the crossings and bridges up the stream to pre- 
vent any possible flank movement, he continued the 
pursuit, and was soon sharply engaged. 

Five miles north of West Point the Federals made 
a strong stand at the mouth of a lane, and charged the 
Confederate advance. Forrest led a successful counter- 


charge, and in close quarters here killed a Federal 
trooper with his own hand. The main line of the Fed- 
erals was in a heavy wood near by, and supposed to 
be four thousand strong. Forrest dismounted about 
one thousand of his men and moved them forward as 
infantry. The Federals fought vigorously but con- 
tinued to fall back until they reached a strong position 
behind a picket fence half a mile long ; a regiment was 
thrown around to make a flank movement on the right, 
a charge was made in front, and after stubborn re- 
sistance the Federals again withdrew. Their column 
was encumbered in various ways, including a train of 
loose and pack animals and the care of about three 
thousand negroes who, mounted on mules, had flocked 
from the plantations to the Union standard. The 
ground was soaked with water, and the roads cut all 
to pieces by the artillery, wagons, and horses. For- 
rest's men and horses were jaded and hungry, but were 
in lighter marching order than General Smith's com- 
mand, and could move with greater celerity. There 
was a little more fighting in the afternoon, and Forrest's 
losses that day were considerable. Bell's brigade, com- 
manded by Colonel Barteau, had crossed back to the 
west bank of the Tombigbee, near Waverly, and kept 
between the Federal column and the river as far as 
Egypt Station, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and 
there rested for the night. 

At four o'clock on the morning of the 22d, McCul- 
loch's and Jeffrey Forrest's brigades were once more 
moving toward Okolona, fourteen miles distant. Colo- 
nel Forrest was directed to take a left-hand road when 
within nine miles of Okolona, and throw his brigade 
over on the Pontotoc road and cut off retreat in that 
direction if possible. The general with his staff and 
escort rode directly to the front. Barteau, as men- 
tioned, had kept well to the Federal right the day be- 


fore, but when morning dawned he found himself in 
an isolated and perilous position. The Federals on 
reaching Okolona prepared to dose in on him. Bar- 
teau deployed his skirmishers and brigade to advantage 
and moved up as if to make an attack. While he was 
thus maneuvering, and General Grierson was recon- 
noitcring on his flanks to ascertain the strength of the 
brigade and what might be back of it, General Forrest 
came up with his small force and joined Barteau in a 
charge on a weak place in Grierson's hues. McCul- 
loch's brigade was seen coming up from the south, 
and the Federals resumed their retreat in great dis- 
order on the Pontotoc road. The losses on both sides 
in this brief affair were light compared with the num- 
bers engaged. 

The pursuit was kept up with great energy, and a 
number of fugitives who fell behind were killed or 
captured, and five pieces of artillery and their caissons 
were abandoned with their horses dead or helpless in 
the ditches. Speaking of this retreat from Okolona, 
Lieutenant I. W. Curtis, of the First Illinois Light 
Artillerj-, says in his report : " We had not proceeded 
very far from Okolqna when we were unexpectedly 
surprised by the presence of flying cavalry on both 
sides of us. They were in perfect confusion, some 
hallooing, ' Go ahead, or we will be killed ! ' while some 
few showed a willingness to fight. After several un- 
successful attempts to form my battery, I gave it up 
and marched as best I could until I received an order 
for me to try and save the artillery by marching 
through the fields to the right. I proceeded to comply 
with orders. After crossing some two or three almost 
impassable ditches, and my horses being nearly ex- 
hausted, I came to another ditch some six feet deep. 
I managed to get one gun over safely by the men dis- 
mounting and taking it over by hand, and one other, 


which by the time we got it over was broken, so that 
we had to leave it. I ordered them to cut the horses 
loose, to cut the gearing, and to go ahead with the 
led horses."* 

The Federals made no halt until they reached a 
point about "five miles west of Okolona. Here Colonel 
Waring's brigade was ordered to make a stand in con- 
junction with artillery, and hold his ground until the 
demoralized cavalry could pass through, and, if pos- 
sible, be reorganized in the rear. Colonel Waring said : 
" I formed my brigade in line with skirmishers far 
out on each flank, and remained until the Third Bri- 
gade had passed through portions of it in such con- 
fusion as to endanger the morale of my command." f 

Another stand was made about a mile distant and 
held for a short time by four regiments, but only to be 
forced back. General Smith was fully aware of the 
gravity of his environments, and made a determined 
stand in a position of great natural strength at a place 
known as " Iveys Hill," near Prairie Mound, seven 
miles out from Okolona. This was beyond the point 
where the road passes from the prairie to the hill 
country, and on a ridge easily defended. Here the 
general massed his artillery and threw up temporary 
breastworks of rails and logs between and on the 
flanks of the various buildings usually found on a large 
plantation. This position was not easily approached 
from the east except by a long, narrow road. When 
General Forrest came up he ordered Jeffrey Forrest's 
brigade to form on the right of the road in columns 
of fours, and McCulloch's brigade to form in like man- 
ner on the left; both to change formation into line 
when within three hundred yards of the position to be 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, pp. 301, 302. 
t Ibid., p. 268. 


assaulted, and this was done with the precision of 
veterans. Both hrigades did not number twelve hun- 
dred men. Colonel Forrest, deploying Duff's Missis- 
sippians and his own regiment of Tennesseeans and 
Alabamians under Lieutenant- Colonel Wisdom, moved 
to the onset at equal pace with McCulloch's brigade 
and carried the first line, but back of that was another 
in an even better prosition. Again the charge sounded, 
and the Confederate lines advanced under a galling 
fire, and many fell killed or mortally wounded. 

Here the intrepid young Colonel Jeffrey Forrest, 
in front of his command, was shot through the neck 
within fifty yards of the Federal lines, and died almost 
instantly. His men and others faltered as they saw 
their leader fall. General Forrest, hearing of his great 
loss, rushed to the spot, and, springing from his horse, 
fell down on his knees by the side of his dead young 
brother, his favorite, his Benjamin, calling him by 
name in the most endearing and pathetic tones. But 
the spirit had fled, and no answer came. The Con- 
federates near by ceased firing and stood back in awe 
and sorrow, and the Federals, realizing that something 
unusual had hap])ened, withheld their volleys for a 
moment. Tears came to the eyes of grimy soldiers, 
and stifled sobs of sympathy welled up in their throats. 
Yet it was soon over. Kissing his dead brother pas- 
sionately, the strong man was himself again. Rising 
to his feet, he requested his adjutant-general. Major 
Strange, to care for the body, mounted his horse, and 
looking around at his staff and escort, he called upon 
his bugler, in a loud, strong voice, to sound the charge. 

In the last engagement Lieutenant-Colonel James 
A. Barksdale, of the Fifth Mississippi Cavalry, fell 
mortally wounded, a loss keenly felt by his regiment 
and the command at large. Colonel McCulloch was 
severely wounded in the hand, but did not at once re- 


linquish his place at the front. Bell's brigade came up, 
and Colonel Duckworth assumed command of Jeffrey 
Forrest's brigade. 

Led by General Forrest the entire command made 
an impetuous charge, before which the Federal lines 
gave way. The general acted so rashly that members 
of his staff feared he had given up to his emotions at 
the loss of his brother, and was thus rushing forward 
to throw his life away. The troops, however, went 
into the charge in flank and in front with their wonted 
spirit, and soon found that General Smith was con- 
tinuing his retreat. Forrest and his escort, about sixty 
in number, still kept in the lead, and suddenly dashed 
into the rear-guard of about five hundred men, thrown 
across the road, and were at once surrounded and en- 
gaged in a bloody hand-to-hand fight. In a few mo- 
ments McCulloch's small brigade came upon the scene, 
but the men hesitated about going into such a trap. 
The colonel had been wounded about the time Jeffrey 
Forrest fell. Raising his wounded, dripping hand 
above his head, he called upon the Missourians to 
follow him, and they were soon mingling in the mcleCy 
and succeeded in rescuing their general and his few 
followers. It was said that General Forrest killed or 
disabled three of his assailants in this short but furious 
fight, one of them being in the act of shooting Lieu- 
tenant Thomas D. Tate, who was in command of the 

The Federal rear-guard moved on about a mile, 
and made another stand. Approaching this position, 
General Forrest and his chief surgeon, J. B. Cowan, 
drew a heavy fire from small arms and artillery, and 
the general's horse fell dead. Forrest declined to take 
Doctor Cowan's horse, but called up a member of his 
escort, took his horse, and told the man he could go 
*o the rear. The main command came up, and a few 



moments later a sharp fight took place, in which the 
general lost the second horse. After that he sent back 
for his famous war-horse. " King Philip," and con- 
tinued to lead his men until dark.* Late in the day the 
Federals made a final stand, formed into line of battle, 
and charged down on the Confederates in fine style. 
Forrest was at the front with about three hundred 
men, and was in great peril. Falling back behind a 
deep gully, he repelled two charges, but the third 
broke through his lines. The Confederates were nearly 
out of ammunition for their guns, and resorted to the 
use of their revolvers. In the midst of a hand-to-hand 
fight, Lieu ten ant- Colonel McCulloch came up in com- 
mand of McCuUoch's brigade, the colonel having been 
wounded a second time. This last and most gallant 
charge was met and driven back. A number' of Fed- 
erals were killed, including an officer said to be an 
aide-de-camp to General Grierson, whose conspicuous 
bravery so excited the admiration of his foes that Gen- 
eral Forrest directed special attention to be paid to his 
body. This was the end of the real fighting of that 
eventful day and brief campaign. General Smith made 
haste to get back across the Tallahatchie River. 

By 8 p. M. Forrest's men were well closed up, and 
about that time General Gholson reached the field with 
a brigade of seven hundred Mississippi State troops. 

• This remarkable horse, a superb iron-gray, was Ihen twelve 
years old, and had seen hard service wilhin the Confederate lines 
at the siege of Vicksburg. Coming out very thin he was well 
cared for, and afterward presented to General Forrest hy the 
citiiens of Columbus, Mias. When in battle he seemed to catch 
the spirit of his master, would lay Ijaclc his ears, rush at the 
enemy, and snap his teeth with a violent show of temper. He 
was wounded that day near Iveys Farm, but survived the war 
and was tenderly cared for as long as he lived. All the men of 
Forrest's command knew " King Philip " as well as they knew 
the genera!. 


On the morning of the 3d he was ordered to take up 
the pursuit, which, of course, he could not do very 
effectively ; but his men were fresh, and kept on after 
the fleeing column as far north as the Tallahatchie, 
which was crossed by General Smith on the 23d, at 
New Albany, twenty-five miles east of Oxford, and 
he moyed back to Memphis without further serious 
molestation. General Gholson picked up about fifty 
stragglers and some abandoned property on the road. 
Independent scouts, who happened to be in the neigh- 
borhood, fired several times on General Smith's column, 
south of the Tallahatchie, creating the impression that 
Forrest was making flank movements, and thus has- 
tening the retreat across the river. 

Colonel Waring, in his account of the affair, says : 
" The retreat to Memphis was a very disheartening 
and almost panic-stricken flight, in the greatest dis- 
order and confusion, and through a most difficult coun- 
try. The First Brigade reached its camping ground 
five days after the engagement, with the loss of all its 
heart and spirit, and nearly fifteen hundred fine cavalry 
horses. The expedition filled every man connected 
with it with burning shame, and it gave Forrest the 
most glorious achievement of his career." 

The losses on both sides in the engagements of the 
20th, 2ist, and 22d were: Confederates, twenty-seven 
killed, ninety-seven wounded, and twenty missing; 
aggregate, one hundred and forty-four. Federal offi- 
cers killed, two ; men, fifty-two ; officers wounded, six- 
teen; men, one hundred and sixty-three; officers cap- 
tured and missing, two; men, one hundred and fifty- 
three ; aggregate, three hundred and eighty-eight.* 

Major-General Lee, with Major-General W. H. 
Jackson's division, had arrived at General Chalmers's 

* RebeUion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, pp. 194-353. 



headquarters, behind the Sook-a-Toncha, on the morn- 
ing of the 22d, and becoming satisfied that the move- 
ment was baffled, fell back to Starkvilie, General For- 
rest, after giving orders for details to be made to 
press wagons and remove the wounded on both sides 
to hospitals in Okolona, left for Starkvilie with his 
stafi and escort, reaching there on the 24th. On the 
26th he was joined there by his entire force, including 
General Chalmers's division, and proceeded to Colum- 
bus to go into camp, and was occupied there some time 
reorganizing his command. 

General Sherman returned from Meridian to Vicks- 
burg without hearing of General Smith, and excori- 
ated him in his reports, as wel! as in his Memoirs, for 
not leaving Memphis and reaching Meridian on time, 
although speaking of him as an accomplished gentle- 
man and skilful engineer. Major-General Forrest, in 
a report to Lieu tenant-General Polk, dated Stark- 
vilie, Miss., February 26, 1864, says in part: 

I am under many obligations for the ordnance stores 
and train sent to Gainesviile. Am also gratified at being 
able to say that your wishes in regard to Generals Smilh 
and Gricrson are realized; at least to the extent of their 
defeat and utter rout. We met them on Sunday morning 
last (21st) at ElHs's bridge on Sook-a-Toncha Creek, three 
miles south of West Point, in front of which Colonel For- 
rest's brigade was posted to prevent the enemy from cross- 
ing. After a brisk engagement of an hour and a half 
the enemy retired toward West Point. It was not my 
intention to attack them or bring on a general engagement, 
but to develop their strength, position, and movements. 
I moved forward with my escort and a portion of Faulk- 
ner's Kentucky regiment and found the enemy had begun 
a rapid and systematic retreat, and being unwilling they 
should leave this section without a fight, ordered the ad- 
vance of my columns. Will forward a detailed official 
report. It is sufficient for me to say here that with twen- 


ty-five hundred men, the enemy, numbering from six 
thousand to seven thousand strong, were driven from West 
Point to within ten miles of Pontotoc in two days. All hie 
efforts to check our advance failed, and his forces at last 
fled utterly defeated and demoralized, leaving six pieces of 
artillery, one hundred killed, over one hundred prisoners, 
and wounded estimated at three hundred or over. The 
seriously wounded — about fifty in number — fell into our 
hands. They took in their retreat every carriage, buggy, 
cart, and wagon along the road to remove their killed and 
wounded officers, and all their slightly wounded, according 
to reports of citizens, were moved in front with their pack- 
train. Among the killed are my brother, Colonel Jeffrey 
Forrest, commanding brigade; Lieutenant-Colonel Barks- 
dale, commanding Colonel George*s regiment, and several 
other officers, names not remembered. 

It affords me pleasure to mention the fortitude and 
gallantry displayed by the troops engaged, especially the 
new troops from West Tennessee, who, considering their 
want of drill and discipline and experience, behaved hand- 
somely, and the moral effect of their victory over the best 
cavalry in the Federal service will tell in their future 
operations, inspiring them with courage and confidence in 
their ability to whip them again. Considering the dispar- 
ity in numbers, discipline, and drill, I consider it one of 
the most complete victories that has occurred during the 
war. After the enemy succeeded in reaching the hills 
between Okolona and Pontotoc their resistance was obsti- 
nate, compelling me to frequently dismount my advance to 
drive them from favorable positions. . . . About three hun- 
dred men of the Second Tennessee Cavalry, under Colo- 
nel Barteau, and the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, under 
Colonel Duckworth, received the repeated charges of seven 
regiments in the open ground, finally driving them from the 
field, capturing three stands of colors and another piece 
of their artillery. A great deal of the fighting was almost 
hand to hand, and the only way I can account for our small 
loss is in the fact that we kept so close to them that the 
enemy overshot our men. Owing to the broken-down and 



exhausted condition of our men and horses, and being al- 
most out of ammunition, 1 was compelled to stop pursuit. 
Major-General Gholson arrived during Monday night 
(22d), and his command being comparatively fresh, con- 
tinues the pursuit, and when last heard from was still 
driving the enemy, capturing liorses and prisoners. The 
enemy had crossed the Tallahatchie River on the night 
of the 23d (Tuesday), burning the bridge behind them 
at New Albany, and retreating rapidly toward Memphis, 
with Gholson still in pursuit. 

Respectfully, etc., 

N. B. Forrest, Major-General. 
To Lieutenant-General Polk.* 

In the course of a more elaborate report made at 
Columbus, Miss., March 8, 1864, General Forrest says: 
" The killed and wounded of the enemy who fell into 
our hands amount to over one hundred. We cap- 
tured six pieces of artillery, three stands of colors, and 
one hundred and sixty-two prisoners. By pressing 
every horse, wagon, buggy, and carriage along the 
road, they were enabled to take off all their wounded, 
except those severely or mortaliy wounded; and it is 
a low estimate to place their loss in killed, wounded, 
and missing at eight hundred. My force in the fight 
did not exceed twenty-five hundred men, while that 
of the enemy was twenty-seven regiments of cavalry 
and mounted infantry, estimated at seven thousand." 

He regretted the loss of some gallant officers, in- 
cluding his brother. Colonel J. E. Forrest, an officer 
who, for sobriety, ability, prudence, and bravery had 
no superior of his age, being only twenty-four years 
old. Special mention was made of different com- 
mands, and of his staff- officers, for endurance and 
courage. General Polk issued special orders dated 
Demopolis, Ala., March 3d, in which he congratulated 



the officers and men of Major-General Lee and Major- 
General Forrest " upon the brilliant and successful 
campaign just closed," and Forrest issued a stirring 
address to the men, dated at Columbus, March nth. 

Under date of Memphis, February 28, 1864, Brig- 
adier-General William Sooy Smith, chief of cavalry, 
reported to General Grant at Nashville, briefly as fol- 
lows : " I penetrated to West Point, reaching that place 
on Sunday, the 21st inst. Burned two million bushels 
of corn and two thousand bales of Confederate cotton, 
brought out about three thousand horses and mules, 
and fifteen hundred negroes. Could not force my way 
through to Sherman. ... I fought the rebels at 
four points severely, and skirmished with them as we 
retired, for sixty miles. We had the best of them at all 
points except at Okolona, where our loss was very 
severe, including a battery of small howitzers, which 
we drove into a ditch, and so disabled that we could not 
get it along. This whole trouble resulted from the bad 
conduct of a portion of McCrilli's brigade. I will 
write fully, and start back to Nashville about day after 
to-morrow." General Smith made a more specific and 
elaborate report, dated Nashville, March 4, 1864, which 
contains facts not previously stated by him. He said 
in part : 

On December 28, 1863, I started from this city with 
the Second, Third, and Fourth Tennessee Cavalry regi- 
ments, Third and Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, and Twenty- 
eighth Mounted Infantry. . . . The object of these move- 
ments was to clear the country of the bands of guerrillas 
that infested it, and to watch any attempt that Forrest, 
who was then at Jackson, Tenn., might make to throw 
his force, or any portion of it, over into Middle Ten- 
nessee or Kentucky. . . . Upon reaching the Tennessee 
River, the command, then consisting of the Second, Third, 
and Fourth Tennessee Cavalry, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, 




Fourth United States Cavalry, and Seventy-second Indi- 
ana Mounted Infantry, was thrown across the river and ' 
moved toward Corinth, which point we reached on the 
8th of January.. Forrest had moved southward into 
Mississippi before my command reached the Tennessee 
River — urged to this step by the movement of the troops 
otthe Sixteenth Army-corps upon him. 

Orders had been issued to abandon the railroad from 
Memphis to Corinth, and I moved my command to Col- 
lierville (twenty-five miles east of Memphis) to await the 
arrival of Wiring's brigade, which only reached Collier- 
ville on Monday, the 8th of February. ... By great effort 
the whole command was prepared for the movement and 
put in motion on the nth of February. Forrest had taken 
position behind the Tallahatchie River, determined to re- 
sist our crossing. I threw McMillin's brigade of infan- 
try, temporarily assigned to my command, rapidly toward 
Panola from Memphis on the 8th of February, and on the 
nth ordered it to move toward Wyatt, toward which point 
I directed the march of my whole cavalry force, until the 
impression was made that I intended forcing a crossing 
at that point, which I attacked with the brigade of infantry, 
and attracted the attention and forces of the enemy there 
while I threw my whole cavalry force around by way of 
New Albany, where I crossed the Tallahatchie without 
firing a shot, although delayed a day at the crossing of 
Tippah Creek, swollen by a freshet. We then moved rap- 
idly on Pontotoc and Houston. Within ten miles of Hous- 
ton we saw an outpost of State troops. These stampeded, 
leaving a portion of their arms. We forced our way over 
a corduroy road, strongly guarded — one mile long — to the 
crossing of the Houlka Swamp, three miles north of 
Houston. The roads crossing this road were held by the 
enemy in force. Our advance made an attack on the 
force on the road leading to Houston while the main body 
was moved rapidly eastward to Okolona, where a number 
of rebel offitcrs and men on furlough were captured. A 
regiment was thrown forward by forced march to en- 
deavor to seize ferry-boats on the Tombigbee, but none 


were found. The next morning one brigade was moved 
to the support of the regiment and to threaten Columbus, 
while two brigades moved down the railroad toward West 
Point, throwing out strong detachments to make feints 
and watch the crossing of the Sook-a-Toncha on our right 
and destroy the roads as they went, together with the 
vast amount of corn that was collected in cribs near the 
railroad. They also destroyed all' the Confederate cotton 
that was found. The brigade that went to Aberdeen did 
the same, and also destroyed a very extensive tannery, 
together with about two thousand hides. ... I concen- 
trated my command at Prairie Station — fifteen miles north 
of West Point — and moved on that place on the 20th of 
February. One mile north of the town we drove in a 
rebel brigade after a short, sharp fight. The whole com- 
mand arrived near West Point at about 3 p. m., and care- 
ful reconnaissances were made of the Sook-a-Toncha 
Swamp on our right, the Okatibbee on our front, and the 
Tombigbee on our left. They were all found strongly 
held by the enemy, present in four brigades and to the 
number of about six or seven thousand, according to the 
best information that could be obtained. 

Exaggerated reports of Forrest's strength reached me 
constantly, and it was reported that Lee was about to re- 
enforce him with a portion, or the whole of his command. 
Columbus had been evacuated, and all the State troops 
that could be assembled from every quarter were drawn 
together at my front to hold the Okatibbee against me, 
while a heavy force was seen coming to my rear. About 
three thousand able-bodied negroes had taken up with us, 
mounted on as many horses and mules brought with them. 
We had also seven hundred pack-mules. All these encum- 
brances to be strongly guarded against the flank attacks 
constantly threatened. This absorbed about three thou- 
sand of my available force. There remained a little less 
than five thousand men who could be thrown into action. 
The enemy had every advantage of position. The ground 
was so obstructed that we must fight dismounted, and for 
this kind of fighting the enemy, being armed with Enfield 


and Austrian rifles, was better prepared than our force, 
armed mainly with carbines. Tbere was but one of my 
brigades that I could rely upon with full confidence. The 
conduct of the others on the march had been such as to 
indicate a lack of discipline and to create in my mind 
the most serious apprehensions as to what would be their 
conduct in action. Any reverse to my command would 
have been fatal. I was ten days late with my movement, 
owing to the delay of Waring's brigade in arriving from 
Columbus, and had every reason to believe that General 
Sherman, having accomplished the purpose of his expedi- 
tion, had returned to Vicksburg. Under the circum- 
stances I determined not to move my encumbered com- 
mand into the trap set for me by the rebels. We had de- 
stroyed two million bushels of corn, two thousand bales of 
Confederate cotton, and thirty miles of railroad. We had 
captured about two hundred prisoners and three thousand 
horses and mules, and rescued as many negroes well fitted 
for our service. I therefore determined to move back and 
draw the enemy after me that I might select my own po- 
sitions and fight with the advantages in our favor. In 
this I succeeded perfectly, disposing my forces behind 
every crest of a hill and in every skirt of timber that fur- 
nished us cover, inflicting heavy losses upon them at every 
attack, while our losses were uniformly light, until we 
reached Okolona. where, after the Fourth Regulars had 
driven one entire rebel brigade out of the town three 
times, a portion of McCrilli's brigade, sent to the support 
of the Fourth, stampeded at the yells of our own men 
charging and galloped back through and over everything, 
spreading confusion wherever they went and driving Per- 
kins's battery of six small mountain howitzers off the 
road into a ditch, where the imperfect carriages they 
were mounted upon were all so wrecked that we could not 
get the battery along, and had to abandon it after spiking 
the guns, chopping the carriages to pieces, and deslroying 
the ammunition. Organized forces were immediately 
thrown to the rear and the enemy handsomely repulsed. 
Skirmishing continued about ten miles, when we reached 



a fine position at Iveys Farm. Here I deployed a line of 
dismounted men, consisting of four regiments. A battery 
was placed near the road where it could enfilade the col- 
umn as it advanced. Just to the right of the battery the 
Fourth Missouri Cavalry (and six companies of the Sev- 
enth Indiana Cavalry) were formed and mounted for a 
saber charge, and the Third Tennessee Cavalry (mounted) 
was sent to the extreme right with orders to charge in 
flank when the troops made the direct charge in front. 

While these dispositions were being made the enemy 
pressed our rear, that was well posted, very heavily, and 
were sorely handled. The rear-guard was at last called 
ofT rapidly and the rebel column let into the space pre- 
pared for them, when the battery opened upon them in 
very gallant style, and the dismounted troops poured 
volley after volley into them. They pressed their attack 
with great determination, but at last fell back. Just as 
they began to retire they were charged very successfully 
by the Fourth Missouri and Seventh Indiana in front and 
by the Third Tennessee in flank. This completely routed 
them, and they were driven from the field with heavy loss. 
It was reported that Colonel Forrest, brother to the gen- 
eral, commander of a brigade, and Colonel Barksdale fell, 
and McCulloch, another commander of a brigade, and 
Colonel Barteau were seriously wounded. Strong detach- 
ments were thrown out upon our flanks at every vulnerable 
point, and every attempt to cut our column by a flank 
attack was met and thwarted. Our march was so rapid 
that the enemy could not 'outstrip and intercept us, which 
they constantly endeavored to do. No heavy fighting oc- 
curred after we passed the Ivey Farm, although skirmish- 
ing continued as far as Pontotoc. I then moved back to 
Memphis with everything that we had captured, content 
with the very great injury we had inflicted upon them, 
and feeling that everything had been achieved that was at 
all practicable under the circumstances. Returning I 
drew the enemy after me and inflicted heavy losses upon 
them, and saved my command with all our captured stock 
and prisoners and rescued negroes with very trifling losses 



except in stragglers captured. Attempting to cut through 
to Sherman, 1 would have lost my entire command, and, 
of course, couSd have rendered him no assistance. . . , 
Information since obtained fully justifies the decision to 
retire before Forrest's force from West Point. General 
Sherman's expeditionary force had withdrawn from Merid- 
ian before my arrival at West Point on a line that could 
not have been known to me. Forrest's force is ascertained 
to have been rather above than below my estimate. Chal- 
mers was moving with two brigades to my rear, while Lee, 
with from three thousand to four thousand, was ordered up 
to join Forrest in my front. . . . The encumbrances which 
already overburdened me would have increased, and it was 
impossible to shake them off, and, involved in an exceeding- 
ly intricate and obstructed coutitry, I would have been com- 
pelled to contend with a force numerically largely supe- 
rior to my own; and looking back upon the movement I 
would in no way have been justifiable in moving at the 
time appointed without the whole force which I was or- 
dered to take. Had I moved with the Second and Third 
Brigades only I would have had less than five thousand 
men instead of seven thousand, would have had the odds 
largely against me from the moment I dropped the in- 
fantry brigade and crossed the Tallahatchie River, and, 
meeting with disaster, would have been subjected to se- 
vere censure. The brigade moved from Colmnbus under 
orders not my own, and for its delay I am in no wise re- 
sponsible. This much I feel constrained to write in the 
nature of a defense for the sake of my command, as it 
must participate in the mortification of a supposed failure, 
when we bear with us the consciousness of success and 
duty well performed. A full list of prisoners captured — 
about two hundred — is in course of preparation, and will 
be forwarded, etc.* 

General Sherman, in forwarding; this instructive 
and valuable report from Nashville to the adjutant- 
general at Washington on the gth of April, 1864, 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, pp. 254. 260, 


merely indorsed it as follows : " I have heretofore re- 
ported in this case, and could now only add that Gen- 
eral Smith should have moved on time at any and 
every risk. His instructions (of January 27th) are as 
specific as could possibly have been made before the 
occurrence of the events." 

Sherman never forgave Smith for his defeat. In 
his Memoirs, he says : " General Smith never regained 
my confidence, though I still regard him as a most 
accomplished gentleman and a skilful engineer. Since 
the close of the war he has appealed to me to relieve 
him of that censure, but I could not do it because it 
would falsify history." General Grant said : " General 
Sooy Smith was ordered to move about the ist of 
February against Forrest, who was known to be south- 
east of Memphis with four thousand cavalry, com- 
posed of well-drilled, disciplined men, who, under so 
able a leader, were very effective. Smith's command 
was nearly double that of Forrest, but not equal man to 
man, for the lack of experience, such as Forrest's men 
had. The fact is, that troops that have fought a few 
battles and won, and followed up their victories, im- 
prove upon what they were before to an extent that can 
hardly be counted by percentage. The difference in 
result is often decisive victory instead of inglorious 
defeat. This same difference is often due to the way 
troops are officered, and for the particular kind of war- 
fare which Forrest carried on the army could present 
no more effective officer than he was. Sherman had 
spent two weeks at Meridian waiting to hear from Sooy 
Smith, who had met Forrest, and, he hoped, had gained 
a decisive victory because of superiority of numbers. 
Hearing nothing, he started on his return trip to 
Vicksburg. There he learned that Smith did meet For- 
rest, but the result was decidedly in Forrest's favor." 
(Personal Memoirs U. S. Grant, vol. ii, page no.) 



Forrest remained at Columbus, Miss., no longer 
than was necessary to rest and equip his command. 
The men, flushed with success, were eager to follow 
him into any field. He was soon joined by General 
Buford, with three small regiments of Kcntuckians 
transferred from the infantry and reduced by hard 
campaigns, exposure, and sickness to about seven hun- 
dred effective men, and only about a third of whom 
were mounted. Forrest's plan now was to make an- 
other move into West Tennessee, and extend it as 
far as Columbus and Paducah, Ky., give the men an 
opportunity to supply themselves with clothing and 
horses, and send out supplies. The unmounted Ken- 
tuckians gladly agreed to march back toward their 

Four small brigades were organized. The First, 
commanded by Colonel J. J. Neely ; the Second, by 
Colonel Robert McCiilIoch ; the Third, by Colonel A. 
P. Thompson, and the Fourth Brigade by Genera! T. 
H. Bell. General Chalmers was assigned to the com- 
mand of the First Division, composed of First and Sec- 
ond Brigades, in orders issued on the 7th of March. 
Meantime Genera! Richardson had been sent to Grena- 
da, and thence southward seventy-five miles, to cooper- 
ate with General Ross in an attack upon Yazoo City, 
which was a failure, although the Federals retreated 
after having accomplished their purpose of drawing 


off a part of Forrest's command. Richardson returned 
to Grenada, was relieved from duty on the 12th, and 
his brigade joined the First Division, near Panola, 
where it had arrived by widely divergent roads two 
days previously. 

The Federal commanders well knew that Forrest 
would soon aim another blow at some point upon or 
within their lines, and in the despatches passing at that 
period, expressed a variety of opinions as to where he 
would next appear. But he was a man of reticence, 
who kept his own counsels well, and only disclosed his 
plans to a chosen few until the hour came to mount. 
The entire command was set in motion on the 15th of 
March. Buford's division, composed of Thompson's 
and Bell's brigades, the Seventh Tennessee, and 
McDonald's battalion marched in the direction of Cor- 
inth, but when near there deflected to the left, and 
marched to Jackson. Faulkner's regiment, on the left, 
crossed the now abandoned railroad, and marched by 
way of Bolivar to Denmark. General Forrest reached 
Jackson, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, on 
the 20th, and on the 22d he moved on Trenton, with his 
escort and the Seventh Tennessee and Twelfth Ken- 
tucky regiments. Colonel Wilson, with five companies 
of the Sixteenth Tennessee, was left at Jackson to hold 
the place, and care for the disabled and dismounted 
men who could not accompany the expedition. 

Colonel Duckworth was ordered on the 23d to 
move with the Seventh Tennessee, Faulkner's regiment, 
and McDonald's battalion, and capture Union City. 
Reaching there before daylight the next morning he 
found the place well fortified, and occupied by a force 
capable of prolonged resistance. Colonel Hawkins, of 
the Second Tennessee Federal Cavalrv, who had been 
captured by Forrest in 1862, was in command. Duck- 
worth closed in on the place as soon as it was light 




enough, and skirmished sharply until ten o'clock, losing 
several men in killed and wounded. But, having no 
artillery, he realized that he could not storm the place 
without much loss of life. Drawing off his men, he 
resorted to one of Forrest's favorite methods of " pre- 
venting the further effusion of blood." He wrote 
a peremptory demand in the name of Forrest for the 
surrender of the garrison, stating that he had a large 
force, and would not be responsible for the conse- 
quences if obliged to take the stockade by assault. This 
was sent in by Captain Henry Livingstone, Adjutant 
Will Pope, of the Seventh Tennessee, and Lieutenant 
William McDonnell, of Henderson's scouts. 

Hawkins refused to surrender, but wanted to see 
Forrest in person. He was allowed to come out of his 
lines, but was met by Colonel Duckworth, who told him 
sharply that the general would not confer with any one 
below his own rank, and eloquently advised him to 
surrender while he could, and enlarged upon the dire 
calamities that would befall the garrison if a capitula- 
tion was not agreed upon in five minutes. Meantime 
some of Duckworth's men mounted a black log on the 
forewheels of a common wagpn. drawn by two mules, 
with an old box similarly paraded on other wheels in 
imitation of a caisson, and drove around in the bushes 
as if looking for a good position for artillery. This 
device was not without its influence. Hawkins weak- 
ened, and surrendered at eleven o'clock, when help was 
near at hand. General Brayman, with two thousand 
men, a battery, and mounted scouts on a train, was 
hurrying with all possible speed to the relief of this 
outpost, but was stopped at a burned bridge only six 
miles away, and there, hearing of the surrender, he 
returned to Columbus and thence to Cairo. In his 
report, he says: 

" I heard with great pain and surprise that Colonel 


Hawkins had surrendered at ii a. m., and had, with his 
force, been removed, and his fortifications destroyed. 
The force of the enemy does not appear more than one- 
fourth the number reported (seven thousand), and 
without artillery. The number of men surrendered 
is probably five hundred, some seventy-five having es- 
caped. All were armed and equipped; about three 
hundred mounted. A few mules, three wagons, and 
an inconsiderable amount of public property were lost 
and destroyed. I learn that Colonel Hawkins's com- 
mand had been recently paid for over a year's service, 
and that the aggregate of individual loss on the part of 
the officers and soldiers will reach some $60,000." 

Colonel Duckworth lost no time in removing such 
useful supplies as were found, burned what remained, 
and sent the prisoners southward. McDonald's battal- 
ion was moved on the road toward Memphis, and 
Duckworth started back to join the main command. 

Forrest had advanced rapidly with his escort and 
a portion of Buford's division toward Paducah, and 
on nearing that point, threw forward detachments on 
the various approaches, and about 1.30 p.m., of the- 
25th, surprised and captured the Federal outpost, 
about fifty men, at " Eden " Hill. He then pressed for- 
ward rapidly, and at about 2 p. m. had driven in or cap- 
tured all the pickets. The command was immediately 
thrown into position. General Buford, with part 
of the Kentucky brigade, consisting of the Third 
Kentucky, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel G.. A. C. 
Holt, the Seventh Kentucky, commanded by Colonel 
Edward Crossland, and the Eighth Kentucky, com- 
manded by Lieutenant-Colonel Shacklett, were imme- 
diately dismounted, and were advanced on the front 
and the extreme left, closing in on that side of the 
fort to feel the strength of the enemy. The Third 
Kentucky, Colonel Thompson's regiment, in command 


of Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. C. Holt, occupied the 
extreme left of the line. General Forrest, with the 
balance of his command, was in person on the right, 
and, pressing up the river, drove everything he- 
fore him into the fort and on the gunboats. In the 
meantime the Kentucky brigade had rushed forward 
under a terrific fire from the fort and two gunboats, 
and taken position under cover of houses in close range 
of the fort. At this time the entire city, except the 
fort, including United States Government stores and 
supplies, and a large number of mules, horses, and 
wagons, was in full possession of Forrest's troops. 
General Forrest, on the right, had burned the dry-dock, 
one steamboat, and many bales of cotton, and cap- 
tured a great number of Government horses and wag- 
ons, and commissary and quartermaster supplies. 
From the covered position near the fort and river, 
the sharpshooters kept up a continuous and effective 
fire on the fort and gunboats for about half an hour. 
The fort was closely invested. 

At this juncture, General Forrest sounded a truce, 
and sent in, under a flag, a note in his usual character- 
istic style, demanding the unconditional surrender of 
the garrison. Colonel S. G. Hicks, of the Fortieth 
Illinois Infantry, a gallant officer, was commandant of 
the post, and declined to surrender. Whereupon firing 
recommenced from the fort and two gunboats, which 
was replied to sharply by General Forrest's troops from 
their sheltered positions, firing at every head that ap- 
peared above the parapet, or on the gunboats, inflict- 
ing considerable loss on the Federals. 

General Forrest had no artillery except two little 
mountain howitzers, commonly called in army parlance 
" bull pups," commanded by Major Upton, which were 
utterly useless in an engagement of this character ex- 
cept to make a noise. If General Forrest could have 


had even his fifle battery with him on this occasion, 
the fate of Colonel Hicks would doubtless have been 
very different. 

The fort was well garrisoned, besides having a 
wide, deep ditch around it with abatis work, which 
rendered it almost impregnable to an infantry charge 
unaided by artillery. It was not the purpose of Gen- 
eral Forrest to attempt to storm it, as the consequent 
loss of life would not justify such a course. However, 
Colonel A. P. Thompson, who was in sight of his 
home, without orders to do so concluded to storm 
and capture the fort with his three small veteran Ken- 
tucky regiments. He ordered a charge, which, al- 
though ill-judged, was made in the most gallant style. 
The brave Kentuckians dashed forward to the ditch, 
which they found impassable without pontoons or lad- 
ders. This charge was met by a galling fire of grape, 
canister, shrapnel, and shell, as well as small arms 
from the fort and two gunboats, which caused the 
brigade to fall back with considerable loss. General 
Buford sent an order by his assistant inspector-gen- 
eral. Captain D. E. Myers, to Colonel Thompson, to 
fall back under cover of a line of houses, where his 
men could be protected. Captain Myers was directed 
to proceed to the right of the brigade, and down the 
line to the left, delivering the order to the colonels of 
the regiments, until he found Colonel Thompson. 
This he did, running the gantlet of the entire line, 
and did not receive a scratch. Colonel Thompson was 
with his old regiment (Third Kentucky) on the ex- 
treme left, and was killed just before this staff-officer 
reached him, having been struck by a shell or solid 
shot and literally blown to pieces, a laree piece of his 
flesh having stuck on the shoulder of his aide. Lieu- 
tenant Mathews. 

Thus, in sight of his home, the brave and gallant 



Thompson gave up his life to the cause which he had 
espoused. Here occurred most of the casualties of the 
day. The brigade fell back, under terrific fire, to the 
next line of houses (Colonel Edward CrossJand suc- 
ceeding to the command of the brigade ) , where the fire 
was kept up for several hours and until a!l the cap- 
tured Government property had been removed, and 
about eleven o'clock. General Forrest retired, and 
bivouacked a few miles from the scene of action. The 
Federal forces did not attempt to come out of the fort, 
or to follow. The main object of the expedition was, 
as claimed, accomplished. 

In this connection, it is proper to note an incident 
of the fight at Paducah. While Colonel Thompson's 
brigade was so hotly engaged, Major Upton, not able 
to remain a looker-on while comrades were engaged, 
moved his two mountain howitzers to a slight promi- 
nence near the river, and commenced firing on the gun- 
boats. General Buford. discovering this, and that one 
of the gunboats was backing out so as to get the range 
of the little battery, directed one of his staff-officers 
(Captain D. E. Myers) to order him to get away 
from there quick, but before this officer reached Major 
Upton, the gunboat, with a well-directed shell, blew 
away one of the little guns, killing and wounding two 
or three men. It required no order for Major Upton 
to retreat with the other gun. This attack with his 
little howitzers on the gunboats was one of the most 
daring episodes of the war. because it would have been 
a mere accident if any one of the gunboats could have 
been injured by the fire from these " pop-guns." 

On March 26th, General Forrest, with his prison- 
ers and captured property, retired to Mayfield, Ky., 
where the Kentucky soldiers who lived in that part of 
the State were furloughed, in order to visit their homes 
and improve their mounts and wardrobes, with instruc- 


tions to report for duty on the 3d of April, at Trenton, 
Tenn. To their credit it is said that every man re- 
turned and reported for duty on time. 

In a report to Lieutenant-General Polk, on the 27th 
of March, he says : " Left Jackson on the 23d ; captured 
Union City on the 24th, with four hundred and fifty 
prisoners, among them Hawkins and most of his regi- 
ment, about two hundred horses and five hundred 
small arms, also took possession of Hickman, the 
enemy having passed it. I moved now with Buford's 
division direct from Jackson to Paducah in fifty hours ; 
attacked it on the evening of the 26th, drove the enemy 
to their gunboats and forts ; held the place for ten 
hours and could have held it longer, but found the 
smallpox raging and evacuated the place; captured 
many stores and horses, burned up sixty bales of cot- 
ton, one steamer, and the dry-dock, bringing out fifty 
prisoners. My loss at Union City and Paducah, as 
far as known, is twenty-five killed and wounded, 
among them Colonel Thompson, commanding Ken- 
tucky brigade, killed; Lieutenant-Colonel Lannom, 
Faulkner's regiment, wounded dangerously, and Colo- 
nel Crossland, of the Seventh Kentucky, and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Morton, of the Second Tennessee, 
slightly wounded. Have despatched Gholson at Tu- 
pelo to meet prisoners at Corinth and take them (five 
hundred) to you. I hold possession of all the country 
except posts on the river. Think if I can remain un- 
molested here fifteen days I will be able to add two 
thousand men to my command."* 

Forrest summed up the loss of the enemy to this 
date during the campaign at seventy-nine killed, one 
hundred and two wounded, and six hundred and 
twelve captured. Colonel S. G. Hicks, commanding 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i. p. 607. 


the post at Paducah, reported in regard to the engage- 
ment at that piace on the 25th of March, that his force 
consisted of six hundred and sixty-five men, and that 
" Forrest had six thousand five hundred men. The 
casualties of my command were fourteen killed and 
forty-six wounded. The enemy's loss, according to 
the most reliable information that I could obtain, was 
three hundred killed and from one thousand to twelve 
hundred wounded. His killed and wounded may he 
safely set dow-n at fifteen hundred. General Forrest 
admitted in conversation with some of his friends in 
this city that in no engagement during the war had he 
been so badly cut and crippled as at this place. Our 
loss in Government stores was inconsiderable. The 
colored troops fought as bravely as any in the fight. 
The gunboats Peosta, Captain Smith, and Paw Paw, 
Captain O'Neill, were present, and rendered valuable 
service in shelling the city and operating on the flank 
of the enemy as they surrounded the fort."* 

General Chalmers had been ordered to gather up 
the scattered command in north Mississippi, and follow 
General Forrest into West Tennessee. Chalmers moved 
up by way of La Grange, and it was one of his regi- 
ments, Neely's, that encountered and drove back Colo- 
nel Fielding Hurst's regiment on the 2gth of March, 
capturing fifty thousand rounds of much-needed am- 
munition. A Confederate writer of the period imme- 
diately following the war, alluded to Hurst's men as 
those " who had become as conspicuous for their 
craven conduct in the presence of armed enemies as 
for rapacity and brutally cruel outrages toward the 
defenseless citizens of the cou^tr^■ which they de%'as- 
tated." Hurst's command, as a body, did not again 
encounter Forrest's men. 

* Rebellion Records, vol, xmiii. part 1, pp. 54S. 549. 



On the 3d of April Forrest telegraphed from Jack- 
son, by way of Water ford, to Lieutenant-General Polk, 
at Demopolis, as follows : " Six hundred Federal pris- 
oners will arrive at Ripley, Miss., to-day, en route for 
Demopolis. Colonel Neely engaged Hurst on the 29th 
of March, near Bolivar, capturing his entire wagon- 
train, routing and driving him to Memphis, killing 
thirty, including two captains, and taking thirty-five 
prisoners, including one captain." On the 4th of April 
he reported a sharp little engagement between Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Crews's battalion and two regiments 
of Grierson's cavalry, fifteen miles east of Raleigh, on 
the Somerville road, in which Crews lost one man 
severely and one slightly wounded, while the enemy 
had six killed, fifteen or twenty wounded, and sus- 
tained a loss of three prisoners. The Federals, taking 
this to be the advance-guard of a large force, fell back 
upon Memphis. This incident serves to illustrate how 
opposing forces might reasonably be mistaken as to 
the strength of an enemy. A well-handled detachment 
could be made to appear as the advance-guard of a 
division. Forrest struck in so many unexpected places 
that one of his squadrons, circling around between the 
lines, nearly always created the impression that he was 
close at hand to attempt some daring venture. Hence 
it was not strange that General Grierson, with a con- 
siderable force thrown out east of Memphis, should 
conclude that it was prudent to retire. 

On the 4th of April Forrest made a clear and com- 
prehensive report to Lieutenant-General Polk, in which 
he said : " I have, as far as prudent, allowed my troops 
an opportunity of going home. Am now concentrating 
and preparing for any move the enemy may make, or 
for oflfensive operations, provided they do not move 
on me. ... If permitted by the lieutenant-general 
commanding to remain in West Tennessee, would be 



glad to have my artillery with me, and will send for it, 
as I could operate effectively with my rifle battery on 
the rivers. With the small guns I have here it would 
be folly to attempt the destruction or capture of boats. 
I am yet in hopes the lieutenant-general commanding 
will repair and operate the railroad to Corinth, as 
suggested in a former letter. With a brigade of in- 
fantry at Corinth as a force upon which I could fall 
back if too hard pressed, I am satisfied that I can hold 
West Tennessee against three times my numbers, and 
could send out from here all conscripts and deserters 
for service in infantry. At present it is impracticable, 
as I am without the transportation necessary to supply 
them with rations to Okolona through a country al- 
ready depleted, and whose inhabitants are suffering for 
food. I find corn scarcer than I had expected, but have 
plenty of meal, flour, and bacon for troops. If supplied 
with the right kind of money or cotton, I can furnish 
my command with all small-arm ammunition required, 
and, I think, with small arms also. General Chalmers 
is here, and will be kept in readiness for any move that 
may be made from Memphis. General Buford's divi- 
sion is above this, and concentrating at Eaton, ten miles 
west of Trenton. As I came up here I employed a man 
to gel up lead. He writes me that he has from eight 
thousand to ten thousand pounds at Corinth, which I 
shall send out as soon as possible, and will continue 
to get up all that can be had. 

" There is a Federal force of five or six hundred at 
Fort Pillow, which I shall attend to in a day or two, as 
they have horses and supplies which we need. There 
are about six thousand troops now in Memphis ; all 
else gone up the river, .It is clear that they are concen- 
trating all their forces before Richmond and at Chat- 
tanooga. I have ordered everything I have at Colum- 
bus moved up to Aberdeen, and Morton's battery up to 


Tupelo to report to General Gholson, and shall bring 
it in here unless ordered to the contrary, as the little 
guns I have are of no use to me."* 

On the 9th or loth of April, General Forrest met 
his division commanders, Buford and Chalmers, and 
some of his brigade commanders, in Jackson, for con- 
sultation as to his next move. At this conference, 
Forrest determined to make a simultaneous demon- 
stration on Memphis, Columbus, Paducah, and Fort 
Pillow, the latter to be captured. In pursuance of this 
plan, he ordered Colonel J. J. Neely with his forces to 
move on Memphis from the northeast, and create the 
impression that Forrest's whole command was moving 
in that direction ; and at the same time ordered Colo- 
nel John McGuirk, with two Mississippi regiments, to 
push close to Memphis from the south, and give out 
the impression that General S. D. Lee was advancing 
with his whole force on Memphis from that direction. 
General Buford, with the Kentucky brigade, was or- 
dered to move from Trenton and make demonstrations 
against Columbus and Paducah, Ky., and capture what 
Government horses, mules, and other Government 
property and army supplies he could, and prevent re- 
enforcements from Fort Pillow. 

General Buford, with the Kentucky brigade, moved 
rapidly forward from Trenton on Columbus and Padu- 
cah, and on the 12th, the same day of the attack on 
Fort Pillow, his scouts were in the vicinity of Colum- 
bus, and his whole force moving in that direction. 
Leaving Fulton, Ky., to his right, at a point northwest 
of Fulton, General Buford detached about one hundred 
and sixty picked men, under command of Captain H. 
A. Tyler and his trusted sta^-officer and assistant 
inspector-general, Captain David E. Myers, with in- 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, pp. 608, 609. 



structions to push northwest to Columbus, Ky., with 
all the show of force possible, demand its surrender, 
make the impression that his whole division was there, 
and create a diversion in favor of Fort Pillow and 
Paducah. One of the objects that General Buford had 
in sending Captain Myers with this expedition was that 
the demand for surrender should be carried in by one 
of his staff-officers. General Buford changed his 
course and advanced rapidly on Paducah. where it had 
been learned that a considerable number of Govern- 
ment horses bad been corralled since the last attack. 
It was important to capture these animals, if possible. 
Captains Tyler and Myers, with their detachment, 
pressed forward, and at daylight on the morning of the 
13th, charged and drove the Federal pickets in on the 
various roads at Columbus, and advanced to the edge 
of the timber. This woods was admirably adapted to 
making a great display of a small force by reason of 
some small, open spaces in full view of the fortifica- 
tions. The Confederate troops were marched upon 
Columbus, by the main road, showing the bead of the 
column, which was rapidly wheeled into the woods on 
the left, where it was circled back and came out again, 
keeping a continuous column moving for some time 
in the timber. Then the head of this circular column 
was for a considerable time moved to the right in the 
same manner, to create the impression of a brigade 
movement. Squads were sent to the extreme right 
and left, who showed themselves at different places, 
so as to give the impression that the command was 
formed in the woods all along the Federal right, left, 
and center. Then was displayed the head of a column 
of fours in the main road near the center. They also 
showed about one hundred men to the left and right, 
and advanced in a thin skirmish line into the open 
plain for some distance, when Captains Myers and 


Jack Horn advanced under a flag of truce, with the 
following note and demand for surrender: 

Headquarters Confederate Forces before Columbus, Ky., 

April 13, 1864. 

To Commanding Officer, United States Forces, Colum- 
bus, Ky.: 

Fully capable of taking Columbus and its garrison by 
force, I desire to avoid the shedding of blood, and there- 
fore demand the unconditional surrender of the forces 
under your command. Should you surrender, the negroes 
now in arms will be returned to their masters. Should I, 
however, be compelled to take the place, no quarter will 
be shown to the negro troops whatever; the white troops 
will be treated as prisoners of war. 

A. BuFORD, Brigadier 'General,* 

This flag of truce was halted at the outer works, 
where it was met by the adjutant and another staff - 
oflScer, who blindfolded the truce-bearers and con- 
ducted them to the headquarters of Colonel Lawrence, 
the commandant of the post. Next they were con- 
ducted into the colonel's room and the bandages taken 
from their eyes. Introductions followed, and the order 
for surrender delivered. Captain Horn, who was some- 
what of a wit, remarked to the colonel, " that he had 
seen many a blind, but never went quite that blind 

Colonel Lawrence asked to be excused a short time 
to consult with his officers as to the demand for surren- 
der. He very thoughtfully asked whether they had 
breakfasted, and, being replied to in the negative, 
said he would have some prepared for them. Captains 
Myers and Horn were left in this room by themselves, 
which was next to the telegraph-office, divided there- 
from by a plank partition. In a few minutes Colonel 
Lawrence sent in, with his compliments, two delicious 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, p. 553- 


cocktails, and a considerable time thereafter an elegant 

Much that was going on in the tele graph -office 
could be heard, and Captain Horn, who knew some- 
thing of telegraphy himself, cnuld catch portions of the 
messages being sent, and gathered therefrom that Colo- 
nel Lawrence was of opinion that Buford's whole divi- 
sion, consisting of several thousand mounted infantry 
and artillery, was in front of Columbus, and asked for 
reen for cements. The writer was told by one of the 
parties who carried the flag of truce that at one time 
they thought the garrison would be surrendered, and 
that they, in undertone, discussed the question as to 
how they could manage to receive the surrender with- 
out developing the weakness of their force. 

The reply of Colonel Lawrence was considerably 
delayed. He was evidently playing for time, which 
exactly suited the Confederates. Finally, Captain My- 
ers suggested a reply, fearing that his seeming indif- 
ference might arouse suspicion. This reply was soon 
thereafter handed him by Colonel Lawrence, and the 
envoys were politely blindfolded again, and escorted 
through the lines. Colonel Lawrence's reply was as 
follows : 

Headquarters or the Poet of Columbus, Kv., 
April ij, ii»4. 

Brigadier-General A. Buford, Commanding Confederate 

Forces before Columbus, Ky. 

General: Your communication of this date received, 
and in reply I would state that being placed by my Gov- 
ernment with adequate force to hold and repel all enemies 
from my post, surrender is out of the question. 

I am, general, very respectfully. 

William Hudson Lawrence, 
Colonel Twenty-fourth New Jersey Volunteers, Cottt- 

manding Post.* 

* Rebellion Records, i 

i, part i, p. 553' 


After the flag of fruce returned, this small detach- 
ment remained moving about and making a display 
at various points until late in the afternoon — no one 
advancing from the garrison to offer battle, and of 
course they did not attempt to charge the works — when 
they withdrew, and by a forced march all night, on as 
near a direct line as possible, intercepted General Buford 
with the main column at daylight, about three miles 
from Paducah, on the morning of the 14th, and im- 
mediately joined in the second attack on that place. 

Soon after daylight on the 14th of April, General 
Buford pushed forward his advance on all the roads 
leading into Paducah, Ky., rapidly, capturing a portion 
of the pickets and outposts and driving the remainder 
into the fort, and closely investing the same. Under a 
heavy fire from the artillery of the fort and gunl)oats, 
Colonel G. A. C. Holt, with a portion of the Third and 
Seventh Kentucky regiments, had dashed in and cap- 
tured about one hundred and fifty good horses and 
some wagons and army supplies, and sent them to the 
rear. Even the ever-vigilant Colonel Hicks, comman- 
dant of the post, was evidently taken by complete sur- 
prise, as the outposts and pickets were cooking their 
breakfasts. He could not have supposed that Forrest, 
who was reported moving on Memphis and Fort Pil- 
low respectively on the 12th and 13th, and Buford be- 
fore Columbus on the night of the 13th, would, with 
any part of his command, attack him in force at day- 
light on the morning of the 14th. The Confederates 
had practical possession of Paducah, except imme- 
diately around the fort. At this juncture. General 
Buford sent in a flag of truce, demanded the surrender 
of the garrison in about the usual phraseology, signing 
the name of General Forrest thereto, to which Colonel 
Hicks responded, declining to do so.* 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, p. 555. 



General Biiford only had about twelve hundred 
men, and no artillery, and remained in the outskirts 
of Paducah until evening, and retired some miles in 
the direction of MayfielJ with the captured horses and 
other property, and bivouacked for the night in order 
to give his troops a much-needed rest. The next day 
lie moved through Mayfield, and thence to Dresden, 
Tenn., for a few days' rest. 

Alluding to the events of this time in West Ten- 
nessee and Kentucky, General Grant, in his Memoirs, 
says ; " Forrest, a brave and intrepid cavalry general, 
was in the west with a large force, making a larger 
command necessary to hold what we had gained in Mid- 
dle and West Tennessee. We could not abandon any of 
the territory north of the line held by the enemy, be- 
cause it would lay the Northern States open to in- 
vasion. Forrest made a raid in West Tennessee up 
to the northern border, capturing the garrison of four 
or five hundrcl men at Union City, and followed it up 
by an attack on Paducah, Ky., on the banks of the 
Ohio. While he was able to enter the city, he failed 
to capture the forts or any part of the garrison. On 
the first intelligence of Forrest's raid, I telegraphed 
to Sherman to send all his cavalry against him, and 
not to let him get out of the trap he had put himself 
into. Forrest, however, fell back rapidly, and attacked 
tlie troops at Fort Pillow, a station for the protection 
of the navigation of the Mississippi River. The gar- 
rison consisted of a regiment of colored infantry and 
a detachment of Tennessee cavalry. The troops fought 
bravely, but were overpowered." * 

• Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, vol. ii, pp. 139, 137, 138. 



Fort Pillow, a point on the east side of the Mis- 
sissippi River, about forty miles on an air-line above 
Memphis, once strongly fortified by the Confederates, 
was now occupied by a small Federal force with no ap- 
parent object in view except to maintain a trading-post 
for the benefit of speculators and people of the interior 
claiming to be loyal. General Sherman afterward said 
the fort was not on his list, and he did not know it was 
even occupied. The outer lines of the place, some two 
miles long, as well as the river front, had been in- 
tended by General Beauregard's engineers, who laid 
it off in March and April, 1862, under direction of Gen- 
eral Pillow, for defense on a large scale. After it was 
abandoned by the Confederates it was never occupied 
by the Federals with any considerable force. The 
water batteries, dismantled, were not refurnished. The 
fort on the river front could be approached to within 
one hundred or two hundred yards through ravines 
and gullies on the east and south sides without great 
exposure, and the artillery on the heavy breastworks 
could not be depressed so as to play on troops once 
in such postitions. It was reported to Forrest that 
raids were frequently made from Fort Pillow by small 
detachments of both negro and white troops upon the 
people of several counties for the purpose of foraging, 
and that defenseless women and children and old men 
were subject to robbery, insult, and greatest humilia- 



tions. An earnest request was made that he would 
leave a brigade as a protection against marauders. 
This was impossible, but the general, having nothing 
else on hand requiring immediate attention, resolved to 
at once relieve the people as well as secure the needed 
horses and supplies known to be in the place. 

The post was commanded by Major L, F. Booth,* 
who had been sent up from Memphis by General Hurl- 
but, March 38th, with a negro battalion, the First Ala- 
bama Light Artillery. Next in command was Major 
William F. Bradford, of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cav- 
alry, and there was a company of negro troops and a 
few stragglers from other commands. Many of Brad- 
ford's men, it was understooJ, were deserters from the 
Confederate army, who had no great relish for fighting 
on either side. The major was a native of Middle Ten- 
nessee, of good family connections, and was a prac- 
tising lawyer at Dyersburg, West Tennessee, when the 
war began. His kindred were nearly all on the South- 
em side, and he was looked upon as one who had be- 
trayed his family to join their enemies and former 
slaves in a war of invasion and conquest. Such was 
the feeling that existed when the strife of a divided 
people was at its height. 

General Hurlbut, in his order to Major Booth, 
March 28th. directing him to proceed to Fort Pillow, 
said: "As you will be, if my memory is correct, the 
senior officer of that post, you will take command, con- 
ferring freely and fully with Major Bradford, Thir- 
teenth Tennessee Cavalry, whom you will find a good 
officer, though not of much experience. There are two 
points of land fortified at Fort Pillow, one of which 
only is now held by our troops. You will occupy both, 
either with your own troops alone, or holding one with 

Jiit, pan i, pp. 611S, 6og, 


yours alone and giving the other in charge to Major 

" The positions are commanding, and can be held 
by a small force against almost any odds. I shall send 
you at this time two 13-pounder howitzers, as I hope it 
will not be necessary to mount heavy guns. If, in your 
opinion, 20-pounder Parrotts can be used, I will send 
them to you. My own opinion is that there is not range 
enough. Major Bradford is well acquainted with the 
country, and should keep scouts well out, and forward 
all information direct to me. I think Forrest's check 
at Paducah will not dispose him to try the river again, 
but that he will fall back to Jackson, and thence cross 
the Tennessee. As soon as this is ascertained, I shall 
withdraw your garrison. Nevertheless, act promptly 
in putting the work in perfect order, and the post into 
its strongest defense. Allow as little intercourse as 
possible with the country, and cause all supplies which 
go out to be examined with great strictness. No man 
whose loyalty is questioned should be allowed to come 
in or go out while the enemy is in West Tennessee. 
The post must be held."* 

Brigadier-General James R. Chalmers was placed 
in charge of the move on Fort Pillow. The First Bri- 
gade, Colonel J. J. Neely, marched from Whiteville 
in the direction of Memphis, spreading the report that 
Forrest's whole command was on the way to attack the 
place, and Neely made a resolute show of building 
pontoon bridges and crossing Wolf River almost in 
sight of Memphis. Colonel John McGuirk, with the 
Third Mississippi State Cavalry, advanced at the same 
time on the south side of Memphis, drove in the pickets, 
and gave it out that General S. D. Lee was close at 
hand with all his troops to take part in a combined 

* Rebellion Records, Serial 59, vol. xxxii, part iii, p. 176. 


attack. General Hurlbut liad reason to apprelicnd dan- 
ger in his immediate front. 

On the loth of April, the way being clear and every- 
thing ready, General Forrest issued orders for Bell's 
and McCulloch's brigades, and Walton's battery of 
tour small mountain howitzers at Sharons Ferry, ori 
Forked Deer River, near Jackson, to move in the direc- 
tion of Fort Pillow. This force left on the morning 
of the nth, and was overtaken by General Forrest at 
2 p. M., at Brownsville, twenty-eight miles distant. 
General Chalmers was ordered to make a forced march 
of thirty-eight miles to Fort Pillow. The advance was 
begun at once, with McCulloch's brigade in the lead, 
A citizen of Southern sympathies, named W, J. Shaw, 
who had been arrested by Major Bradford and held 
in the fort until he escaped, was secured as a guide. 
The night was drizzly and murky, and there were 
rough roads and weak bridges to pass over, but good 
progress was made by men accustomed to hard riding. 
Walton's howitzers, however, fell behind and never 
reached Fort Pillow. Just as day dawned, the advance- 
guard. Captain J. Frank Smith's company of the Sec- 
ond Missouri, surprised and captured all the Federal 
pickets, except one or two who escaped and at sunrise 
gave the alarm to the garrison. There were no sharp- 
shooters to speak of within, but Chalmers's command 
was well supplied, and these, at a safe distance behind 
trees and logs, or in gullies, could do effective work 
on all who arose up to fire over the works. As Major 
Anderson, of General Forrest's staff, afterward said, 
in a special report :• " Any one could see at a glance 
that the fort was ours." There were four rows of 
cabins, and some tents and troops on the outside on a 
ridge, and from these a rifle-pit stretched to the right, 

• Rebellion Records, voL x 

'. S36. 


or northeast, some three hundred yards. The fort 
proper, or inner line of defense, was six feet high and 
eight feet thick, with a ditch outside six feet deep and 
about twelve feet wide. The artillery equipment con- 
sisted of two lo-pounder Parrott rifled guns, two 12- 
pounder howitzers, and two 6-pounder rifle-bore field- 
pieces, each piece having an embrasure. The garrison 
consisted of the First Battalion Thirteenth Tennessee 
Cavalry, under Major William F. Bradford, ten officers 
and two hundred and eighty-five enlisted men; First 
Battalion Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored), eight 
commissioned oflScers and two hundred and thirteen 
enlisted men, and one section of Company D, Second 
U. S. Light Artillery (colored), one commissioned offi- 
cer and forty men. Total white troops, two hundred 
and ninety-five; colored, two hundred and sixty-two; 
aggregate, five hundred and fifty-seven,* all under com- 
mand of Major Booth. 

After the capture of the pickets, McCulloch's bri- 
gade rapidly took a position half a mile to the south of 
the fort, near the river ; Bell's brigade was ordered up 
toward the center; Wilson's regiment was deployed 
in front, and engaged the garrison in a heavy skirmish. 
The rest of the brigade was to take a position along 
Coal Creek, near the river, on the right, but this could 
not be reached without unnecessary exposure, and the 
plan was changed. At nine o'clock. General Forrest, 
after a ride of sixty-four miles since six o'clock the 
morning before, accompanied by his staff, escort, and 
a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel D. M. Wis- 
dom, came upon the ground. It was learned afterward 
that Major Booth, commanding the fort, and his ad- 
jutant were killed about that time, though the major's 
name was used in the correspondence that ensued. The 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, p. 556. 



general, as usual, pushed to the front to reconooiter, 
and in doing so had two horses killed under him and 
another wounded. He also received a painful injury 
himself from a failing horse. After examining the 
ground carefully and adopting a plan, he gave orders 
to Bell's brigade to move up by way of a ravine leading 
near to the face of the fort. This was soon done, and 
the men occupied more sheltered positions. McCulloch 
carried the entrenchments on the highest point of the 
ridge in front of the southeastern face of the works. 
The Federals were driven in, and fell back to the 
main fort and the earthworks in its front. They made 
an attempt to burn the cabins mentioned before, but 
only succeeded in burning one row. McCnUocb seized 
the others, and occupied them advantageously with 
his sharpshooters. Adjutant Mack J. Learning, of the 
Thirteenth Tennessee Union Cavalry, in his report, 
says : " We suffered pretty severely in the loss of com- 
missioned officers by the unerring aim of the rebel 
sharpshooters, and among this loss I have to record 
our post-commander. Major L. F. Booth, who was 
killed almost instantly by a musket-ball through the 
breast. ... At about 11 A. M. the rebels made a 
second determined assault on our works, and were 
again successfully repulsed with severe loss. They 
succeeded, however, in getting possession of two rows 
of barracks, running parallel to the south side of the 
fort, and distant about one hundred and fifty yards. 
The barracks had previously been ordered to be de- 
stroyed, but after severe loss on our part in the attempt 
to execute the order, our men were compelled to retire 
without accomplishing the desired end, save only as 
to the row nearest to the fort. From these barracks 
the enemy kept up a murderous fire on our men despite 
all our efforts to dislodge him. Owing to the close 
proximity of these buildings to the fort, and to the fact 



that they were on considerably lower ground, our artil- 
lery could not be sufficiently depressed to destroy them, 
or even render them untenable for the enemy." Up to 
this time the gunboat New Era, well back in the river, 
had been shelling the Confederates furiously by sig- 
nals from the fort, but without doing much damage. 
The guns in the parapet also were fired rapidly with 
similar lack of effect. 

The Confederate line, at no place more than three 
hundred yards from the fort, was now short and com- 
pact, and held a well-protected position extending from 
the river on the south to Coal Creek on the north. 
There were sharpshooters in front of them, some not 
more than sixty yards from the fort, and sharpshoot- 
ers four or five hundred yards in the rear on high 
knolls, from which they could pick off those who 
showed themselves on the parapet or behind the guns 
in the embrasures. 

Satisfied now that he could carry the place by 
assault, but desiring to save the lives of his own men 
as well as the garrison. General Forrest caused a flag 
of truce to be raised about 3 p. m., when all firing 
ceased. Calling Captain Walter A. Goodman, of Gen- 
eral Chalmers's staff, he dictated a demand for surren- 
der, as follows : ** As your gallant defense of the fort 
has entitled you to the treatment of brave men, I now 
demand an unconditional surrender of your force, as- 
suring you at the same time that they will be treated 
as prisoners of war. I have received a fresh supply of 
ammunition, and can easily take your position. Should 
my demand be refused, I can not be responsible for the 
fate of your command." This wa^ carried by Captain 
Goodman, accompanied by Lieutenant Frank Rogers, 
a volunteer aide on General Forrest's staff, and W. H. 
Rhodes, acting temporarily on the staff. Three offi- 
cers came out to receive the flag, and one of them gar- 


ried it into the fort. In about twenty minutes a reply 
was brought out and taken to General Forrest. After 
reading it, he dictated another note, and handing it to 
Lieutenant Rogers, said: " You can tell that Federal 
officer that if I am compelled to butt my men against 
their works it will be bad for them." Lieutenant 
Rogers, perhaps, did not deliver this verbal message, 
but delivered the note to the same officers as before. 
One of then] went into the fort. The other two, in 
conversation, expressed a doubt as to General Forrest 
being there in person, and referred to the way in which 
Colonel Hawkins had been taken in at Union City by 
Colonel Duckworth, of the Seventh Tennessee, a few 
days before. General Forrest was sent for, and, riding 
up, addressed the officers, satisfying them as to his 
identity, and rode back to his point of observation, four 
hundred yards in the rear. A reply was soon sent out 
asking for one hour's time to consult with the officers 
of the gunboats. Other boats were seen approaching 
from below and above, two of them at least loaded 
with troops presumably to relieve the garrison. Gen- 
era! Forrest demanded a surrender in twenty minutes, 
which was peremptorily refused. Major Bradford, it 
may be remarked, had strong personal reasons for 
dreading to fall into the hands of the Confederates, 
and was, from all accounts, a weak, vain man as well 
as without military experience, and no doubt thought 
he could hold the attacking force in check until the 
arrival of relief from the river. The Olive Branch, 
with troops and artillery on board, coming from below 
suspiciously near the shore while the flag of truce was 
still flying, was warned off by McCulloch's men under 
direction of Staff-Officer C. W. Anderson, and kept at 
a safe distance. A single volley would have resulted 
in wholesale slaughter of troops and citizens crowding 
the decks, A few admonitory shots were fired at the 


pilot-house, which caused the steamer to sheer off and 
pass up on the other side. Captain Marshall, of the 
New Era, requested the Olive Branch to proceed to 
Cairo as soon as possible, and send four or five hundred 
rounds of ammunition and stop all boats coming down 
the river. All this occurred while the flag of truce 
was flying, and General George F. Shepley, on board 
the Olive Branch, was excused afterward for not ren- 
dering succor to the fort only by reason of his inability 
to do so, and not because there was a flag of truce 
pending. General Shepley, in his report of his trip 
up the river, states that the boat was heavily loaded 
with a portion of the men of two batteries, with horses, 
guns, caissons, tents, and baggage taken on at Mem- 
phis, and with orders to report to General Brayman 
at Cairo. The steamer Cheek hove in sight from 
Memphis, just below Fort Pillow, and was brought 
alongside the Olive Branch about the same time that 
the steamer Liberty, with troops on board, came down 
the river, having passed Fort Pillow. She only hailed 
the Olive Branch, and said : " All right up there. You 
can go by. The gunboat is lying off the fort."* 

General Forrest, having his command well in hand, 
after heavy skirmishing for several hours, and finding 
that the officers within were determined to hold out 
in the evident hope of relief from the boats in sight, 
resolved to take the place by assault, even at the hazard 
of a heavy loss of life. When the final and most per- 
emptory refusal of all came, he acted at once. Turn- 
ing to an aide-de-camp, according to W. H. Rhodes, 
who, as before stated, was serving on Forrest's staff 
that day, he said : " Go to Colonel Bell, commanding 
on our right, and tell him when he hears my orderly 
bugler sound the charge, to go over these works if he 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, p. 573. 



gets killed and every man in his command, and tell 
him I don't want to hear o£ Tennessee being behind." 
Turning to another aide, he said : " You go to Colo- 
nel McCuUoch, commanding our left, and tell him when 
he hears my orderly bugler sound the charge, to go 
over the works if he is killed and every man in his 
command, and tell him I don't want to hear of Mis- 
souri being left behind." Waiting until the officers 
had time to reach the brigade commanders, he turned 
to Gaus, his ever-faithful bugler, and said : " Gaus, ride 
your horse up the ravine until you reach about the 
center of our lines, and sound the charge." Gaus gal- 
loped to the center, and promptly gave the blast which 
settled the fate of Fort Pillow. The whole line was 
immediately in motion. The guns of the fort roared, 
and the infantry fired volley after volley. The parapet 
was a sheet of flame and smoke. The Confederates 
answered with a yell which rose above the din of battle, 
but they reserved their fire. They dashed across the 
twelve-foot ditch and clambered up the escarpment, 
the leaders helping those behind, and were soon pour- 
ing into the fort. They had no bayonets, but at once 
opened a murderous fire on the now thoroughly de- 
moralized garrison. The colored troops, who had been 
most defiant while the flag of truce was flving, were 
the first to break and nm down the bluff, and num- 
bers of them plunged into the river, but many of the 
white, and some black troops, made a desperate show 
of resistance, and there was never any formal surren- 
der. For fifteen minutes the slaughter was fearful. 
The momentum of the assaulting force was so great 
that the besieged were quickly driven under the bluff, 
where the survivors were captured. How many rushed 
into the river and were drowned wilt never be known. 
Those thus lost were praying for the gimboat that 
never came. The New Era kept at a safe distance, and 


was silent. General Forrest, and members of his staff, 
entered the fort on foot while the firing was still 
furious. The garrison was practically without officers, 
while drunken soldiers were shooting in a dazed sort 
of way at the storming party. The Confederates had 
closed in from the flanks, and were doing murderous 
work. The flag still floated defiantly from a tall pole 
in the center of the square, and none of the defenders 
thought to pull it down. One of General Forrest's 
staff-officers, however, suggested that the halyards be 
cut, and this was done. The Confederates, who could 
see the flag from all points of attack, took this as a 
sign of surrender, and at once quit firing. Some of the 
survivors ran around wildly and kept up a show of 
resistance for a short time, but were shot down or cap- 
tured and disarmed. It is the concurrent testimony 
of Confederates who were in the engagement that the 
slaughter ceased when the flag fell, but of course there 
might have been individual exceptions. That the as- 
sailants were highly wrought up after an all-night ride 
and an all-day fight, and by the insane defense of a 
fort which they knew they could take, is not incon- 
sistent with human nature, for there was no reasoning 
when force met force " to settle the differences of a cen- 
tury." Another aggravation was the conduct of the 
besieged, especially the negroes, while the flag of truce 
was flying and the lines were close together. The lat- 
ter were very defiant and insulting in language and 
grimaces, and, no doubt, felt safe against any attack. 
The officers, after they saw the force in front and 
knew that Forrest was really on the ground, should 
have known better. Had Major Booth survived in- 
stead of Major Bradford, the fortunes of the day might 
have been different. The latter fled down under the 
bluff, and only revealed his rank after he was cap- 
tured and safe. The battle lasted not over twenty min- 


utes, but twelve or fifteen hundred determined men, 
firing from three sides into a struggling, seething mass 
of human beings, could play havoc in that short time. 
It was a terrific slaughter, and yet the Confederates 
engaged in it — and many of them are living yet (1902) 
— always claimed that it was not greater than the cir- 
cumstances justified; that none were killed after they 
surrendered, and that no prisoners were killed or mis- 
treated in or out of the fort that day or next day. 

Major Bradford evidently expected to be rescued 
and carried off with his troops on the gunboat, but he 
escaped from the storm of battle unhurt. Late in the 
day he was temporarily paroled to attend the funeral of 
his elder brother. Captain Theodore F. Bradford, and 
after that he was given quarters and supper with Colo- 
nel McCulloch. During the night he escaped, assumed 
the disguise of a conscript or butternut soldier, and 
sought to make his way to Memphis. 

When the battle was over, Forrest's men and sur- 
geons gave attention to the wounded on both sides. 
The live-stock, stores, and munitions of war, as far as 
available, were hastily removed to the rear. Captain 
Young, of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, who first came 
out to meet the flag of truce, was among the prisoners, 
and in the afternoon he was sent with Major Ander- 
son, of Forrest's staff, with a flag of truce to endeavor 
to communicate with the captain of the New Era, and 
turn over to him the Federal wounded. This was a 
failure, however, for the vessel steamed off up the river 
without giving any response. 

General Forrest turned over the command to Brig- 
adier-General Chalmers, with instructions to bury the 
dead, collect arms and other portable property, trans- 
fer the Federal wounded to the first steamer passing, 
and to follow as soqn as possible with his division and 
the unwounded prisoners to Brownsville. At sunset, 


accompanied by his staff and escort, he set out for 
Jackson, and encamped that night at a farmhouse seven 
miles eastward. General Chalmers caused the prison- 
ers to bury the Federal dead in the trenches, the officers 
separately from their men, moved his troops back from 
the river, and went into camp that evening. The next 
morning a detail was sent into the fort to bury any of 
the dead overlooked and collect the remaining arms. 
In a short time the gunboat Silver Cloud came up and 
opened fire. The officer in command of the detail, ex- 
pecting to leave, set fire to some tents and cabins in 
which were the bodies of a few negroes killed the 
previous day, giving rise to the report that they had 
been burned alive. 

After General Forrest and his staff had mounted 
their horses, on the morning of the 13th, they heard 
the firing at the fort, and he sent back Major Ander- 
son, with Captain Young, the late provost marshal of 
Fort Pillow, to make an effort to have the Federal 
wounded turned over to their friends. Major Ander- 
son withdrew the detail from the fort, hoisted a white 
flag, and arranged with the master of the Silver Cloud 
for a truce until 5 p. m. Several other vessels stopped 
at the landing, and many Federals came ashore. Dur- 
ing the day the remaining dead were buried, and the 
wounded, about seventy officers and men, were re- 
moved to the steamer Platte Valley. Of these, the 
Federal surgeon of the hospital at Mound City, 111., 
testified that he received thirty-four whites and twenty- 
seven colored men ; some died on the way. General 
Chalmers carried off as prisoners of war seven officers 
and two hundred and nineteen enlisted men (thirty-six 
negroes and one hundred and sixty-three whites) un- 
wounded. This would make an aggregate of about 
two hundred and ninety-six who survived the battle, 
including the mortally wounded, but does not include 



the unknown camp-followers and refugees who be- 
longed to no command and appeared upon no list. 

One phase of the reckless and insane defense of 
Fort Pillow is worthy of mention as throwing some 
light upon the state of affairs within. After the place 
was taken, it was learned that the troops had been 
liberally dosed with liquor during the eight hours' in- 
vestment. Many of the prisoners were in a muddled 
condition, equally crazed by fright and intoxication. 
Colonel C. R. Barteaii, of the Second Tennessee, Bell's 
brigade, who lived to practise law in Memphis many 
years, stated that numerous barrels of whisky and kegs 
of beer, partly emptied, were found placed at con- 
venient distances apart, with tin dippers attached for 
the use of the Federal soldiers. Many others ^ive the 
same testimony. The negroes especially had made free 
use of the opportunity, and this accounts in part for 
their conduct while the flag of truce was flying. When 
General Forrest rode up to the front to satisfy the offi- 
cers that he was actually present, the demonstrations 
of the negroes were such that members of his staff 
urged him to withdraw, which he did as soon as the 
purpose of his visit was accomplished. These igno- 
rant, half-drunken creatures were about as likely to 
shoot Forrest, whom many of them recognized by 
sight, there under the flag of truce as at any other time 
and place. 

The capture of Fort Pillow was not a great military 
exploit except by reason of the audacity and bold dash 
of the movement. Forrest went there with men enough, 
and accomphshed his purpose, though suffering greater 
losses than he expected in killed and wounded. Had 
a massacre been intended, it could have been accom- 
plished by a word from Forrest. The fort was well 
though injudiciously defended. Much testimony was 
taken and sworn to afterward, which was calcu- 


lated to inflame the Northern mind and convince the 
civilized world that the Confederates were inhuman 
butchers unmindful of the rules of civilized warfare. 
A few of the deponents were white officers, but the 
great mass of affidavits came from ignorant negroes 
who could scarcely make their mark. All this was 
necessarily of an ex-parte nature, but it had its in- 
tended effect, and was not seriously questioned at the 
time. But above all discussion, criticism, and confusion 
of ideas, the one fact stands out clearlv that while Gen- 
eral Forrest needed the horses and stores in the fort, 
the main object of the raid was to " break up that 
nest," and relieve the people of several counties from 
the frequent depredations coming from that quarter. 

The charge was made, in connection with others, 
that Forrest was accountable for the death of Major 
Bradford, which occurred about two days after he was 
captured. The answer to this was that Bradford was 
picked up on suspicion by some Confederates at Big 
Hatchie River, a few miles north of Covington, taken 
into the town, and there recognized by the citizens, 
sent across the country toward Brownsville, and turned 
over to the rear-guard of Forrest's retreating column. 
The general was far in the front, and Chalmers was 
also ahead. Bradford was placed in charge of five 
men, who reported, when they came up with the main 
command, that he attempted to escape and was killed. 
A conscript, who afterward escaped, made affidavit that 
he saw the shooting, and that Bradford was on his 
knees begging for his life. Forrest claimed that he 
did not hear of Bradford's death until eight or ten days 
afterward. There was some correspondence in regard 
to the matter, but General Forrest, who was very busy 
getting south just then, disclaimed any sanction of 
this or any other deed not justified by the rules of war. 
General M. Brayman made a report directly to the 



Secretary of War from Cairo, 111., April 28, 1864, six- 
teen days after the fall of Fort Pillow, in which he 
said : "' Recognizing the exigency of the case, I prefer 
to transmit such testimony as could be obtained in the 
shortest time, and will add such as can be hereafter 
procured. You will, however, find sufficient in these 
papers to enforce absolute conviction upon all minds 
that violations of the laws and usages of civilized war, 
and of those obligations of common humanity which 
even barbarians and heathen tribes in some sort o!>- 
serve, have been perpetrated. 

" Men and women who passed through the excite- 
ments of the battle, as well as the horrors of an indis- 
criminate massacre which raged not only when the 
blood was hot and the judgment clouded by conflict, 
but which reached into the quiet of the following day, 
most of them mutilated, hacked, and torn, and some, 
while dying, have patiently, calmly, and even with a 
forgiving spirit, told their pitiful story. It may be 
added that these murders came not of sudden heat con- 
sequent upon battle, and perpetrated by soldiers where 
their officers could not control them. The purpose to 
do this very thing was avowed by rebel officers in 
command. At Paducah threats of indiscriminate mur- 
der were made ; at Columbus, the slaughter of all col- 
ored soldiers was threatened in official papers, signed 
by the generals, which are in our possession. Verbal 
threats of the same character will, in due time, be 
proved. The fate intended for Paducah and Colum- 
bus fell only on Fort Pillow," etc.* This was followed 
by a flood of affidavits prepared and signed at Cairo, 
Fort Pickering, Memphis, and other places. Much of 
this was conflicting and extravagant, but was accepted 
as if sifted through the processes of the courts in times 

• Rebellion Records, vol. : 

i, part !, pp. 51S1 519. 


of peace. General Washburn, with headquarters at 
Memphis, and General Forrest had a spirited corre- 
spondence. The former charged that the captured 
troops had been inhumanly butchered. The latter de- 
nied this with customary vigor of language, and re- 
ferred to a report that colored troops in Memphis had 
on bended knees sworn to remember Fort Pillow and 
show no quarter to Confederate prisoners. General 
Washburn did not deny this or assume the respon- 
sibility, but rather justified such action if it had, been 
taken.* There was not much time in the rapid whirl 
of events for formal or diplomatic communications, 
and a few sharp tilts ended the mere letter-writing. 
General Hurlbut had remained in Memphis until suc- 
ceeded by General Washburn, and General Forrest was 
soon on another move. 

On the 6th of May, 1864, it was resolved by the 
Confederate Congress at Richmond that : " The thanks 
of the Congress are eminently due and are hereby cor- 
dially tendered to Major-General N. B. Forrest and 
the officers and men of his command, for their late bril- 
liant and successful campaign in Mississippi, West 
Tennessee, and Kentucky ; a campaign which has con- 
ferred upon its authors fame as enduring as the record 
of the struggle which they have so brilliantly illus- 

On the 1 8th of the month a subcommittee of the 
Congress of the United States was appointed to take 
testimony in regard to the " massacre " at Fort Pillow, 
and made a most damaging and condemnatory report, 
charging an indiscriminate slaughter after the fort had 
been taken by storm, which spared neither sex, white 
nor black, soldier nor civilian ; that the wounded were 
intentionally burned to death in the barracks and tents 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part i, pp. 587, 588. 



which were destroyed by fire, and that the rebels buried 
some of the hving with the dead. All of which was 
vigorously denied by Forrest and his men long after 
the war closed, when excitement had subsided and 
cooler judgment prevailed. Forrest, at that period of 
the war, still regarded negroes as property, and favored 
the policy of capturing as many as possible and restor- 
ing them to their owners, or turning them over to the 
Confederate Government to be employed in the con- 
struction of fortifications or other public works. It 
may be further said, in justice to General Forrest, that 
this was the only time he was ever charged with cruelty 
to prisoners or inhuman conduct, ahhough many thou- 
sands of Union officers and soldiers fell into his hands. 

A heavy Federal force had gone up the river, but 
the country was not depleted. General Sherman, on 
the 24th of April, wrote from Nashville, under the 
head of " Confidential," to General C. C. Washburn, 
commanding district of Memphis: "There should be 
at Memphis Buckland's brigade entire, two thousand ; 
three white regiments (One Hundred and Third Illi- 
nois one), fifteen hundred; Kaffner's negro regiment, 
Fort Pickering, twelve hundred ; Chetlain's Black Bri- 
gade, two thousand ; Grierson's division of cavalry, at 
least four thousand; total, ten thousand seven hun- 
dred. . . . My opinion is, by a close examination you 
will find at Memphis fully seven thousand good 
men, besides the Fort Pickering garrison and the mili- 
tia. . . - When I left Memphis, Grierson had fully 
five thousand horses. Not one of them has been drawn 
away, and I want to know what has become of them."* 

That General Sherman thought well of some of 
Forrest's methods was indicated in a despatch to Gen- 
eral M. C. Meigs, quartermaster-general at Washing- 

• Rtbellion Records, vol. ; 

i, part iii, pp. 485. 466. 


ton, dated Nashville, April 26th, in which he said: 
" It is now going to be a grand scramble who is going 
to get the horses, Forrest or ourselves. I think For- 
rest can beat us in the horse-stealing business, but we 
must learn. As I advance into Georgia, Forrest will 
surely manage somehow to gather the horses in Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee, and if we could make up our 
minds to it, we might take them first. ... By our 
returns we have fifty-two thousand cavalry, but if I 
can get up three divisions of five thousand each, I will 
deem myself lucky.''* This condition of affairs ac- 
counts for General Sherman's tacit willingness for 
Forrest to operate in West Tennessee and Kentucky 
rather than on the lines between Nashville and Chat- 
tanooga, or farther south. In fact, he intimated more 
than once that he had no objection to Forrest amusing 
himself in that part of the country. It had been deemed 
advisable to give up such interior places as Hickman 
and Union City, but to hold Cairo, Columbus, Mem- 
phis, Vicksburg, and Natchez at all hazards, to pro- 
tect the river. Fort Pillow seems to have been hardly 
considered in the general plans. 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii, part iii, pp. 503, 504. 



Gexeral Forrest established his headquarters at 
Jackson on the 14th of April, and remained there until 
ihe 2d of May, directing the collection of absentees 
and conscripts, horses, and such supplies as could be 
sent south. Brigadier-General Buford, by the 28th of 
April, assembled his division and Bell's brigade at 
Jackson. On the 2d of May he was ordered, with 
Neely's brigade, to convoy three hundred prisoners and 
a large ox-train, freighted with subsistence, liquors, 
leather, etc., to Tupelo, Miss. The Kentucky brigade. 
which entered the campaign one thousand and four 
strong, had increased to seventeen hundred and seven- 
teen effective men, and Bell's brigade, which started 
with a total of twelve hundred and fifty-four, now num- 
bered over seventeen hundred men, and all were well 
rested and mounted. Buford made the distance, sev- 
enty-eight miles from Jackson to Rienzi, by the 4th of 
May, transferred his prisoners and supplies to the Mo- 
bile and Ohio Railroad, and reached Tupelo on the 
6th, Meanwhile Chalmers had passed through Browns- 
ville, Somerville, and La Grange with the Fort Pillow 
prisoners, destined for points farther south. These 
being transferred, be established headquarters at Ox- 
ford until the 2d of May, and then moved toward 
Tupelo. Various movements and dispositions of com- 
mands were made. McCnllnch resumed his old post 
temporarily behind the Tallahatchie River, near Pa- 


nola, while Bell's and Neely's brigades reentered West 
Tennessee to look after absentees, and to give officers 
and men an opportunity to visit their families and pro- 
cure clothing and fresh horses. 

On the 2d of May General Forrest left Jackson 
with his staff and escort for Tupelo, taking the road 
through Bolivar, Tenn., and Ripley, Miss. Near the 
former place, that afternoon, he learned that a Federal 
cavalry force, supposed to be two thousand strong, 
under General Sturgis, was engaged near by in a skir- 
mish with a part of McDonald's battalion under Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel J. M. Crews, and pressed quickly to 
the scene, two miles west of Bolivar, and joined in the 
fighting. His small force and Crews's men, altogether 
about three hundred strong, were pressed back within 
some works west of the town, where a stand was made 
to cover the retreat of Forrest's headquarters train, 
some ambulances, and several hundred unarmed men. 
A sharp fight continued some two hours. The Federal 
loss was reported by General Sturgis at two killed and 
ten wounded. Major Strange, of Forrest's staff, had 
his arm broken by a carbine-ball. Near night, Forrest 
fell back, and overtook his train five miles from Boli- 
var, and proceeded without further incident to Tupelo, 
reaching there on the 5th of May, one day ahead of 

General Sturgis kept up the pursuit as far as Rip- 
ley, but upon reaching that place on the 6th, found 
that Forrest's rear-guard had passed nearly two days 
before. In a report to General Washburn, made at 
Salem, Miss., on the 7th, he said : " It was at Ripley 
that I had hoped against hope to intercept him ; but he 
was abundantly supplied with forage, and enabled to 
travel day and night. Still I should have continued the 
pursuit had it not been for the utter destitution of the 
country from Bolivar to Ripley, a distance of forty 



miles. My horses had scarcely anythinjj to eat, and 
my artillery horses absolutely nothing. Had I pene- 
trated one day's march farther, and found the forage 
equally scarce, I should have not only failed to over- 
take Forrest, but have been compelled to abandon my 
artillery and a ^eat many cavalry horses. I need 
hardly assure you that it was with greatest reluctance, 
and after mature deliberation with myself and my prin- 
cipal officers, that I resolved to abandon the chase as 
hopeless. Though we could not catch the scoundrel, 
we are at least rid of him, and that is something." 
Writing to General Sherman from Memphis, May 
13th, he said : " My little campaign is over, and I re- 
gret to say Forrest is still at large. ... I regret 
very much that I could not have the pleasure of bring- 
ing you a lock of his hair, but he is too great a plun- 
derer to fight anything like an equal force, and we 
have to be satisfied with driving him from the State. 
He may turn on your communications, and I think he 
will, but see no way to prevent it from this point with 
this force."* 

Forrest found Gholson's brigade of Mississippi 
State Cavalry at Tupelo, and a few days later this 
force was transferred to the Confederate States' serv- 
ice. Chalmers also soon reported, and some time was 
taken for reorganization. The four batteries of four 
guns each, under Captains Morton, Rice, Thrall, and 
Walton were formed into a battalion under Captain 
John W. Morton as chief of artillery. Chalmers's 
division was composed of McCulloch's, Neely's, and 
Rucker's brigades, and Euford's division of Bell's and 
Lyon's brigades, altogether twenty regiments, four bat- 
talions, five independent companies, and sixteen guns. 
This force was distributed at different points consider- 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xxxii. part i, p. 6q8. 


able distances apart, in order to more easily secure sub- 
sistence and forage, as well as to be ready for attack 
in any direction. Every detail of interior administra- 
tion was directed by an active and vigorous mind. 

Buford's division made a reconnaissance from Tu- 
pelo to Corinth from the i6th to the 24th of the month, 
and about the 26th, Chalmers was detached with 
McCulloch's and Neely's brigades and Walton's bat- 
tery, and sent on an expedition to the interior of Ala- 
bama, going as far as Montevallo, forty miles eastward 
of Tuscaloosa, to meet a supposed raid coming from 
Huntsville and Decatur to destroy some iron-works. 
A part of this division remained in that region some 
weeks. On the loth of June, McCulloch's brigade was 
ordered by Major-General Lee to return by forced 
marches to Columbus, Miss. Neely's brigade was at 
that time at Blue Mountain, Ala., near the Georgia 
line, and Rucker was falling back from Oxford. Gen- 
eral Roddey was, in the latter part of May,, near Deca- 
tur, Ala., and reported to be closely pressed by the 
Federals. General Forrest prepared to go to his assist- 
ance, and so advised him, and had Buford's division 
ready for that purpose. On the 30th a despatch from 
Roddey was received to the effect that the raid had 
probably gone toward Kingston, Ga. Forrest sent spe- 
cific instructions to Roddey to hold his command to- 
gether, and have boats ready for the crossing of the 
Tennessee River. He proposed to leave on the ist of 
June with twenty-four hundred men and six pieces of 
artillery for Decatur, and on the morning of that day 
Buford^s division, except Newsom's regiment left at 
Tupelo, and Russell's at Corinth, set out for north Ala- 
bama with ten days' rations. Morton's and Rice's bat- 
teries accompanied the expedition. The time seemed 
to have come when Forrest might break away from his 
department, cross the Tennessee River and make a 


strike in Sherman's rear. He had preferred to make a 
move on Memphis, but was overruled by General S. D. 
Lee, who thought it would be more important to break 
up railroad lines south of Nashville. 

General Sherman expected this move, for he knew 
what damage might be done by such a man as For- 
rest. Busy as he was on the Georgia campaign, flank- 
ing and pushing back General Joseph E. Johnston 
toward Atlanta, he found time to look welt to the 
territory in his rear, and urged General Washburn to 
care for Forrest. The man chosen for this work was 
Brigadier-General Samuel D. Sturgis, an officer of 
great ability, who had followed Forrest out of West 
Tennessee as far as Ripley. Miss,; and it so happened 
that the day Forrest started for north Alabama, where 
he might combine with Roddey and make a formidable 
raid into Middle Tennessee, General Sturgis, looking 
for Forrest, marched out from Memphis and Lafay- 
ette with thirty-three hundred cavalry, forty-eight hun- 
dred infantry, four hundred artillerists, with twenty- 
two guns and a supply-train of two hundred and fifty 
wagons and ambulances. 

General Washburn says in his report : " The num- 
ber of troops deemed necessary was six thousand, but 
I sent eight thousand. Everything was in complete 
order, and the force consisted of some of our best 
troops. I saw to it personally that they lacked noth- 
ing to insure a successful campaign." The cavalry was 
divided into two brigades: the first, fifteen hundred 
strong, with six pieces of artillery, was commanded 
by Colonel George E. Waring, Jr., a brilliant officer 
and hard fighter, who had struck Forrest at Okolona, 
The second, eighteen hundred strong, accompanied by 
a battery of four gims, was commanded by Colonel E. 
F, Winslow, who had been with Genera! Sherman on 
the expedition to Meridian the previous February. 


These brigades constituted a division commanded by 
Brigadier-General B. H. Grierson, a cavalry leader of 
high reputation. The infantry was divided into three 
brigades, commanded (i) by Colonel A. Wilkins, two 
thousand strong, with six pieces of artillery; (2) by 
Colonel G. B. Hoge, sixteen hundred strong, with four 
guns, and (3) twelve hundred colored troops and two 
guns under Colonel Edward Bouton. All three united 
as a division under command of Colonel W. L. McMil- 
lin, the entire expedition being commanded by Briga- 
dier-General Sturgis. All were splendidly armed and 
equipped. The weather was rainy, the roads bad, and 
the country desolate and almost deserted. The head of 
the column did not reach Ripley, in Tippah County, 
seventy-five miles from Memphis, until the 7th of 
June, where Winslow's brigade ran up against two 
regiments of Rucker's brigade, who had been sent to 
develop but not to fight any force in front. 

General Forrest had moved from Tupelo on the ist 
of June. He proceeded as far as Russellville, Franklin 
County, north Alabama, where he was overtaken by 
a despatch from General Lee, directing him to return 
with all haste, which he did, reaching Tupelo on the 
6th of June. He next made headquarters at Booneville, 
on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where Rucker re- 
ported to him on the night of the 9th. Sturgis had 
halted at Stubbs Farm, nine miles from Brice's cross- 
roads, and about the highest point in Mississippi. For- 
rest's forces were scattered. Bell's brigade, twenty- 
seven hundred and eighty-seven strong, was at Rienzi, 
twenty-five miles from Brice's ; Rucker, seven hundred 
strong, was with Forrest at Booneville, eighteen miles 
from Brice's; Johnson's and Lyon's brigades/ five hun- 
dred and eight hundred strong, were at Baldwyn, five 
and one-half miles from Brice's. General Forrest had 
with him at Booneville, Morton's and Rice's batteries, 



besides his escort. General Lee came up from Okolona 
by rail to confer with Forrest, and formulated the idea 
of falling back farther so as to weaken Stnrgis's con- 
nection with his base of supplies before giving battle. 
As a result, General Forrest was instructed to prepare 
three days' rations, and march the following morning 
in tile direction of Brice's crossroads, and thence 
toward Prairie Mound and Okolona. General Lee 
left that night with ail supplies not needed at Boonc- 
ville. Forrest was not ordered to retreat or avoid a 
battle, yet there was such a suggestion at least as a 
matter of policy. 

That night Forrest held an informal council of 
war. His mind was fairly well made up. but he felt 
the necessity of concurrence on the part of his chiefs. 
General Buford, Colonel Rucker, and Chief of Artil- 
lery Morton joined in the conference. General Forrest 
stated that, while he would prefer to get the enemy 
into the open country, a conflict might be precipitated 
before joining Lee at Okolona, where Chalmers could 
soon be expected from Alabama, and troops even be 
brought by rail from Mobile. On the night of the 
9th he sent word to Eell to prepare three days' rations, 
and be ready to move before daylight the next morning 
in the direction of Brice's crossroads, and all other 
commands within reach received similar orders. The 
artillery, eight pieces, was at Booneville. and had to 
be pulled over eighteen miles of muddy roads to reach 
the scene of action. Forrest's command was so scat- 
tered that it could not all be concentrated for the fight. 
A man of more caution would have waited at least for 
Chalmers and Roddey. When he returned hastily from 
Alabama, and took a position with Buford's brigade 
near Rienzi, his impression was that the Federal force 
coming from Memphis was intended to recnforce Sher- 
man in Georgia; but, after learning through scouts 


that the column had turned southward, and after a 
conference with General Lee, he made haste to inter- 
cept the movement. Lee, in returning to Okolona, 
had taken with him FerrelKs and Thrall's batteries, 
and expected to make the fight when Sturgis should 
be well out in the open, and as far away as pos- 
sible from his base of supplies and place of retreat in 

The common road from Baldwyn to Ellistown runs 
in a southwesterly direction, and is crossed at Brice's 
farm by a road from Ripley, some twenty-two miles 
west, running slightly east of southeast, through Gun- 
town, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and on to 
Fulton and beyond. !galdwyn is above Guntown and 
Tupelo below, as seen on the map. There was a 
little country store and a few outhouses near the 
Brice house, still standing, and forty or fifty acres of 
cleared land. Back of this in all directions was heavv 
timber, and a thick growth of black-jack, scrub-oak, 
and bushes, with vines and briers in many places 
through which troops, once off the road, could move 
only slowly, especially mounted troops. The country 
was undulating but not broken into sharp ridges. A 
mile northeast of the crossroads a lane was reached 
a quarter of a mile long, with broad fields on each side. 
Forrest was coming this way, but was not the first to 
get there. 

About half a mile west of Brice's, ran, from north 
to south, Tishomingo Creek, which is some twenty 
feet lower than the common level of the country. The 
main road descends through high banks to the bot- 
toms, and the stream at that time was spanned by a 
strong bridge, and there was a large corn-field in cul- 
tivation on the west side. The Union forces came this 
way. Grierson's splendid division of cavalry wound 
down toward Brice's at 5.30 a. m. on that bloody loth 


' !* (/ 

5 ia.'SKT,!.. 


'I ; 




of June. The infantry took ample time for breakfast, 
and marched leisurely at 7.30. The early morning air 
was warm and humid after the rains, and the men soon 
felt the languor that increases with the rising of a hot 
June sun in a seraitropicai climate. Still, all moved 
forward with high hope and buoyant step. By four 
o'clock that morning Forrest was moving on a low 
ridge from which the waters flow southeast into the 
Tombigbee River. His nature was so aggressive that 
he could not forego such an opportunity for a fight. 

There were only three small brigades within easy 
reach : Rucker, with seven hundred men, and the artil- 
lery at Booneville, while Lyon, with eight hundred, 
and Johnson, just from north Alabama after a forced 
march, with five hundred men, were at Baldwyn, 
twelve miles farther south. Total rank and file, two 
thousand. Besides, Forrest had his escort, eighty-five, 
and Gatrel's Georgia company of fifty with him. For- 
rest's entire available force numbered about four thou- 
sand seven hundred and eighty-seven, besides artillery ; 
total, four thousand eight hundred and eighty-five. 
The Federal force effectives were thirty-two hundred 
cavalry on the field, and infantry forty-five hundred, 
with twenty-two pieces of artillery, four hundred; 
aggregate, eighty-one hundred. 

The advance-guard of Waring's brigade had driven 
in the Confederate posts found above and at the bridge, 
and followed them past Brice's and out to the left in the 
direction of Baldwyn. as well as on the Guntown road. 
Advancing a mile. Waring came to the lane and fields 
mentioned above. Forrest was coming that way with 
his escort and Lyon's brigade in advance. The three 
brigades named were ordered up at a gailop. Captain 
Randles's company of the Seventh Kentucky, being 
sent forward by General Lyon to reconnoitcr. found 
the Federal cavalry in force and well posted. The 


Third Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. C. Holt, 
was dismounted, thrown forward at a double-quick, 
and soon sharply engaged. Lyon dismounted the Sev- 
enth Kentucky, except two companies held as cavalry 
on the flanks, and advanced in a line with the Third. 
The Eighth Kentucky was held as a reserve in the rear 
of the center. Lyon soon drew a heavy fire from the 
artillery and small arms, but kept up the aggressive for 
some time, and then fell back. Forrest sent a courier 
to Old Carrollville, eight miles away, with orders to 
forward the artillery at a gallop, and to detach Rar- 
teau's Second Tennessee to gain the Federal rear and 
destroy their train, if possible. 

Some of the best trained and most skilful officers 
and gallant veterans of the Union army were in For- 
rest's front, men who had fought him in West Tennes- 
see, and at Okolona and Iveys Farm, and knew his tac- 
tics. The immediate front was composed of Waring's 
brigade, one thousand four hundred and fifty strong on 
the left, and Winslow's, of one thousand seven hundred 
and fifty on the right, with four pieces of artillery 
placed in position early in the morning, and six guns 
held in reserve. And thus the opposing forces met and 
faced each other across the fields and in the woods. 
Forrest was first playing for time, and after Lyon made 
a show of fighting and fell back, he had the fences 
laid down as if preparing for a general charge. About 
ten o'clock Lyon assumed the oflFensive with two regi- 
ments, and succeeded in driving the enemy back three 
hundred yards. Forrest placed the Seventh and Eighth 
Kentucky slightly in advance, and to the right on the 
road. Rucker dismounted and took a position in line 
of battle, and was soon warmly engaged. Johnson's 
brigade, mounted, was placed on Lyon's right, and the 
battle seemed fairly opened. Morton's and Rice's bat- 
teries came eight miles on a run and took position in 



an open field in the rear of Lyon, and opened with 
spirit. Duff's Mississippians were thrown half a mile 
to the left 10 guard that Hank, and Captain W. A. 
Tyler, with two companies of Kentuckians, was sent 
to the left, and also a company under Captain W. D. 
Strattoii, detached from tlie Nineteenth Tennessee. 
Rncker charged across an open field with the Seventh 
Tennessee and the Eighteenth Mississippi battalion, in 
the face of a heavy force of infantry. The battalion on 
the left was unsupported, and driven back by a heavy 
enfiiading fire. Riicker, however, ralhed his line, and 
in conjunction with Lieu ten ant -Colon els William F. 
Taylor, of the Seventh Tennessee, and Alexander H. 
Chalmers, of the Mississippi battalion, made another 
onset which was more successful, though at heavy loss. 
The Seventh Tennessee lost about one-third its strength 
in killed and wounded. Lyon had advanced well in the 
face of a heavy fire, but with severe losses. 

Buford came on the field at about half-past twelve 
p. M. with Russell's and Wilson's regiments of Bell's 
brigade, and Forrest placed them on Rucker's left. 
Buford was assigned to the command of the right and 
center, which included Lyon's and Johnson's brigades 
and the artillery, eight guns, with instructions to throw 
in his entire force as soon as Bell was heard on the 
left. Bell advanced to the onset about half-past one 
o'clock. The Federals occupied ground somewhat 
higher than that of the Confederates, and it was slightly 
undulating and thickly shaded by stunted trees and 
tangled vines. Temporary breastworks of logs and 
rails had been thrown up hastily by the Federals. Bell 
received a galling fire; Wilson's regiment on the ex- 
treme left was enfiladed and repulsed, and many offi- 
cers and men fell in the struggle. For a time the issue 
seemed to be against the Confederates, but the lines 
were rallied, and at the supreme moment Lieutenant- 


Colonel Wisdom, with shout two hundred and fifty men 
of Newsom's regiment, came upon the field, and 
formed, dismounted, on Wilson's left. Forrest had 
admonished the men that this was to be no feint, but a 
fight to the death for victory. An advance was made 
all along the line. 

The Federals made charge after charge in fearless 
and gallant style, and as fresh troops were constantly 
arriving from the rear, the fates appeared to be greatly 
in their favor. But the Confederates fought on with 
desperation, and gained ground little by little. The 
lines came close together in Rucker's front, and when 
he was about to be driven back, his men drew their 
revolvers and closed in on their assailants, driving them 
back with heavy loss. In this hand-to-hand fight For- 
rest led his two escort companies on foot, and by his 
presence and fierce onslaught did much to inspire the 
men and roll back the tide of battle. Soon after this 
he ordered Morton's battery to the front, where there 
was not even a support, but he opened with double can- 
ister shot with startling effect. Four of the guns were 
rolled by hand down a wooded slope to within sixty 
yards of the Federals at the edge of a small field, a 
quarter of a mile northeast of the Brice house, and 
opened on a line just as it was resuming the offensive. 
Johnson and Lyon charged successfully on the right, 
where the battle raged with great fury, and Bell's and 
Rucker's brigades finally swept everything before them 
on the left. The Confederate line was shortened but 
strengthened as it converged upon the center of the 
field. After nearly two hours' furious fighting, the 
Federals were forced westward of Brice's into a bot- 
tom where infantry, cavalry, and artillery were huddled 
in a confused mass under a deadly fire from Morton's 
and Rice's batteries. The battle was practically over 
before four o'clock. Meantime Barteau's Second Ten- 


24 S 

nessee, only two hundred and fifty strong, by takings 
a circuitous route, liad succeeded in reaching the Fed- 
eral rear about the time tlie battle was at its height. 
Kis presence was quickly known to the Federals and 
to Forrest's men on the extreme flanks, and was in 
great part the cause of the loss of the wagon-train. 
Colonel Barteau says : " I succeeded in reaching the 
Federal rear just as the fighting seemed heaviest in 
front, I at once deployed my men in a long line, had 
my bugler ride up and down sounding the charge at 
different points, and kept up as great a show as I could, 
and a vigorous fire upon the Federals until their com- 
plete rout was evident. I wa.s on the flank and rear of 
their position when Waring's and Winslow's brigades 
came back." This daring movement created great 
commotion not only in the reserve brigade of infantrv 
and colored troops guarding the train, but drew off 
all of Grierson's cavalry that could be spared from the 
front. After that it became a race for the bridge, where 
over a hundred Federals were killed. 

Two miles from the battle-field Colonel McMillin 
rallied portions of the First and Second Brigades be- 
tween five and six o'clock, at the residence of Dr, E, 
Agnew, and made a resolute resistance for fifty or sixty 
minutes, enabling many of the Union forces to pass 
out through his lines. But this, the last stand worthy 
of the name, was quickly abandoned when opened upon 
by Morton's artillery. 

The bridge for a time was blocked with dead men, 
wagons, and animals, and the fleeing troops plunged 
into the stream above and below, and as they came out 
in the field on the west side they were at once subjected 
to a heavy fire from small arms and artillery. It was 
difficult to clear the bridge, but a section of Rice's bat- 
tery was worked across and opened upon the negro 
brigade held in reserve, and when the way was better 


oix?ned other artillery followed and joined in the pur- 
suit. An order was given by Forrest for the cavalry 
to halt, reorganize, and pursue. This was done 
promptly and effectively. The artillery continued for 
some distance to play an important part. Forrest's 
force in the field at the time of the most serious work 
of the day was about two thousand eight hundred and 
eighty men. Every regiment was dismounted. De- 
ducting horse-holders, he had in this last desperate 
concentrated effort about seventeen hundred men and 
two batteries — Morton's and Rice's — one hundred and 
sixty men. 

The night after the battle of Brice's crossroads 
General Forrest was urging the pursuit of Sturgis's 
flying column with all his wonted energy. Coming 
upon a squadron of his men at a creek, who had stopped 
in the near presence of what appeared to be a strong 
rear-guard, he asked what the trouble was, and was 
told that the Federal rear-guard stood at bay a few 
rods in front. He at once took from his pocket a 
small piece of candle, lighted it, and held it over his 
head, to the terror of his men, who feared it would cost 
him his life. " What is that ? " he asked, pointing to 
some object in the water. " A wagon," was the reply. 
"And that?" "A gun." "Come on, men!" he 
shouted, plunging into the creek. " In a rout like this 
ten men are equal to a thousand. They will not stop 
to fight." And so it proved, as the daring horseman 
led the pursuit for several hours in the darkness with- 
out adventure. Late that evening several commands 
were assembled west of Tishomingo Creek, and about 
one o'clock on the morning of the nth, Forrest gave 
orders to resume the pursuit. Rucker's brigade, with 
the Seventh Tennessee in the lead, was in front, and 
within three miles at daylight came up with the Fed- 
eral rear-guard at Stubbs Farm. After a slight skir- 



mish the enemy fled, leaving the remainder of their 
wagon-train, nine pieces of artillery, and twenty-five 
ambulances, as well as some wounded. 

The Federals were greatly scattered over the coun- 
try, and Forrest threw out a regiment on each side of 
the road as much to gather up firearms and other de- 
sirable property as prisoners. Rucker's horses were 
exhausted, and Bell's brigade took the lead. Four 
miles east of Ripley the Federals were found drawn up 
west of Hatchie Creek, with sltirmishers in the woods 
near the stream. Forrest dismounted two of Bet]'s 
regiments, moved leftward up the creek, crossed over 
and flanked the Federals out of their position after a 
slight skirmish. The Federals made a stand at Ripley 
in some force. Wilson's regiment, the advance of 
Bell's brigade, reached there about 8 A. M. Forrest 
came up with his escort, and joined Wilson in a suc- 
cessful charge. The enemy fled, leaving thirty dead 
and sixty wounded on the field, including Lieutenant- 
Colonel George M, McCaig, One Hundred and 
Twentieth Illinois Infantry. Buford came up with 
Rucker's and Lyon's brigades, and continued the pur- 
suit toward Salem. Many more prisoners were taken. 
Forrest went forward with Bell's brigade by a differ- 
ent road. Near Salem, a few miles from the home of 
his youth, he fell from his horse from exhaustion, and 
was unconscious for more than an hour. That night 
he rested with staff and escort at the house of Orrin 
Beck, a maternal uncle. The pursuit grew weaker as 
men and horses were exhausted, but it was continued 
in the direction of Memphis about fifty-eight miles. 
Bell's brigade which left Rienzi at 4 a, m. on the 
10th. marched twenty-five miles to Brice's crossroads, 
fought from 2 p. m, to 4 P. M., joined in the pursuit, 
and on the night of the nth camped at Davis Mill. 
twelve miles north of Salem, a distance of eighty-five 




miles from the starting-point. Other commands were 
distinguished likewise. Morton's artillery ran eighteen 
miles to reach the battle-field, was engaged five hours, 
joined in the pursuit, and reached Salem on the night 
of the nth, having made sixty-one miles in thirty-eight 
hours. So great was the strain that fifteen of his horses 
fell dead in the pursuit. 

The Federals made all possible haste on the return 
to Memphis. The cavalry had the advantage and the 
infantry suffered more heavily. Waring's cavalry bri- 
gade lost only two hundred and seven, and Winslow's 
one hundred and twenty-six. The colored troops, it 
was reported afterward, wore badges inscribed " Re- 
member Fort Pillow." Few, if any, of the badges 
were captured on the prisoners, and the facts were not 
known to Forrest's men until after the battle. Some 
of the pursuers, including a small detachment from 
Newsom's Nineteenth Tennessee regiment, reached 
Grand Junction and La Grange, though not in force. 
Brice's crossroads is now Bethany, as a post-office 
in Lee County, Miss. The battle was fought in what 
was then Pontotoc County, and extended nearly three 
miles into Tippah County, on the road to Ripley, the 
county seat. 

The spoils taken by Forrest's men were abundant 
and of the finest quality. General Sturgis's headquar- 
ters wagon fell into the hands of the victors, and in 
it were morning reports showing ten thousand two 
hundred and sixty-five men on the muster-rolls, but 
probably not all present for duty. He reported after- 
ward that four hundred, including one hundred cav- 
alry, were sent back from Stubbs Farm. 

The Federal medical department was especially 
well stocked with everything required for the treat- 
ment of soldiers on the battle-field and in hospitals. 
Five splendid new ambulances, loaded with valuable 



Stores, were sent through the country under guard to 
General Johnston's army in Georgia. 

General Sturgis made quick time back to Memphis, 
reaching Collierville in forty-eight hours. All his sol- 
diers were in a most dilapidated condition. It was a 
matter of great mortification to him and to his gallant 
officers that they were so defeated, and the general 
was afterward subjected to harsh criticism and in- 
quiry before a mihtary court, and, although not 
formally deposed for his unavoidable defeat he was 
not again given an opportunity to so distinguish him- 
self. General Sherman had severely censured Gen- 
eral William Sooy Smith * for allowing himself 
to be badly worsted by Forrest at West Point, 
Okolona, and Prairie Station in the latter part of 
February, 1864. Sturgis did not fare much better, and 
little more was heard of him during the war. Had he 
secured that one " little lock of hair " his reputation 
would have been secure. 

On the 12th of June Forrest returned slowly to 
Ripley, remained there that night, and reached Brice's 
crossroads on the morning of the 13th. His first order 
was for the removal of the wounded of both sides 
to hospitals on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and the 
next one required brigade commanders to make de- 
tailed reports of all captured property. On the same 
afternoon he established headquarters at Gun town, 
where he was soon actively engaged in the reorganiza- 
tion of his command- A few days later he repaired 
to Tupelo. About that time Roddey's force was placed 
under Forrest, and ordered to Corinth, leaving tliree 
hundred men in north Alabama. 

•Forrest's command called him " Sookey Smith. " while 
General Andrew J. Smilh was knuwn amoug them as '■OH 
Baldy," by way of dislinclion. 


In a report dated at Memphis, June 24th, General 
Sturgis gave his losses in killed, wounded, and missing 
at two thousand two hundred and forty, but the re- 
ports of brigade and regimental commanders make a 
total of two thousand six hundred and twelve. 

Chief Surgeon Dr. J. B. Cowan, of General For- 
rest's staff, reported four hundred and ninety-two 
killed and wounded on the Confederate side. Rucker's 
brigade lost twenty-three per cent and Lyon's over 
twenty per cent in killed and wounded. The general 
commanding, in an address to his soldiers, claimed as 
the results of the victory seventeen guns, two hundred 
and fifty wagons, three thousand stand of arms, three 
hundred thousand rounds of small-arm ammunition, 
two thousand prisoners, and killed and wounded two 
thousand.* He paid a high tribute to the gallantry of 
his men as well as to Brigadier-General Buford, com- 
manding division, and to brigade-commanders Colo- 
nels E. W. Rucker, W. A. Johnson, Lyon, and Bell, 
Captain John W. Morton, chief of artillery, and to 
staff-officers Major C. W. Anderson, Captain W. H. 
Brand, and Lieutenants Clay, Sam. Donelson, Titus, 
and M. C. Gallaway. Forrest could well congratulate 
his men upon such a remarkable victory over the best 
troops of the Union army in greatly superior numbers. 
Away from his immediate superior commander he 
planned the battle, and it was fought and won in an 
incredibly short space of time. There was no time or 
place during the action when he was not outnumbered 
except at the last, when the retreat began. His forces, 
although scattered at first and weary from long 
marches, were brought together and handled with con- 
summate tact and judgment. The general fully grasped 
the situation, and seized a rare opportunity to win a 

* Rebellion Records, Series i, vol. xxxix, p. 228. 


victory which was without parallel during the war, as 
conceded by leading generals on both sides. This was 
doubtless Forrest's greatest achievement from a mili- 
tary standpoint, and the climax of his hard-earned 
fame. The Confederacy was losing strength, and every 
battle or skirmish only hastened its inevitable downfall. 



The Union leaders in the field, as well as the au- 
thorities at Washington, realized at once the serious 
import of the disaster at Brice's crossroads, and re- 
solved to retrieve it at any cost or hazard. General 
Grant, in his Memoirs, says : " Forrest had met Stur- 
gis in command of some cavalry in Mississippi, and 
had used him very roughly, gaining a great victory 
over him. . . . Two divisions 'under A. J. Smith 
had been sent to Louisiana some months before. Sher- 
man ordered these back, with directions to attack For- 
rest."* This was part of a prompt movement in force, 
leading to the battle of Harrisburg, fought on the 14th 
of July on a hill above and west of Tupelo. 

Secretary of War Stanton on the 14th of June tele- 
graphed General Sherman that he had just received 
the report of the battle between Sturgis and Forrest, 
" in which our forces were defeated with great loss. 
Washburn estimates our loss at not less than three thou- 
sand." Sherman replied : " I have ordered A. J. Smith 
not to go to Mobile, but to go to Memphis and to de- 
feat Forrest at all costs. Forrest has only his cavalry. 
I can not understand how he could defeat Sturgis with 
eight thousand men. ... I know I would have been 
willing to attempt the same task with that force ; but 
Forrest is the devil, and I think he has got some of our 

* Memoirs of General Grant, vol. ii, p. 306. 



troops under cower. I have two officers at Memphis 
who will fight all the time — A. J. Smith and Mower. 
I will order them to make up a force and go out to 
follow Forrest to the death, if it costs ten thousand 
lives and breaks the Treasury. There never will be 
peace in Tennessee until Forrest is dead."* Again he 
telegraplied to Stanton on the 20th as to Forrest : " He 
whipped Sturgis fair and square, and now I have got 
against him A, J. Smith and Mower, and will let them 
try their hands," On the 24th of June General Sher- 
man sent a message to President Lincoln, in which he 
said : " I have ordered General A. J. Smith and Gen- 
eral Mower from Memphis to pursue and kill Forrest, 
promising the latter, in case of success, my influence 
to promote him to a major-general." 

Forrest had surely grown to be a disturbing factor 
and a menace to the rear of Sherman's army when it 
was deemed necessary to make such an offer to seaire 
his destruction. Not only this, but his presence on the 
field detained Union forces at Decatur, at Nashville, 
and various other points which might otherwise have 
been employed rapidly and successfully to crush out 
what was left of the Southern Confederacy, which even 
then was gasping for breath, and was so soon to pass 
into the shadows of history. Never commanding more 
than five thousand men in any action, Forrest mobilized 
his skeleton regiments and fought them either as 
mounted infantry or dismounted cavalry, and so often 
changed front and used his artillery as the picket line, 
that it required a largely superior force to look after 
him. Hence the importance now of engaging his at- 
tention by a strong movement quickly organized to 
destroy him if possible. 

Of the several commanders sent out to vanquish 


Forrest, General A. J. Smith was, perhaps, one of the 
ablest, and, in conjunction with Brigadier-General 
Joseph A. Mower, who was offered the brilliant prize 
of a major-generalship, he moved forth, resolved not 
to be surprised, and in this he succeeded. His force 
consisted of thirty-two hundred cavalry under Grier- 
son, eleven thousand infantry, twenty-four pieces of 
artillery, and five hundred artillerists. Brigadier-Gen- 
eral Mower commanded the First Division, Sixteenth 
Army-corps; Colonel David Moore commanded the 
Third Division, and Colonel Edward Bouton com- 
manded the First Brigade of the United States colored 
troops, Major-General A. J. Smith being in chief com- 
mand. The expedition moved out from La Grange, 
forty-nine miles east of Memphis, on the 5th day of 
July, 1864, passed through Ripley on the 8th, crossed 
the Tallahatchie at New Albany on the 9th, and 
camped on the night of the loth five miles north of 
Pontotoc. Thus far there had been no serious resist- 
ance. The Confederate outpost at Ripley, some six 
hundred strong, under command of Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel Hyams, First Mississippi Partizans, had been 
thrown forward on the 7th, and skirmished with 
Smith's advance, but fell back through Ripley to El- 
listown, fifteen miles to the northwestward of Tupelo. 
Generals Lee and Forrest had been making head- 
quarters and concentrating some troops at Okolona, 
and Chalmers, who had returned from Alabama, 
was ordered forward to Pontotoc and reached that 
neighborhood on the nth, with orders to skirmish 
sharply and detain the enemy's advance if possible for 
two days, and he disposed his two brigades accordingly 
on the diflferent roads. 

The Federal column advanced in parallelogram 
form with line of battle flanked by cavalry, wagons in 
the center, infantry and cavalry in the rear. Lyon's 



brigade was encountered at Pontotoc, and pressed back 
slowly, but only a few miles' progress was made that 
day. General Forrest was on the field, and was joined 
by the commander of the department. The road in 
front ran for two miles through a swamp, and Chal- 
mers's force made such resistance that General Smith 
abandoned the idea of marching to Okolona. and on 
the morning of the 13th he turned to the left almost a 
right angle, and moved toward Tupelo, eighteen miles 
eastward. His skirmishers on the Okolona road were 
called in, and the rear was brought up by the colored 
brigade and the Seventh Kansas Cavalry. His object 
was to secure possession of the railroad at Tupelo, and 
thus be able to select his own battle-ground. There 
was sharp skirmishing on the line of march nearly all 
day, and when within about eight miles of Pontotoc 
General Chalmers, by order of General Lee, made a 
bold attack on the flank of the train, which was suc- 
cessful only to the extent o£ destroying seven wagons 
and some caissons and ambulances, and killing twenty- 
seven mules. The Confederates were repulsed with 
losses. Colonel Duff, commanding a Mississippi regi- 
ment, was wounded, and lost forty-seven killed and 
wounded. General Buford also made an attack on the 
flank farther up the road, but without success. General 
Forrest brought up the rear until nine o'clock at night, 
when he reached a point two miles from Harrishurg, 
near Tupelo, and there employed Mabry's brigade and 
four pieces of artillery to feel the enemy. At a 
later hour he went to the front, accompanied only by 
a staff-officer, Lieutenant Samuel Donelson, made a 
wide detour for an hour or more, rode through the 
pickets and teamsters unnoticed at first, discovered the 
strong position of the Federals, and only escaped by 
a dash back through the woods at full speed and 
imdcr fire. The train was parked two miles west of 



Tupelo, and General Grierson held the town and rail- 

The Federal line, about a mile and a half long, was 
in a semicircle form on a low ridge running north and 
south, and faced west toward Pontotoc. The left rested 
near the railroad south of Tupelo, and the right half a 
mile north of Harrisburg. There was much open space 
and lightly timbered land in front through which the 
Confederates would have to advance. At some points 
they would be in plain view for a distance of five hun- 
dred or a thousand yards. General Smith had made a 
good selection of position, and it was well strengthened 
during the night. The twenty-four guns were advan- 
tageously placed, and there was a cavalry brigade on 
each flank. General Smith was ready for battle. While 
General Lee was not, with the limited force at his com- 
mand, yet he was compelled for various reasons to 
bring" on an engagement. His department was men- 
aced by movements from Vicksburg and north Ala- 
bama, which he felt compelled to meet, and if he had to 
leave Forrest he would be obliged to withdraw some of 
his troops on the field. Forrest never acquiesced in 
the resolve of his superior, and declined to accept the 
command tendered him for the day. The Confederate 
line of battle was arranged with Roddey's division — 
Patterson's and Johnson's brigades— on the extreme 
right ; Colonel Crossland, commanding brigade of Ken- 
tuckians next to the left in the center, but on the right 
of the road; Rice's battery, Bell's brigade next, and 
Mabry's brigade, with one section of Morton's battery, 
on the extreme left flank of the fighting line. The 
other section of Morton's battery was under command 
of Lieutenant Tully Brown, to the left of the road to 
Harrisburg. The reserve was composed of McCul- 
loch's brigade, and Nccly's and Gholson's dismounted 
men, an infantry force of seven hundred under General 


Lyon, and Thrall's, Fcrrell's, and Hudson's batteries. 
The Confederate forces on the field in front and hi re- 
serve were, as near as can be ascertained, as follows: 

Chalmers's divisinn, composed of 

McCullocti's and Rucker's brigades 2,joo 

Buford'a division. Bell's, Lyon's, and Mabry's 
brig'ades 3,200 

Roddey's division, Patterson's and Johnson's 
brigades itSoo 

Lyon's infantry division ; 

Beluhooven's battalion of infantry 900 

Cholson's (dismounted) brigade 600 

Neely's " " 600 

Artillerists, 20 guns 360 

Total 9.460 

The infantry were in line of battle, but partly in 
reserve. Deducting horse-holders, the available Con- 
federate force was about seventy-five hundred, though 
not half engaged during the day. 

General Forrest had sufficient cause to decline the 
command offered him on account of his ill-health if 
for nothing else. He had been suffering for some time, 
and two weeks previously had requested General Lee 
to relieve him. Without actual command, he was given 
his choice, and elected to go in the fight with Roddey's 
division on the right. 

By seven o'clock on the morning of the 14th, the 
Confederates were in order of battle facing directly 
east, and moved up to the timber-line where they 
halted, and firing was opened at long range both from 
small arms and artillery, and was continued without 
serious effect for an hour. At eight o'clock General 
Lee directed General Forrest to ride down to the right 
and swing Roddey's division around on the Union 
left. This movement, however, was confronted by 
heavy reenforcements which General Smith could easily 
spare from other parts of his lines, and General Fo' 


rest reached the conclusion that it would be best to hold 
Roddey in check. So there was no assault made on the 
Union left. The lines were not nearer together than 
four hundred yards. A part of Buford's division ad- 
vanced prematurely and overconfidently. Crossland's 
Kentucky brigade rushed ahead of the main line, and 
was soon under a terrific fire. The men seemed reck- 
less of life, and without fear or reason. Their officers 
had little control over them. The artillery was served 
with fine effect, but the dismounted cavalry regiments 
and brigades went in without method, to be shot down 
by platoons and sections. Again and again they fell 
back, rallied, and charged, always with terrible losses. 
The brigades were not alined so as to cooperate. The 
enemy could see this, and quickly took advantage of 
the irregularity with which the main charges were 
made. No general plan was observed after the first 
shock of battle. It was a scorching hot day ; the beds 
of streams were dry; vegetation burned to a crisp; 
the sultry air, laden with dust and sand, and a red July 
sky glowed through sulfurous, lazy smoke upon fields 
where the cyclones of battle had met to wrestle. In 
this fierce, remorseless work mere personal valor and 
deeds of daring were of no avail. For two hours the 
contest raged, and not a point on the Union line had 
been broken, although the fragments of brigades 
charged time after time up within a few yards of the 
breastworks and were shot down, until regiments looked 
like mere skirmish lines. The award for rash courage 
could not be claimed for any one command. Cross- 
land's Kentuckians, Bell's Tennesseeans, McCulloch's 
Missourians and others, Mabry's Mississippians, Mor- 
ton's, Rice's, and Thrall's artillerymen all threw them- 
selves into the supreme struggle with an abandon that 
has seldom been recorded in the history of civilized 
peoples. The straggling commands going up the hill 


across an open field drew a concentrated fire from more 
than five times, or even ten times, their number. It 
was Crossland's brigade of seven hundred men first, 
then Bell's, and then Mabry's. Rucker, the stubborn 
fighter, was ordered to take the place of Mahry, but 
when within fifty yards of the Federal lines was twice 
wounded and his men driven back, leaving the ground 
strewn with the dead and dying. McCulloch's brigade 
was ordered to the support of Crossland, but recalled 
before it reached the fatal zone of battle in the center of 
the field. Forrest moved Roddey's command to Cross- 
land's original position, but further advance was not to 
be thought of. The commands engaged went in by 
piecemeal and were slaughtered by wholesale. At the 
end of two hours' desperate fighting, without organi- 
zation or skilful handling, the Confederates were re- 
pulsed at every point. It was all gallantry and 
useless sacrifice of life. General Mower advanced 
his lines a quarter of a mile, and thus ended a bloody 
battle and costly mistake. The attack having failed 
with disastrous results, the Confederates fell back to 
the position held early in the morning, leaving McCul- 
loch in advance, where he remained several hours. 

General Forrest never questioned the judgment or 
authority of his superior officer in command, or com- 
plained afterward, but he said on the field and else- 
where that it was not his fight, and that if it had been 
successful General would have been entitled to the 
credit of the plan and its execution. The Confederate 
loss in killed and wounded officers was especially 
heavy. In Mabry's brigade, Colonel Isham Harrison ; 
Lieutenant-Colonel John B. Cage. Fourteenth Confed- 
erate; Thomas M. Nelson, Sixth Mississippi, and 
Major Robert C, McCay, Thirty-eighth Mississippi, 
were killed. In Bell's brigade, Colonels C. R. Barteau, 
A. N. Wilson, R. M. Russell, and J. F. Newsom were 





wounded, also Lieutenant-Colonel Wisdom and Major 
Parham. Colonel Faulkner, of the Twelfth Kentucky, 
was twice wounded, and left on the field. Colonel 
Rucker was twice wounded, and had to be carried away 
after leading his men to within fifty yards of the Fed- 
eral works. At least one-third of his small brigade was 
lost in killed and wounded or by the heat. The few 
Confederates who crossed the works were killed or 
captured. Lieutenant Willie Forrest was thrown from 
his horse by the concussion of a shell which exploded 
over his head, and had to be carried to the rear. The 
section of Morton's battery commanded by Lieutenant 
Tully Brown shared the advance and losses of Bell's 
and Mabry's brigades. Five out of the seven gun- 
ners and six of the eight horses of one gun, were 
struck down, and Sergeant Brown, its commander, was 
three times wounded, but the gun was drawn to the 
rear by the sharpshooters of Captain Titus's company, 
and Brown came out with it. Another piece was also 
brought off by hand after one of its wheels had been 
shot away. All the batteries were brought into action 
during the engagement, and handled effectively both at 
the front and from long range. 

Late in the afternoon General Forrest moved 
Rucker's brigade, now under Colonel Duckworth, from 
the extreme left, with four pieces of artillery south- 
ward on the Verona road, and had a sharp skirmish 
with the Federal left, artillery being freely used on 
both sides. Late in the evening the brigade went into 
bivouac three miles south of Tupelo. Buford was also 
moved in the same direction in anticipation of an at- 
tack the next morning. 

General Smith was still expected to move toward 
Okolona to destroy the railroad and other property, 
but on the morning of the 15th he decided that it had 
become a necessity to return. The movement was be- 


gun about noon. The retreat was soon discovered, and 
Bell's brigade, with Rice's battery, was ordered to 
follow and press the rear vigorously. He came up 
with the rear-guard, commanded by General Mower, 
at Old Town Creek, four miles northwest of Tupelo, 
on the Ellistown road, and made an attack which was 
repulsed with considerable loss, including Colonel L. 
J. Sherrell, of the Seventh Kentucky, killed, and 
Colonel Crossland, brigade commander, desperately 
wounded. Rice's battery also suffered severely. For- 
rest came up with McCuIlocb's brigade at a gallop, dis- 
mounted the force, and made a partly successful 
charge, in which he was painfully wounded in the right 
foot, and Colonel McCulloch wounded in the shoutcier. 
General Chalmers made a flank movement on the left 
with Kelley's regiment, but was forced to fall back. 
McCul loch's attack created a diversion for a short time, 
and saved Cuford's horses and arlillerv, Forrest's 
wound was so painful that he was obliged to return 
to Tupelo and have it dressed, leaving Chalmers in 
command. General Lee went to the front and ordered 
McCulloch's brigade to bivouac within half a mile of 
Town Creek. Buford's division was close by, and the 
other commands were between these and Tupelo. The 
morning of the iGth found them all still greatly ex- 
hausted. Men and horses were broken down after 
three days' hard marching and fighting. 

Chalmers was directed to follow the Federals with 
Rucker's and Roddey's brigades and a section of artil- 
lery, which he did for one day only, and engaged in 
some skirmishing. Two hundred and fifty men were 
detached to continue the ptjrsuit toward Memphis. 
Thus reduced, his command returned to Tupelo. Gen- 
eral Smith marched rapidly to Memphis by way of 
Holly Springs ; Mower brought up the rear. The main 
reason assigned for the retreat after repulsing such ; 


attack, was shortness of rations, only one day's supply 
being left. In his report General Smith says : 

" We reached Salem on the 19th, where we found 
supplies awaiting our arrival." This was three days 
after the last brush with Chalmers. 

General Forrest, in his report, says : " The enemy 
continued his retreat, and was pursued for two days 
by Rucker and Roddey. My force during the engage- 
ment did not exceed five thousand men. The enemv 
fought behind fortifications and in positions of his own 
selection. Three of my brigade commanders, Rucker, 
McCuUoch, and Crossland, were seriously wounded, 
and all the colonels were either killed or wounded — 
two hundred and ten were killed, one thousand one 
hundred and sixteen wounded.'' A detailed report 
for the 13th, 14th, and 15th of July, by commands, 
shows losses as follows: 

Chalmers's division, killed, 57; wounded, 255.... 312 
Buford's, including Mabry's brigade, killed, 153 ; 

wounded, 798 951 

Remnant (80) of Morgan's detachment, Kentucky 

cavalry, killed, 5 ; wounded, 19 24 

Morton's artillery, killed, i ; wounded, 9 10 

Missing from Buford 48 

Missing from Morgan's detachment 2 

Total 1,347 

The percentage of mortality appears greater when 
it is considered that so many Confederates in line of 
battle never fired a shot. General Lyon's reserve force 
of twenty-one hundred men was not in range of the 
battle. McCulloch's brigade, fourteen hundred strong, 
was ordered forward to take Crossland's place, but was 
not engaged. Roddey's division, fifteen hundred, was 
only engaged with skirmishers at a range of four hun- 
dred yards. Over five thousand did not take part in 
this bloody affair. 


The losses of some Confederate commands were 
especially heavy. Out of Crossland's eight hundred 
men in the field, including horse-holders, two hundred 
and seventv-six were killed or wounded; onlv thirtv 
were reported as missing. All this occurred in less than 
an hour and a half's actual fighting. !Mabry*s brigade 
of seven hundred and fifty men in the charge left one- 
third on the field kiUed and wounded. Such percent- 
ages were seldom heard of except in a few of the great- 
est battles of the war, such as Gettysburg, Chicka- 
maug^, and Franklin. The severest loss ever known 
was at Gettysburg, when a Confederate regiment lost 
seven hundred and twenty out of eight hundred men, 
or ninety per cent. 

General Smith reported his casualties as nine oflS- 
cers killed or mortally wounded, sixty-nine men killed, 
and five hundred and fifty-eight, wounded ; total, six 
hundred and thirty-six. 




General Forrest suffered more from the wound 
received in his big toe at Old Town Creek on the 
15th of July than from any of the numerous injuries 
sustained during the war. For some weeks before 
the battle of Harrisburg he had been afflicted with boils 
and other troubles consequent upon hard fare and the 
great strain of body and mind endured in three years' 
service. He remained at Tupelo only twenty-four 
hours to give orders as to the care of the wounded, 
burial of the dead, collection of small arms on the 
battle-fields and the disposition of troops. No longer 
able to ride on horseback, he secured a buggy, and con- 
tinued to give his personal attention to necessary de- 
tails. Leaving Brigadier-General Chalmers in com- 
mand, he went by rail to Okolona, where he remained 
until the 22d, and then returned to Tupelo. General 
S. D. Lee was transferred to Hood's army on the 20th, 
and General Dabney H. Maury succeeded him tem- 
porarily. The troops were scattered : those in the State 
service reported to the Governor of Mississippi at 
Jackson ; Roddey's division was sent by rail to Mont- 
gomery on the 28th to meet a reported invasion in the 
interior of Alabama ; Mabry's brigade was ordered the 
same day to repair mounted to Canton, Miss., to assist 
in repelling another Federal movement ; Buford and 
Chalmers were sent to Egypt Station and other points 

the neighborhood convenient to forage and sub- 


sislence, and other commands were also located with 
a view to recuperation. The small battalion of infan- 
try present at Harrishurg was returned to Mobile. 
Depots for supphes were established, the scouting serv- 
ice was reorganized, fortifications were put under 
construction at Prairie Mound, and active measures 
taken to remount the men who had lost their horses, 
and to secure the return of absentees. General For- 
rest returned to Okolona on the 1st of August, but 
was still suffering greatly. 

General Chalmers, on the ist day of August, re- 
ported to the chief of staff of the department that 
preparations were being made by the Federals to move 
from Memphis, Vicksburg, and north Alabama at the 
same time, and, if successful, to concentrate at Selma, 
and stated that scouts reported fourteen thousand in- 
fantry and cavalry already assembled at La Grange. 
" Our effective force," he concluded, " is five thousand 
three hundred and fifty-seven, but we are very much 
crippled in officers. Both of my brigade commanders 
are wounded, also a brigade commander of General 
Buford's division, and most of the field-officers of the 
command were either killed or wounded in the late 
engagement." General Forrest resumed command on 
the 3d of August, and on the same day General Chal- 
mers set out with his staff escort, Thrall's battery, 
and McCulIoch's brigade through Pontotoc for Ox- 
ford, about fifty miles distant. The command was sup- 
plied with one hundred rounds of ammunition for small 
arms, and two hundred for the artillery. On the 4th 
Neely's brigade was also despatched toward Oxford 
with orders to impress negroes to the number of five 
hundred, with axes, spades, etc., to construct fortifi- 
cations at Gray sport, Abbeville, and other places on 
the Tallahatchie River, and to obstruct roads and fords 
in the river not so fortified. Mabry's brigade, recalled 


from the direction of Canton, was ordered to Grenada 
with similar instructions. 

General Smith's return to Memphis claiming a 
great victory over Forrest, but followed even by weak- 
ened Confederate commands, did not give entire satis- 
faction to Grant and Sherman. Forrest was reported 
to be dead when he was only crippled and riding 
around in an old buggy with his foot propped up on 
the dashboard. General Mower had not quite killed 
Forrest, but he was promoted to major-general. Sher- 
man's pledge was made good. On the 12th of April 
he telegraphed to Stanton < " Please convey to the 
President my thanks for the commission for General 
Mower, whose task was to kill Forrest. He only crip- 
pled him. He is a young and game officer." General 
Smith soon made another advance from Memphis, 
but not intending to go as far from his base as before. 
By the 9th of August he had reached the Tallahatchie 
River between Holly Springs and Oxford, and was 
accompanied by Generals Mower and Grierson with a 
force of ten thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, 
three thousand colored troops from Memphis, and 
three Minnesota regiments sent from St. Louis. The 
cavalry moved across the country and the infantry by 
rail as far as Holly Springs, going by way of Grand 
Junction. The distance from Holly Springs to Oxford, 
south, was thirty miles, and the Tallahatchie River was 
crossed about half-way between the two places. Gen- 
eral Chalmers destroyed bridges and trestles below 
Holly Springs, and took a position south of the river. 
Fighting stubbornly, he was pushed back to Oxford 
by the loth of August, and was found there by Forrest 
with Bell's and Neely's brigades and Morton's artillery. 
An advance was made and a position taken at Hurri- 
cane Creek, eight miles out from Oxford, and fight- 
ing was kept up almost continuously for three days. 



On the morning of the 13th the Confederates found 
themselves flanked by a heavy force, and fell back to 
Oxford. Forrest was well aware before he left Oko- 
lona that he could not successfully meet the forces in 
his front, and his mind was busy planning a counter- 
movement. The Federals had repaired the Mississippi 
Central Railroad as far as Waterford, eight miles 
south of Holly Springs. As early as the 8th of August 
Forrest wrote to Chalmers inquiring as to the facilities 
for crossing the river at Panola west of Oxford, and 
the number of boats to be found there. Buford was 
twenty-five miles away on the right, at Pontotoc, to 
guard against a flank movement in that direction. The 
way seemed to be open on the extreme left for a move 
on Memphis. Chalmers fell back across a swollen 
stream a few miles south of Oxford, but kept up demon- 
strations in different directions, and occupied the atten- 
tion of the Federals. On Monday, August 15th, he led 
a detachment of some two hundred picked men from 
Neely's brigade on a reconnaissance; drove in the 
enemy's pickets on the Abbeville road, and dashed into 
the town and developed a large infantry force which 
retreated at first in some confusion, but was soon drawn 
up in line of battle. Seeing this, Chalmers withdrew 
his Httle force without loss. By the evening of the 
17th it became known through scouts that the Federal 
commander bad repaired the railroad as far as Abbe- 
ville, collected supplies, laid a pontoon bridge across 
the Tallahatchie, and was ready to advance southward. 
Euford was ordered to repair with his division to Ox- 
ford to cooperate with Chalmers., 

Forrest was again able to take to the saddle, but 
had to carry his foot in a sling. On the morning of 
the rSth, after freely consulting General Clialmers and 
other officers, he resolved to set in motion a careful' 
considered plan to attack Memphis. Two thousand 


the best men in Bell's and Neely's brigades, and 
Morton's battery of artillery, were selected for the ex- 
pedition. About five hundred men were rejected on 
account of their mounts being too weak for the forced 
marches before them. Late in the afternoon this com- 
mand of fifteen hundred men, besides the staff, escort, 
and artillerymen, rode to the west in a pelting rain, 
which had been falling several days. After hard 
riding in mud, water, and rain the command reached 
Senatobia, in Tate County, by seven o'clock on the 
morning of the 20th. One mile north of this place it 
became necessary to construct a bridge over Hickahala 
Creek. Forrest sent in advance a detachment to cut 
down two trees on each side of the stream, and to 
make cables of grape and muscadine vines to be fas- 
tened to the stumps of the felled trees. A small ferry- 
boat was anchbred in the center of the stream, and the 
cables rested on this. Cypress logs were used to 
further support the cables. As General Forrest ap- 
proached he sent details to neighboring gin-houses and 
cabins to strip them of their floors. The planks were 
laid across the cables, making a substantial though 
swinging bridge, and the entire command dismounted 
and led their horses in columns of twos over this 
swinging-, trembling, grape-vine network. Two pieces 
of artillery had been left at Panola owing to the ter- 
rible condition of the roads and great strain upon the 
animals. The other two guns, pulled by ten horses 
each up- and down-hill on the expedition throughout, 
were here unlimbered and carried over by hand. For- 
rest, upon reaching the south bank of the creek, lame 
as he was, had dismounted to direct every movement, 
and even took part in tying the cables to the stumps 
and placing the planks brought up by the troopers. 
At the greater bridge of Lodi he would have been one 
of the first to pass over as he was here. No wonder 


tliat he had such a following^l When once started the 
command was safely across in about an hour. The 
construction of the improvised bridge occupied even 
less time than that. Seven miles northward the head 
of the column reached Coldwater, a turbulent, full 
stream twice as wide as Hickahala Creek. Again a 
ferry-boat was found, and anchored as a central float. 
Grapevines, gin-house floorings, and telegraph-poles 
were used without stint in the construction of another 
bridge on the same engineering principle as the other 
one. In about three hours this was ready also for 
use, and the passage of the command was speedily ac- 
complished without a casualty. Forrest pushed on 
as rapidly as possible, and at sundown on the 20th 
reached Hernando, his old home, twenty-five miles 
south of Memphis, and rested a short time to feed 
and rest. 

Scouts were met there who gave accurate informa- 
tion as to the strength and position of troops in and 
around Memphis, for it might be said of Forrest as of 
Tamerlane that : " On all occasions his march was 
preceded by clouds of flying scouts, who, piercing the 
country in every direction, kept him constantly in- 
formed as to its varied resources and the dispositions 
of the enemy." Fifteen miles farther on he was met 
by several citizens who gave him specific reports, es- 
pecially as to the headquarters of prominent officers 
in Memphis. Henderson's famous scouts met the ad- 
vance of the column at Cane Creek, four miles south 
of Memphis, and reported the position of the pickets 
on the road, and also stated that there were fully five 
thousand troops in and around the city. 

Forrest's plan was to capture if possible the three 
generals known to be there, and the troops imme- 
diately around them, but not to attack Fort Pickering 
a strong and well-garrisoned position. Incident; 


the troops might remount and equip themselves, but 
the main object was to recall the movement of Gen- 
eral A. J. Smith southward. It was arranged for 
Captain William H. Forrest, the general's brother, 
with his independent company, to lead the advance, 
capture the pickets, rush into the Gayoso House 
and capture Major-General Hurlbut and such other 
officers as might be quartered there. Colonel T. H. 
Logwood, with a strong detachment from the Twelfth 
and P'ifteenth Tennessee regiments, was to follow 
Captain Forrest to the Gayoso, and place details 
at Beale and Main and Beale and Shelby streets, 
just south of the hotel, and at the steamboat-landing 
at the foot of Union Street. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Jesse A. Forrest was to invest General C. C. Wash- 
burn's headquarters on Union Street ; Colonel T. H. 
Bell, with detachments of Newsom's, Russell's, and 
Barteau's regiments, and two pieces of Morton's bat- 
tery under Lieutenant Sale, were to compose the re- 
serve under General Forrest in the suburbs to cover the 
movement and the retreat. The commanders of the 
skeleton brigades, regiments, and detachments were 
assembled, and the part to be taken by each one was 
fully explained. Separating in the darkness, they 
formed their troops into columns of fours. The strict- 
est silence was enjoined upon all as being essential 
to the success of the daring venture to be made. 
Had this been observed the success of the first hour 
at least might have been more pronounced. A heavy 
fog prevailed, and it was a damp, sultry, starless night, 
propitious for such work by wcll-seasoned soldiers 
elated by a spirit of daring and sense of danger. Many 
of them were within rifle-shot of their homes, which 
they had not seen for many months. 

A staff-officer made the rounds of each command 
and reported to General Forrest.that all were closed up 


and in place. At 3.15 a.m. Captain Forrest, with 
ten picked men some sixty paces in front of his 
company, led the advance. When within two miles 
of Court Square he was halted by the sharp chal- 
lenge of a picket, and "Who comes there?" "De- 
tachment of the Twelfth Missouri Cavalry with rebel 
prisoners." " Dismount, and advance one." Captain 
Forrest advanced without dismounting, and struck the 
picket down with a blow of his revolver. His men 
who were close at his heels, rushed by and captured 
the picket-post, ten or twelve men, some forty yards 
to the rear. One gun was discharged by a Union sol- 
dier. The prisoners were sent to Captain Forrest's 
rear, and he pushed on a quarter of a mile to the next 
post, where lie was greeted by a volley, but dispersed 
the force encountered. The alarm was spreading, day 
was breaking, and as the Confederates came in sight 
of long rows of tents, they broke into wild cheering. 
Forrest gave the order to Gaus, his ever-faithful bugler, 
to sound the charge, and at this the troops selected for 
the purpose, dashed forward in the direction of the 
Gayoso, Captain Forrest ran into and dispersed the 
gunners of a battery, but did not think to spike the 
pieces. Reaching the Gayoso the captain entered with- 
out dismounting, and caused the house to be searclied 
for officers of rank. Fortunately for Major-General 
S. A. Hurlbut he had not slept in the Gayoso the night 
before, but at the old Duval residence, used as a 
quartermaster's headquarters, on Shelby Street. Colo- 
nel'Jesse A. Forrest likewise failed in his call for Ma- 
jor-General Washburn at the elegant Williarhs man- 
sion on Union Street. Being warned by Lieutenant- 
Colonel M. H. Starr of ihc Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and 
the sound of guns, the general left his room suddenly 
by a back door, and escaped to Fort Pickering, three- 
quarters of a mile away, leaving his uniform and per- 


sonal effects behind.* General Buckland, command- 
ing the district of Memphis, likewise escaped from 
his residence on Court Street, and instead of run- 
ning away, took an active part in rallying the. avail- 
able troops and militia for defense. The town was 
thrown into a state of great excitement Forrest's 
men rushed wildly about with no apparent object 
in view, and the whole population was soon aroused. 
Confederate synipatliizers, especially women and chil- 
dren who could safely do so, gave the invaders 
an exultant welcome. The Federals were forming in 
line, drums were beaten, officers and couriers flying 
hither and thither, and every movement punctuated by 
the sharp rattle of small arms and the ping-ping of 
bullets. To this was soon added the heavy boom of 
artillery in the suburbs and in the city. Logwood's 
command, followinp^ Captain Forrest, ran into a battery 
of artillery — the Seventh Wisconsin Battery, com- 
manded by Captain Harry S. Lee — about where 
Looncys Switch is now located, the gimners of which 
he dispersed before they could fire the pieces they 
were cliarp^ing ; then he passed on to the Gayoso. 

Neoly's command in the suburbs was resisted by a 
stronp^ infantry force. Forrest went to his assistance 
with Bell's brip;ade, and encountered a cavalry com- 
mand. The joint attack was partly successful, as some 
prisoners were taken, and some of the infantry and dis- 
mounted cavalry were driven into the State Female 
College, from which a white Hag was raised but pulled 

* These were taken as trophies, but sent back that evening 
with the compliments of General Forrest. In acknowledging 
the favor General Washburn sent out gray cloth with buttons 
and lace to make Forrest and his staff full uniforms, and a 
beautiful sword for Major J. P. Strange, which is still preserved 
by the latter's family in Memphis. 



down before a surrender could have taken place. Skir- 
mishing followed, and Lieutenant Sale threw some 
shells into the building, but the attack was abandoned 
as the place could not have been taken without a 
great sacrifice of life. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Logwood, while chatting pleas- 
antly with some Federal officers at the Gaj'oso, was 
warned that infantry forces were closing: i" on him, and 
ordering Captain Hugh D. Greer, of the Twelfth Ten- 
nessee, to take the lead, he and the two Forrests moved 
rapidly under fire down Beale Street, out Hernando, 
near to the old Poston place, where he found Forrest 
in a heavy engagement. Making a dash to the right 
he circled around, rejoined Forrest, was in a skirmish 
for an hour or two, and then with the entire command 
fell back slowly toward Hernando. The Federals 
chased some stragglers out of the city, and attacked 
others of Forrest's men who were still lingering in an 
infantry camp. A detachment of the Sixth Illinois 
Cavalry, under Lieu ten ant -Col one! Starr, made a vig- 
orous attack on the rear-guard commanded by Forrest 
in person. The latter made a counter-charge, and the 
Federal commander was wounded on the firing line. 
After this incident there was no further pursuit. After 
crossing Cane Creek, Forrest sent Major Anderson 
with a flag of truce and a despatch to General Wash- 
burn proposing an exchange of prisoners; also stat- 
ing that he had a number of captured officers and men 
who needed clothing. On the south side of Noncon- 
nah Creek, six miles south of the city, Forrest received 
the reply that Washburn had no authority to exchange 
prisoners, but that he would send out clothing, which 
was done that day. 

In the afternoon Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Hep- 
burn and Captain Harry S. Lee, officers of the Union 
army, who afterward lived in Memphis and were very 


popular with the old soldiers of both sides, were sent out 
in the afternoon under a flag of truce, with wagons 
and an abundant supplj^of clothing for both the officers 
and men who had been captured, some six hundred in 
number, including citizens. After these comforts were 
distributed, the prisoners were examined by surgeons, 
and the able-bodied ones mounted on the led or super- 
numerary horses to accompany the command south- 
ward. The weak and disabled and all citizens were 
marched back across Nonconnah, and released under 
promise to observe the parole of combatants until reg- 
ularly exchanged. General Forrest proceeded with 
his command and prisoners to Hernando, reaching 
there on the evening of the 21st. Before leaving Non- 
connah he informed Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn and 
Captain Lee that he would not be able to feed the pris- 
oners, and wrote to General Washburn that as they 
could not be paroled they should, at least, be fed, and 
that his address would be Hernando for a few davs. 
The next morning, the 22d, these same officers reached 
Hernando with two wagons well loaded with supplies. 
Two days* rations were issued to the prisoners, and 
one day's rations to the command. Settling down, ap- 
parently to stay some time, Forrest paroled four hun- 
dred prisoners as soon as the Federal officers left with 
their wagons, and by 8 a. m. he was on the march to 
Panola, reaching there about ten o'clock that night. 
On the 22d he went by rail with his staff and escort 
and one section of Morton's battery with the expedi- 
tion to Grenada, where he established his headquarters. 
The other details returned to their respective brigades 
and divisions. Major-General C. C. Washburn, in his 
report of this affair, dated Memphis, September, 1864, 
gives his losses in killed, wounded, and missing : Offi- 
cers and men as one hundred and ninety-six, not in- 
cluding about five hundred prisoners — one-hundred- 


days' men as well as citizens, many of whom belonged 
to the militia.* 

Brigadier- General R. P, Buck land, commanding 
the district, reported Federal losses at the time as 
officers killed, one; wounded, one ; missing, four. En- 
listed men killed, fourteen ; wounded, fifty-nine ; miss- 
ing, supposed to he prisoners, one hundred and twelve; 
total, one hundred and ninety-six (not including citi- 
zens and militiamen). General Buckland, in his 
graphic report of the affair, dated August 24th, says : 

" Before it was fairly light I was awakened by 
the sentinel at my residence by loud raps at the front 
door, with the exclamation, ' General, they are after 
you! ' I jumped out of bed. and asked from the win- 
dow, ' Who are after me? ' and was answered, ' The 
rebels! ' At the same time I heard musket shots in 
different directions. I dressed myself as speedily as 
possible, and ran to the barracks on the corner of 
Third and Jefferson streets, where I found the soldiers 
had been alarmed and were collecting in the street. I 
directed them to form in line as soon as possible, and 
then ran to the headquarters of the Second Regiment, 
E. M., to order the alarm-gun fired. At the comer of 
Third and Court streets I met Captain Alfred G. 
Tuther and Lieutenant M. T. Williamson, of my 
staff, who informed mc that the enemy had made a 
demonstration at my headquarters, but upon being 
fired at by the sentinel at the door, killing one horse, 
retired to Main Street. While I was giving direc- 
tions for the firing of the alarm-gun. General Charles 
W- Dustan, of the militia, came up with my headquar- 
ters guard and assisted in firing the gun. About the 
same time Lieutenant-Colonel Bell, commanding the 
Eighth Iowa, came out from the regimental head- 

'_ * Rebellion Recotda. vol. xxxix, pan i, pp. 469-471. 


quarters across the street, his companies being sta- 
tioned in barracks in different parts of the city. The 
alarm-gun was speedily fired, and the officers and sol- 
diers in the neighborhood soon rallied to the number, I 
should think, of one hundred and fifty. Just at this 
time Colonel Starr, of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, in- 
formed me that General Washburn's headquarters were 
in possession of the enemy, and that the general was 
undoubtedly captured. Scattering shots of musketry 
were continually heard in different directions. My 
staff and orderlies soon rallied around me, and our 
horses were brought. I immediately ordered Gen- 
eral Dustan to take charge of a detachment of the Irv- 
ing Block Guards, from the One Hundred and Thir- 
teenth Illinois Infantry, and proceed to Union Street, 
east of General Washburn's quarters, and at the same 
time directed Lieutenant-Colonel Bell to take what 
men he had got together and proceed directly down 
Third Street and attack the enemy at General Wash- 
* burn's headquarters, which was speedily done, myself 
and staff following Colonel Bell ; but the enemy, as 
soon as they discovered this movement, retreated to- 
ward the Hernando road in great haste, pursued by 
General Dustan and Colonel Bell. It was supposed that 
General Washburn had been captured and carried off. 
Having no information as to the whereabouts, strength, 
or designs of the enemy, I returned to my headquarters 
and took immediate measures to rally and organize all 
the troops within reach. I sent Captain Tuther to 
watch and report operations of the enemy in the direc- 
tion of the Hernando road, and other officers in other 
directions. Surgeon Rice was sent to see whether Colo- 
nel Kappner, commanding Fort Pickering, had notice 
of the presence of the enemy. About this time a pris- 
oner was brought to me from whom I learned that For- 
rest in person was on the Hernando road with a large 



force. I had given orders for the concentration of the 
troops stationed north and east of the city. Surgeon 
Rice soon returned with the gratifying intelligence 
that General Washburn had made his escape and was 
safe in the fort. I immediately despatched Lieutenant 
Williamson to inform the general that the enemy had 
retired from the city, and to receive his orders. Gen- 
eral Washburn soon made his appearance, and assumed 
pceneral direction of affairs. Soon after, by his direc- 
tion, I proceeded to the front on the Hernando road, 
but before I reached the scene of action fighting had 
ceased, the enemy having retired pursued by the cav- 
alry. Various rumors were afloat as to the strength 
of the enemy, but it was ascertained beyond doubt 
that General Forrest was in command. Dispositions 
were therefore made to meet an attack from any direc- 
tion. Colonel David Moore, of the Twenty—first Mis- 
souri Infantry, volunteered his services, and I gave him 
command, temporarily, of all the forces on and near the 
Hernando road. Captain Tuther had rendered impor- 
tant service in rallying the One Himdrcd and Thirty- 
seventh Illinois, which had been thrown into confusion 
and scattered by the enemy charging through their 
camp. Colonel Hoge. commanding First Brigade, 
though most of his troops were absent on detached 
service, had reached the Hernando road With Com- 
pany G, Second Missouri Artillery, in position. This 
battery, and also the section of Seventh Wisconsin 
Battery, which the enemy ran over but did not cap- 
ture, did excellent service. Colonel Buttrick, com- 
manding Fourth Brigade, had also arrived at the Her- 
nando road. Also the Fortieth Wisconsin. Colonel 
Ray, The principal part of the fighting was done by 
the troops under Colonel Bell, of the Eighth Iowa, 
composed of a part of his own regiment and a detach- 
ment of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois, 


Being satisfied that no further attack would be made 
in that direction, I returned to the city to look after 
other troops. I found the militia out in strong force, 
in good spirits, and ready to assist in defense of the city 
under the command of their deservedly popular general, 
Charles W. Dustan. The alacrity with which the mili- 
tia of Memphis turned out on this occasion abundantly 
proves the propriety and wisdom of the organization. 
Officers and men of the command, with very few ex- 
ceptions, exhibited great coolness and bravery. The 
Eighth Iowa, which was on provost duty scattered 
through the city, fought bravely wherever the enemy 
appeared. The track of the raiders was marked wher- 
ever they went with their dead horses and men. An 
attack was made on the Irving Block Prison, but the 
guards bravely stood their ground, and soon drove the 
enemy away. Many officers temporarily in the city 
and others on detached service, promptly volunteered 
their services. The clerks and orderlies about my 
headquarters, and many citizens not liable to militia 
duty, and unarmed soldiers, repaired to the armory of 
the militia, procured arms, and joined the ranks. By 
9 A. M. it was ascertained that Forrest was in full 
retreat, principally on the Hernando road. He failed 
entirely in the object of his expedition. He un- 
doubtedly expected to capture General Washburn, 
General Hurlbut, who was temporarily in the city, and 
myself, and thereby create such confusion as to enable 
him to march into the city with his main force. His 
plan was well laid and the moment propitious; the 
morning was exceedingly foggy, and the state of the 
atmosphere such that the report of small arms and 
even artillery was heard but a short distance. Al- 
thoujc^h later in the morning six pieces of artillery on 
the Hernando road fired about thirty rounds each, the 
• report was not heard at General Washburn's or my 


headquarters. The parties sent into the city were led 
by officers and others well acquainted with the city. 
They rode through the picket-line and camps, cap- 
turing and killing what they could as they went, but 
making no halt until they reached these points in the 
city. They passed through the Seventh Wisconsin Bat- 
tery camp, killing one officer and several men and cap- 
turing some, but without disturbing the guns or ammu- 
nition, and these same guns were afterward turned 
upon them. The principal depredations were com- 
mitted at General Washburn's headquarters and the 
Gayoso House, where they expected to find General 
Hurlbut, and at the Eclipse stable on Main Street, where 
they took quite a number of horses. . . . My thanks 
are due to the officers of my staff, to General Dustan, 
commanding the militia, to Colonel Moore, Twenty- 
first Missouri, who volunteered his services, and to the 
officers and men of my command generally for their 
prompt and efficient services."* 

The success of Forrest's strategic movement had 
depended not only upon himself and the fifteen hun- 
dred men he led to Memphis, but upon the activity of 
Chalmers, who, with less than two thousand effectives, 
kept up such a strong line of pickets and continuous 
maneuvering as if to take the aggressive, that the ab- 
sense of his chief was not suspected until he was well 
on his way back from Memphis. 

Chalmers had made spirited attacks on the enemy's 
outposts on the 19th, and being reenforced by Buford, 
again advanced four miles in front of Oxford on the 
20th, and had a sharp fight, only to be forced back. 
On the 2 1st he renewed skirmishing, but being flanked 
by a strong body of Federal cavalry was compelled to 
retreat by two small bridges across the Yocona south 

♦ Rebellion Records, vol. xxxix, part i, pp. 472-475. 


of Oxford. On the 22d the town was occupied by a 
large Federal force of infantry and cavalry, and in the 
afternoon the court-house, other public buildings, 
halls, and many private residences, including the ele- 
gant mansion owned by Hon. Jacob Thompson, and 
then occupied by his wife, were burned. After that 
the Federal commander began to retreat toward Holly 
Springs, and reached that place at ten o'clock the next 
day. Chalmers followed with two columns and Wal- 
ton's battery, and attacked the rear-guard at Abbe- 
ville on the 23d, but suffered severely and was obliged 
to fall back behind Hurricane Creek. The troops and 
horses were jaded from twenty days* hard service, 
the ammunition was damp and running short, and 
there was dissatisfaction among his men. General For- 
rest ordered Chalmers to return to the south of Yocona, 
leaving scouts to watch the enemy, and three regi- 
ments on an outpost some miles south of Oxford at 
the point reached by trains on the Mississippi Central 

General Washburn on the 24th of August reported 
to General Canby as to the movement on Memphis: 
" They were driven out of the city, taking about twen- 
ty-five horses and the horses belonging to one section 
of the battery. We had about thirty killed and eighty 
wounded. Smith was instructed to send fifteen hun-. 
dred cavalry at once to Panola and hold the crossing, 
and come around in Forrest's rear. . . . Smith has 
four or five thousand cavalry with l\im, and in the 
exhausted condition of Forrest's men and horses, 
it would seem that if our cavalry does its duty they 
should not get away." Forrest, however, had taken the 
precaution to have the telegraph-wires cut between 
Collierville and Germantown, and repairs were not 
made until noon the next day. Then the despatch to 
Smith was sent south from La Grange with an escort 


23 1 

of one hundred men, and reached him in the forenoon 
of the 22d. For some reason General Smith advanced 
only to Oxford, and made no attempt to intercept For- 
rest. In another despatch Washburn said: "The 
enemy has retired on the Hernando road. He has five 
hundred prisoners, but failed to take the battery." Add- 
ing the number of prisoners taken to the killed and 
wounded the Federal loss in the Memphis affair seems 
to have been about six hundred and fourteen. Some 
of the prisoners, however, were non-combatants. 

General Maury telegraphed to Forrest : " You 
have again saved Mississippi. Come and help Mobile. 
Fort Morgan was captured by the enemy yesterday. 
. . . We are very weak." This bold dash into Mem- 
phis stopped the Federal advance into the heart of 
Mississippi, for the time being, and materially changed 
the plans of leaders on both sides. Memphis did not 
recover from the excitement for many days, and 
greater precautions than ever were taken to guard 
against surprise. The place, however, was never again 
so disturbed, or counted as a storm-center of the war. 


Forrest's command reorganizes. — sudden and suc- 
cessful MOVE through north ALABAMA INTO 

Forrest's cavalry was speedily reorganized and 
every possible preparation made for active service. 
Chalmers's division was composed of McCulloch's and 
Rucker's, formerly Neely's, brigades, both of these offi- 
cers having recovered from their wounds sufficiently 
to take the field. Buford's division was constituted 
of Lyon's and Bell's brigades ; Chalmers was quartered 
at Water Valley, on the Mississippi Central, eighteen 
miles south of Oxford, and Buford at and near Ox- 
ford. One regiment, the Fifth Mississippi of McCul- 
loch's brigade, Chalmers's division, was sent to Mobile 
on the 3d of September, and was detached for six 
months. On the 4th of September Forrest left Grenada 
under orders with his staff and escort by way of Jack- 
son, and thence to Meridian, expecting to take part in 
the defense of Mobile. 

Before leaving Grenada General Forrest had, on 
the 30th of AuQ^ust, 1864, issued General Order No. 73. 
organizing " Rucker's brigade," to be composed of 
the Seventh Regiment, Twenty-sixth Battalion — or 
Forrest's old regiment, also known as McDonald's 
battalion — and the Twelfth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth 
regiments, all being Tennessee troops. Colonel E. 
W. Rucker was assigned permanently to command 
the brigade, and this raised a storm of indignation 


among the field-officers, several of whom refused to 
recognize the order, or orders from Colonel Rucker. 
Not that this officer's courage or ability was ques- 
tioned, but because he was not the senior officer- of 
the brigade. Colonel Neely holding that rank. Sev- 
eral of them appealed to General Chalmers, command- 
ing the division, and he warned them in a letter dated 
at West Point, September 12th, that they were guilty 
of insubordination, and would get into serious trou- 
ble. But they held out stubbornly until Forrest's iron 
will came into play. He made a speech to the brigade 
that night, in which he clearly and defiantly asserted 
his authority and determination to be obeyed. 

The next day he had the following officers ar- 
rested and sent to Mobile under charges for trial by 
court martial: Colonel W. L. Duckworth, Seventh 
Tennessee; Colonel J, J. Neely, Fourteenth Tennes- 
see ; Colonel F. M. Stewart, Fifteenth Tennessee ; 
Colonel J. U. Green, Twelfth Tennessee, and Major 
Philip T. Alliii, of McDonald's battalion, or Forrest's 
old regiment. These were good officers, but Forrest 
had a preference and would tolerate no captious dis- 
obedience of his orders. None of them returned to 
their commands until they reported at Gainesville, Ala., 
in May the following year to be paroled. Lieutenant- 
Colonel W, F. Taylor assumed command of the Sev- 
enth Tennessee, and so continued, except when dis- 
abled by wounds, until the surrender, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel D. C. Kelley continued in command of For- 
rest's old regiment. Forrest's action in this matter 
was fully sustained in orders issued from the War De- 
partment at Richmond. 

Reaching Meridian on the 5th. he met General 
Richard Taylor, a brother-in-law of Jefferson Davis, 
who had just succeeded General Maury in command 
of the department. It was their first meeting. Forrest 


was informed that he would not be needed just then 
at Mobile, but must go to the relief of Hood's army 
and move his cavalry north of the Tennessee River to 
worry Sherman's rear. He asked many questions as 
to supplies, resources, details, line of retreat, etc., as 
though in doubt in regard to the undertaking, and 
then suddenly asked for an engine to carry him twenty 
miles back up the railroad to meet his troops. After 
that he threw himself entirely into his work. Buford's 
division was ordered to Verona, where Forrest made 
his headquarters for about two weeks. Chalmers was 
ordered to take command at Grenada of all troops not 
to accompany the expedition. Bell's, Lyon's, and 
Rucker's brigades were concentrated at Verona. Ne- 
groes were impressed, and under guard of dismounted 
men used to rapidly repair the Mobile and Ohio Rail- 
road to Corinth. General Roddey was instructed 
through a courier to repair the Memphis and Charleston 
Railroad from Corinth to Cherokee Station, near the 
State line of Mississippi and Alabama. Everything 
being in readiness, Forrest moved from Verona on the 
1 6th of September with three thousand five hundred 
and forty-two effectives, and, after repairing numerous 
bridges and trestles on the railroad, reached Corinth 
on the evening of the 17th. There his trains were 
transferred to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, 
and the advance was resumed the next morning. His 
men cut wood for the locomotive and filled the boilers 
with water brought in buckets. Such were the exigen- 
cies and resources of this suddenly improvised move- 

On the evening of the 19th these four trains reached 
Cherokee Station, where Roddey's command was found 
in good condition. Some troops, with the horses of 
Morton's and Walton's batteries, with Forrest's staff 
and part of his escort, marched across the country 


from Verona, and reached the station on the same day. 
The whole command remained a day at this point to 
cook rations and to have their horses shod. Forrest's 
command, including a battalion of dismounted men 
and exclusive of Roddey's force, numbered three thou- 
sand rank and file. On the morning of the 21st the ad- 
vance was moved to Colberts Ferry, on the Tennessee 
River, seven miles northeast of Cherokee, The river 
at this point was two thousand yards wide in a direct 
line, but the ford was tortuous through ledges and 
fissures in the rugged rocks, and was accomphshed 
with much danger and difficulty. The column formed 
by twos and led by competent guides was safely crossed 
in a few hours without a casualty, and camped that 
night within two miles of Florence, Roddey's com- 
mand, fifteen hundred strong, crossed at Bainbridgc 
and joined Forrest on the 22d. The general, however, 
was sick, and remained at Tiisciimhia. leaving the 
command of his brigade to Colonel William A. John- 

The whole force, not forty-five hundred slroncr. 
moved forward rapidly and reached the suburbs of 
Athens, Ala., on the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, 
at sunset on the 23d of September, This was a strongly 
fortified and important point. The appearance of For- 
rest was siich a surprise that the cavalry in front was 
forced to seek safety in a fort three-quarters of a mile 
south of the town, leaving about one hundred horses 
and equipments in the hands of the Confederates. The 
encampments were occupied, and three sides of ihe 
fort invested, and the artillery was placed in advan- 
tageous positions commanding; the redoubt. That night 
Forrest so placed his different commands as to make 
a strong display of force. Early next morning his 
artillery opened fire at a .distance of eight hundred 
yards, and skirmishers advanced to within one hun- 


dred and fifty yards of the Federal trenches, and the 
dismounted cavalry was moved up as if ready for a 
general assault. At lo a. m. on the 24th, Major Strange 
and Captain Porter were sent forward under a flag 
of truce with the following note: 

Headquarters^Forrest's Cavalry, In thb Fibld» 

September 24, 1864. 

Officer Commanding United States Forces, Athens, Ala.: 

I demand an immediate and unconditional surrender 
of the entire force and all Government stores and property 
at this post. I have a sufficient force to storm and take 
your works, and if I am forced to do so the responsibility 
of the consequences must rest with you. Should you, 
however, accept the terms, all white soldiers shall be treat- 
ed as prisoners of war and the negroes returned to their 
masters. A reply is requested immediately. 


N. B. Forrest, Major-General. 

This demand was promptly refused. General For- 
rest then requested an interview with the Federal com- 
mander at any point he might designate outside of the 
fort. Colonel Wallace Campbell, of the One Hundred 
and Tenth Colored Infantry, was in command, and 
granted the interview, taking with him Lieutenant- 
Colonel J. A. Dewey. Forrest told him that he was 
determined to take the place ; that he had ample force, 
and demanded the surrender as a matter of humanity, 
and offered Colonel Campbell the privilege of inspect- 
ing his forces. After consulting his oflficers, the colo- 
nel and Captain B. M. Callender, of his staff, rode 
around the lines with Forrest, and was convinced that 
the fort was invested by fully eight thousand men of all 
arms, and as expected reenforcements from Decatur 
had not arrived, he decidQd to surrender. The Con- 
federate force had been manipulated both as cavalry 


and infantry, and made to appear about double its real 
strength. The garrison, fourteen hundred strong, 
stacked arms and was marched out at 11 a. m. The 
officers were allowed to retain all personal property, 
including horses, saddles, and side-arms, and were to 
be paroled as soon as Forrest could communicate with 
Washburn. The place might have been taken by storm, 
but not without heavy loss of life. 

Meantime the reenforcements under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Elliott, One Hundred and Second Ohio, four 
hundred strong;, from Decatur, had reached a point 
about a mile and a half south of the fort, and made a 
desperate effort to cut their way through the lines 
commanded by Colonel Jesse P""orrest and Lieutenant- 
Colonels Logwood and D. C. Kelley, and several men 
were killed and wounded. Colonel Forrest was one 
of the severely wounded. While the fight was still 
raging, reenforcements from Forrest's main command 
arrived, and the Federals surrendered when surround- 
ed in the open field after a most gallant fight in which 
Colonel Elliott was mortally ■"ounded. There were 
still two blockhouses in sight to be reduced. One gar- 
rison consisted of eighty-five officers and men, and was 
surrendered without resistance. The other was only 
half a mile away, and the officer in charge determined 
that he would die before he would capitulate. Mor- 
ton brought up four of his 3-inch rifled guns and 
opened fire at a distance of three hundred yards. The 
shells cleft through the heavy timbers at tlie first vol- 
ley and exploded within, killing six men and wound- 
ing three. The heroic commander, realizing his mis- 
take, rushed out with a white flag and tendered his 
surrender to General Forrest in person. The garri- 
son numbered only thirty-five officers and men. 

The aggregate of prisoners taken in and around 
Athens thai day was thus about nineteen hundred. 


The spoils were rich and abundant, and filled twenty 
captured wagons besides four or five ambulances. The 
staff-officers made careful selection of rations, medical 
stores and instruments, and ammunition. Four pieces 
of artillery, including two 12-pound howitzers, were 
captured, and five hundred horses and two locomotives 
attached to trains loaded with Government stores. 
Everything that could be utilized at once was dis- 
tributed among the soldiers in gray, and the four hun- 
dred dismounted men under Colonel Barrett were sup- 
plied with horses and equipments. Stores that could 
not be removed or turned to some account were burned, 
together with the blockhouses, buildings used for mili- 
tary purposes, depots, bridges, and trestles. The Fed- 
erals lost about forty killed and one hundred wounded. 
The Confederate losses were reported as five killed and 
twenty-five wounded. The prisoners and artillery cap- 
tured and a long, well-loaded wagon-train were started 
toward Florence at five o'clock that afternoon under 
a strong escort commanded by Colonel Nixon. At the 
same hour Forrest moved northward with his main 
command, making eight miles by dusk. On the way 
two other blockhouses with seventy officers and men 
were captured without the firing of a gun, and the 
bridges as well as houses they guarded were burned. 
Dr. J. P. Alban, assistant surgeon of the One Hun- 
dred and Second Ohio, was left by General Forrest in 
charge of the wounded at Athens. 

On the morning .of the 25th the command was 
advanced three miles from the bivouac to Sulphur 
Springs trestle. This was a costly and important link 
in the railroad line connecting Nashville and Decatur. 
It spanned a ravine seventy feet deep and four hundred 
feet wide from hill to hill. There was a strong block- 
house at each end and a fort on an eminence near by. 
garrisoned by about four hundred white troops — the 



Third Tennessee Federal Cavalry — and six hundred 
colored infantry. Forrest placed his best long-range 
guns on an elevation and opened fire at once on the 
Federal defense, and the lines were advanced on all 
sides. Then a demand was made for surrender, which, 
after an hour's delay, was positively refused. Firing 
was resumed with terrible effect from four different 
points. The Federals responded briskly with two 12- 
pound howitzers, but these were soon silenced, and the 
Confederate shells continued to explode in the midst 
of a now demoralized and almost unresisting garrison, 
but no offer was made to surrender. 

Forrest again ordered the firing to cease, and sent 
Major Strange forward with a demand for capitulation, 
which was conceded at once. Colonel Lathrop, in com- 
mand, was killed early in the fight, and was succeeded 
by Lieutenant- Co lone! J. B. Minnis, of the Tennessee 
Cavalry. The Federals lost about two hundred officers 
and men, all found in very narrow areas. The prison- 
ers — some eight hundred and twenty in number, offi- 
cers and men — were turned over to Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel Logwood and sent south. At the same time For- 
rest sent back to Florence, and across the Tennessee 
River, four pieces of his own artillery and the captured 
guns and wagon-train. Eight hundred rounds of artil- 
lery ammunition had been fired at the Sulphur Springs 
trestle defenses alone, which left a short supply. The 
great trestle was cut down and burned on the 26th. 

General Buford was ordered to follow the line of 
the railroad northward to Elk River, and destroyed a 
blockhouse on the way as well as the bridge at Elk 
River and the long trestle by which it was approached, 
and a large quantity of cord-wood. Moving on to 
Richland Creek a few mites. Eiiford captured another 
blockhouse with about fifty men. On the 27th Forrest 
was moving toward Pulaski with about thirty-three 


hundred men, now all well mounted, and soon encoun** 
tered a heavy force supposed to be six thousand strong^. 
A heavy skirmish ensued, the escort, sixty strong, lead- 
ing as usual. A position was gained, but at the loss 
of seven or eight in killed and wounded. Colonel John-: 
son was dangerously wounded, and Lieutenant John 
Moore, of the Fourth Alabama, was killed. The Fed- 
erals fell back, fighting stubbornly for some miles, and 
made a determined stand within three miles of Pu- 
laski, and after further resistance, during which For- 
rest turned a dangerous flank movement with his artil- 
lery, the Union troops fell back into the town and 
behind the breastworks. 

A demonstration was kept up all the afternoon in 
front, and after dark the Confederates built long lines 
of camp-fires, and Colonel Wheeler, with three hun- 
dred men, was ordered around to the north of the town 
to destroy the railroad and telegraph-lines between 
Pulaski and Columbia, and incidentally burned a large 
supply of wood intended for the use of locomotives. 
Forrest's loss that day was about one hundred, and he 
found that he could advance no farther against Gen- 
eral Rousseau's strong force. That night, leavin<2r 
pickets and rear-guard to watch the enemy, he fell 
back eight miles and bivouacked until morning. On 
the 28th, after a march of nearly forty miles in the rain, 
he reached Fayetteville and at once sent two detach- 
ments eastward to cut telegraph-wires and tear up 
tracks on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad at 
points north and south of Tullahoma. The next day 
he advanced to within fifteen miles of Tullahoma and 
there learned from scouts that large forces, including 
those recently left entrenched at Pulaski, were advan- 
cing to meet him. His men were growing weary and 
their horses were footsore and fatigued. A prompt 
"Aange of plans was necessary. General Buford was 



detached with fifteen hundred men with orders to move 
upon Huntsville, seize tliat place, if possible, destroy 
the railroad to Decatur, and cross the Tennessee River 
at or near that point. Buford's command consisted of 
a portion of his division and Kclley's and Johnson's 

General Forrest, placing himself at the head of his 
remaining fifteen hundred men, including Lyon's and 
Bell's brigades, the Seventh Tennessee, and his own old 
regiment, moved westward to the right of Shelbyville, 
reached Lewisburg by a circuitous route at twelve 
o'clock on the 30th of September, and encamped on the 
north bank of Duck River that night. The next day 
he reached Spring Hill, captured some Government 
horses and wagons, and for a time had possession of 
the telegraph-office, through which he received impor- 
tant information in regard to the movement of troops 
sent to cut off his retreat ; and from one despatch he 
learned that General Sleedman was marching with a 
heavy column on Huntsville. Gathering all the news 
he could from intercepted despatches, he sent a few of 
a misleading character in the name of a Federal officer 
to General Rousseau in regard to Confederate move- 
ments, and at 2 P. M. set out in the direction of Colum- 
bia. Twelve miles from that place he captured four 
blockhouses and one hundred and twenty men. These 
houses, a Government sawmill, and three railroad 
bridges were burned. The commander of another 
blockhouse overlooking a ridge refused to surrender, 
and as Forrest had no artillery with him, all he could 
do was to call for volunteers to bum the bridge. This 
was accomplished without the loss of a man, 

Columbia being well garrisoned, was passed around 
on the 2d of October, the command skirmishing sharply 
and meantime burning more trestles and bridges, and 
collecting cattle and commissary supplies. The aim 


now was to effect a junction with Buford, who had not 
been able to capture Huntsville, but was crossing his 
artillery, cattle, and trains at different points. Reach- 
ing Florence on the 5th, Forrest found it necessary to 
hasten on to Colberts Ferry, where he found only three 
small ferry-boats and some skiffs to use in crossing a 
now greatly swollen river. The weaker men and 
horses, the ammunition, guns, and saddles were given 
the preference, but the process was painfully slow. 
On the 6th it was learned that the Federals had ar- 
rived in two columns at Athens, and a force was sent 
back to engage them. Lieutenant-Colonel F. M. 
Windes, with the Fourth Alabama, two hundred 
strong, made a flank movement on the Lawrenceburg 
road and greatly retarded the Federals in reaching 
Florence the morning of the 8th. The Second, Sev- 
enth, and Sixteenth Tennessee regiments repulsed 
their advance at the crossing of Cypress Creek, west 
of Florence, and General Steedman found it necessarv 
to detach a brigade of cavalry and send it around by a 
crossing three miles above. 

After that the Confederates taken in reverse re- 
tired from point to point on the Newport Ferry road. 
About twelve thousand Federals were now within a 
few miles of the ferries by which Forrest's men were 
escaping, and over one thousand Confederates were yet 
on the north bank of the river, besides Windes's men 
and the Sixteenth Tennessee and a detachment from 
the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry. A few miles below 
Colberts Ferry was an island covered with cane and 
a forest-growth, and the northern bank was not more 
than two hundred yards from the main shore, which had 
a perpendicular height above the water of about twenty 
feet. Forrest had Windes keep up the skirmishing 
while he caused the ferry-boats to drop down the river 
to the head of this island. There the saddles and other 



equipments were stripped from the horses, tumbled 
into the boats, and ferried across. The horses were 
pushed over the steep banks and dropped into the 
river, and then caught by men in skiffs and made to 
swim across to the island. This was all done in an 
incredibly short space of time, but none too soon. For- 
rest in person looked after the last troopers crossing. 
The skirmishing forces were directed to scatter and 
cross where they could. The Federals soon appeared 
on the banks north of the densely wooded island, but 
made no attempt to follow the Confederates, who re- 
mained concealed there until they could cross the wider 
channel southward. 

It was cold weather, but no fires were permitted to 
be lighted. By sunset on the 9th the entire command 
was safely on the south side of the river, except 
Windes's and Wilson's commands, which effected a pas- 
sage at Newport on the 13th and brought off fifty pris- 
oners. In this last and most masterly retreat Forrest 
conducted in person the crossing of twenty-five hun- 
dred men and their horses to the south bank of the 
TennessLC River, about one hundred head of cattle 
and eight pieces of artillery, and crossed himself sev- 
eral times from one side to the other. His losses were 
two men and twenty horses drowned. Had he re- 
mained in Middle Tennessee only a few days longer his 
military career would have been at an end. Troops 
had been ordered to be concentrated on him from sev- 
eral directions, even froni Georgia. Generals Thomas, 
Rousseau, A, J. Smith. Washburn, Granger, Webster, 
Croxton, Steedman, and others were notified of his 
movements, and but for his presence of mind and au- 
dacity he would not have escaped. Thirty thousand 
troops could have been brought into the field against 
this little improvised expedition of less than five thou- 
sand men. 


The main command was concentrated again at Cher- 
okee Station on the 6th of October after an absence 
of only fifteen days. General Forrest lost during this 
raid forty-seven men killed and two hundred and nine- 
ty-three wounded ; total, three hundred and forty. In 
his official report he stated that he captured eighty-six 
commissioned officers, sixty-seven Government em- 
ployees, one thousand two hundred and seventy-four 
non-commissioned officers and privates, nine hundred 
and thirty-three negroes, besides killing and wounding 
about one thousand more, an aggregate of three thou- 
sand three hundred and sixty, and besides this, cap- 
tured eight hundred horses and eight pieces of artil- 
lery, two thousand stands of small arms, several hun- 
dred saddles, fifty wagons and ambulances, and a large 
amount of medical, commissary, and Government 
stores, as well as destroying the railroad, with the ex- 
ception of Duck River bridge, from Decatur to Spring 
Hill. Acknowledgments were made to members of 
his personal staff: Major J. P. Strange, assistant ad- 
jutant-general ; Major C. W. Anderson, acting assist- 
ant adjutant-general ; Colonel R. W. Pitman, assist- 
ant inspector-general; Major G. V. Rambaut, com- 
missary, and Captain M. C. Gallaway, aide-de-camp; 
and thanks expressed to Captain Thomas Robins and 
Lieutenant J. N. Davis, who were attached to the 
staif during the expedition. 

Meantime General Chalmers had not been idle, for 
at an opportune time, while his chief was in Middle 
Tennessee, he made a demonstration from the south 
on Memphis with about one thousand men, spreading^ 
the report that this was but the advance of a large 
force intended for the capture of the place. This was 
merely a diversion, but it had the effect of delaying the 
departure of troops ready to go up the river and 
around by way of Johnsonville to Nashville. 




Learning that a flotilla was coming up the river 
with reenforceiTients intended for General Rousseau, 
Forrest ordered Lieu tenant -Col on el D. C. Kelley, 
with about five hundred men and a section of artil- 
lery from Hudson's battery under command of Lieu- 
tenant Walton, to take a position near Eastport, Miss., 
to intercept the movement. The guns were all 
masked and the troops deployed at commanding 
points. On the loth the expedition, with two gun- 
boats and three transports, came in sight. Colonel 
George B. Hoge was in command. His force con- 
sisted of the One Hundred and Thirteenth and One 
Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois, the Sixty-first 
Colored Infantry, and Company G, Second Missouri 
Light Artillery. This was a part of the three thou- 
sand troops which had left Cairo for Florence on 
the first of the month. Colonel Hoge's orders were 
to land at Eastport, march a force across to luka, de- 
stroy railroad tracks and bridges, and hold Eastport 
until he could hear from General Washburn. Upon 
touching at the landing Colonel Hoge's troops were 
disembarked and formed in line of battle, with a battery 
of four guns. 

While some of the men were still on the gang- 
planks Lieutenant-Colonel Kelley caused Lieutenant 
Walton to open fire from his rifled guns both upon 
the troops ashore and the five vessels in the river. 
Every shot took effect. The gunboats Undine and 
Key West were quickly disabled and obliged to drop 
down the stream. Colonel Hoge went aboard the 
transport City of Pekin, which also floated away. A 
shell struck and exploded a caisson on the transport 
Kemon, setting fire to the boat, and about the same 
time a similar disaster happened to the Aurora. The 
boats backed out, leaving two-thirds of the troops on 
the shore. These were ordered to proceed down the 


river under the bluffs, and a large number were taken 
on board at a safe point. But four guns of the battery 
were lost. Colonel Hoge reached Johnsonville the 
same day and reported eighteen killed, thirty-one 
wounded, and twenty-five missing ; total, seventy-four. 

General Forrest, now well-nigh worn out, applied 
on the 8th of October for leave of absence for twenty 
or thirty days, as he needed rest and desired an op- 
portunity to look after his large and neglected private 
interests. He also requested that his two divisions 
be placed, as they originally were, under the command 
of Brigadier-Generals Chalmers and Buford, and that 
Mabry's brigade be substituted for McCulloch's, which 
was still at Mobile and much dissatisfied. The request 
was not granted by General Taylor, but he wrote a most 
complimentary letter expressing regret that it could 
not be done. Johnsonville had now become a great 
depot for supplies sent up the Tennessee River to that 
point and forwarded thence by rail to Nashville and 
Atlanta. Forrest was ordered to look after the depot, 
and first of all to repair the Memphis and Charleston 
Railroad from Cherokee to Corinth, and the Mobile 
and Ohio from that point northward to Henderson or 
Bethel Station for the transportation of troops and 
artillery. Chalmers, who was below Memphis, near 
Grenada, was to join Forrest at Jackson by the i6th 
of October, but he had less than seven hundred and fifty 
men fit for duty and only a section of artillery. For- 
rest urged, in writing his superior, that the Mobile 
and Ohio Railroad should be protected both for the 
transportation of supplies and troops to his front and 
to Hood's army moving on Middle Tennessee, and to 
afford an avenue of retreat if necessary. 

Buford's division, accompanied by Morton's and 
Walton's batteries, moved in the direction of Jacks 
Creek on the 17th of October. Forrest followed the 



next day with his escort and Rucker's brigade, still 
commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Kelley, by way of 
Purdyand Henderson Stations, and effected a junction 
with Chalmers at Jackson on the zoth. Colonel 
Rucker reported for duty, and resumed command of 
his brigade, and was again under Chalmers as his divi- 
sion commander. Buford was despatched on the 20th 
to Lexington, twenty-five miles eastward of Jackson, 
to watch the movements of the enemy reported to be 
preparing to cross the river at Clinton, and on the 
20th Forrest ordered him to advance northward to 
Huntingdon and thence by way of Paris to the mouth 
of Big Sandy River, and Chalmers up to McLemores- 
ville. The men of Bell's brigade were given until the 
26th to visit their homes and to secure outfits in 
clothing and mounts. Special attention was to be 
given to the collection of forage and subsistence, 
which were scarcer than ever before, and to the re- 
turn of absentees. No resistance was to be made if 
the Federals attempted to cross over into West Ten- 
nessee, as such a move would be a diversion in favor 
of Hood. General Roddey was requested to send 
as many of his command as could be spared from 
north Alabama to the neighborhood of Corinth. Lieu- 
tenant-Genera 1 Taylor was also urged to send troops 
temporarily to Corinth. 

Buford, heading the extreme advance, divided his 
forces between Paris landing and at a point opposite 
old Fort Heiman, five miles lower down and almost 
opposite Fort Henry^ Two 20-pounder Farrott guns, 
brought up from Mobile, were placed opposite Fort 
Heiman; one section of Morton's battery of 3-inch 
guns was stationed with Bell's brigade near Paris land- 
ing and commanded the river for about one mile each 
way. These batteries were well masked and supported 
by troops. Forrest's entire force north of Corinth did 



not exceed thirty-four hundred men, and more than 
one thousand of these would not have been available 
or effective in action. The men and horses were de- 
pleted in numbers and run down by hard service and 
privation. Meantime Kirzon's scouts had been thrown 
out to report any movements possibly coming from 
the direction of Memphis; while the Sixteenth Ten- 
nessee, under Colonel Wilson, Newsom's regiment, 
under Lieutenant-Colonel Wisdom, and the Four- 
teenth Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Raleigh R. White, were guarding points on the river 
southward of Clifton where the Federals had been 
expected to cross. 

Everything was ready for sharp work by daylight 
of the 29th, and at nine o'clock the Federal transport 
Mazeppa, with two barges in tow, came in sight down 
the river, and soon passed the lower batteries little 
dreaming of danger. A few moments later the guns 
opened fire with unerring precision, and shells went 
straight through the unarmed transport. The pilot 
headed for the northern shore, where the crew and 
officers, except the captain, escaped to the woods. A 
daring Confederate volunteered to paddle across on a 
log, and accepted the surrender of the gallant captain 
and his disabled steamer. The yawl was launched and 
rowed to the opposite shore by the two heroes of the 
occasion. A detail was made for the return trip, and 
by means of a hawser the Mazeppa was soon pulled 
across and tied up on the western bank. This proved 
to be a rich prize, abounding with clothing and blan- 
kets, shoes, sutler's stores, wines, liquors, and many 
others of the necessities and luxuries of life to which 
the thinly clad and ill-fed Confederates were quite un- 
used. The cargo was placed under a strong guard and 
quickly removed some distance to the rear. While this 
was going on and nearly completed, about 5 p. m.. 



three gunboats appeared from below and began to shell 
the men who were actively engaged in removing the 
stores. These, however, were soon repulsed by the 
shore batteries, but General Buforcl, expecting a re- 
turn of the gunboats in greater force, had the Mazeppa 

On the morning of the 30th the steamer Anna came 
down the river and succeeded in running the gantlet of 
all the batteries. This was attributable in part to the 
forbearance of General Buford, who was said to have 
withheld the fire of his heavy guns in the hope of cap- 
turing the vessel. The pilot agreed to round-to, but 
when firing ceased he suddenly resumed his course 
and made his escape under a heavy fire. The boat 
was considerably riddled and damaged. Next from 
above appeared the gunboat Undine, convoying the 
transport \'enus with two barges, the Undine being 
the boat of recent unfortunate experience at Eastport. 
These boats were not fired upon until they had passed 
the upper batteries. The lower and larger guns opened 
with such effect that they were turned back and held 
between two fires. Colonel Rucker moved up with 
two lo-pounder Parrotts to a point on the bank 
whence he could reach the boats. Just then the J. W. 
Cheeseman from above appeared on the scene, and was 
attacked by the upper and middle batteries, supported 
by the Fifteenth Tennessee regiment and the Twenty- 
sixth Battalion Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant- 
Colonel Keliey. The Undine was disabled and driven 
to the northern bank, where nearly all the officers and 
crew escaped. The transport Venus was well defended 
by a small detachment of Union infantry, but surren- 
dered to Lieu tenant -Col one! Keliey, who went aboard 
- with two companies of his battalion, crossed the river, 
and brought the gunboat Undine back to the Con- 
federate side. 



Another gunboat, No. 29, came down the river and 
opened fire for a time and then withdrew. The Cheese- 
man was found to be badly damaged, and by order of 
General Forrest was burned. The Undine, a large boat 
carrying eight 20-pounder brass howitzers, and the 
Venus were not greatly damaged, and were soon re- 
paired and became the nucleus of a Confederate flotilla 
which was to have a brief but brilliant career without 
parallel in all naval history. Forrest had a fancy for 
artillery, and now this most resourceful man was to 
organize a small navy manned by mounted infantry. 
The Undine became the new commodore's flag-ship; 
the two 20-pounder Parrotts from Mobile were placed 
on the gunboat Undine under command of Captain 
Gracey, who fought with Forrest at Chickamauga, and 
all the sailors and seamen were known for the time be- 
ing as the horse marines. Lieutenant-Colonel W. A. 
Dawson, however, was placed in immediate command 
of the Venus, which was to be well supported from the 
shore in moving on Johnsonville. A trial trip of these 
two vessels was made, and as their noses were not run 
into the banks it was regarded as satisfactory. The 
novel sight of Confederate flags flying at the mastheads 
of Federal craft created much enthusiasm among the 
troops on shore. . Upon the return, supplies of shoes, 
blankets, hard bread, etc., taken from the Mazeppa 
were taken on board the Venus, as well as the two 20- 
pounder Parrotts. On the morning of the ist of No- 
vember the expedition was set in motion toward John- 
sonville. Chalmers's division led the advance, and 
Buford moved in the rear to watch for gunboats from 
below. The Undine and Venus were expected to keep 
under cover of Morton's and other batteries moving 
southward on the west bank of the river. The roads 
were rough and slippery, rain was pouring down, and 
"^11 the conditions as distressing as possible. Yet there 



was an exhilaration of spirits among llie men created 
by a sense of danger and the novelty of ihc surround- 

On the afternoon of llic ad the Utile flotilla ven- 
tured incautiously ahead of land sLi]tporis anil HUd- 
dcnly came inidcr fire of gunboats No». ay and J3, led 
by Lieiitenant-Cominamler King, U. S. N. The VenuK, 
well in advance, was soon badly damuut'd, run ashore 
and captured, together with the two I'arrotl guns, two 
hundred rounds of precious iunnlunition, five hundred 
and seventy-six boxes of hard bread, and other vahi- 
able freight which had been taken from the Maieppn 
by Captain Graccy. Colonel Dawson and the other 
officers and men all escaped to the shore without hav- 
ing time to fire the vessel, The guns and ammunition 
taken were afterward used against the Confederates 
at Johnsnnville. The Undine escaped down the river 
for the time being, ami was protected by Chalmers's 
ariillery placed in position at Davidsons I-'erry, while 
the Venus was taken off in tow. That evening the head 
of the column reached a point a mile below Reynolds- 
burg and encamped there, General Forrest and staff 
tjeing four miles southward. On the 3d the Undine and 
land forces proceeded cautiously up the river. Some 
Federal gunboats appeared from below but were en- 
gaged and checked by batteries on the shore. The 
Key West and two other gunboats came down from 
Johnsonviltc and, while the first one was damaged by 
artillery fire, others from above and below closed in 
on the Undine and drove her to the eastern bank. Cap- 
tain (iraeey fired and ilestroyed ihe vessel and escaped 
with his men to the cane-brakes, and remaining there 
until night, crossed back on logs and rafts and rejoined 
their command. And thus ended this unique, ill- 
starred, and almost hopeless undertaking. 

Late on the afternoon of the .3d Forrest and hir 


chief of artillery, Morton, made a reconnaissance of 
Johnsonville from the opposite shore. The place was 
a mere hamlet at the mouth of a creek, with railroad 
depot and considerable buildings at the steamboat land- 
ing. Back of this, in a field about one hundred feet 
above the water-front, was a strong redoubt armed 
with heavy ordnance and rifle-pits running down west 
and south. On the western side the bank was about 
twenty feet above the river, dropping back to a bot- 
tom. This was heavily covered with timber except 
when cut down to give range for the guns in the fort. 
Forrest decided to attack the place at two o'clock 
next day. During the night Thrall's battery — 12- 
pounder howitzers — was placed under cover opposite 
the southern landing. General Lyon, who had been a 
regular artillery officer before the war, arrived with 
four hundred Kentucky troops, and took charge 
of this battery in person, causing the guns to be 
pushed forward three hundred yards by hand and 
having chambers sunk and embrasures cut through the 
bank. The men worked hard all night, and even after 
daylight, but with great caution. The batteries were 
well supported by Buford's and Chalmers's men con- 
cealed in the timber and behind logs and other natural 

The Federals evidently felt safe in the thought that 
Forrest was vanquished and far away, making his es- 
cape. Three gunboats with steam up were moored at 
the Johnsonville landing; passengers were strolling 
about, and ladies could be seen coming down the hill 
as if to bid adieu to friends ; officers and men were busy 
on the decks ; laborers were at work handling freight ; 
soldiers, white and colored, straggled up and down 
the hillside between the landing and the redoubt, 
and a sense of the utmost security and satisfaction 
seemed to pervade the animated panorama. General 


Forrest viewed all this through his glasses with a 
different sense of satisfaction. The time had come to 
strike a decisive blow. Two p. M. was the hour set for 
the attack, and the watches of commanding officers 
had been timed together, but the signal was not given 
until three o'clock. Then ten guns were fired as one, 
and every shell seemed to take effect. Steam potircd 
forth from many apertures in the gunboats and the 
crews were seen to jump into the river and swim for 
the shore. Only one gunboat was able to return the 
fire. But the ordnance on the redoubt opened promptly 
and soon fired with remarkable accuracy on the sunken 
Confederate batteries, though with not much effect. 
Two boats were soon in flames and another was run 
ashore and deserted. As the boats floated away they 
set fire to nearly all the barges and transports at the 
landing. At four o'clock Forrest turned his attention 
to the buildings filled with stores and to the vast ac- 
cumulations of various kinds of army supplies stacked 
on the ground. A few well-directed shots set on fire 
great piles of hay and corn and barrels of spirits. 

The flames shot up madly and in a short time there 
was a wall of fire on the river banks, consuming every- 
thing of value, and in one hour the great depot, the 
main object of the expedition, was destroyed. The 
hungry Confederates claimed that they could smell 
the burning meats across the river as well as detect 
fumes of sugar, coffee, and liquors all going up in 
grand conflagration. The firing of artillery soon 
ceased, and the cavalry force, except Rucker's brigade, 
was at once ordered several miles to the rear, and after 
dark all the artillery was withdrawn except one sec- 
tion, Forrest returned in the morning and viewed 
the ruins. The gunboats, transports, and barges, rail- 
road depot, warehouses, and other buildings and stores 
that had covered acres of ground, were all gone, and 


the redoubt guarded only heaps of ashes and smoking 
embers. The artillery and troops under Rucker were 
now withdrawn, though not without firing a volley at 
a colored regiment which came out to make a futile 
demonstration. The total money value of the property 
destroyed and captured during the operations of For- 
rest on the Tennessee River, including barges and 
steamboats, was estimated by an assistant inspector- 
general of the United States Army at about two mil- 
lion two hundred thousand dollars. Other estimates 
were much greater. The military and naval forces of 
Johnsonville on November 4th were stated to be as 
follows : Forty-third Wisconsin Volunteers, seven hun- 
dred men; detachments of the Twelfth, Thirteenth, 
and One Hundredth United States Colored Infantry 
(numbers not given) ; quartermasters' employees, eight 
hundred men; six lo-pounder Parrott guns, four 12- 
pounder Napoleon guns, and two 20-pounder Parrott 
guns (captured on the Venus), and the gunboats Key 
West, Elphin, and Tawah. 

Forrest, in his report, says : " Having completed 
the work designed for the expedition I moved my com- 
mand six miles during the night by the light of the 
enemy's burning property. The roads were almost im- 
passable and the march to Corinth was slow and toil- 
some, but we reached there on November loth after an 
absence of over two weeks, during which time I cap- 
tured and destroyed four gunboats, fourteen transports, 
twenty barges, twenty-six pieces of artillery, and six 
million seven hundred thousand dollars' worth of prop- 
erty, and captured one hundred and fifty prisoners. 
General Buford, after supplying his own command, 
turned over to my chief quartermaster about nine thou- 
sand pairs of shoes and one thousand blankets. My 
loss during the entire trip was two killed and nine 



The return back to the line of the Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad was attended with great difficulty. 
Forrest had been ordered by General Beauregard to 
join Hood in Middle Tennessee. His aim was to cross 
at Perryville, which point he reached on the evening 
of the 6th of November. Next day he succeeded in 
crossing over only four hundred of Rucker's command 
by means of the f.vo yawls which had been taken from 
the Mazeppa, Then he ordered Rucker to proceed in 
the direction of Florence while he would continue 
southward. Such was the condition of the roads that 
as many as sixteen horses, or from four to eight yoke 
of oxen, were required to drag a single gun, and one 
day Morton's battery was only advanced two and a 
half miles, Chalmers was ordered to march to Iiika 
by way of the river roads, and Buford marched by way 
of Corinth with his division. Both were united at 
Cherokee Station on the i6th of November, and 
marched thence to Florence, where they crossed the 
Tennessee River on the 17th and i8th on a pontoon 
bridge constructed for General Hood's army, which 
was encamped on both sides of the river. All extra 
baggage and artillery, except eight pieces and the dis- 
abled horses of both divisions had been ordered to 
Verona, Miss. On his way to Hood's army, Forrest 
met General Beauregard, now in control of operations 
in the departments commanded by Generals Hood 
and Taylor, had a full conference with him at Tuscum- 
bia. and upon arriving at Florence he was placed in 
command of all the cavalry of the Army of Tennessee. 



Lieutenant-General Hood turned the Army of 
Tennessee from near Atlanta toward Middle Tennes- 
see about the ist of October, 1864. Sherman's com- 
munications were first touched at Big Shanty, north of 
Marietta and Kenesaw Mountain. The jailroad was 
destroyed thence to Dalton, and the entire available 
force was thrown northwest to Gadsden, Ala. The 
plan was to cross the Tennessee River near Gunters 
Ferry, the southernmost point of the river, move into 
Middle Tennessee in Sherman's rear and force him to 
leave Atlanta and north Georgia, as well as to obtain 
subsistence for Hood's well-nigh half-starved men. 
Reaching Gadsden on the 21st of October, he turned 
the head of his command to Decatur, but halting, soon 
found a strong Federal force there, lost some three 
weeks' time, marched forty miles westward, and finally 
effected a crossing at Florence. It was natural that 
such a man as Forrest, who had often been over and 
fought over much of the ground, should be summoned 
to report to Hood. The main army, divided into three 
corps, consisted of effective infantry, twenty-five 
thousand, artillery, two thousand, and W. H. Jack- 
son's cavalry, one thousand nine hundred and eighty- 
six. This division was composed of Armstrong's bri- 
gade, thirteen hundred men, and Ross's brigade, six 
hundred and eighty-six. To this aggregate force of 



about twenty-nine thousand was added Forrest's cav- 
alry of three thousand effectives. Buford's division 
was reduced to about seven hundred and fifty men and 
Bell's brigade to seven hundred and fifty by the ab- 
sence of men furloughed to secure mounts, and all but 
four hundred and fifty of the Kentucky brigade were 
on detached service. 

Upon assuming command on the 17th of Novem- 
ber Forrest issued a brief but stirring address to his 
subordinates and all the troops placed under him. 
Preparations were rapidly made for a forward move- 
ment to Shoal Creek in advance of the infantry, Bu- 
ford and Jackson were ordered northward the next 
day on the military road and soon came in collision 
with a brigade of Union cavalrj- of Hatch's division 
which seemed to be foraging in force. Huey's Ken- 
tucky battalion, one hundred and fifty men, was in 
advance and suffered severely in the sharp skirmish 
which followed. General Frank Armstrong, of Jack- 
son's division, came to the rescue and the Federals 
were repulsed with the loss of several prisoners. 
Colonel Edward Crossland was here again severely 
wounded just after recovering from injuries re- 
ceived at Harrisburg. The weather was exceedingly 
inclement, but Forrest had made well-defined plans, 
and on the 21st of November set out with Chalmers's 
division toward Nashville, reaching Henryville on the 
23d. Buford and Jackson, by a different road, reached 
Lawrenceburg on the 22d and had a brush with Hatch's 
division of cavalry, which retreated toward Pulaski. 
On the 22d Forrest, with Lieutenant-Colonel White 
of the Fourteenth Tennessee in advance, encountered 
a considerable Federal force at Fouche Springs, and 
ordered Rucker's brigade to skirmish sharply at the 
front while Lieutenant-Colonel D. C. Kelley was di- 
rected to move around on the left flank. 


Forrest led his escort of eighty men far to the right 
and rear, and just at dark came suddenly upon a body of 
cavalry in the act of going into camp. Kelley was not 
within hearing, and Forrest, with characteristic dash, 
charged at the head of his escort into the encamp- 
ment, firing right and left at short range. This pro- 
duced a stampede and resulted in the capture of fifty 
prisoners, twenty horses, and one ambulance. Rucker 
heard the firing and charged in front, driving the Fed- 
erals down upon Forrest, and he was obliged to turn 
off the road with his escort and prisoners to escape 
being swept away. As it was they ran against a small 
detachment of Union soldiers, which was captured.* 
After that Forrest ambuscaded the retreating Federals 
and fired upon the advancing column which, being 
pressed from the rear and unable to deploy in the 
woods, made a gallant charge down the road and es- 
caped, but not without considerable loss in men and 
horses. Rucker came up very soon and was recog- 
nized by his voice in the dark, or otherwise would 
have been fired upon, and the Confederates proceeded 
to the encampment previously attacked, where an 
abundance of abandoned forage and subsistence was 
found knd enjoyed for the night. Rucker's losses and 
those of the escort for the day were five killed and 
thirty wounded. Those of the enemy were much 
greater, exclusive of prisoners. 

Rucker resumed his march on the morning of the 
24th to Mount Pleasant, where he captured thirty-five 
thousand rounds of small-arms ammunition and the 
guard in charge. The enemy was pressed thence to 
the suburbs of Columbia, where a strong stand was 
made, and in a hand-to-hand fight the gallant Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Dawson, of the Fifteenth Tennessee, 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xlv, part i, p. 752. 



lost his life in an encounter with a color-bearer, Chal- 
mers, in his report of the affray, says : " In the pursuit 
Lieutenant-Colonel Dawson was killed while leading 
his regiment in the charge. He had emptied his re- 
volver and was endeavoring to wrest one of the ene- 
my's flags from its bearer when he was killed,"* Gen- 
eral Forrest arrived in front of Columbia on the 24th, 
invested the place, and waited for Hood's infantry; 
which appeared on the 27th, when the Federals re- 
treated. On the 28th nearly all the Confederate cav- 
alry crossed Duck River at different fords. Meantime 
Brigadier-Generals Euford and Jackson had advanced 
from Lawrencehurg, meeting strong resistance, but 
driving the Federals toward Pulaski and gaining the 
advantage in a sharp engagement with Edward Hatch's 
division at Campbellsville. The forces in Pulaski had 
been flanked out of position and forced rapidly toward 
Nashville. Every day there was a battle, though classed 
only as a skirmish at that period of the war. The Fed- 
erals did not get back to Columbia and across Duck 
River any too soon. Forrest's quick, sharp advance was 
a constant surprise, although he was met by gallant, 
well-trained, and self-reliant troops. Colonel Stone, of 
General George H. Thomas's staff, says : " In spite of 
every opposition Forrest succeeded in placing one of 
his divisions on the north side of Duck River before 
noon on the 28th. and forced back the Union cavalry on 
the roads leading toward Spring Hill and Franklin." f 
Forrest advanced with Chalmers's division that 
night eight miles beyond Columbia on the Spring Hill 
and Carrs Mill road, and was greatly disappointed to 
learn at eleven o'clock that night that Buford had met 
such effective resistance in crossing Duck River that 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xlv, pari i, p. 76% 

t Bailies and Leaders ot the Civil War, vol. iv, p. 444- 


he could not join him before the next morning. Jack- 
son's division crossed at Lilliards Mills, next day 
moved up the Lewisburg and Franklin pike, and Arm- 
strong soon reported that he had struck a strong force. 
He was directed to engage it but not too vigorously. 
Forrest, with Buford's, Jackson's, and Chalmers's di- 
visions then advanced toward Spring Hill, driving 
General Wilson, now in command, with heavy fighting 
toward Franklin, and turning eastward when within 
two miles of the place became engaged with the in- 
fantry in a strong position, and was forced back. 
Hood sent word to hold out, that his infantry was 
only two miles away. A general attack was soon 
made in front on the flanks by Forrest and Cleburne. 
The Federals were driven from their rifle-pits and 
back into Spring Hill. Jackson was ordered forward 
to Thompsons Station to cut off the retreat if possi- 
ble, and he engaged the enemy with his small force 
at eleven o'clock on the night of the 29th; but all 
efforts failed and the retreat was continued with great 

General Cheatham, having come up to Spring Hill, 
was ordered to attack the Federal column vigorously 
at sunset, but owing to some misunderstanding or blun- 
der this was not done. The Federals in that neighbor- 
hood were now outnumbered by the Confederates two 
to one. Forrest had prepared the way for a brilliant 
victory which was not gained. The Union forces were 
allowed to escape with impunity, and Jackson's heroic 
fight to hold the pike was all in vain. About nine 
o'clock that night, the 29th, General Stewart's corps 
came up to the point where Forrest was in bivouac, and 
the two officers rode together to General Hood's head- 
quarters, a mile distant, and on the way Forrest was 
surprised to find that Cleburne's division had been 
withdrawn from its former position, leaving the road 



open for the rear divisions of the Federal army. Word 
came that JacksOn was pressed and needed aid. Buford 
and Chalmers had fired sixty rounds of ammunition 
that day and were without a cartridge, and the ord- 
nance train as well as others was far in the rear. As 
a result of the conference with General Hood, Forrest 
undertook to hold the pike with Jackson's division. 
Returning to his headquarters he found General Jack- 
son waiting for him, and after a conference the 
latter went back to his post and resumed the fight, 
which lasted from midnight isntil daylight. But the 
most he could do was to harass the enemy, killing, 
wounding, and capturing a few, and causing some wag- 
ons to be abandoned. One of his brigades (Ross's) de- 
stroyed a train of cars near Thompsons Station. 

The next morning, November 30th, Forrest, after 
of his forces, moved forward with his escort 
and Bell's brigade upon the Franklin pike. Six miles 
from Spring Hill he overtook Jackson, who was close 
upon the Federal rear-guard. Bell's brigade was 
thrown forward and took part in a skirmish for four 
miles, and until the Federals were behind their lines at 
Franklin. General Forrest proceeded to make a recon- 
naissance of the position occupied by the Federals, and 
when General Hood came up at one o'clock reported 
that the place was very strong, but that he could flank 
the Federals from their works with a division of in- 
fantry and his cavalry in two hours. Hood merely 
told him to take charge of the cavalry to be posted on 
both flanks, and if the assault proved successful to com- 
plete the ruin of the enemy by capturing those who 
attempted to escape in the direction of Nashville. 
Cheatham's corps was formed on the left. Stewart's on 
the right, and General S. D. Lee's held in reserve, but 
nearly all were finally in action. The advance to 
Franklin had been made as rapidly as possible under 


the conditions. The Federal forces in the way were 
generally outnumbered and somewhat scattered, and 
had been flanked and forced back at nearly all points, 
until now they were well concentrated within strong 
works and could not do less than make a stand. Hood 
thought they were still retreating, and that it would be 
easier to drive than to flank them out of their works. 
Never was greater mistake made, never such unneces- 
sary wholesale murder of veteran soldiers even on the 
previous 22d of July in front of Atlanta. 

By 4 p. M. all was ready for the slaughter. Forrest, 
under instructions, had placed Jackson's and Buford's 
divisions on Stewart's right on the south side of Har- 
peth River, while Chalmers's division, with a fragment 
of a brigade under Biffle, was placed on Cheatham's 
left on the Carters Creek pike. Buford's men were in 
touch with the infantry eastward of Franklin between 
the Lewisburg pike and the river, and as the advance 
was made soon after four o'clock Jackson's division 
was thrown across the river and came in contact with 
Wilson's cavalry. Forrest crossed over with Jackson, 
and Buford, pushing both the cavalry and infantry in 
his front before him, soon drove the dismounted Fed- 
eral troops across the river. The battle raged on this 
part of the line as well as in the center until dark, when 
Forrest, learning that Hood had failed in the main 
battle, withdrew his troops to the south side of the 
river. Meantime Chalmers on the extreme Confed- 
erate left advanced as far as possible and was heavily 
engaged with an infantry force, keeping up a constant 
fire to hold the enemv in his front. 

General James H. Wilson, one of the famous cav- 
alry leaders of the war, gave the Confederates great 
credit for their intrepidity, saying that if Chalmers had 
been with Forrest, and " had his [Hood's] whole cav- 
alry force advanced against me, it is possible that it 


would have succeeded in driving me back." * But in 
fact only Jackson's division, eighteen hundred men, was 
engaged with Wilson across the river. This was one 
of the bloodiest and most desperately contested battles 
of the war, not excepting Gettysburg. The Confed- 
erates, with all their valor and implicit confidence in 
their leaders, only broke through the lines at two or 
three points. Their losses were frightful both from 
this point and the batteries on Figuers Hill which over- 
looked and enfiladed the field. The best and the bravest 
went down like grass before the scythe. It was an 
awful harvest of death. Here fell the great leaders 
as well as the privates in the ranks. The details of 
the battle need not be mentioned in this connection. It 
is sufficient to say that a force of about sixteen thou- 
sand Confederate infantry was repulsed with terrific 
slaughter by about thirteen thousand Federal infantry, 
assailed in strong entrenchments. The remaining in- 
fantry, Federal and Confederate, were not engaged. 
The Federal cavalry under General Wilson numbered 
about seventy-seven hundred. Forrest had hardly five 
thousand all told. That night at a seasonable hour 
Major-General Schofiekl. in command, withdrew to- 
ward Nashville, leaving the dead, the greater part of 
his wounded, and some stores and supplies in the hands 
of the Confederates. 

General Hood, in his report, says : " We captured 
about one thousand prisoners and several stands of 
colors. Our loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners was 
fifty-five hundred. Among the killed were Major-Gen- 
eral P. R. Cleburne, Brigadier-Generals Gist, John 
Adams. Strahl, and Granbury. Major-General Brown, 
Brigadier- Generals Carter, Manigault, Quarles, Cock- 
rell, and Scott were wounded, Carter mortally, and Brig- 

of ihe Civil Wa. 

I. iv. p. 446. 


adier-General George W. Gordon captured." Hood's 
total losses were, in fact, about sixty-four hundred, 
including eighteen hundred and one killed. The losses 
of Forrest's cavalry in this battle were light compared 
to those of the infantry. As soon as it was discovered 
that the Union forces were in retreat, Forrest's cav- 
alry pursued vigorously on the morning of the ist of 
December. Crossing the Harpeth at daylight with 
Buford and Jackson, and advancing to Wilson's cross- 
roads, the enemy was overtaken in some force, but 
dislodged by the opening of Morton's battery and a 
charge by Buford. Brisk skirmishing ensued without 
important results. Some colors, prisoners, and horses 
were taken in different light actions. Chalmers moved 
forward on the left without meeting with serious re- 
sistance, and when within six miles of Nashville the 
cavalry divisions were halted slightly in advance of the 
infantry and thrown into position for the night on a 
line from the Nolensville turnpike on the right to the 
Granny White turnpike on the left, a distance of four 
miles. Chalmers being slightly in the advance on the 
Franklin pike was encamped for the night not more 
than four miles from Nashville. On the morning of 
December 2d his troops, with Biffle's demi brigade on 
the left, moved up nearer Nashville on the Hillsbor- 
ough and Harding pike, while Forrest with Buford and 
Jackson advanced by the Nolensville pike within three 
miles of the State capital, which was in full view. The^ 
infantry arrived in the afternoon, and Forrest was re- 
lieved to give his attention to blockhouses and garri- 
sons in the neighborhood and to interfere with the 
navigation of the Cumberland River. 

On the 3d Lieutenant-Colonel Kelley with three 
hundred men and two pieces of artillery captured two 
transports loaded with horses and other Government 
property twelve miles below Nashville, but while un- 



loading the horses the enemy's gunboats came down 
from Nashville and recaptured the transports, Kelley, 
however, secured fifty-six prisoners and one hundred 
and ninety-seven horses and mules, Forrest on the 
same day, with Buford's division, captured a stockade 
with eighty prisoners, besides kilHng and wounding 
several more by the first shots from Morton's guns. 
A train coming up the road from the direction of Mur- 
freesboro was crippled and captured, but the negro 
troops on board nearly all escaped. On the 4th two 
more blockhouses were taken and all were burned. 
Altogether two hundred and fifty officers and men were 
captured, including those taken with the train. Under 
orders from General Hood Forrest proceeded with Bu- 
ford's and Jackson's djvisions toward Murfreesboro 
to picket the railroad, and northward to the Cumber- 
land River. At La Vergne, on December sth, General 
W. H. Jackson captured a redoubt with a garrison of 
eighty men, two pieces of artillery, together with wag- 
ons and stores, while Forrest and Buford took another 
blockhouse with forty officers and men. The block- 
house at Smyrna Station was also taken that day with 
thirty-five prisoners. Major-Genera! Bale with his 
division of infantry reported to General Forrest four 
miles from La Vergne to cooperate in the movement 
against Murfreesboro. The cavalry approached within 
four miles of that place on the evening of the 5th, but 
the infantry did not reach the scene until the next 
morning. The Confederates, reenforced by two small 
brigades of infantry — Sears's and Palmer's, about six- 
teen hundred men — advanced upon the town and skir- 
mished lightly for two hours ; but the Union troops fell 
back within their works and awaited an attack. Mean- 
while Forrest, taking one hundred and fifty men of 
Pinson's Mississippi regiment, made a close reconnais- 
sance of the works — Fortress Rosecrans, the strongest 


in the South — and became convinced that the position 
was too strong to be taken by assault. 

General Lovell H. Rousseau was known to have at 
least seven thousand men in the fortress. Forrest had 
only sixty-five hundred all told and decided to wait un- 
til he could hear from General Hood. On the morning 
of the 7th Forrest, who was stationed with Palmer's 
infantry brigade on a hill two miles from Murfreesboro, 
observed the enemy move out in force on the Salem 
pike with infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Forrest pre- 
pared to meet this movement by forming a line of battle 
composed of Bate's division and Sears's and Palmer's 
brigades, with Jackson's cavalry on the flanks, at the 
Wilkinson pike. Light breastworks were hastily con- 
structed and the Confederate commander was confident 
that his infantry lines would prove invincible. The 
Federal force, consisting of two brigades of infantry 
and thirteen hundred and twenty-six cavalry, with 
artillery, all commanded by Major-General R. H. Mil- 
roy, advanced with great gallantry, and was soon 
sharply engaged. After thirty minutes General Mil- 
roy fell back into a thick wood, moved by the right 
flank in a northeasterly direction, realined his men, 
and again advanced to the attack. The Confederate 
lines had to be readjusted to meet the movement on the 
Wilkinson pike. Forrest rode among the infantry, as- 
suring them that if they would hold their own for 
fifteen minutes he would destroy the Federals with his 
cavalry from the rear. 

In forming a new line of battle Forrest fell back 
some distance, expecting to draw the Federals away 
from their base and throw Jackson's and Buford's divi- 
sions in their rear. The enemy came on in handsome, 
confident style, drove in the Confederate skirmishers 
and charged upon the main line, when to the great 

nrise of Generals Forrest and Bate all the infantry, 


except General Tom Benton Smith's brigade (Bate's 
old brigade), was thrown into wild and hopeless con- 
fusion. These men were veterans who had been exem- 
plars of greatest valor upon many battle-fields, but the 
panic or the instinct of better judgment or self-preser- 
vation was uncontrollable. Forrest was wild with in- 
dignation and rode among the fleeing soldiers, entreat- 
ing, begging, and ordering them to rally. Pursuing a 
panic-stricken color-bearer and ordering him to halt, 
without being heeded, he seized the flag and continued 
his efforts to try to rally the iine.* 

General Bate and various officers of the line and 
staff were likewise active in their efforts to stay the ebb- 
ing tide of demoralized Confederates. This was accom- 
plished finally, but not until the cavalry was brought 
into action. Ross's brigade was thrown forward on 
the front and Armstrong attacked tlie Federals on the 
right flank and rear with such vigor that they yielded 
the field and fled back toward Murfreesboro. After the 
battle the Confederate infantry marched northward 
eight miles and rested at Stewarts Creek, and the cav- 
alry bivouacked in their former position. The with- 
drawal of the Federals within their fortifications was 
due in part to a bold strategic movement of General 
Buford who, under orders of General Forrest, had 
swung around and attacked the place from the rear 
and with dismounted men advanced near to the center 
of the town. This hastened the return of Milroy. tm- 
der orders from General Rousseau, In this bold at- 
tack Biiford had two of Morton's guns with him. 
These penetrated as far as the court-house, and at 
2 p. M., nearly all the horses being killed, the pieces 
were carried off by hand. 

* General Forrest's busier Gaus was by his side constanlly 
snunding Ihe charge, until he Tor the second time had his bugle 
riddled with balls at short range- 


Bate's division of infantry was recalled to join 
Hardee's corps near Nashville, and a small brigade 
under Colonel Olmstead was assigned to take its place, 
thus leaving Forrest with three weak infantry bri- 
gades. Buford was detached on the nth with his 
Kentuckians, now numbering about three hundred, to 
do picket duty at the Hermitage and on the Cumber- 
land, so as to obstruct navigation above Nashville. 
The remaining infantry brigades were engaged on the 
I2th in destroying the railroad between Murfreesboro 
and La Vergne. General Jackson, operating south- 
ward with Ross's brigade in the advance, had cap- 
tured a train of seventeen cars well freighted with 
supplies from Stephenson intended for the garrison 
at Murfreesboro. This was destroyed, and some two 
hundred members of the Sixty-first Illinois Infantry, 
who made a gallant defense, were captured. The re- 
mainder of the regiment escaped to a neighboring 

On the morning of the 14th General Forrest moved 
eastward of Stone River with two of his infantry bri- 
gades, to look out for a Federal foraging train reported 
in that direction. The next day he received orders 
from General Hood to hold himself in readiness for 
an emergency, and thereupon concentrated his com- 
mand at Wilkinson's crossroads, six miles distant. On 
the evening of the i6th Forrest received notice of the 
battle and disastrous defeat of Hood in front of Nash- 
ville, with orders to fall back toward Duck River and 
hold himself in readiness to protect the rear of the 
retreating army. Buford was to retire through La 
Vergne from the Hermitage and protect Forrest's rear 
until he was well under way. Forrest's sick and bag- 
gage-trains were at Triune, and he took up his line of 
retreat by way of Lilliards Mills on Duck River, while 
Armstrong was detached to Hood's rear. Forrest's in- 


fantry were barefoot, and lie had four hundred pris- 
oners as well as one hundred head of cattle and four 
hundred hogs to retard his march. The roads were >in 
terrible condition and progress was painfully slow. 
Duck River was found to be rising rapidly. ' The pris- 
oners, cattle, and h^lf the wagons were rapidly thrown 
across, and after that Forrest had to move westward 
to Columbia to secure a crossing for the remainder of 
his trains and artillery. 

Meantime General Chalmers had been operating 
with the utmost alertness upon the right and left flanks 
of Hood's army. His headquarters were on the Hard- 
ing turnpike, four miles southwest of Nashville. Bif- 
fle's command was deployed up the river, and Rucker's 
brigade, only twelve hundred strong, on the left, touch- 
ing the river, which was successfully blockaded. On 
the 14th Ector's brigade of infantry was sent to the 
assistance of Rucker, and the lines were readjusted. 
The weather became intensely cold and the ground was 
covered with sleet and snow, but this did not for a 
moment interfere with the activity in the trenches 
around Nashville. Thousands of men were at work 
strengthening every possible point of defense, and even 
citizens were impressed or employed, and all this under 
the direction of skilful engineers. The army within 
numbered eighty-three thousand, the one without 
about twenty-two thousand. Major-Generai Thomas 
could have sallied out any day for two weeks and van- 
quished Hood's army, but he seems to have preferred 
to strengthen his cavalry so as to be able to cut off the 
retreat even across Duck River, and thus bring the 
war to an end in the west, which would have been at 
once a humane and brilliant achievement. 

When the battle of Nashville began on the morning 
of December ijtli. Wilson's cavalry force consisted of 
twelve thousand five hundred men with nine thousand 


horses, two thousand of which he reported as scarcely 
fit for service. Advancing on the Federal right with 
a splendid force, greatly superior in numbers to all 
the Confederate cavalry combined, he easily brushed 
away Ector's brigade of infantry, which, however,, 
made a stubborn resistance before sweeping eastward 
to join the main body of infantry. Moving out on the 
Harding pike, Wilson captured Chalmers's headquar- 
ters wagon and part of his train. Chalmers, who was 
with Rucker down the river, was thus cut off, and in 
the rear of the Federal army. Late in the evening he 
succeeded in effecting a junction with Hood's left. 
Early on the morning of the i6th Rucker took a posi- 
tion on Hood's left and was soon assailed by a strong 
cavalry column. Chalmers made every possible effort 
to resist this and kept up a gallant fight nearly all day. 
Late in the afternoon he rode toward General Hood's 
headquarters to seek orders, and in his absence a note 
was handed to Rucker from Hood, stating that the 
battle was lost and ordering the cavalry to cover his 
retreat on the Granny White turnpike, and resist the 
Federal pursuit at all hazards. A duplicate of this 
despatch was captured by General Wilson, or it some- 
how fell into his hands. This to him was official 
information that Hood had given up the battle and 
was on the retreat. 

The Seventh Alabama, which had been cut off in 
the rear on the Harding pike, came up and joined 
Rucker late in the afternoon, and was placed by him 
in a position to resist the Federal advance. Kelley was 
on their line but was soon overwhelmed by Wilson's 
triumphant troopers. Rucker returned at dusk to the 
point where he had left his Twelfth Tennessee, and 
found in its place a Federal regiment commanded by 
Colonel George Spalding of Hatch's division. A per- 
sonal combat on horseback ensued between the two 


valiant colonels, both of whom were fine riders and 
r good swordsmen. Rucker was isolated in the midst of 
[ the enemy, and turned to make his escape. A number 
Pof shots were fired at him, and both horse and rider 
F fell heavily to the ground. Colonel Rucker was speech- 
t less for a time, though not unconscious, and was soon 
I placed on his own horse and carried to the headquar- 
ters of General Hatch, not far away. There he rallied 
I sufficiently to make the impression that Forrest had 
I arrived from Murfreesboro and was taking an active 
I part in the events of the day. Colonel Rucker was 
treated with the utmost kindness and courtesy that 
J night by Generals Wilson and Hatch and Colonel 
I Spalding, and the next evening was sent into Nash- 
, ville, where the surgeons in the hospital found it neces- 
sary to amputate bis wounded arm. 

Chalmers, Rucker, and Kelley had thrown all the 
force and energy they could command in the way of 
the Federal advance. This, with the impression that 
Forrest was on the field prevented any reckless ad- 
vance in the dark and the rain. The break in Hood's 
infantry lines occurred about four o'clock, and the pur- 
suit by Hammond and Croxton, of Wilson's corps, was 
not continued more than two or three miles, owing to 
the stand made by the Confederate cavalry. In day- 
light this would have been easily swept away. As it 
was the infantry had time to retreat during the night 
and reorganize the next morning. 

As soon as General Forrest heard that a battle was 
in progress, he ordered Buford's division toward Nash- 
ville and Franklin, and the two divisions were united 
at the latter place on the 17th of December. Forrest 
reported to General Hood in person, and was assigned 
to the command of the rear-^ard of the Army of 
Tennessee, which duty he accepted with his usual 
promptness, and thus the great retreat was well under 


way, the last one ever to be made out of the State by 
Confederate forces. 

General Stephen D. Lee's corps had been placed as 
rear-guard of infantry. Chalmers's cavalry moved 
next, as early as 3 a. m. on the 17th, and crossed the * 
Harpeth near Franklin, and it was here Chalmers was 
joined by Buford and a part of Bell's brigade, and in 
the absence of Forrest was placed in command of all 
the cavalry, receiving orders from General Lee until 
the latter was wounded later in the day in a recon- 
naissance and succeeded in command by Major-Gen- 
eral Carter L. Stevenson. There was sharp fighting 
nearly all day, and when six miles south of Franklin 
the Confederates, with two brigades of infantry — Pet- 
tus's Alabamians and Stovall's Georgians — the cavalry 
under Chalmers and Buford, and Bledsoe's battery, 
under Major-General Clayton, halted and formed in 
line of battle. The Federal brigades came on in reck- 
less style and charged in front and on flank. The lines 
were mingled in a desperate meleCy and many hand-to- 
hand conflicts took place. General Chalmers killed one 
Federal trooper and wounded another, and it was here 
that General Lee, while exposing himself, was wounded. 
The fight lasted well into the night, officers and men on 
both sides vying with each other in deeds of unsur- 
passed courage. The Confederates were pushed back, 
but yielded only with the utmost stubbornness in the 
face of greatly superior numbers. The object in such 
resistance was attained in part — Hood's, main army 
was making time and distance southward. The in- 
fantry rear-guard reached Thompsons Station and 
the cavalry bivouacked that night, th« 17th, at 
Spring Hill and was there joined by Armstrong's 

Cheatham relieved Lee's corps as rear-guard, and 
falling back on the i8th two miles southward of Spring 


Hill formed a line of battle aiit! threw up entrench- 
ments to protect the trains in crossing Rutherford 
Creek, then swollen by rains. This being accomplished, 
. Cheatham's command of only fifteen hundred infantry, 
with cavalry on the flanks and in the rear, withdrew 
across the dangerous creek and burned the bridge. 
The main Confederate forces were now crossing Duck 
River only six miles southward, and Forrest, coming 
upon the scene from the direction of Murfreesboro as 
stated before, had met General Hood and been placed 
in command of the rear-guard of cavalry and infantry 
and at once proceeded to relieve Cheatham's worn-out 
command. Strahl's and Maney's brigades, however, 
of this division, afterward formed a new brigade under 
Colonel Hume R. Feild, for further service in the 

Genera] Hood had intended to make a stand on 
the line of Duck River, but his defeat had been so dis- 
astFOUs that he found it necessary to hurry on and 
cross the Tennessee River if possible. The Confed- 
erates were in a deplorable condition, many of the men 
being barefoot and having their feet tied up in rags; 
they were hungry, bedraggled, sore, and disheartened, 
all knowing that they had been irretrievably defeated. 
General Thomas, in his report, stated : " We captured 
thirteen thousand one hundred and eighty-nine pris- 
oners, including seven general officers and nearly one 
thousand other officers of all grades, and seventy-two 
pieces of serviceable artillery. During the same period 
over two thousand deserters were received, to whom 
the oath was administered." Wilson had fully nine 
thousand cavalry with supply-trains and artillery, well 
mounted, fed, and equipped, and flushed with victory. 
Forrest had about three thousand effectives and oflfered 
to attempt the protection of tJie rear if given four thou- 
sand infantry under command of Major-General Wal- 


thall. This was promptly acceded to, and the follow- 
ing fragments of commands were joined with For- 
rest's cavalry to constitute the most famous and effect- 
ive rear-guard of the war: 

The brigades of General W. S. Featherstone ; Colo- 
nel J. B. Palmer ; Colonel C. H. Olmstead, command- 
ing General James Argyle Smith's brigade; Strahl's 
brigade, under Colonel Corrick W. Heiskell of the 
Nineteenth Tennessee ; Colonel H. R. Feild's brigade, 
Feild having succeeded Maney ; General D. Coleman, 
commanding Ector's brigade; General D. H. Reyn- 
olds's brigade; General J. B. Johnson, commanding 
Quarles's brigade; these were to constitute the rear- 
guard of infantry. Three hundred of them were bare- 
footed, and their feet were cut by the ice and snow, 
yet they were ready to hold their places in the ranks. 
General Forrest, however, sent them forward with the 
wagons, thus leaving a little over thirty-five hundred 
effective infantry, under immediate command of Gen- 
eral Walthall. Four skeleton brigades were formed 
out of the above and commanded respectively by 
Colonel Hume R. Feild and Brigadier-Generals Palm- 
er, Reynolds, and Featherstone. General Hood in 
person arranged this force at Columbia. Riding up to 
the officer in command of Strahl's brigade, he said: 
" I am organizing a reserve guard of infantry under 
General Walthall, and he is to report to General For- 
rest, who will cover the retreat of the Army of Ten- 
nessee, and I would like to know if this command 
would serve in that body." 

" We are soldiers, general," replied that officer. 
Hood promptly ordered : " You will report to Colo- 
nel Feild." 

A private soldier then said : " General, when are you 
going to give us a f urlouQfh ? " The general replied : 
" When we cross the Tennessee River " ; adding. 


" The cards have been fairly played and the Yankees 
have beaten us in the game." 

A member of the Nineteenth Tennessee chimed in: 
" Yes, but, general, they were d — d badly shuffled." 
The general did not appear to hear this criticism.* 

The burning of the bridge at Rutherford Creek by 
the Confederates after they were across gave them 
time for a good start southward. The Federals did 
not reach the creek until the 20th, three days after the 
battle of Nashville, and did not cross until the 21st. 
Forrest meantime had impressed oxen around Colum- 
bia to move his train and guns to the Tennessee River. 
He burned every bridge on Duck River for many miles, 
and as the stream was overflowing. General Wilson 
had to wait fully twenty-four hours for a tardy bridge- 
train, which had taken the wrong road, to come up 
before he could begin to throw his men across. These 
delays enabled Forrest to move half his train back a 
safe distance, and have his teams returned in time to 
save the other half. Such was the energy and prac- 
ticability of the man who was instrumental in saving 
what was left of the once grand and proud Army of 
Tennessee, now so rapidly and surely becoming a rem- 
iniscence. After the Federals effected a crossing of 
Duck River, above Columbia, on the night of the 21st, 
and the infantry began to cross on the morning of the 
22d, Forrest put his forces in retreat, his infantry mov- 
ing by the Pulaski road, with Jackson's and Buford's 
divisions in the rear. Chalmers with the remainder of 
his division, which he had organized as a brigade at 
Columbia — about five hundred strong — moved on the 
left flank through Bigbeeville, and the right was well 
guarded by scouts, 

• Statement of Cotnnd I.ukc W. Finlay, of Memphis, who 
commanded ihe Fourlb Tennessee Infantry of Slrahl's brigade 
in tbal can^pajgn. 


As the Federals approached Columbia a furious ar- 
tillery fire of shot and shell was opened on the place. 
Forrest, who was still in sight, sent forward a flag of 
truce and had an interview with General Hatch across 
the river, assuring him that the place was only occu- 
pied by non-combatants and the wounded of both ar- 
mies. He also proposed to exchange two thousand 
prisoners captured during the campaign, as they were 
without blankets or suitable clothing for such inclem- 
ent weather, to say nothing of food and ordinary 
comforts. An answer was received in the name of 
General Thomas, after a delay of two hours, refusing 
to exchange prisoners or to receive those Forrest* had 
on parole with the understanding that a like number 
should be subsequently returned. The only result of 
this flag of truce was that the shelling of the unde- 
fended place was discontinued. 

The enemy closed up vigorously and opened fire 
with artillery upon Forrest's rear three miles south of 
Columbia. After a running fight for three miles far- 
ther southward, the Confederates made a stand at the 
head of a ravine between two high hills, and held it 
until the morning of the 23d, and then resumed the 
retreat back to a favorable point south of Lynnville, 
and in advance of Richland Creek, where another stand 
was made on the 24th. Six pieces of artillery were 
placed in position so as to sweep the pike, and were 
supported by Armstrong's brigade. The crossing of 
the creek was held by infantry ; Chalmers and Buford 
were in line to the left of the artillery, and Ross's bri- 
gade was on the right. A brisk artillery duel ensued. 
Chalmers and Buford were forced back to the creek; 
Jackson's division was sent to their aid, and a warm 
conflict ensued for several hours. The Federals seemed 
to suffer rather heavily, but in the midst of the en- 
gagement General Buford was severely wounded, and 


his division was consolidated temporarily with that of 
Chalmers. After thirty-six hours' almost constant 
fighting, Forrest's forces being threatened by flank 
movements of both infantry and cavalry, fell back 
toward Pulaski without further event of consequence 
that day. 

On Christmas morning Forrest, after destroying 
ammunition and stores that could not be removed, and 
also some locomotives and two trains of cars, leaving 
a rear-guard under Jackson, fell back to Anthonys 
Hill, seven miles southward of Pulaski. Jackson's di- 
vision, composed of Armstrong's brigade and Ross's 
veterans, remained to make as stubborn resistance as 
possible without being overwhelmed. Anthonys Hill, 
forty-two miles from Bainbridge, where Hood's army 
was to cross the Tennessee River, was approached 
from the north through a narrow valley between two 
high ridges. Morton's battery was placed in the gap 
and well masked ; Armstrong's and Ross's retreating 
brigades dismounted and fell into line in support of the 
artillery, and were placed in touch with Featherstone's 
and Palmer's brigades of infantry on their flanks. 
Temporary breastworks were thrown up hastily, and 
Chalmers's small command was thrown to the left to 
look out for flank movements. The stand made at 
Anthonys Hill was to determine the escape or de- 
struction of Hood's army. Nature had made this a 
strong strategic point for defense, and Forrest utilized 
it to the best advantage in a great emergency. The 
pass was not to be a Thermopylte from which none 
should escape to tell the tale, but rather a vantage- 
ground of resistance made to enable flying columns to 
escape. The Confederates were- well placed and con- 
cealed in the gap and on the flanks. As an ambuscade 
it was the brilliant and resolute conception of a master 
mind in the hour of defeat and despair. 


It was not long to wait until the victorious Union 
troops charged the little force posted as a rear-guard, 
and drove it into and through the ravine and over the 
crest of the elevated gap. As this point was approached 
rather cautiously, Morton's battery opened with canis- 
ter at short range, and was followed by a heavy fire of 
musketry from the main line of infantry and dis- 
mounted men. The Federals were in a trap, and could 
only answer with a scattering and ineffective fire 
against hidden foes. It was a complete surprise, and 
as the Union troops fell back in confusion they were 
charged and followed to the mouth of the ravine. 
Their loss in this quick, sharp engagement was about 
one hundred and fifty killed and wounded, some fifty 
prisoners, three hundred cavalry horses and as many 
overcoats, and a 12-pounder Napoleon gun with 
horses attached. The Confederate losses were compar- 
atively small — about fifteen killed and forty wounded. 
A direct assault was not again attempted, but by four 
o'clock heavy Federal columns had flanked the posi- 
tion, its advantages were exhausted, the game of war 
had taken a turn, and Forrest at the right moment 
gave an order to withdraw. This movement was ac- 
complished late in the day, the prisoners and captured 
gun being moved in the retreat. 

There were no good turnpikes in that part of the 
country then. The roads had been cut into canals of 
mortar and gravel by Hood's flying army. Rain, sleet, 
and snow had alternated to intensify the gloom and 
appalling conditions of the situation. The officers and 
men, however, as only American soldiers could, kept 
up a spirit of fortitude and cheerfulness, and pushing 
on through mire knee-deep, reached Sugar Creek, four- 
teen miles from Anthonys Hill, late that night. At 
one o'clock on the morning of the 26th, Forrest halted 
the command. Sugar Creek was a clear, pebbly stream, 



in which the men cleansed themselves and horses of 
dinging mud, and after that threw up light breast- 
works, built fires, and made themselves as comfortable 
as possible until daylight, which was an unusually long 
rest for them. At this point, twenty-eight miles from 
the Tennessee River, the rear-guard overtook the last 
of Hood's ordnance train, which had been left there 
while the mules were used in pulling the pontoon-train 
to the river. These being returned, the ordnance-train 
was ready to move, and had to be protected at any risk. 
The road to the river was as well kneaded as any 
passed over previously, and here and there were wrecks 
of wagons, broken-down animals, and weary men still 
struggling to make their way back to Dixie. 

Walthall's infantry division was placed in position 
at sunrise on the 26th, about two hundred yards south- 
ward of the Sugar Creek ford. Jackson's division was 
on the right, and Chalmers was thrown seven miles to 
the left. Feild's brigade of infantry was on the left. 
Reynolds on the right, and the others in reserve. A 
dense fog prevailed, and the entire Confederate force 
was effectively concealed. The Federal cavalry, now 
more cautious since the ambuscade at Anthonys Hill, 
was heard at the ford about 8,30 a. m. Several cavalry 
regiments were dismounted and advanced in front of 
mounted cavalry. Thus disposed they came within 
about thirty yards of the breastworks across the road, 
when a volley was fired upon them and they were 
driven back in disorder. The two infantry brigades 
and Ross's brigade of cavalry charged at once, drove 
the Federals back on their horse-holders and through 
the icy creek, which was waist-deep, and the pursuit 
was kept up for nearly two miles before it was re- 
called. The Confederates held their position until noon, 
when the infantry was put in motion for the river, and 
the cavalry followed at i p. m. This was the last fight 


worthy of the name during Hood's disastrous campaign 
into Middle Tennessee. The results of the day, besides 
the killed and wounded, were the capture of about a 
hundred officers and men, one hundred and fifty horses, 
and as many overcoats, which were of great value to 
the shivering men. General Chalmers repulsed an at- 
tack upon his part of the line, and captured some pris- 
oners. Walthairs infantry division bivouacked within 
sixteen miles of Tennessee River that night, and on 
the 27th was returned to the command of Lieutenant- 
General Stewart. An infantry corps was placed on the 
north bank of the river. Forrest was relieved from 
his arduous duties, and with his cavalry crossed on a 
pontoon bridge to the south side that afternoon, and 
was afterward given credit by General Hood for hav- 
ing saved his army. The remarkable endurance and 
unfaltering zeal of General Forrest and subordinate 
commanders, and the men with the carbines, excited 
the gratitude of the army and the admiration of the 
world. The last shot fired in this ill-fated campaign 
was directed by one of Forrest's artillerists. While a 
portion of the retreating army was crossing the river 
on the pontoon bridge, at Bainbridge, two small Fed- 
eral gunboats came in sight and opened fire on the 
moving column, but were driven off by a section of 
Morton's battery. 

General Wilson, in summing up some of the hor- 
rors of this campaign toward the last, says : " The 
weather had become worse and worse. It was freezing 
cold during the nights, and followed by days of rain, 
snow, and thaws. The country, which was poor and 
thinly settled at best, had been absolutely stripped of 
forage and provisions by the march of contending ar- 
mies. The men of both forces suffered dreadfully, but 
the poor cavalry horses fared still worse than the 
riders. Scarcely a withered cornstalk could be found 


for them, and thousands, exhausted by overwork, fam- 
ished with hunger, or crippled so that death was a 
mercy, with hoofs dropping off from frost and mud, 
fell by the wayside never to rise again. By the time 
the corps found rest on the Tennessee River it could 
muster scarcely seven thousand horses fit for service. 
. . . The cavalry advance-guard, under the active 
and enterprising Spalding, reached the north bank of 
the river just as the bridge had been swung to the 
south side and the last of the rebels were disappearing 
in the distance." 

General Forrest had completed his passage to the 
north bank of the Tennessee River on the 18th of 
November, and recrossed on the 27th of December. 
His own command, as stated before, started with Jack- 
son's division added, and numbered about five thou- 
sand effectives. For thirty-five days he was in sharp 
conflict with the enemy in the most inclement weather, 
and in a country well-nigh devastated and drained of 
resources. In the last campaign he captured and de- 
stroyed sixteen blockhouses, twenty railroad bridges, 
destroyed or rendered useless thirty miles of railroad, 
four locomotives, and about one hundred cars and one 
hundred wagons. In the same period he captured some 
eighteen hundred prisoners, one hundred thousand 
rounds of ammunition, two hundred thousand rations, 
and nine pieces of artillery, and brought away three 
pieces of artillery and ten wagons and teams more than 
he carried in. also many horses; while the loss of the 
enemy in killed and wounded was estimated at two 

Soon after reaching the south bank of the river, 
Forrest issued a stirring address to his men, in which 
he referred to the principal battles in which they had 
taken part since they left Jackson, Tenn., on the Z4th 
of December, 1863, as fields upon which they had won 


fadeless ininiortality. Continuing, he said : ** To sum 
up in brief your triumphs during the past year: You 
liave fouglit fifty battles, killed and captured sixteen 
tiiousand of the enemy, captured two thousand horses 
and mules, sixty-seven pieces of artillery, four gun- 
boats, fourteen transports, twenty barges, three hun- 
dred wagons, fifty ambulances, ten thousand stands 
of small arms, forty blockhouses, destroyed thirty-six 
railroad bridges, two hundred miles of railroad, six 
engines, one hundred cars, and fifteen million dollars' 
worth of property. In the accomplishment of this 
great work you were occasionally sustained by other 
troops who joined you in the fight, but your number 
never exceeded five thousand, of whom two thousand 
have been killed or wounded, while in prisoners you 
have lost about two hundred." The address closed 
with an appeal to his soldiers to remember their 
homes and dead comrades, yield ready obedience to 
orders, and buckle on their armor anew for the fight. 



General Hood made his headquarters at Tuscum- 
bia, and Forrest's corps was permitted to move toward 
Corinth on the 29th of December. General Roddey was 
to protect Hood's rear in the movement toward Chero- 
kee Station, but Armstrong's brigade was soon needed 
and recalled to assist Roddey. Reaching Corinth, For- 
rest furloughed the West Tennesseeans under Bell, and 
all his troops whose homes were not too remote or 
beyond the Confederate lines. The cavalry not fur- 
loughed was sent to Okolona to recuperate. Hood's in- 
fantry began to pass through by rail for Tupelo on New 
Year's Day, 1865. Scouts were sent through the lines 
to ascertain the movements of the enemy, and General 
Bell was ordered to return from West Tennessee with 
his men and recruits by the 25th of January. Ross's 
brigade was left at Corinth to picket the approaches. 
Forrest established headquarters at Verona, some fifty- 
five miles southward, about the middle of January, and 
employed all the means in his power to gather in ab- 
sentees and rehorse his men and artillery. He knew 
full well that the war would soon be over, and so ex- 
pressed himself to a chosen few, but as a soldier he 
knew nothing but to obey orders and fight on to the 
end. The officers who accompanied their men on fur- 



lough made several small raids, capturing supplies, 
horses, and even prisoners, and interrupting navigation 
on the rivers. About this time. General Sherman in a 
despatch to Thomas, said : " I suppose Forrest is again 
scattered to get horses and men, and to divert attention. 
I would like to have Forrest hunted down and killed, 
but doubt if we can do that yet/' Roddey's brigade, 
left in the Tennessee Valley in northern Alabama, was 
soon surprised by a detachment from Wilson's corps, 
led by Colonel Palmer, and at the same time Hood's 
pontoon- and wagon-train was destroyed. This in- 
volved a loss of eighty-three boats, one hundred and 
fifty wagons, and four hundred mules. Roddey's 
troops were reported by General Hood to be at home. 
By request of General Beauregard all the cavalry of the 
department was placed under Forrest, who assumed 
command of the Cavalry Department of Alabama, 
Mississippi, east Louisiana, and West Tennessee on 
the 28th of January, 1865. 

The troops of different States were reorganized 
into groups as far as practicable. The Mississippians 
were placed in Chalmers's division; the Alabamians 
and Kentuckians in a brigade under Buford ; the Ten- 
nesseeans under Brigadier-General T. H. Bell, and 
Ross's Texans under Brigadier-General W. H. Jack- 
son, while McCulloch's Second Missouri was made an 
independent command to act directly with Forrest. 
On the 28th of February he received his commission 
as lieutenant-general, and on the ist of March trans- 
ferred his headquarters to West Point, Miss. One 
abuse and source of weakness which he realized long 
before he left Corinth was absenteeism, amounting 
practically to desertion. In passing through north 
Mississippi, General Hood called Forrest's attention 
to this growing evil, and on the 14th of January had di- 
rected Forrest to " keep picked bodies of cavalry near 



at hand that they may be ready to pursue and capture 
any men that may desert from the army. If the first 
party of deserters can be promptly caught and pun- 
ished it will, perhaps, deter others from doing the 

Nor was this all or the worst. Many men of in- 
fluence, tiring of real service, had secured authority 
from department commanders, or the authorities at 
Richmond, to go within the Federal lines in West Ten- 
nessee or western Kentucky and raise regiments or 
battalions. These in turn would appoint officers of 
various ranks for recruiting service, under whom the 
men enrolled managed to keep out of the service, 
living ofif Southern sympathizers either by cour- 
tesy or force, and dodging alike the soldiers of both 
armies. Had the Southern Confederacy become an 
independent government, these men's names would, no 
doubt, have been handed down to posterity at the head 
of pension rolls, Forrest appealed to Hon. John C. 
Breckenridge, Secretary of War at Richmond, to have 
all commissions of such so-called colonels and captains 
revoked, and the recreants forced back and into the 
ranks. But it was too late for the Confederate au- 
thorities at Richmond or in the field to reach this class 
effectually, either by force or sentimental appeals. 
Other and graver matters already required attention, 
for the last days of the lost cause were already at 
hand. None knew or hoped for this more ardently 
than the " colonels " in the woods and their skeleton 
regiments of skulkers. Life was sweet to them, and 
many have lived on to a green old age to " tell the story 
of battles lost and won." 

In the reorganization Chalmers's division was for- 
ty-five hundred strong, divided into brigades under 
Brigadier- Generals F. C. Armstrong, Wirt Adams, and 
Peter B, Starke. Jackson's division was about thirty- 


two hundred strong, and the Tennessee brigades were 
commanded by Generals T. H. Bell — promoted from 
colonel to brigadier-general about that time — and Alex- 
ander W. Campbell. Ross's Texans were in the lat- 
ter's brigade. General Chalmers's command remained 
at Columbus, Miss., until the 17th of March. General 
Buford was ordered to Montevallo, Ala., to reorganize 
his division, and remained there until the latter part 
of March. Colonel McCulloch was thrown out of the 
command of a brigade which he had exercised so long 
and so efficiently, and was assigned with his regiment, 
the Second Missouri, to special scouting service to re- 
ceive orders directly from Forrest's headquarters. 
Roddey's force remained detached from duty in north 
Alabama, and was to be under Buford. Two of Rod- 
dey's Alabama brigades — Clanton's and Armistead's — 
were detached in two directions to guard against a 
threatened movement. These widely separated com- 
mands were never brought together as a compact, ef- 
fective force. Remaining at Verona until the ist of 
March Forrest then transferred his headquarters to 
West Point, forty-two miles southward. Meantime he 
had been vigilant, strengthening his forces as well as 
watching the various movements of the enemy. He 
was well aware that heavy forces of Union troops had 
been concentrated near Waterloo and Gravelly Springs, 
on the Tennessee River, under Major-General James 
H. Wilson, and also at Memphis, Vicksburg, and near 
Mobile, as well as at Pensacola, and he foresaw. that 
Wilson would probably strike for the heart of Missis- 
sippi or Alabama, and so notified his subordinates. 
Early in March he had the trees marked on roads lead- 
ing to Tuscaloosa and Selma, and had a pontoon bridge 
placed on the Warrior River at Finchs Ferry, and ar- 
ranged so that the troops should always have five days' 
rations on hand ready to be cooked at short notice. 




The Federals could have invaded Forrest's terri- 
tory with seventy-five thousand troops, including all 
arms. General Wilson, however, was most dreaded. 
He was a West-Pointer, an accomplished soldier as 
well as gentleman, was surrounded by a brilliant staff, 
and had command of about twenty-seven thousand 
cavalry, a!i well equipped and drilled. One division 
was detached and sent by steamer to Canby, and one 
dismounted remained in camp. General Wilson, on 
the 22d of March, with the First, Second, and Fourth 
Divisions, fourteen thousand strong — all well mounted 
except fifteen hundred men who were used as escort 
to the train and given horses as they could be sup- 
plied — moved out from his cantonments north of the 
Tennessee. His three divisions were commanded re- 
spectively by Generals McCook, Long, and Upton, offi- 
cers who were young in years but old in experience, and 
already noted for courage and high military qualities. 
The entire command had been carefully selected ; all 
were veterans, and the troopers were armed with Spen- 
cer magazine repeating rifles. Each man carried five 
days' light rations, one pair of extra horseshoes, and 
one hundred rounds of ammunition. Pack-animals 
carried five days' rations of hard bread and ten of 
sugar and salt ; while forty-five days' rations of coffee, 
twenty of sugar, fifteen of salt, and eighty rounds of 
ammunition were transported on a light wagon-train. 
The main supply-train consisted of two hundred and 
fifty wagons, which were to be sent to the rear as fast 
as emptied. Then there was a canvas pontoon-train 
of thirty boats, pulled by six mule-teams. A better 
equipped expedition was never set on foot during the 
civil war. and Genera! Wilson had unlimited range 
of discretion. General Canby was moving on Mobile, 
and Wilson's march in that direction was a diversion. 
Tlie command moved southward in three columns to 


Jasper, the county seat of Walker County, Alabama, 
and thence to Elyton, Jefferson County, reaching there 
without opposition on the 29th and 30th of March. 

Forrest was well aware of Wilson's movements, but 
was embarrassed by reason of a reported expedition 
moving toward Montgomery from the direction of 
Pensacola. On the 23d he directed Buford to repair 
to Selma, strengthen the pontoon bridge there, and de- 
tach a portion of his command to meet the attack 
coming from Pensacola. Chalmers was at Pickens- 
ville, Ala., and two days before Wilson reached Jas- 
per, Armstrong's brigade and Hudson's battery were 
ordered to move by way of the pontoon bridge at 
Finchs Ferry toward Selma. Starke's brigade of Chal- 
mers's division followed the next day. Adams fol- 
lowed next, and Jackson's division was directed to 
move by way of Tuscaloosa and report upon arrival by 
telegraph to the lieutenant-general commanding. Gen- 
eral Taylor approved of this movement, for in a des- 
patch from Meridian to Forrest on the 26th, he says : 
" In view of movements from Moulton and Russell- 
ville, your order is right. Jackson, with his own and 
Lyon's command, should meet, whip, and get rid of 
that column of the enemy as soon as possible." 

General Taylor had ordered Forrest to concentrate 
his available forces upon Selma, but Ross's brigade 
was still at Corinth ; Wirt Adams was on the march 
from Jackson to Columbus ; Bell's and Campbell's bri- 
gades, some thirty-two hundred men, were at West 
Point, and it was thought necessary to leave a brigade 
to guard the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. 
Hence Forrest could not expect to get ahead of Wilson, 
who had dropped everything on wheels except artillery, 
at Jasper, and was moving with great rapidity, and 
assembled more than sixty-four hundred men in front 
of that city. 



On the afternoon of March 30th, General Wilson, 
having concentrated his entire command at Elyton — 
where the city of Birmingham now stands — detached 
Croxton's brigade, McCook's division, eighteen hun- 
dred strong, with orders to proceed to Tuscaloosa to 
hum the university, which was semimilitary in char- 
acter, and the other public buildings and stores accu- 
mulated there, which was accomplished eventually, but 
not until the 3d of April. Afterward Croxton came in 
touch with the rear of Jackson's division, had a sharp 
brush and made a detour of forty miles northward of 
Tuscaloosa and across the Tombigbee River. Find- 
ing that he was not pursued, he returned rapidly, cap- 
tured the small mihtia force guarding Tuscaloosa and 
carried out his orders. He only overtook General 
Wilson at Macon, Ga., in the latter part of May. 

Meantime the main movement under General Wil- 
son was pressed forward with the utmost vigor. On 
the afternoon of March 30th, Upton's division floored 
tJie bridge over the little river, at or near Hillsboro, 
and pressed on to Montevallo. and in the evening en- 
countered a small force of Confederates under Gen- 
erals Dan Adams and Roddey. Roddey's small division 
had been to Selma to join in the movement to repel 
the Federal column coming from Pensacola, but was 
ordered bac'k fifty miles to Montevallo to join General 
Dan Adams, commanding militia, and had reached the 
place by a forced march in one day, Adams and Rod- 
dey were easily driven through the town, and the Fed- 
eral commander destroyed four iron furnaces, a roll- 
ing-mill, and five collieries in the neighborhood. The 
other two Federal divisions arrived next day, the 31st, 
and also General Wilson. The Confederates rallied, 
and were again engaged by Upton's division, were 
soon worsted and driven back toward Randolph to 
the " Six-Mile Creek," where Roddey was reenforced 


by Crossland's small brigade of Kentuckians, who 
made a very gallant defense, and even returned the 
charge made by the splendid Federal regiments. 

Crossland kept up the unequal contest for some time, 
but finally had to remount in the face of a charge and 
retreat as best he could with a loss of about one hun- 
dred men in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Falling 
back, he found and rejoined Roddey's brigade. For- 
rest, riding rapidly from Centreville toward Monte- 
vallo with his staff and escort, came within sight of 
the road where this conflict had been fought, and saw 
it filled with Federal cavalry moving southward at a 
heavy troti Forming his little command of about sev- 
enty-five into fours, he dashed into and through the 
column, and turning upon the segment northward, 
drove it half a mile and came upon a heavy line of 
battle. Changing direction southward he found abun- 
dant evidence of the recent fight, including fifteen or 
twenty dead Federals and ten or fifteen of Crossland's 
Kentuckians. Capturing a few prisoners he learned 
particulars of the fight and also the fact that Wilson 
was south of him, pressing Crossland and Roddey to- 
ward Selma. In his own affair in the center of the 
Federal column he had lost three men. Leaving the 
road, he made a rapid ride of six or eight miles, find- 
ing Roddey and Crossland. about ten o'clock at night 
in front of the enemy near Randolph. Forrest des- 
patched an order to Jackson, supposed to be at Scotts- 
ville, to move across to Centreville, attack Wilson's 
flank, harass him as much as possible, and effect a 
junction before they were forced into Selma. Report- 
ing to General Taylor at Selma, he learned that Chal- 
mers was twenty miles southward of Randolph, and 
requested by telegraph that the division be sent to his 
aid, to delay the enemy in reaching Selma, and give 
time for concentration there and the removal of stores. 



During the night of the 31st, despatches from General 
Jackson and from Major Anderson, of Forrest's staff, 
were intercepted, which divulged to General Wilson 
all of Forrest's important plans and the location of his 
forces. And on the morning of the ist of April Wilson 
took prompt measures to check the steps taken for 
his undoing. Learning of Jackson's whereabouts, he 
detached McCook with ample force to prevent an at- 
tack in his rear. McCook found Jackson, but not Crox- 
ton, as he had expected, captured the small force at 
Centreville, burned the bridge, and fell back, leaving 
Jackson on the west side of the river, and preventing 
him from joining Forrest in the fighting which oc- 
curred soon afterward. Forrest learned that Chalmers 
was not southward on the Plantersville road, as he 
supposed, but was feally northward, moving by a dif- 
ferent route to the left, 

Wilson was soon aware of the situation and the 
weakness of the force in his front. He had fully nine 
thousand men, and could press on to Selma. Forrest 
was at the front with about thirteen hundred men, in- 
cluding his^escort, portions of Roddey's and Cross- 
land's brigades, two hundred men who had been de- 
tailed from Armstrong's brigade, and some militia 
that had been on duty at Montevallo under General 
Dan Adams. Chalmers sent word that he was mak- 
ing every exertion to reach Dixie Station, a poirit 
southward, Jackson was cut off and could not be 
heard from. Forrest was furious at the slow move- 
ment of Chalmers's division. Chalmers was with 
Starke's brigade, marching eastward, and Armstrong 
on a parallel road, A despatch from Forrest to Chal- 
mers urging him to reach Plantersville with all haste 
passed through Armstrong's hands, and without wait- 
ing for orders he swept on and reached Forrest just 
at dark. 


In the meantime, April ist, Forrest had selected 
a strong position at a crossing on Boglers Creek. 
There were rugged banks at that point and high ridges 
commanding the approaches from Randolph and Ma- 
plesville. The entire force, not over fifteen hundred 
men, with six guns, was advantageously placed in line 
of battle. At four o'clock in the afternoon the Federals 
came up and resolutely assailed the right of Roddey's 
position, the advance being made in fine style by a 
battalion of the Seventy-second Indiana, mounted, 
with drawn sabers. This created some confusion, but 
Forrest with his escort dashed to that point of the 
field and succeeded in restoring the lines, and returned 
to his artillery in the center. Several Federals were 
killed and wounded during the charge. Nearly at the 
same time four companies of the Seventeenth Indiana 
made a reckless and brilliant charge down the road 
with sabers high in air. Forrest took position with 
his escort and Crossland's brigade, and ordered his 
men to reserve the firing of their rifles until the enemy 
were within one hundred yards of their position, then 
to draw their revolvers, one in each hand, and charge 
in among their assailants. 

These orders were obeyed, and a desperate conflict 
ensued, the Federal troopers using sabers almost en- 
tirely and Forrest's men Spencer rifles and revolvers. 
Forrest and his escort and two companies of Cross- 
land's Kentuckians, under Captain H. A. Tyler, met 
force with force, and mingled with their gallant foes in a 
death struggle for victory. Being a conspicuous figure, 
General Forrest was often recognized at close quarters, 
and drew the fire and the bright blades of his foemen. 
On this occasion he was in the center and received 
marked attention. The charge came on with tremen- 
dous force, and the Confederates, in spite of their 
impetuous counter-charge, were pressed back into very 



close quarters. Several troopers singled out the Con- 
federate leader and closed in on him. Five or six were 
slashing or shooting at him at one time. One of them 
knocked a pistol from his hand with a saber, but was 
shot by a Confederate private. 

Forrest was wounded in two or three places, though 
not dangerously, and worsted two or three of his as- 
sailants. One of these, more persistent than the 
others, a young captain, Taylor of the Seventeenth 
Indiana, was shot dead by Forrest. The general's 
horse was wounded, but able to carry him away. Cap- 
tain Boone, of the escort, and five of his men were 
wounded. The fierceness of the Federal charge can 
be realized from the following incident : One trooper's 
horse, perhaps running away, dashed through the Con- 
federate line and. striking the wheel of a gun, broke 
it from the spindle and was fatally injured: the rider 
was killed by a single blow of an artillerist with a gun- 
stick, and another was knocked from his horse. The 
caissons were carried off, but the section of artillery 
was abandoned. Some two hundred State troops were 
lost as prisoners. The Federals lost in the charge 
twelve killed and forty wounded.* The Confederate 
loss was only twelve or fifteen. 

Adams's men not captured and a part of Roddcy's 
command fled from the field. Forrest with staff and 
the escort, now under Lieutenant Cowan, made another 
stand at a creek and checked the advance of a Federal 
squadron. Roddey, having collected three or four hun- 
dred of his best men, was ordered to cover the retreat 
as best he could, but was soon afterward pressed off 
the road and the pursuit was kept up vigorously on 
the road to Planters ville. nineteen miles from Selma. 
There was a running fight nearly all the way. Mean- 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xlix, part i, p. 406. 


time General Forrest, suffering greatly from his 
wounds and chafing at the absence of Chalmers, rode 
rapidly to that point, where he found General Adams 
and some of his men. The Confederates had been 
forced back twenty-four miles since daylight. Forrest 
had only time to telegraph the state of affairs to Gen- 
eral Taylor when the advance of the persistent Union 
troopers dashed down upon Adams's men, who were 
drawing rations of forage and subsistence, and drove 
them away in a panic as quick as they could mount 
their horses. Forrest, however, rallied his ever-faith- 
ful escort, and by prompt use of his Spencer rifles drove 
the attacking party back on the main body of the ad- 
vance under General Winslow. This spirited little en- 
gagement occurred about sunset, and was the last of 
that eventful day. 

Supposing that Roddey and the rear-guard had 
been captured, Forrest directed Adams to fall back that 
night to Selma with his forces, while he with his escort, 
now greatly reduced by detail for special duty and 
casualties, would go in search of Chalmers. Five miles 
westward from Plantersville, on the Marion road, he 
was surprised to come upon koddey and his command 
making their way toward Selma. About ii p. m. he 
found Armstrong with his brigade at a halt, awaiting 
Chalmers, who was supposed to be six or eight miles 
away, advancing on a bad road which ran through a 
swamp and was crossed by ugly streams. Armstrong 
was ordered to hasten on to Selma, and orders were 
sent to Chalmers to press on in the same direction with 
Starke's brigade even if he had to abandon his artillery. 
It was explained afterward that Chalmers's division 
had been detained in crossing the Black Warrior, and 
for other unavoidable reasons, and that he had diverged 
from his intended line of march toward Randolph in 
the hope of finding better roads for his artillery and 



trains. Hence the division was a day later than For- 
rest expected. The cause of Jackson's apparent tardi- 
ness — the burning of a bridge over the Cahaba River, 
after he had had a sharp and rather successful en- 
counter with Croxton— has already been mentioned. 
It was 2 A, M. when General Forrest, suffering from 
his wounds and worn down from hard riding and fight- 
ing, paused to give himself and escort a few hours' 
needed rest. 

Rising early on the morning of the 2d, they rode 
hastily toward Selma, and reached that place at lo 
A. M. The town was in a state of wild confusion. 
Trains of cars filled with stores and prisoners were 
leaving westward for Demopolis, and steamers at the 
landing were being loaded with freight to be sent up 
the river to Montgomery. The streets were full of 
wagons and drays, the people were greatly excited, 
and troopers were dashing about in all directions. Gen- 
eral Taylor, department commander, was in the act of 
leaving by rail with a train of ordnance and subsistence 
supplies, but remained until 2 r. m., and, in leaving, at 
the urgent request of Forrest, narrowly escaped the 
rapidly approaching Federal cavalry. Selma, a pic- 
turesque little city on the west bank of the Alabama 
River, and one hundred feet above it, had been up to 
that time one of the chief centers in the west for arse- 
nals, depots, and ordnance foundries for the Confed- 
erate army and navy. The place was protected by a 
double line of works in the shape of a horseshoe, the 
points touching the river north and south. The ex- 
terior line had a trace of nearly four miles with bas- 
tions, ditches, and palisades, requiring a strong force 
for proper defense. There was an interior line not 
finished or tenable. The batteries were supplied with 
only twenty rounds of ammunition, mostly Babbitt 
shot. Armstrong's brigade, fourteen hundred and 


thirty-two strong, was placed on the left or southwest, 
and in order to fill the space assigned to it the men 
had to be deployed almost as a skirmish line. Roddey 
was placed on the right, the militia in the center, and 
Forrest, with his escort and Kentuckians, took a posi- 
tion to the rear of the militia. The entire force for de- 
fense did not exceed thirty-one hundred men rank and 
file, although Forrest had endeavored to force every 
free, able-bodied male citizen into the ranks, declaring 
that all such must go into the works or into the river. 
With such a mixed command of veterans, militia, and 
fresh levies, he made a hopeless show of defending 
Selma against the magnificent force which appeared 
in his front at two o'clock. 

General Wilson had moved out from Plantersville 
at daylight that morning with Long's division in front, 
followed next by Upton, and marched directly upon 
Selma without meeting any opposition, and soon after 
2 p. M. his skirmishers were engaged in front of the 
place. His entire force was present, except Croxton's 
brigade and McCook's, with La Grange's brigade, 
which had been detached. Making a careful recon- 
naissance with division commanders, General Wilson 
was gratified to find that a sketch furnished him by 
an English engineer who had been engaged in the con- 
struction of the works was entirely reliable. Thus he 
was, no doubt, better informed as to the plans of the 
fortifications than General Forrest. Jackson's division, 
and Chalmers with Starke's brigade, were somewhere 
in the rear and to the right of Wilson's column. Hence 
the alert commander, sure now of sweeping all before 
him, disposed his forces with celerity for a prompt 
assault. General Long threw out one regiment to pro- 
tect his horse-holders and pack-trains, and formed the 
remainder of his division, forty-five hundred strong, 
in a piece of woodland behind a low ridge in Arm- 



strong's front. Upton's division was rapidly placed 
ill position to the left and east — all dismounted except 
Alexander's brigade. 

About 5 p. M. a piece of Armstrong's artillery 
opened fire upon the Federals forming for assault, and 
soon after all of Armstrong's artillery opened fire, but 
without perceptible effect. The enemy quickly brought 
up a battery and replied rapidly but harmlessly, as 
their aim was too high. After some apparent delay, 
the Federals advanced in three lines' at half-past five 
o'clock. Long in person led the charge on Armstrong's 
brigade, and met with sucli resistance that he lost over 
three hundred men killed and wounded in a few min- 
utes, and was himself wounded with two or three of 
his brigade commanders and four colonels. Upton 
moved forward at the same time on the center and 
soon found a gap made by the flying militia. For- 
rest endeavored in vain to stem the tide of retreat, 
which left Armstrong's right exposed, until Roddey 
could be transferred from the right. But the Federals 
swept on with irresistible force until both Armstrong 
and Roddey were driven within the second and 
weaker line of works, where they were soon flanked 
right and left, cut asunder, and threatened from the 

The militia threw away tlieir arms and made good 
time to their horses. Armstrong withdrew toward the 
city in regular order but with severe loss. The last to 
leave was Pinson's First Mississippi Cavalry, the colo- 
nel of which was captured with a portion of his regi- 
ment. Forrest advised all to get away as best they 
could, and with his escort and a number of men from 
different regiments, moved out from Selma on the 
Montgomery road toward Burnsville, not, however, 
without an encounter with a Federal force in which he 
cut down a cavalryman. Armstrong soon followed 


with a small force, and likewise cut his way through 
with forty or fifty of his troopers. 

And thus did Selma, which had so long been the 
granary and arsenal of the Confederacy in the south- 
west and the objective point of various Federal plans 
and movements, fall. The Confederates were weak- 
ened down and pursued by superior forces, yet if For- 
rest had succeeded in controlling his forces as planned, 
and in attacking Wilson in front, flank, and rear as in- 
tehded, a bloody battle would have been fought and 
the result can only be conjectured. Wilson outrode 
Forrest's main command to Selma and took the place 
by storm without meeting effective resistance. With 
Forrest's forces well in hand there would have been 
a different tale to tell, the great tragedy of a bloody 
and useless battle only a week before the surrender of 
Lee at Appomattox. Many valuable lives were thus 
spared by what seemed a merciful mischance in the 
last days of the Confederacy. Forrest's campaigns 
were at an end, though he had not surrendered or en- 
tirely lost heart. The rest is easily told. The end 
came soon without any further struggle or important 
event in the military history of the once invincible 
cavalry leader and his men. 

Riding on in the dark some three miles from Selma 
with his escort, they heard the screams of women, and 
advancing to a house found that some Federal strag- 
glers had robbed the ladies of their jewelry and other 
valuables, and were attempting a greater outrage. The 
miscreants were speedily slain; and another event of 
almost similar character occurred later in the night, 
though General Forrest was not present. General Wil- 
son had issued strict orders as to the conduct of his 
soldiers, forbidding any to enter houses except with 
an officer, and then only for legitimate purposes, such 

taking necessary supplies. Farther on that night a 



squadron of the Fourth Re^Iars, a regiment noted 

(or fighting and foraging, was discovered camped in a 
lot near a residence. Forrest's men requested him to 
remain with the horse-holders while they went forward 
to capture the party. The Federals were on the aSert, 
and opened fire, wounding Lieutenant Cowan and 
others, and drove back the Confederates ; but the latter 
rallied, sent around a flanking party, and killed or 
captured nearly all the men in the lot, some twenty-five 
in number. The house was afterward burned in re- 
taliation, though the owner, a Mr. Godwin, was sev- 
eral miles away at the time of the fight. Forrest and 
his escort arrived at PlantersviIIe early on the morn- 
ing of the 3d of April, where he found a Federal hos- 
pital in charge of Dr. McGraw. of General Wilson's 
staff, with one hundred wounded brought there after 
the affair at Dixie Station, The courtesies extended 
by the Confederates were recognized afterward by 
General Wilson, in an order dated April 8, 1865, in 
which he says : " Out of the stock , . , select twenty- 
five horses to be turned over to the Confederate sur- 
geons to replace those taken from them. General 
Forrest allowed our surgeons to retain their horses, 
and this is a reciprocal act of courtesy."* 

Remaining a few hours to give his worn-out men 
and animals time for food and rest, he resumed the line 
of retreat toward Marion, but had gone scarcely a mile 
when he came in contact with the advance of McCook's 
brigade. In pursuance of old tactics he promptly 
charged upon the enemy and killed, wounded, and cap- 
tured about twenty. But the odds were too great, and 
he quickly took to the woods by the left flank and 
made good his escape. Pushing on all night, and 
crossing the Cahaba River, he reached Marion at 

* Rebellion Records, vol. xVi*. pari ii. p. 272. 


lo A. M. on the 4th of April. There he found Jack- 
son's division, Chalmers with Starke's brigade, and 
the entire train and artillery that he had brought from 
Mississippi. Having been in the saddle with little rest 
for seven days and nights, with meager food for men 
and horses, he called a halt and remained in the neigh- 
borhood of Marion about ten days, having no idea of 
leaving his department to pursue and harass General 
Wilson, as that officer seemed to apprehend. The war 
was over.* 

On the 15th of April, General Forrest removed his 
headquarters and force to Gainesville, Ala., where ru- 
mors soon began to come of General Lee's surrender. 
The men were greatly depressed, for they had been 
imbued with the hopeful spirit and fiery impetuosity of 
their commander, but Forrest was incredulous and the 
last to be convinced. On the 25th of April he issued 
a stirring yet pathetic address to his men compliment- 
ing their heroic conduct on many victorious fields, and 
appealing to them to be patient and do their duty until 
the truth or falsity of all reports in circulation could 
be determined, and closed by saying : " Preserve un- 
tarnished the reputation you have so nobly won, and 
leave the results to Him who in wisdom controls and 

* "Wilson moved with twelve thousand men, well equipped 
and well armed. He was an energetic officer and accomplished 
his work rapidly. Forrest was in his front, but with neither his 
old-time army nor his old-time prestige. He now had princi- 
pally conscripts. His conscripts were generally old men and 
boys. He had a few thousand regular cavalry left, but not 
enough to even retard materially the progress of Wilson. Selma 
fell on the 2d of April . . . Macon surrendered on the 21st of 
April. Here news was received of the negotiations for the sur- 
render of Johnston's army. Wilson belonged to the military 
division commanded by Sherman, and of course was bound by 
its terms. This stopped all fighting." — Personal Memoirs of 
U. S. Grant, vol. ii, p. 521. 



governs all things." Five days later he received' word 
from General Richard Taylor that he had entered into 
an agreement with General Canby .for the cessation 
of hostilities on the same terms as agreed upon be- 
tween General Sherman and General Joseph E. Johns- 
ton. On the 6th of May an official circular announced 
the surrender of the Army of Northern Virgiiiia on 
the gth of April, and later the surrender of General 
Johnston. On the 9th of May, Brigadier-General E, 
S. Dennis, commissioner to execute paroles, reached 
Gainesville, General Jackson was appointed commis- 
sioner for the Confederates to authenticate muster-rolls 
and supervise the work. This occupied several days. 
Duplicate muster-rolls were made out for each com- 
missioner. The men signed the paroles, and the offi- 
cers were required to sign duplicate obligations. The 
men, at first greatly downcast, now realized that the 
long, weary, desperately fought war was over, and 
were seized with an eager desire to secure their paroles 
and return to their homes oi" the places that had been 
such. General Dennis proved to be a most genial and 
courteous gentleman who had a comrade-like cheerful- 
ness about him that was contagious. On the day of 
his arrival General Forrest issued the following ad- 
dress to his troops, characteristic both of the heart 
and brain of the man : 

SoLDiEHs ; By an agreement made between Lieuten- 
ant- General Taylor, commanding the Department of Ala- 
bama, Mississippi, and east Louisiana, and Major-Gen- 
eral Canby, commanding United States forces, the troops 
of this department have been surrendered. 

I do not think it proper or necessary, at this time, to. 
refer to the causes which have reduced us to this cxlrem- 
ily; nor is it now a matter of material consequence to us 


how such results were brought about. That we are 
beaten is a self-evident fact, and further resistance on our 
part would be justly regarded as the very height of folly 
and rashness. 

The armies of Generals Lee and Johnston having sur- 
rendered, you are the last of all the troops of the Confed- 
erate States army, east of the Mississippi River, to lay 
down your arms. 

The cause for which you have so long and so manfully 
struggled, and for which you have braved dangers, en- 
dured privations and sufferings, and made so many sacri- 
fices, is to-day hopeless. The Government which we 
sought to establish and perpetuate is at an end. Reason 
dictates and humanity demands that no more blood be 
shed. Fully realizing and feeling that such is the case, 
it is your duty and mine to lay down our arms — submit 
to the " powers that be *' — and to aid in restoring peace 
and establishing law and order throughout the land. 

The terms upon which you have surrendered are fa- 
vorable, and should be satisfactory and acceptable to all. 
They manifest a spirit of magnanimity and liberality on 
the part of the Federal authorities which should be met, 
on our part, by a faithful compliance with all the stipula- 
tions and conditions therein expressed. As your com- 
mander, I sincerely hope that every officer and soldier 
of my command will cheerfully obey the orders given, 
and carry out in good faith all the terms of the cartel. 

Those who neglect the terms and refuse to be paroled, 
may assuredly expect, when arrested, to be sent North and 

Let those who are absent from their commands, from 
whatever cause, report at once to this place, or to Jackson, 
Miss. ; or, if too remote from either, to the nearest United 
States post or garrison, for parole. 

Civil war, such as you have just passed through, natu- 
rally engenders feeling of animosity, hatred, and revenge. 
It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings; 
and, as far as in our power to do so, to cultivate friendly 
feelings toward those with whom we have so long con- 
tended, and heretofore so widely, but honestly, differed. 



Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private 
di£Ferences should be blotted out; and when you return 
home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will 
secure the respect even of your enemies. Whatever your 
responsibilities may be to government, to society, or to 
individuals, meet them like men. 

The attempt made to establish a separate and inde- 
pendent confederation has failed; hut the consciousness 
of having done your duty faithfully and to the end, will 
in some measure repay for the hardships you have under- 

In bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry 
with you my best wishes for your future welfare and 
happiness. Without in any way referring to the merits 
of the cause in which we have been engaged, your cour- 
age and determination, as exhibited on many hard-fought 
fields, have elicited the respect and admiration of friend 
and foe. And I now cheerfully and gratefully acknowl- 
edge my indebtedness to the officers and men of my com- 
mand, whose zealj fidelity, and unflinching bravery have 
been the great source of my past success in arms. 

I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where 
I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise 
you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. 
You have been good soldiers; you can be good citizens. 
Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government 
to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will 
be, magnanimous. 

N, B. FoHREST, Lieutenant-General. 

By the i6tli of May about eight thousand officers 
and men, including six hundred of Scott's Louisiana 
Cavalry, had been paroled and permitted to return to 
the peaceful walks of life. After remaining at Gaines- 
ville several days after the surrender, to look after the 
disbandnient and comfort of his men as far as possible, 
admonishing them of the importance and the duty of 
going home and strictly observing the terms of their 
paroles, and bidding many of them an affectionate fare- 


well, General Forrest returned by rail by way of Jack- 
son to Memphis. In a few days he went down to his 
large plantation at Sunflower Landing, two hundred 
and twenty-five miles by river below Memphis, and ap- 
plied himself to the new work of life with the energy 
that he had ever displayed in peace and in war. With 
him the war was over, and he accepted the results in 
the spirit of a philosopher, good citizen, and patriot. 

Forrest's Staff-Officers. 

Forrest was a military puzzle in the equations of 
war, a strategist of great resources and enterprise, 
whether on the aggressive or on a retreat. His general 
policy was to make his forces appear greater than they 
really were, and to bring his entire available com- 
mand into action at one time, leaving it to be supposed 
that he had reserves near at hand. This audacity often 
achieved success, where without it he would have in- 
evitably failed. Always taking the lead in the most 
dangerous places, he infused much of the same spirit 
into his men, and could make them effective in the 
wild exhilaration of battle against far greater numbers 
and higher military training. Then he was quick to de- 
tect a weak point, whether in the front or on the flank 
of his opponents, and always seemed to delight in tak- 
ing desperate chances. Nevertheless, he was careful 
of the lives of his men, and never exposed them without 
seeming to be sanguine that the results would justify 
reckless daring. Perhaps no leader in the civil war 
threw himself, his staflF, and escort oftener into the 
thickest of the many fights in which they were en- 

He was a fine judge of human nature, and made 
few or no mistakes in assigning officers and men to 
duty. The lack of early education, which he keenly 
felt, seemed to quicken his instincts and judgment. 



The most of his orders on the field and in camp were 

dictated to members of his staff, and he was very ex- 
acting as to the language used and nice shades of 
meaning. His numerous orders and addresses are 
models of clear, vigorous thought and pure English, 
and compare favorably with the papers of any general 
on either side in the civil war. His regular staff- 
officers were as follows : 

Major John P. Strange, of Memphis, assistant ad- 
jutant-general, who began as sergeant-major of bat- 
talion ; was commissioned July 21, 1862 ; was wounded 
twice ; taken prisoner once and held a few months, and, 
except this period, served with Forrest in a close and 
confidential capacity until the surrender at Gainesville, 
Ala. He was a gentleman of polished demeanor and 
dauntless spirit, and had great influence with his chief. 

Major Charles W. Anderson, aide-de-camp and as- 
sistant inspector-general. Served throughout the war 
and now (1902) lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He and 
Major Strange wrote the most of Forrest's orders by 

Major G. V. Rambaut, of Memphis, chief commis- 
sary, appointed July 21, 1862; was a great favorite 
with Forrest owing partly, no doubt, to the fact that he 
never lost an opportunity to go into a fight. Except 
for a short time, when held a prisoner of war. as men- 
tioned in Chapter VH, he served on the staff through- 
out the war. (Died in Memphis, February 29, 1896.) 

Major George Dashiell, now (1902) of Memphis, 
was transferred from Cheatham's division of infantry, 
reported to General Forrest. January, 1863, as chief 
paymaster, and served as such for the remainder of 
the war. 

Major C. S. Severson, chief quartermaster, was ap- 
pointed November 20, 1861, and served on the staff 


in every campaign until late in 1864, when he was 
retired. (Dead.) 

Major A. Warren, now (1902) of Memphis, after 
serving for some time under General Polk, was taken 
prisoner late in 1863 ; exchanged at Old Point Com- 
fort; commissioned as quartermaster with rank of 
major at Richmond ; reported to General Forrest early 
in 1864; succeeded Major Severson, and served act- 
ively until the end of the war. 

Major Richard M. Mason, of Memphis, who be- 
gan service in the Quartermaster's Department May 
17, 1861, and served under General Polk; was with 
General Forrest as a quartermaster in the latter part 
of the war. (Dead.) 

Matthew C. Gallaway, of Memphis, aide-de-camp 
with rank of captain ; served with Forrest the last 
three years of the war. 

Captain William M. Forrest, aide-de-camp, served 
throughout the war on his father's staff. He entered 
the service when only fifteen years old, and saw as 
much hard seryice as any private in the ranks, after- 
ward took a course at the University of Mississippi, 
and has since lived in Memphis, but early in 1900 
went with his two sons to Cape Nome, Alaska. ' 

Dr. James B. Cowan, now of Tullahoma, Tenn. 
(1902), was Forrest's chief surgeon with the rank of 
major, and served throughout the war with noted 
efficiency and distinction. 

Captain John G. Mann, of Jackson, Tenn., joined 
the staff as chief engineer in 1863. (Died in 1899.) 

Captain Charles S. Hill, of Mississippi, served as 
chief of ordnance in the latter part of the war. (Dead.) 

Lieutenant Samuel Donelson, of Nashville, served 
as aide-de-camp on Forrest's staff over two years, and, 
like all the rest, saw much hard service. Lives now 
(1902) in Washington, D. C. 

■ Varic 

Y sientiy b 



Various other officers served from time to time tran- 

lientiy but effectively on General Forrest's staff, but 
were not enrolled as regular. members. There were no 
ornamental officers about his headquarters and no easy 
places. All were proud to be with him, and ever ready 
to endure the greatest fatigue and share the labors 
and hazards of their chieftain. He was not always a 
cheerful companion and never an easy master. To be 
with liim meant to obey his slightest wish and conform 
to his imperious will, especially on hard campaigns 
and on the danger line. Staff -officers, clerks, and all 
attaches took guns to go into fights. 

At the end of a hard march or after a battle he 
became morose and unapproachable for a time ; but he 
had remarkable recuperative power, and after a few 
hours' rest would be up and as busy and genial among 
his men as if a cloud of doubt or anger had never cast 
a shadow over his kindly face, 

Forrest was a very temperate man. "lie once 
said, in the writer's presence : ' I was never drunk but 
once in my life, I had observed the antics of a drunken 
man, and a strange fancy to try a spell of it took pos- 
session of me. I got the liquor and drank it one after- 
noon. What happened as a consequence I do not 
know, but when I got over the spree I found myself 
with a burning case of typhoid fever. I promised 
" Old Master " that if he would let me up from that 
bed I would never get drunk again. And I never 
broke that pledge.' " * 

* MS. Irom J. P. Young, in po: 



When the war closed General Forrest was not 
quite forty-four years old. He appeared to be still a 
vigorous man, but the great mental and physical strain 
through which he had passed no doubt impaired his 
vitality and shortened his days. Unlike so many of the 
Confederate leaders, he was not well equipped to enter 
the field of ix)litics or any of the learned professions. 
The great majority were men of education, and could 
appear to advantage upon the forum, while this hero of 
a hundred battles was conscious of his deficiencies and 
want of early opportunities. His name was mentioned 
sometimes in connection with the gubernatorial chair 
and other honors, but not with his encouragement or 
consent, for he was content to enter again upon the 
peaceful pursuits of a private citizen, to share the 
fortunes and misfortunes of a defeated people. Ac- 
cepting the situation in its fullest sense, he started life 
anew. President Johnson granted Forrest an amnesty 
July 17, 1868, but even this opened no way for him 
to public life if he had been so inclined, for all ex- 
Confederate soldiers and Southern sympathizers of 
legal age to vote in Tennessee had been disfranchised 
for a period of fifteen years by a constitutional amend- 
ment, and their disabilities were not removed until 1870. 


A plantation of three thousand acres of tillable land 
afforded ample scope for the energies of any man, and 
upon this Forrest went to work with his usual reso- 
luteness. He formed a partnership with Major Dif- 
fenbocher, an ex-Federal officer from Minnesota, His 
old negroes who had been run off to Georgia during 
the war, and some others whom he had set free be- 
fore the war, returned to him and became faithful and 
useful laborers,* A large force of discharged colored 
soldiers was also employed, but the conditions of 
labor were so greatly changed that planting was not 
the same as in former times. An incident serves to 
illustrate the prevailing State of affairs on Southern 
plantations : 

One day the general, who never failed to respond 
to a cry of distress, heard a female voice pleading in 
one of the cabins, followed by loud cries. Rushing to 
the door, he entered, and found a powerful negro 
beating his wife with a club and evidently attempting 
to kill the prostrate woman. He called to the negro 
to stop, but was not heeded. With one blow of his 
foot he kicked the fiend off his victim. Recovering 
himself, the negro seized an ax. and. thoroughly in- 
furiated, turned on the general. The latter was un- 
armed, and backed toward the door, keeping his eye 
on the advancing brute. Watching his opportunity 
he suddenly sprang toward tbe negro, wrenched the 
ax from his hands, and sunk the blade by a single 
stroke in his head. He then returned to his house, and 
was quickly followed there by a squadron of negro ex- 
soldiers, who. under a rude, semimilitary organiza- 
tion, had gathered to avenge their comrade's death. 
As they drew up in front of the house, the general 

* Some of ihesc and thei 
Ibat neighborhood. 

tndants yet liv 


suddenly appeared with a pistol in each hand, and 
sternly shouted : " Halt ! " The negroes stopped as if 
paralyzed. " Order arms ! " commanded Forrest, and 
every gun came down. " Ground arms ! " he thun- 
dered. Down went the guns on the ground. " Now, 
men," he said, with unfaltering speech, " get out of 
this yard or I will shoot the heads off every one of 
you." These men well knew his marksmanship, and 
they were simply crushed under the overmastering will- 
power that had once before single-handed rescued a 
lawbreaker from a raging mob which was in the act of 
lynching him, and slunk away to their work without 
a protest. An examination was held the following day 
before a negro magistrate and Forrest was acquitted. 
There was some talk of sending troops down from 
Memphis to arrest him, but nothing came of it. The 
negroes on the plantation afterward expressed their 
approval of the killing, as the one put out of the way 
was a turbulent, dangerous character whom most of 
them feared. 

While Forrest was still working his plantation and 
sawmills, the New York Tribune called attention to 
the fact that Raphael Semmes, former commander of 
the Alabama, had been arrested on the charge of hav- 
ing violated the laws of nations on the high seas, and 
called the attention of the Secretary of War to the 
fact that N. B. Forrest was still at large in Mississippi. 
Some of Forrest's friends in Memphis, thinking that 
he might be incarcerated and held indefinitely, sent 
him a letter of credit and urged him to go to Europe 
and remain there until the excitement should pass 
away. Instead of accepting this well-intended advice 
and kindness, he returned the letter of credit, visited 
Memphis, called upon the Federal commandant and 
stated that he was observing the terms of his parole 
and obeying the laws of the land, and proposed to share 



whatever fate might befall the people who had faced 
the dangers and chances of war with him. The Federal 
officer poHtely assured him that he thought there was 
no occasion for any anxiety, but would advise the gen- 
eral if it became necessary for him to report at head- 
(juarters. It was a singular fact that General Forrest 
was never a prisoner during the war until he surren- 
dered at Gainesville. Nor was he ever indicted or ar- 
rested afterward in spite of the flood of charges hurled 
against him. This speaks weM for the magnanimity of 
Ihe Union generals, who, to a great extent, influenced 
affairs and politics at that critical period, and stood 
firm against the popular clamor for retributive meas- 
ures. Such leaders as Grant, and even Sherman, wilh 
all his fierceness of nature when aroused, Sheridan, 
Hancock, Thomas, Schofield, Stoneman, Kilpatrick, 
and dozens of others, recognized the military genius of 
Forrest and gave him full credit for his achievements 
and most troublesome activity and resourcefulness. 
Forrest had been so uniformly kind to the many pris- 
oners who fell into his hands that the charges against 
him as to the Fort Pillow affair were afterward re- 
garded as exaggerations not to Ije seriously sustained 
even by a partizan press or in the halls of Congress. 
At the end of two years Forrest, who really made 
Memphis his home as long as he lived after the war. 
sold out his plantation at Sunflower Landing and 
also a smaller one in Tunica County, Mississippi, and 
soon after that he turned his attention to a railroad 
scheme. Conceiving the idea that a line from Memphis 
to Selma, Ala., and thence to some point on the Gulf 
coast, would be of great benefit to his own city and to 
the people of several Southern States, he took hold of 
the enterprise with characteristic zeal. It was new work 
to him. but he had the example and advice of some 
strong local railroad men and the moral support of 


many impoverished Southern people. Shelby County 
(Memphis) voted a large appropriation to aid the en- 
terprise, and speakers were sent out over the proposed 
line to ask for other appropriations and the right of 
way. General Forrest soon brushed these aside, took 
the field himself, and developed into a strong, effective 
speaker. Engineers surveyed the line and grading was 
begun in earnest. Still Shelby County did not respond 
promptly to the special tax levied to build the road, and 
subscriptions came in slowly. The people of Missis- 
sippi and Alabama wanted the railroad, but the country 
was devastated, and even then the price of cotton — ^the 
only crop that. brought any money — began to go down, 
and merchants hesitated about making advances on 
growing crops. 

Bonds could not be floated anywhere just then on 
a purely local enterprise as this was, and so it fell 
through. Hon. Jacob Thompson was sent to Europe 
to endeavor to float the bonds of the railroad, and 
after an absence of about six months had concluded 
arrangements when the panic of 1873 swept over 
the country and his work failed. General Forrest 
had risked a considerable fortune upon the undertak- 
ing and became personally liable for contracts and sup- 
plies, and gave up every dollar he could command. 
This left him a poor man, and was a great disappoint- 
ment, not so much on his own account as for others, 
he being a very liberal man and always ready to help 
the needy and distressed, especially the old soldiers and 
the widows and orphans of such. Again he had de-- 
sired to do something worthy of his name and for his 
beloved South. The Memphis and Selma Railroad is 
only a reminiscence, though a part of the graded tracks 
were afterward utilized by a trunk road running from 
Memphis to Birmingham and Atlanta. 

Without resources or strong combination, and the 



country being still in a disturbed condition politically 
and financially, he could not have done more than he 
did. This failure was another Appomattox or a Gaines- 
ville to him, a decree of hard fate which no strong will- 
power, or gallant charge, or flank movement, or bugle- 
blast could change or set aside. Those were dark days 
for the once fearless leader, and all the more so because 
many others were involved and the public was not 
altogether lenient or sparing of criticism, for the star 
that is going down is never so worshiped as the one 
rising clear and full of promise. Subsequently General 
Forrest leased Presidents Island, just below Memphis, 
the largest island in the Mississippi River, and a large 
plantation in the northern part of Shelby County, and 
worked these two places successfully with convict 
labor, and was so engaged when he died. 

A few incidents will serve to illustrate leading traits 
in the life of this extraordinary man. Several times 
he interposed to prevent mob violence or the injustice 
of the strong over the weak. The following statement 
is condensed from a copy of the Memphis Avalanche of 
August 26, 1866. That paper it seems had severely 
criticized a public officer named Wood, but in a sub- 
sequent issue the editor disclaimed alluding to a gentle- 
man named M. H, Wood, of the Revenue Department. 
Stili the latter was not satisfied, and sought personal 
redress from Editor Gallaway, who happened to be at a 
conference of a Democratic committee at their head- 
quarters. Wood, upon entering the room, became very 
much excited, and wilhout any words shot the editor 
through the hand, using a rifled cane, and then fled, 
shrieking "Murder!" The wound was very painful, 
and but for the fact that Callaway's hand turned the 
bullet, he might have been killed. The friends of the 
assaulted man were greatly exasperated, and soon had 
Wood in custody and were handling him in a violent 


manner when Forrest came along, and by his inter- 
ference probably saved the man's life, and thus the 
incident ended. 

General Forrest habitually joined his men when in 
camp in their sports, such as running, jumping, pitching 
quoits, playing marbles, etc. He was also very fond of 
playing checkers. He was at such times most indul- 
gent to his troopers, and even permitted them to take 
unusual liberties with him, answering their mischiev- 
ous chatter in the same vein ; but he never abated his 
disciplinary measures when once decided upon. 

At West Point, Miss., in March, 1865, he had 
issued orders that there should be no more gun-firing 
or horse-racing in camp. The boys rebelled. That 
night they wasted hundreds of pounds of ammunition. 
The next day, growing bolder, a party of daredevils 
rode up in front of his tent and, staking off a quarter 
course, began racing their horses. The general, with 
several of his staff, watched the races, even betting on 
some of the horses. After the race the men drew up 
in front of his quarters and gave three cheers for Gen- 
eral Forrest. They then rode off in triumph, and a 
short distance away were met by a strong guard, ar- 
rested, and carried before the general, who at once 
had them court-martialed and severely punished. His 
own son suffered the same penalty as the rest, and 
carried fence-rails until his shoulders were sore. It 
may be appropriate to remark, and his only son bears 
testimony to the fact, that while devoted to his brothers 
and son and keeping them as near to himself as pos- 
sible, he never showed any favoritism to members of 
his family, but seemed rather to make examples of 
them as if to indicate to others his ideas of discipline 
and requirements in the service. Otherwise he was a 
most devoted and affectionate brother and father. 

On the retreat of Hood*s army from Tennessee, 


Forrest's command brought up the rear in support of 
the rear-guard of infantry under Walthall. As the 
ragged, scattered, barefoot Confederates approached 
the Tennessee River, some heavy firing was heard in 
front. This was two small Federal gunboats firing at 
Hood's pontoon bridge, but finally silenced by Morton's 
artillery. Forrest rode rapidly forward and overtook 
a small train in charge of a quartermaster, of whom 
he inquired : " Who is that shooting down there, do 
you know?" "No," the quartermaster answered, "I 
don't know, but I suppose it may be Old Forrest. He 
is the only cavalryman I ever heard of fool enough 
to tackle gunboats." This was soon after the fight at 
Johnsonville. The grimy, grim-visaged warrior re- 
plied : " Well, I know it is not ' Old Forrest,' for that 
is the name the boys call me." " I beg your pardon, 
general, but you have changed so much since I saw you 
at Chickamauga in a new uniform that I did not know 
you." The general took it good-naturedly and rode 
on. Along with the quartermaster's train was a private 
soldier, a mere boy, not a member of Forrest's com- 
mand, who was riding a big three-year-old ox. Several 
hours later and far in the night the train reached For- 
rest's temporary headquarters on the roadside, where a 
fire had been built. The general, on the alert, as usual, 
and watching everything, quickly espied the man on 
the ox and called him to a halt. " What are you doing 
with that animal?" he asked. "Just riding him, 
general, to keep from walking barefoot. I belong to 
your command and lost my horse up there near Nash- 
ville." " No you don't. You are not one of my old 
command, for they captured horses and not cattle from 
the Yankees. Get down and go ahead the best you 
can. That steer will make a good breakfast for one 
of my regiments in the morning." And so it did. 
The general was sympathetic and kind as possible witli 



I hi;y were given seats 

■Ik- right and left of the 

'irrinff speeches followed 

I bacli echoes as (rotn an 

i)f fresh cantaloups and 

' - 1-wiil.i^, and opossums float- 

I-. from below. It was 

'i^iJTiguished Caucasian 

I.- iIh'v were aware that 

lit hand. Presently the master 

r immaculate white sliirt-front 

I- the dark of the moon, sprang 

inel Gallaway as the orator of 

: the fact. Gallaway, a tall, 

pan, arose, white as a sycamore- 

idering along in a few remarks 

; in particular, sat down with a 

" " i brow. He was a powerful 

1 of a talker. Then Forrest was 

^'Squared himself for his work and 

mmon-sense talk, warming up as he 

1 some applause from the black 

I faces. Just as he sat down and began 

s with a big handkerchief, a beaming 

»el stepped forward to present him with a 

t' bouquet. She was robust, well-dressed, 

t of smiling health and self-confidence, and 

"": peculiar to the Southern negro dialect 

; imitated. General Forrest arose, remained 

liig until the bouquet was passed over to him, 

( bowing very low, said that this unexpected 

; him great pleasure ; that he had always 

' .dies, was fond of flowers, and would 

lUy thanks. Yet he was niani- 

t disadvantage, and struggled through 

with painful difficulty. After that the 


his men, as well as thoroup^hly practical, and shared 
with them all their hardships and dangers. Like Napo- 
leon he usually slept on the ground and ate the same 
rations as his soldiers. 

And his kindness extended to foes in distress as 
well as friends, as one striking incident will illus- 
trate : On the 22d of March, 1864, a short time after 
the death of his brother, Colonel Jeffrey Forrest, in 
the battle near Okolona, and after carrying the posi- 
tion in front, the general, in passing a hut over which 
a hospital flag was flying, was attracted by a cry of 
agony. Dismounting and entering he found a Fed- 
eral soldier abandoned by his surgeon, who had left 
the amputating saw fast in the bone of his leg. The 
general quickly saturated a cloth with chloroform and 
applied it to the nostrils of the sufferer, and leaving, 
sent his surgeon, Dr. Cowan, to complete the amputa- 
tion, and the man got well.* 

The writer remembers to have once seen General 
Forrest's natural diffidence and tact put to a severe 
test. It was in 1868 when the colored people gave a 
grand barbecue at the fair-grounds, five miles east of 
Memphis. Many overtures of peace and good-will be- 
tween the races had been made from both sides, and 
accepted with some mental reservations. On this occa- 
sion a number of leading ex-Confederates were invited 
to attend. General Forrest and Colonel M. C. Calla- 
way, the fiery editor of the unreconstructed Avalanche 
and a few others of lesser note, accepted. It was 
thought to be a good time to put another plank in the 
bridge across the bloody chasm, if not incidentally to 
win the late serf and present colored brother over to 
the Democratic party. The reception of these guests 

* Campaigns of General Forrest, by General Thomas Jordan 
and J. P. Pryor, p. 398. 


was something overwhelming. They were given seats 
of honor on the platform to the right and left of the 
presiding dignitaries. Some stirring speeches followed 
prayer, and the rafters quivered back echoes as from an 
organ loft, while the perfume of fresh cantaloups and 
well-baked kids and shoats, lambs, and opossums float- 
ed up with the voices of hucksters from below. It was 
an ideal barbecue day, but the distinguished Caucasian 
visitors were ill at ease, for they were aware that 
their roasting was near at hand. Presently the master 
of ceremonies, with an immaculate white shirt-front 
and a face as black as the dark of the moon, sprang 
up and introduced Colonel Gallaway as the orator of 
the day, which was not the fact. Gallaway, a tall, 
gaunt Catiline of a man, arose, white as a sycamore- 
tree, and after blundering along in a few remarks 
which meant nothing in particular, sat down with a 
perceptible bead on his brow. He was a powerful 
writer but not much of a talker. Then Forrest was 
introduced. He squared himself for his work and 
made a strong common-sense talk, warming up as he 
proceeded, and evoked some applause from tlie black 
sea of upturned faces. Just as he sat down and began 
wiping his face with a big handkerchief, a beaming 
colored damsel stepped for\vard to present him with a 
magnificent bouquet. She was robust, well-dressed, 
a picture of smiling health and self-confidence, and 
made a talk peculiar to the Southern negro dialect 
not to be imitated. General Forrest arose, remained 
standing until the bouquet was passed over to him, 
then, bowing very low, said that this unexpected 
honor gave him great pleasure : that he had always 
admired the ladies, was fond of flowers, and would 
accept these with many thanks. Yet he was mani- 
festly at a great disadvantage, and struggled through 
the ordeal with painful difficulty. After that the 


white visitors were invited down to the barbecue, 
given a separate table and a great feast, which they 
enjoyed more than all the oratory of the day. 

Early in the seventies, in the days of reconstruc- 
tion, a serious disturbance occurred in Chicot County, 
Arkansas, below Memphis, where the blacks largely 
outnumbered the whites. A colored leader was a for- 
mer bootblack and steamboat porter of great influence 
among his people. There had been bloodshed, and a 
general uprising was threatened. Many families of 
white people fled to Memphis. The hotels were filled 
with refugees, and public feeling was inflamed to a 
high degree. A large meeting was held at the Cham- 
ber of Commerce. Men of prominence attended, and 
were emphatic in expressing their views as to the ac- 
tion that should be taken for the relief of neighbors 
and friends. 

Among others in attendance was the Hon. Jefferson 
Davis*, then a resident of the city. He spoke to the 
throng in conservative temper and counseled modera- 
tion as well as caution. After an hour or more of 
deliberation. General Forrest came into the hall and 
listened perhaps ten minutes. The drift of the senti- 
ments expressed was in favor of sending an armed 
force at once to the relief or succor of the Chicot peo- 
ple. There were many volunteers and numerous lead- 
ers as well, all offering to get ready and go at once. 
When volunteers began to offer their names for rec- 
ord, General Forrest arose and waved his hand, and 
silence followed. In well-chosen words and terse sen- 
tences he said : " Fellow-citizens, I am as ready as the 
foremost of you to go to the aid of our neighbors in 
distress. I will go in any capacity and will do my 
utmost to help the threatened inhabitants against the 
bloodthirsty and riotous blacks now driving women 
and children from their homes and destroying prop- 


erty by fire, and committing other lawless acts. But 
let me advise you that we be not too hasty. We had 
better wait to see whether or not we are wanted. Let 
us ask the Governor of Arkansas whether he needs the 
help we have to offer before we volunteer to invade a 
neighboring commonwealth. It may be that the Gov- 
ernor and his advisers will not brook our proposed in- 
terference with the internal affairs of Arkansas. It 
may be that the Governor can cope with the difficulty 
with his own people, and that we would be regarded as 
unwarranted meddlers. Let us send a telegram and find 
out the attitude we would occupy by going with an 
armed force unasked into the Chicot district. I am 
ready to go to-day, but I want the Governor of Arkan- 
sas to invite me first. It might be a serious matter to 
go there, and we might meet an unwelcome greeting." 

The wisdom of this forceful speech was at once ap- 
parent. Every man in the hall at once coincided with 
General Forrest's views, which none had previously 
thought of, although there were men of discretion in 
the crowd, men of business as well as of other lines. 
The meeting adjourned almost immediately to await 
an answer from the Governor. A reply came in due 
time, and was to the effect that Tennesseeans were 
not needed to quell riots in Arkansas; hence no fur- 
ther proceedings were required. 

This is given on the authority of Captain W. 
L. Trask. who was at the meeting as a reporter of the 
Daily Avalanche, then a leading Memphis journal, and 
it is cited as a proof of General Forrest's celerity of 
thought in emergencies as well as of the good sense 
he showed in giving expression to his views. He used 
good language at the time, and the most polished ora- 
tor could not have framed more appropriate or more 
effective words. As Mr. George W. Childs, the Phila- 
delphia editor, said of General Grant while dying at 


Mt. McGrcgfor, when he wrote a paragraph regarding 
the condition of the country to his friend and visitor, 
General Buckner : ** No editorial writer in America, 
with all his experience, could have said anything better 
or in fewer words than did General Grant, and he 
proved himself a master of expression in this one com- 
munication far superior to many of our eminent 
writers." And so with General Forrest, although un- 
educated in the schools, he was possessed of a master 
mind and could always grasp an idea or situation, and 
when necessary express himself in clear and forcible 
English. His associations were largely with people of 
high standing in business and professional life, who 
esteemed his acquaintance as well as his friendship and 
confidence as a privilege and pleasure. 

Commenting upon the Life of General Forrest, writ- 
ten by General Thomas Jordan and J. P. Pryor, which 
appeared in 1868, Colonel M. C. Gallaway, editor of 
the Memphis Avalanche, who had served three years 
on the general's staff, said : " The subject of this biog- 
raphy is no common man, but one of those whom 
nature designed for command, and to have a con- 
spicuous part in the stirring scenes and terrific encoun- 
ters through which he passed comparatively unscathed. 
We have him with us in a respected and useful citizen, 
unassuming and unpretending, with what we hope will 
be a long portion of his life yet before him. Although 
fortune has not waved her banner over him and caused 
him to represent a great political party in its strife for 
power and place, it finds him with the same indomi- 
table energy, the same honorable purpose, the same 
large and capacious heart that first won attention to, 
and respect for, the gallant young hero before he had 
ever heard the shrill bugle-call or the tramp of the 

It was charged a few years after the war that Gen- 


eral Forrest was connected in some way with the 
original Kuklux Klan, and no authorized denial was 
ever made. The real history of that mysterious and 
potent organization has never been and can not now 
be written, although the ritual has recently been filed 
with the Tennessee Historical Association at Nash- 
ville. The order may not have originated in the now 
healthful and prosperous city of Memphis, but it was 
at least welcomed and adopted in the midst of a most 
distressing state of affairs, which prevailed for some 
years after the close of the war. Murders and garrot- 
ings were of nightly occurrence in the dimly lighted 
streets and suburbs. Many atrocious crimes were com- 
mitted which will remain mysteries until the last Great 
Day. There was a floating population which no census 
enumerator could have reached or policeman control. 
Desperadoes, white and black, especially the latter, 
still armed, insolent, and recklessly defiant, paraded the 
streets in squads by day and were a terror to all helpless 
or law-abiding people at night. Nearly all good citi- 
zens went armed, especially if they had to be out after 
dark. Life was a burden to all who had any interests 
at stake, or hopes of a better state of society. The 
metropolitan police force was composed moslly of a 
rather hard class of rough men, many of them being 
mere adventurers who had nothing in common with the 
community. They received their appointments directly 
from Governor William G. Brownlow, a bitter par- 
tizan, who lived more than four hundred miles away, 
and hence they were obnoxious to a large element of 
taxpayers and returned Confederates. It must not be 
inferred, however, that there were not excellent men 
on the force, some of whom were identified with Mem- 
phis and are yet remembered with respect and kindly 
feeling. Still these and all the agencies of the law 
were powerless to control the turbulent elements. The 


courts could do but little toward bringing the city back 
to a condition of peace and safety. 

Under these circumstances the raw head and 
bloody bones of the Kuklux began to appear on doors 
and walls ; mysterious lights and signals flashed out in 
unexpected places. The order had its dens for gather- 
ings and was composed of a resolute set of men, who 
proposed to do something in their own way toward 
restoring law and order, and to counteract the nightly 
drum-beat of negro loyal leagues, which could be heard 
in a circuit all around the city and the county. One 
night a grand armed demonstration was made. Every 
man was veiled as though a Prophet of Khorassan. 
Superbly mounted and presumably armed, they came 
and went like ghosts as noiselessly as a caravan on the 
desert, reaching the center of the city and passing 
through the principal streets. All was in perfect order ; 
not a word was spoken ; the shrouded riders knew their 
business, and even the horses, draped to the ground, 
seemed to walk on the air or with muffled tread. The 
police were on the alert, and one man had the temerity 
to seize a bridle-rein, but a few six-shooters in his face 
made him conclude that he was not intended for a 
horse-holder, so he stepped back and stood at attention. 
It was a weird-like pantomime procession, the like of 
which had never been seen since the days of the fan- 
tastic Sons of Malta. In less than an hour it was over, 
and all had vanished in the direction of the neighbor- 
ing forests. 

The chief of police, a daring man named Simon 
Bolivar Beaumont, started to follow in an open car- 
riage, but was politely informed by a ghostly trooper 
when out in the suburbs that it would not be healthy 
for him in the regions down below. So he quietly 
turned around and drove to the station-house. This 
show of force produced a salutary effect, especially 



upon the colored population, so given at that time to 
hlaring music, street parades, and secret meetings. No 
violence or disturbance followed this event. The pas- 
sions and prejudices of the war began to die out, and 
no one hailed the end with more pleasure than Gen- 
eral Forrest. The real Kuklux existed only a year or 
two, and having accomplished its purpose as far as 
possible by such means, was disbanded as secretly as it 
was formed and was heard of no more. That General 
Forrest was at least an adviser in this movement there 
is very little doubt, but he and other good Confederates 
had nothing to do with the so-called or bogus Kuklux 
Klans which cropped up from time to time afterward, 
and are even yet counterfeited under different names. 
It is due to General Forrest to say, and it will not 
be questioned by any fair or intelligent critic of his 
character, that he was ever true to his parole after he 
returned home, as well as to the laws of the State and 
General Government, and to the old flag. His courage 
in battle was fully matched by his intrepidity and sense 
of honor in all the affairs of life. From his youth up 
Forrest seems to have had a respect for religious mat- 
ters, no doubt owing to the teachings of a pious mother. 
His wife, whom he fairly adored, was a devout member 
of the church, and had much influence over him. He 
often said that he attributed his many marvelous es- 
capes in the war to the prayers of his wife and mother. 
When in camp he always had the chaplain or other 
suitable person to say grace at meals, and have prayers 
at night when practicable. And while he would swear 
sometimes when under excitement, particularly in a 
fight, when men were not acting to suit him, he was 
greatly restrained in the presence of ministers and other 
religious people. Lieutenant-Colonel D. C. Kclley. the 
famous fighting parson of his old regiment, now of 
Nashville (1902), gives abundant testimony upon these 


points. While living a strictly temperate, moral, and ex- 
emplary life he did not become a churchgoer or member 
until his end was near. A year or two before he died, 
he met on the streets of Memphis the Rev. Raleigh 
R. White, of Texas, who had been lieutenant-colonel 
of the Fourteenth Tennessee Cavalry regiment under 
him, and not a minister at that time. After greetings, 
he inquired: "Colonel, what are you doing?" 
" Preaching the Gospel of the Son of God," the soldier 
replied. " What ! I thought you were in South America 
or Europe. Tell me about yourself and your work." 
" Well, I returned some years since," answered White, 
and proceeded to tell of his conversion and work. As 
a result of this talk they went into the parlor of a bank 
near by, where Forrest asked the minister to pray for 
him. Both knelt, and a fervent supplication was 
sent up to the throne of grace. They parted, never to 
meet again. Not long after that General Forrest was 
accepted as a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church, of Memphis, to which his wife had belonged 
for many years. She was happy in the thought that 
her prayers had been answered. 

For the last year of General Forrest's life his health 
failed rapidly, and he visited some watering-places 
without benefit. He could not take an active part in 
business or social affairs. His last appearance in pub- 
lic was at a reunion of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, 
in which he had enlisted as a private in June, 1861. 
This was held on the 21st of September, 1877. When 
called upon for a talk he was sitting on his horse ready 
to return to the town from the cemetery, and without 
dismounting, made the following address, which was 
taken down by a reporter of the Memphis Evening 
Ledgfer and appeared in that paper the following^ day : 

" Soldiers of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, La- 
dies, and Gentlemen: I name the soldiers first be- 


cause I love them best I am extremely pleased to 
meet you here to-day. I love the gallant men with 
whom I was so intimately connected during the war. . 
You can hardly realize what must pass through a 
commander's mind when called upon to meet in re- 
union the brave spirits who, through four years of 
war and bloodshed, fought fearlessly for a cause that 
they thought right, and who, even when they fore- 
saw as we did, that the war must soon close in dis- 
aster, and that we must all surrender, yet did not 
ciuail, but marched to victory in many battles, and 
fought as boldly and persistently in their last battles 
as they did in their first. Nor do I forget those many 
gallant spirits who sleep coldly in death upon the 
many bloody battle-fields of the late war. I love 
them too, and honor their memory. I have often 
been called to the side, on the battle-field, of those 
who have been struck down, and they would put 
their arms around my neck, draw me down to them, 
and kiss me, and say; 'General, I have fought my 
last battle and will soon be gone. I want you to re- 
member my wife and children and take care of 
them.' Comrades, I have remembered their wives 
and little ones, and have taken care of them, and I 
want every one of you to remember them too, and 
join with me in the labor of love. 

" Comrades, through the years of bloodshed and 
weary marches you were tried and true soldiers. So 
through the years of peace you have been good citi- 
zens, and now that we are again united under the 
old flag. I love it as I did in the days of my youth, 
and I feel sure that you love it also. Yes, I love and 
honor that old flag as much as those who followed 
it on the other side ; and I am sure that I but express 
your feelings when I say that should occasion offer 
and our country demand our services, you would as 



eagerly follow my lead to battle under that proud 
banner as ever you followed me in our lat6 great 
war. It has been thought by some that our social 
reunions were wrong, and that they would be heralded 
to the North as an evidence that we were again ready 
to break out into civil war. But I think that they 
are right and proper, and we will show our country- 
men by our conduct and dignity that brave soldiers 
are always good citizens and law-abiding and loyal 

" Soldiers, I was afraid that I could not be with 
you to-day, but I could not bear the thought of not 
meeting with you, and I will always try to meet with 
you in the future. And I hope that you will con- 
tinue to meet from year to year, and bring your wives 
and children with you, and let them, and the children 
who may come after them, enjoy with you the pleasure 
of your reunions." 

Even then he was weak and emaciated from a 
chronic disease, and from that time forward he failed 
slowly but surely. On the 29th day of October, 1877, 
he peacefully and painlessly passed away at his resi- 
dence on Union Street, in Memphis, and on the fol- 
lowing day his remains were followed to the beautiful 
cemetery of Elmwood by thousands of people, in- 
cluding the leading citizens of the city and surrounding 
country, Hon. Jefferson Davis, ex-President of the 
Confederacy, and members of his cabinet, and many 
distinguished Confederates from a distance. The 
pall-bearers were members of his old staff and other 
prominent Confederates, and the obsequies were con- 
ducted under the auspices of the I. O. O. F., of 
which General Forrest had long been a member. At 
the close of most impressive ceremonies, a volley was 
fired over the grave of the great leader by the Chick- 
asaw Guards, afterward a tamous local military com- 


pany. The casket was lowered to its final resting- 
place in the family lot shaded by fragrant magnolias, 
and a few years later his wife died and w*as laid to 
rest by the side of her hero-husband. United so long 
and faithfully and lovingly in life they were not long 
separated by death. 

A movement was set on foot several years ago 
to erect a monument in Memphis in honor of Gen- 
eral Forrest, and in the opening of new parks 
last year, one of these was named for him. In the 
center of this, a beautiful ten-acre plat near the hum 
of the city, the comer-stone for a monument — a 
bronze equestrian statue of heroic size — to perpetu- 
ate his memory' was laid with imposing ceremonies 
during the eleventh annual meeting of the United 
Confederate Veterans' Association, held in May, 1901. 
This will be worthy of his name and of the city which 
was his home in early and mature manhood 



Read before the Missiiiiffi HistorUal Society, January t 

Columbus, Miss., January 21, igoa. 

My dear General Wilson : I thank you for your let- 
ter of January 16th asking me for a copy of my paper 
read before the Mississippi Historical Society in Jack- 
son, Miss., on the 9th inst. You state that the Life of 
General Forrest is now passing through the press as one 
of the Great Commanders Series, and you wish my version 
of the engagement and will attach it in the Appendix if I 
will limit my account to one thousand words. I would 
like to have my entire paper put in if possible, as it is 
now in condensed form. It will be impossible for me lo 
do otherwise than to bring out clearly my 1 
contrast with the other 
for details and proof. 

In the battle of July 1 
Smith commanded the Uni 
men, including two divisit 

corps, a negro brigade of infantry, eight batteries of artil- 
lery, and thirty- two hundred cavalry under General 
Grierson. He formed his line of battle facing west, 
Mower's division being on the right of the Pontotoc and 
Tupelo road, Moore's division on the left of the road, the 
negro brigade on the extreme left, facing south; [he cav- 
alry in the rear and on the right flank, all in double line of 


■eferring to my paper 

1864, General Andrew J. 

L army of fifteen thousand 

of the Sixteenth Army- 


The Confederate troops under General Forrest were 
dismounted and formed by him as follows : Buford's divi- 
sion of three brigades faced the right and center of the 
enemy, and Roddey's division the extreme left; while Chal- 
mers's division, with dismounted men, as they arrived, were 
to form a second line or reserve force, the total effect- 
ive number being six thousand to six thousand six hun- 
dred men with five batteries of artillery. General For- 
rest dismounted his men and reported ready for battle, and 
urged immediate attack, as he reported the enemy pre- 
paring to retreat on Ellistown road. The extracts in the 
paper of reports of Forrest and Chalmers, and Roddey's 
letter, with attached letters, bring out the facts fully — 

( 1 ) That General Lee, against his wishes, was on the 
field in command. Lee urged Forrest to command his 
troops and exercise command on the field. He positively 
declined on account of ill-health, and not feeling able to 
assume the responsibility, saying it was General Lee's 
duty as his superior officer to come and take command. 

(2) The plan of battle was arranged with perfect ac- 
cord between Generals Lee and Forrest, General Forrest 
personally selecting the right wing (Roddey), which was 
to swing around on the enemy's left and drive it in, while 
General Lee personally would make front attack on cen- 
ter, each to personally supervise their respective wings, 
and the attack to be made simultaneously. 

(3) When the signal-gun was fired to start the move- 
ment all the troops moved to the attack, Buford with 
Crossland's, Bell's, and Mabry's brigades, and Forrest 
with Roddey's division. Forrest had so far completed his 
movement that the skirmishers of tht enemy on the ex- 
treme left were driven in, and before Crossland was re- 
pulsed Mabry and Bell pushed up to the enemy, fighting 
desperately, and to within fifty yards of their line, holding 
their position two and a half hours. 

(4) Forrest, although he was not directly in charge 
of Crossland's brigade, as soon as he saw it repulsed 
changed the entire plan of battle perfected by General Lee 
and himself, withdrew Roddey, and with Crossland formed 


a new line of battle, leaving the left wing of the enemy 

unengaged, and allowing them to concentrate their fire on 
the troops immediately under Lee. 

(g) Lee, when he saw he could not drive in the center 
of the enemy's line, ordered up Chalmers to put him in on 
the extreme right of the enemy. Chalmers did not come, so 
he (Lee) went in person for him; found he had been 
moved to extreme right by order of Forrest, who did not 
report to Lee his change in agreement, nor his order to 
Chalmers to reenforce Roddey, who was doing no fighting. 

(6) Lee found Chalmers, and upon his showing For- 
rest's order, and still supposing Forrest would carry 
plan of battle, divided Chalmers's command, sending 
Rueker's brigade to extreme left to attack enemy, sending 
Necly to Forrest, as he wanted reen force me nts, and hold- 
ing McCuUoch in reserve. 

(7) Lee, then seeing the left wing of the enemy unen- 
gaged and concentrating their fire on his troops, moved to 
his right and found Forrest, who then told him what he 
had done. It was then loo late to remedy matters, and 
under cover of McCalloch's brigade, he (Lee) withdrew 
Bell, Mabry, and Rucker, and formed a new line of battle 
and invited attack of the enemy. The enemy did not move 
out of his chosen position. On the night of the 14th Lee 
ordered up all troops close to the enemy. On the morning 
of July 15th he found the enemy retreating, and pursued, 
attacking rear-guard at Town Creek. 

(8) Forrest was evidently disconcerted at the repuli 
of Crossland, and assumed prerogatives of commander-in- 
chief, when he only had personally the supervision of 
right wing. He changed the order of batile and moved re- 
serves without Informing the commanding general. The 
facts are stated as pleasantly and as complimentarily to 
Forrest as circumstances will permit. 

{9) The staff and followers of Forrest were devoted- 
ly attached and loyal to him. They almost worshiped him 
while living, and have continued in the same spirit since 
his death. They criticized General Lee the night after the 
retreat of the enemy was reported to him. He (Lee) saw 




Forrest, who disavowed the criticism, and said it was 
his fight, and he would make an example of those who 
had done the talking. Again at Okolona General Lee 
called his attention to the conduct of his staff; he became 
angry and said he would hold them responsible for their 
words, as they certainly misrepresented him and his ac- 
tions during the battle. Lee was ordered to another field 
immediately after battle. Forrest never sent his reports 
through Lee, although he commanded on the field. 

Yours truly, 

Stephen D. Lee. 


If the despatch sent by General Forrest to announce 
the capture of Fort Pillow is genuine, it should be em- 
balmed in history along with Caesar's " Veni, vidi, vici," 
and the hardly less famous apocryphal message of the 
British general ; " Peccavi — I have Scinde." General 
Forrest is alleged to have written after the fort was taken : 
" We busted the fort at ninerclock and scatered the nig- 
gers. The men is still a cillanem in the woods." " Niner- 
clock " explains itself, and " cillanem " is interpreted to 
read " killing them/* 

The original of the above despatch, and also another, 
in which, accounting for prisoners, the general wrote: 
" Them as was cotch with spoons and brestpins and sich, 
was cilld, and the rest of the lot was pay rold and told to 
git," were submitted to the editor of this series in 1887, 
and by him included in the article on Forrest contained in 
Appletons* Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. ii, p. 
506. Doubts being expressed by Forrest's friends of their 
genuineness, General James R. Chalmers was written to 
on the subject, and he replied as follows : " I do not be- 
lieve that he wrote the Fort Pillow telegraphic despatch, 
because the statements are not altogether in accordance 
with the facts. As to the second, I have no knowledge. 
In writing, as in fighting, General Forrest was a law unto 


himself. His fighting was upon Napoleonic lines, although 
prompted purely by the genius in him, and his word paint- 
ings were equally expressive and vivid. Having had no 
opportunities for study in early life, he did virtually 
all his correspondence during the war through Major 
Strange, his adjutant-general, and the major was a very 
accomplished man. But I once saw an indorsement from 
the general that was as unique as those given above. A 
soldier came to him a third time asking for a furlough. 
Twice it had been refused, for we needed all the men that 
we could get at that time, and when the application ap- 
peared the third time. General Forrest in his own hand- 
writing indorsed upon the back of it, * I told you twist 
(twice) Goddammit know/ and the man knew that he 
meant no." 

The two letters appearing in facsimile in this volume 
are absolutely and unquestionably genuine. One was writ- 
ten in the first year of the civil war, the other, for which 
the editor is indebted to the courtesy of General Stephen 
D. Lee, to whom it is addressed, was written after the 
close of the war. The two doubtful despatches were 
omitted from the second, and all succeeding editions, of 
the Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 

Writing to a friend from Memphis, September 13, 
1866, General Forrest says, in reference to the Fort Pil- 
low affair (some slips in spelling are corrected) : " I am 
making out a full statement of the so-called Fort Pillow 
massacre, and as soon as completed I will send it forward 
to the President as Commander-in-chief of the Army and 
Navy of the United States, in which I mention that if my 
explanation is not satisfactory, I demand an investigation 
by a board of officers. I am, as well as yourself, ruined 
by the war, and am opening a commission business in this 

J. G. W. 


Able, John, life saved by Forrest, 

17, i8. 
Adams, General John, killed at 

FranJdin, 313. 
Adams, General Daniel, 339. 
Adams, Wirt, 59, 335. 338. 
Agnew, Dr. Samuel E., 245. 
Alban, Dr. J. P.. 288. 
Alexander, Andrew J., 347. 
Alien, W. W., 77. 
Allin, Philip T., 164. 
Anderson, Brigadier - General 

Samuel R., 79. 
Anderson, Charles W., 140, 150, 

170, 217, 221, 226, 273. 341, 355. 
Armstrong, Frank C., 100, 107, 

108, 117. 147, 149, 307, 318, 

333, 335. 347. 

Bacon, Captain Albert G^ mor- 
tally wounded, 28. 

Bainbridge, Ala., 327. 

Balch, Robert L., 16, 54. 

Baldwin, Miss., near battle- 
ground, 240. 

Banks, General Nathaniel P., 
mentioned, 173. 

Barksdale, Lieutenant-Colonel 
James A., mortally wounded, 
326, 327. 

Barteau, Colonel Clark Russell, 
161. 180, 227, 244, 245, 259. 

Bate, Major-General William B., 

Bates's brigade, 144. 

Beanmont, Simon Bolivar, men- 
tioned, 372. 
Beauregard, General P. G. T., 57, 

53. 63. 

Beck, Orrin M., 247. 
Bedford, Lieutenant Hugh L., 37. 
Bell, Colonel William P., 275-277. 
Bell, Colonel Tyree H., 161, 164, 

165, 171. 197, 222, 270,333, 336. 
Biffle, Colonel Jacob B., 79, 90, 

114, 123, 312, 314, 319. 
Bills, Jonathan, Unionist, 26. 
Birge's sharpshooters, 37. 
Black Wamor River, 119, 123. 
Bloodgood, Colonel Edward, 105. 
Boglers Creek, 342. 
Boone, Sergeant A. H., killed, 

Boone, Lieutenant Nathan, 165. 
Booth, Major Lionel F., com- 
manding Fort Pillow, 215, 217, 

218 ; killed, 219. 
Bouton, Colonel Edward, 258. 
Bradford, Major William F., at 

Fort Pillow. 215, 216, 218, 221 ; 

his death, 228. 
Bradford, Theodore F., killed at 

Fort Pillow, 225. 
Bragg, General Braxton, 73, 106, 

109, 112, 126, 136, 138, 145, 

146, 151, 154. 
Brayman, Colonel Mason, 199, 

Breckenridge, General John C, 

62-80, 145, 146. 
Breckenridge, Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel W. K. M., 93. 
Brice*s crossroads (battle of), 238- 

Brown, Lieutenant Tully, 256, 

Brown, Major-General John C, 

at Chickamauga, 144, 313. 




Brownlow, Governor William G., 

mentioned, 371. 
Bruce, Colonel S. D., 69-70. 
Buckland, Brigadier-General 

Ralph P., 272-275. 
Buckner, Simon B., 35, 38, 39,144. 
Buell, General Don Carlos, 55, 

56, 71, 77. 

Buford, General Abraham, 200, 
209, 210, 212, 213, 233, 235, 
236, 289 ; wounded at Rich- 
land Creek, 326 ; ordered to 
Montevallo, 336, 338. 

Buttrick, Colonel Edwin L., 277. 

Cage, Lieutenant-Colonel John 
B., 259. 

Calfkiller Creek fight, 134. 

Calhoun, Ky., reconnaissance, 33. 

Callender, Byron M., 286. 

Campbell, Brigadier-General Al- 
exander W., 336. 

Canby, General Edward R. S., 

337. 351. 
Carroll, Colonel Charles M., 100. 

Carter, Brigadier-General John 

c.. 313- 

Caseyville, Ky., 26. 

Catoosa, 138. 

Cedar Bluff, 122. 

Chalmers, Alexander H., 243. 

Chalmers, General James R., 57, 
159, 168, 170, 177, 216, 226, 
235, 265, 266, 267, 284, 294, 
307, 319, 330, 381. 

Chamberlain, F. W., 12. 

Chapel Hill, 2. 

Chattooga River, 122. 

Cheatham, General Benjamin 
Franklin, Shiloh, 56, 142, 310, 
312, 322. 

Chickamauga — forces on both 
sides— battle brought on by 
Forrest, 138, 139 ; part taken 
by him for three days, 140, 1 50. 

Childs, George W., mentioned, 

Claiborne, General Patrick R., 

143, 145, 310 ; killed at Frank- 
lin, 313. 

Clark, Charles, 26. 

Clarksville, 40. 

Clay, Major W. L., 73. 

Clayton's brigade at Georgia, 144. 

Cobum, Colonel John, 102, 103, 

Cockrell, Brigadier-General, 313. 

Coleman, Colonel David, 321. 

Coleman, James M., 10. 

Collierville, 175. 

Collins, Lieutenant-Colonel Na- 
thaniel D., 86. 

Cooper, General Samuel, 156. 

Cosby, Colonel George B., loi. 

Cowan, Dr. James B., 63, 154, 
184, 250, 255, 356. 

Cowan, Lieutenant George L., 

Cox, Colonel Nicholas N., 91. 
Crews, Lieutenant-Colonel James 

M., 206, 234. 
Crittenden, General Thomas L., 

26-29. 136, 137, 149. 
Crook, General George, 163 ; left 

in command at Tupelo, 264. 
Crossland, Colonel Edward, 203, 

263, 296, 309, 340, 342. 
Crouch, Rev. Stephen D., killed, 

Croxton, Brigadier-General John 

T., 293, 321, 339. 
Crutcher, Lieutenant, 29-30. 
Cunningham, Lieutenant E. H., 

Curtis, Lieutenant Isaac W., 181. 

Dana, Charles A., Assistant Sec- 
retary of War, at Chickamauga, 

Dashiell, Major George, 355. 

Davidson's brigade, Pegram's 
division, Chickamauga, 146 

Davis's division, 145. 

Davis, Captain A. N., 28. 

Davis, Captain D. C, 26. 

Davis, General Jeff C, 100. 

Davis, Jefferson, 368; pall-bearer 
at Forrest's funeral, 375. 

Davis, Lieutenant J. N., 294. 

Davis Mill, 247. 

^^^^^^^^r INDEX. 387 ^^H 

DawEon, Lieutenant-Colonel Wil- 

Feild, Colonel Hume R., 323, 324. ^^^H 

liam A., 300, 309. 

Fei^uson, General, 160, 167. ^^^H 

Dawson, Major John W., 142. 

FerreU, Captain, 113, 115, 116; ^^^^H 
Ferrell's battery. 24a, 256. ^^^H 

Days Gap, battle of, I14. 

Dennis, Bricadier-General Elias 

Fiulay, Colonel Luke W.. 335. ^^H 


Fisk, General Clinton B., 8g. ^^^H 

Dewey, Lieulenanl-Coloael Joel 

Floyd, General John B., 35, 39- ^^^H 

A., at Athens, Ala., 236. 


Dibbrel], Colonel GeoiEe G., 7g, 

Foote's £atilk demolished Fort ^^H 

85.86, 113, 134. 135, 137. IS'- 

Henry and assaulted Fort ^^^H 

Dickey. Colonel, Fourth lllinais, 

DonelEon, ^^^H 

60, 61. 

Forrest, Aaron, g. ^^^^H 

Dodge, Brigadier-General Gren- 

Forrest, Jeffrey E., 9, 38, 171, ^^H 

ville M.. as, III, 113. 

i7&'i78, iBo, 183, iSg. ^^H 

Donaldson, Captain John, killed. 

Forrest. Jesse A., colonel of a ^^^H 


regiment, 9. 54, 210, 270, 387. ^^H 

Donaldson, Lieutenant Samuel, 

Forrest, John, a veteran of the ^^^H 

25Sp 356. 

Me:(ican War, 7. ^^H 

Douglasa, General Edwin H.. 108. 

Forrest, Jonathan, killed at Her- ^^M 

Duck River britlges burned by 


Fonest, 325. 

Forrest, Nathan Bedford, I, Z ; ^^H 

Duckworth, Colonel William L., 

ancestry, 2, 3 ; removed from ^^^H 

iQa, 200, 260, 283. 

Tennessee to Mississippi, 3 ; ^^^H 

Duff, Colonel William L., 183, 

family history, 5-10; volun- ^^^H 

243, 355- 

tecred in the cause of Texas, ^^H 

DulSeld, Colonel W. W., 65, 66, 

11; involved in a tragedy at ^^^^B 


Hernando, Miss., 11. 12 ; ro. ^ 

Dunham. Colonel Cynis L., 88. 

mantic courtship and marriage. 1 

89, 90, 92. 

13-15 ; slave-dealer and plant- J 

Duslan, Brigadier - General 

er, 16 ; defied a mob and ■ 

Charles W., 275, 276. 278. 279. 

saved a man's life, 16-18 ; he- ^^H 

Dysatt, Captain Alfred, 105. 

Dyson, James, 13. 

corrupt proposition denounced, ^^^^H 

19, 20 ; prediction of Dr. Fow- ^^H 

Earle'5 Third Arkansas regiment, 

ler, the phrenoli^ist, 21 ; loss ^^^B 


of family records by fire, 22 ; M 

Earle. Colonel Samuel G.. killed, 

enlisted as a private in the 1 


Confederate army and aathor- J 

Edmondson, Colonel, 115. 

ized to raise a regiment, 23 ; ■ 

Eclor, Genera] Matthew D., 141, 


raised, battalion organized, and ' ^^^H 

Ellett. General Alfred W., no. 

Elliott, Lieuteo ant-Colonel Jonas 

25 ; ordered 10 Fort Donelson, ^^^H 

B., mortally wounded at Ath- 

z; : sharp engagement at Sac- ^^^H 

ens, Ala., 387. 

ramento, Ky., 39-31 ; ordeied ^^^H 

north of the Cumberland River, ^^^H 

Faulkner, Colonel W. W., 167, 

thence to Clarksville. Tenn., ^^^H 

16S, 26a. 

32 ; again reached Fort Donel- ^^^H 

Fealberstone, Brigadier-General 

sou, 9th of February, i863. 34; ^^^H 

Winfield S., 324- 


part taken in front of Dover ^^^H 



and Donelson, 36-40; official 
report, 41-53 ; actively engaged 
in the battle of Sbiloh, 56-02 : 
leave of absence, 62, 63 ; opera- 
tions north and west of Chatta- 
nooga, 64-72 ; commissioned 
brigadier-general, 74 ; reported 
to General Bragg, 76 ; ordered 
back from Kentucky to Middle 
Tennessee, 80 ; crossed into 
West Tennessee under protest, 
80-84 ; the battle of Parker's 
crossroads and escape into 
Middle Tennessee, 93 ; vote of 
thanks by the Confederate Con- 
gress, 95; ordered to report to 
General Wheeler and repulse 
at Dover, 95-99 ; victory over 
Cobum at Thompsons Sta^ 
tion, 105-107, 116-118, 120- 
126, covering a period of Colo- 
nel Streight's expedition and 
capture ; reported to Bragg at 
Shelbyville and succeeded Gen- 
eral Van Dom in command of 
cavalry, 127 ; composition of 
his forces, 128 ; advance on 
Franklin, sharp engagement, 
129 ; tragedy at Columbia, 130- 
132 ; ordered to evacuate East 
Tennessee, 135 ; checked im- 
portant movement at Alpine, 
Ga., 136 ; operations around 
Ringgold on the eve of battle 
of Chickamauga, which he 
opened, 137 ; events up to final 
charge, 149, 150 ; last recon- 
naissance in front of Chatta- 
nooga, 151 ; coolly mentioned 
by Bragg, 152 ; ordered to meet 
Burnside, 153 ; command taken 
from him, 154 ; a call upon 
General Bragg, strong language 
used, 154-156 ; desired a new 
field, 156, 157 ; interview with 
President Davis, 157 ; per- 
mitted to go to Mississippi and 
reported to General Joseph E. 
Johnston, 158 ; found a small 
command, 159 ; reached Boli- 

var, Tenn., 160 ; Jackson, 161 ; 
promoted to major-general, 
December, 1863, and success- 
fully returned to Mississippi, 
163-168 ; fruits on the expedi- 
tion, 169 ; organizing raw 
troops, 171 ; headquarters at 
Oxford, 172, 178-180, 182, 
184, 187, 203 ; report to Gen- 
eral Polk, 206-208 ; planned 
to capture Fort Pillow, 208 ; 
demand for surrender and cap- 
ture of place, 221-225 ; vote of 
thanks from Confederate Con- 
gress, 230 ; charges denied by 
Forrest and his men, 231 ; en- 
gagement at Bolivar, 'lenn., 
and return to Mississippi, 234 ; 
council of war, 239 ; battle of 
Brice's crossroads, 239-249 ; 
battle of Harrisburg, Chap- 
ter XV; losses summed up, 
263 ; suffering from wounds re- 
ceived at Old Town Cr6ek, 264 ; 
returned to Okolona, 265 ; move 
on Memphis, 267-274 ; cavalry 
reorganized, 282 ; advance 
on Athens, Ala., 285 ; place 
captured, 286-288 ; Sulphur 
Springs trestle stormed, 289 ; 
advance on Pulaski, 290 ; the 
return, 291 ; back at Cherokee 
Station, 294; move into West 
Tennessee, 296, 297 ; capture 
of gunboats, 298-300; fleet 
and stores at Johnsonville de- 
stroyed, 302-304; joins Gen- 
eral Hood at Florence, Ala., 
305 ; advance on Nashville, 
307 ; placed in command of all 
his cavalry, 305 ; part taken in 
the battle of Franklin, 311, 
312 ; in front of Nashville, 314, 
a move on Murfreesboro, 315- 
317 ; ordered by Hood to fall 
back, 318 ; assigned to com- 
mand rear-guard of the army, 
321 ; movement of trains in re- 
treat, 325 ; Forrest's offer to 
exchange prisoners declined, 

326; desperate stand at An- 
thonys Hill. 327 ; his last stand 
nt tiugar (Jteek, 328, 329 ; te- 
lieved nnd crossed the Tennes. 
see River, 330 ; summing up 
of results and stirring address, 
331, 33a ; all cavalry of depart- 
ment placed under his com- 

genenLl, reoj^anization, 334 ; 
absenteeism, 335 ; an appeal to 
Hon. John C. Breckenridge. 
335 ; headquarters at West 
Point, Miss., 336 ; blazing away 
to Selma, Ala, 336-340 ; 
wounded, 343 ; desperate strug- 
' ■ " ' ' cape, 345- 




'S of Lee's surrender, 
Forrest's men paroled, his fare- 
well address, 351-353 ; re- 
tained to Memphis and his 
plantation, 354 : as a temperate 
man, 357 ; amnesty by Pres- 
ident Andrew Johnson, 358 ; 
conscious of educational de- 
fects, 353 : partcership with an 
ex-Federal otiicer, 359 ; Mem- 
phis, 360, 361 ; engaged in 
railroad building, 361, 363 ; 
then in planting again, 363 ; 
incidents of military and civil 
life, 363-369 ; a piofession of 
religion and connection with 
(he church. 373 ; last address 
at a Confederate reunion, 374 ; 
his death, October 29, 1877 ; 

5 real attendance at the faneral, 
efferson Davis a pall-bearer, 
376 ; his prlhography, 381. 

Forrest, Captain William, wound- 
ed at Days Gap, g, 63, 114, 

Forrest, William M., 8, 270, 356. 

Fowler, Dr. Orson C, 11. 

Freeman, Captain S. L., 80; 
killed, 107. 

Fry, Colonel Jacob B,. 70, 72. 86. 

Fuller. Colonel John W., 83, 90. 

Fulton, Ky., 208. 

Gadsden, Ala., 132. 

Gallaway, Matthew C., 162, 250, 
21)4. 356, 366, 367, 370, 

Gantt, Lieut e nan t-ColonelGeoige, 
at Fort Donelson, 55. 94. 

GarHeld. Brigadier-General James 
A., 136. 

Gholson. Bngadier-General Sam- 
uel J., 185, 186, 235, 356. 

Gilbert, Colonel Henry C., 103. 

Gilmer, Major J. F,, 32, 35. 

Gist, Brigadier-General States R., 
killed al Franklin. 313, 

Goodman, Captain Walter A., 330. 

Gordon, Genera] George W.. 
wounded at Franklin, 313. 

Gracey, Captain Frank R.. 301. 

Granbury, Brigadier- General Hi- 
ram B., killS at Franklin, 313. 

Granger, General Gordon, 107, 
146, 147. S93. 

Grant, General U. S., 36, 40. 55, 
94 : allusion to General For- 
rest's fight with General Wil- 
liam Sooy Smith, 196 ; com- 
ment on affairs in West Ten- 
nes!>ee and Kentucky, 213; 
also Wilson's expedition 
through Alabama, 350, 

Greer, Captain Hugh D.. 273. 

Grieison, General Benjamin H., 
163, 181, 33S, 340. 356. 

Gunlown, Miss., 240. 

Gurley, Captoin Frank B., 83, 84. 

Hammond, General. 331, 
Harding, Colonel A. C, 98. 
Harris, Governor Isbara G., 33, 

57, 74- 
Harrisburg battle, 256, 263. 
Harrison, Adjutant, 83. 
Harrison. Captain Isaac, 59, 62. 
Harrison, Colonel Isham F., 6a, 

Harrison, Major Thomas, 6r. 
Hart. Colonel John R.. Chicka- 

mauga, 145. 
Hatch, General Edward, 309, 

321. 326- 
iJatchle Creek, 247. 



Hathaway, Colonel Gilbert, no, 


Hawkins, Colonel Isaac R., Sev- 
enth Tennessee Union Cavalry, 
83, 86. 

Haynic, Brigadier-General Isham 
N., 88, 89. 198. 

Heiman, Colonel Adolphus, com- 
manding at Fort Donelson, 25. 

Heiskell, Colonel Carrick W., 324. 

Helm, Brigadier-General Ben 
Hardin, killed at Chickamauga, 

Henderson's scouts (Captain 
Thomas), 269. 

Hepburn, Lieutenant - Colonel 
William P., 273, 274. 

Hewett, Captain John H., 67. 

Hicks, Colonel Stephen G., in 
command at Paducah, 201, 204, 

Hildebrand, Colonel, Seventy- 
fourth Ohio regiment, 60. 

Hill, Captain Charles S., 356. 

Hill, General D. H., 146, 149. 

Hindman, General Thomas C, 
145, 146. 

Hoge, Colonel George B., 238, 
277, 295. 

Holnuui, Colonel Daniel W., 99. 

Holt, Lieutenant - Colonel Gus- 
tavus A. C, 200, 201, 212, 

Hood, General John B., 146, 323, 

330, 333. 334. 
Hood« Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur, 

Hopkinsville, Ky., evacuated 

February, 1862 — movement 

covered by Forrest, 33. 

Horn, Captain Jack, 210, 211. 

Huey, Captain J. K., 36, 307. 

Hurlbut, Major-General Stephen 
A., 55, 270, 271, 278, 279. 

Hurst, Colonel P'ielding, regiment 
repulsed, 205. 

Huwald. Captain, commanding a 
battery, 73. 

Hyams. Lieutenant-Colonel Sam- 
uel M., Jr., 254. 

Ingersoll, Colonel Robert G., 

Iveys Hill, 182. 

Jackson, Brigadier-General John 
K., 142. 

Jackson, Major-General William 
H., loi, 186, 306, 315, 318, 324. 

Jasper, Ala., 339. 

Johnson, Adam, 40. 

Johnson, Brigadier-General Bush- 
rod R., 35, 138-146. 

Johnson, Brigadier-General Wil- 
liam A., 256, 285. 

Johnson, Lieutenant John, killed, 

Johnston, General Albert Sidney, 
41, 51, 54, 55 ; killed at Shi- 
loh, 56. 

Johnston, General Joseph E., 
I ; relieved by General Leon- 
idas Polk, 170, 237, 351. 

{ordan. Colonel Thomas J., 102. 
ordan. General Thomas, 51, 366, 
Julian's battalion, 113, 115, 117. 

Kappner, Colonel Ignatz G., 276. 

Kelley, Major David C, at Fort 
Donelson, 36, 37, 46, 52 ; Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, 54, 283, 287, 
295, 297, 307, 314. 320, 373. 

Kerr, L. A., 84. 

Kilpatrick, General Judson, 109. 

Kmg, Lieutenant-Commander, 
U. S. N., 301. 

King, Captain Thomas H., 
killed at Chickamauea, 143. 

King Philip, Forrest s favorite 
war-horse, 185. 

Kinney, Colonel Thomas J., 
One Hundred and Nineteenth 
Illinois regiment, 87. 

Kuklux Klan, 370-372. 

Lafayette, Tenn., 167, 168. 
La Grange, General Oscar H., 346, 
La Grange, Tenn., 160, 163, 165, 
Lathrop, Colonel William H., 

Lawler, Colonel, ga, 

Lawrence, Colonel William Hud- 
son, commanding al Columbus, 
Ky- aio, 21.. 

Lawson, Colonel Hams A., no, 

Lawlon, Colonel W, J„ 64 ; com- 
mands Second Georgia, 77, 

Lay, Colonel J. F., 77. 

I^ees and Gordons Mills, 13S, 
168. 255, 257. 

Lee, Captain Harry S., 372, 273, 
374. 302. 

Lee, Genera! Stephen D., 158, 
160, i6a, 179; feint on Mem- 
phis, 308. 316. 336 ; part taken 
at Harrisburg, 31I, 332, 379. 
See Appendix, 379-383. 

I,este[, Colonel, 66. 67. 

Lick Creek, 55, 58. 

Livingstone, Captain Heniy, 199. 

Logwood, Colonel Thumas U., 
165, 270, 372, 387, 289. 

Long. General Eli, 337. 346. 

Longstreet, Lieut en aot-General 
James tbattle of Chickamauga), 

Loudon, Captain Jan 

s A.. 

Lowe, Colonel W.W.,g9. 

Luxton, Matthew, 10. 

Lyon, General Hylon D.. 341, 

MacKail, Colonel W. W.. on Gen- 
eral Albert Sidney Johnston's 
.!•», 31. 

McCaig, Lieulenant - Colonel 
George M., 247. 

McCook, Brigadier-General Ed- 
ward M., 339. 

McCook"s division at Chicka- 
mauga, 145, 149. 

McCowan. Major-General John 
Porter, 68. 

McCrilli's, Colonel Lafayette, 
brigade, mentioned by General 
William Sooy Smith, .go. 

McCullocfa, Colonel Roben, 159, 
"71, 177- '78. 179. 183. 217, 
aig, 333, 236, 256. 344. 

EX. ' 391 

McCulloch, Lieutenant-Colonel 

R. A., 185. 
McDonald's Dragoons (Captain 

Charles). 11, 36, 124, 146, 150. 
McDonneU, William, 199. 
McGraw. Dr. T. A., 349- 
McGuire, Lieutenant, Fourteenth 

Indiana battery, 84. 
McGuirk, Colonel John, 208, 216. 
McKay, Major Robert C. 259. 
McLaws's division, 146, 151. 
McLean's division at Chicka- 

a S., 


McMillin, Colonel William L., 
177. 238, 245. 

McMinnville, scene of operations, 
64. 69. 7'. 72, 73. 75- 

McNaiiy, Colonel Frank, killed 
at Dover, 99. 

McPherson, General James B., 

Mabry, Colonel Hinchie P., Third 
Texas CavalTT. commanding 
brigade at Harrisburg, 356, 
257. 259, 260. 

Maney, General George, 142. 

Manigault, Brigadier-General Ar- 
thur M., 213. 

Mann, CapUin John G., Forrest's 
chief engineer, captured, 168 ; 
mentioned. 356. 

Martin, B. H„ 40. 

Mason. Major Richard M,, 356. 

Matlock brothers, 12. 

Maury. General Dabney H., Suc- 
ceeded General S. D. Lee, 264. 

May, Captain Charles, kilted, 38. 

Meigs, Montgomery C, quarter- 
master-general at Washington, 
mentioned, 231. 

Memphis and Selma Railroad 

Merriwether, Captain, killed at 

Sacramento, Ky., 38. 
Miller, Colonel J. F.. 64. 
Milroy, Major-Generat Robert 

'!.. 3'6, 317. 
Minnis, Colonel John E 




Minty, Colonel Robert H. G., 98. 
Mitchell's cavalry at Chicka- 

mauga, 145. 
Monterey, 59. 
Montgomery, Captain Little, 

killed, 103. 
Moore, Colonel David, 254, 377, 

Moore, Lieutenant John, Fourth 

Alabama, killed, 29a 
Morgan, Captain John, 59. 
Morgan, General, 109. 
Morris, Lieutenant John O., 163. 
Morrison, Colonel J. J., 64. 
Morton, John W., 39, 84, 160; 

becomes chief of artillery, 235, 

Mosby, Colonel, mentioned, 109. 
Moscow, 167. 
Mower, General Joseph A., 253, 

254, 266. 
Murray, Major, 28. 
Myers, Captain Daniel E., 100, 

202, 203, 208-211. 

Napier, Colonel T. A., 91, 92. 

Neely, Colonel James J., 178, 197, 
208, 216. 

Nelson, Lieutenant - Colonel 
Thomas M., 259. 

Nelson, Major-General William, 
70, 71, 76. 

New Era gunboat at Fort Pil- 
low, 220, 223, 225. 

New Salem, Miss., 247. 

Newsom, Colonel John F., 161, 
244, 259. 

Nixon, Colonel George H., 288. 

Oglesby, General Richard J., 

O'Hara, Captain, 83. 
Olmstead, Colonel Charles H., 

318, 324. 
Overton, Captain Frank, 24, 51. 

Palmer, Brigadier-General Joseph 

B., 316, 324. 
Parham, Major, 260. 
Parker's crossroads, battle of, 89. 

Parkhurst, Lieutenant - Colonel 
John G., 65. 

Patterson, brigadier-General, 256. 

Pavey, Lieutenant, 116. 

Pegram, 139, 140, 146. 

Pettus, Brigadier-General Ed- 
mond W., 322. 

Pillow, General Gideon J., 34, 35, 
38, 40, 41, 49. 

Pinson, Colonel Richard A., cap- 
tured at Selma, 347. 

Pitman, Colonel Richard W., 

Pointer, Captain Henry, 124. 

Porter, Captain, 39. 

Polk, General Leonidas, 56, 77, 
78, 146, 176. 189. 

Pope, Adjutant William, 199. 

Prairie Mound, 182. 

Prentiss, General, 55, 56. 

Presidents Island leased by Gen- 
eral Forrest, 363. 

Preston, Brigadier-General Wil- 
liam, division at Chickamauga, 

Prince, Colonel Edward, Seventh 

Illinois regiment, 163, 164 ; re- 
port, 166. 

Princeton, Ky., Forrest's first use 
of artillery at, 25. 

Pry or, John P., 366, 370. 

Quarles, Brigadier-General Wil- 
liam A., 213. 

Rambaut, Major Gilbert Vin- 
cent, 100, 170, 355. 

Randle, Captain C. L., Seventh 
Kentucky regiment (Brice's 
crossroads), 241. 

Ray, Colonel W. Augustus, 277. 

Reids Bridge, 138, 139. 

Reynolds, Brigadier - General 
Daniel H., 156. 

Rhodes, W. H., 220, 222. 

Rice, Surgeon John B., 276. 

R ichardson , Brigad ier - G eneral 
Robert V., 159, 160, 163, 171. 

Richland Creek, 326. 

Robins, Captain Thomas, 294. 

nl^^^r 393 ^1 

Roddey, Brigadier-General Philip 

Smilh, Brigadier-General James 

D.. 236, 337, 356, sB4, 285, 336, 

Argyle, 324. 

339. 340, 347- 

Smith, Brigadier-General Tom 

Rogers, Lieutenant-Colonel An- 

Benton, 317. 

drew F., 110. 

Smith, Brigadier-General W. S., 

Rogers, Lieatenajit Fra.nk, 320. 

mentioned, 70, 72. 

Kosecrana, General W. S., 89, 

Smith, Captain D. D., no; rear- 

lOI, 109 ; advance, June 22, 

guard, 114, 119. 

1864, 132 ; at Trenton, Ga., 

Smilh, Captain J. Frank, 217. 

135, 14=. "45, 147- 

Smith, General Andrew J., 252, 

Ross, Biigadier-Generol Lau- 

256, 260, 261, 266, 293. 

rence S., 159. 329, 334, 336. 

Smith, General Preston, 142, 143. 

Eoasville, 149. 

Smilh, General William Sooy, 

Rousseau, General Lovell H., 

173. 176. 177 ; report, •9t>-l9S- 


Smith, Major, 64. 

Rucker, Colonel Edmond W.. 

Smilh, Major-General E. Kirby. 

282, 308,319,320, 321, 


Rucker's Legion, 153. 

Snowden, Lieutenant - Colonel 

Russell, Captain Walton. 122, 125. 
RusseU, Colonel A. A., 80, 90. 

Robert Bogardus, 144. 

Spaulding, Colonel George, 320. 

Russell, Colonel Robert M., with 

Spiliets's battalion, 64. 

Forrest inWest Tennessee, 161, 

Staff of General Forrest, 354-356. 

Rutherford Creek, 323, 325. 

Stanley, Major-General Daniel 

S„ 108. 
Stanton, Edwin M., Secretary of 

Sacramento, Ky., scene of For- 

rest's first fight, 27. 

War, 149, 252. 

Sale, Lieutenant, 270. 

Starke, General Peter B., 325. 

Sanson, Miss Emma, izo, lai. 

Stames, James W., 27, 79. 86, 

Saunders, James E.. 63, 69. 

90, 103, 106, 107, 116, 117, 133. 

Schofield, Major-General John 

5t^, Lieutenant-Colonel Mat- 

M., at Franklin, 313. 

thew R., 27'. =73. 276. 

Scotl, Brigadier-General, 313. 

Steedman, General James B.jagi, 

Scott, Colonel John W.. 64, 146. 


Schuyler, C. A, 25, S4. 

Stevenson, Major-General Carter 

Seai^, Brigadier-General Clau- 

L., succeeded General S. D. 

dius W., 316. 

Lee. command of rear-guard, 

Sererson, Major Charles S., 355. 


Stevenson, Vernon K., 53. 

Shafler. Major W. R., 103. 

Stewart, Colonel Francis M., 148, 

Shaw, William J., 217. 


Stewart, Lieutenant-General Al- 

Shepley, General George F., 222. 

exander P., at Franklin, 310, 

Sheridan, General Philip, tog, too. 


Sherman. General William T., 

Stockdale, Lieutenant -Colonel 

ss, 60. 173-175. 251-253, 286, 

Thomas R.. wounded at Har- 

334. 351. 

risburg, 261. 

Slovall, Brigadier-General Mar- 

J., killed at Harrisbuig, 261. 

cellus A., 322. 

Stovall's brigade at Chicksmauga, 





Strahl, Brigadier-General Otto 
F., 142; killed at battle of 
Franklin, 213. 

Strange, Major John P^ 25, 54, 
60. 91, 286, 289, 355. 

Stratton, Captain William D., 

Streight, Colonel Abel D., 109- 

III, 115, 119, 121, 126. 

Stuart, General J. E. B., men- 
tioned, 109. 

Sturges, brigadier-General Sam- 
uel D., 234 ; report to Wash- 
ington, 235 ; mentioned, 238. 

Sugar Creek, Forrest's last stand 
on the retreat, 328, 330. 

Sullivan, Lieutenant, commander 
of gunboat, 25. 

Sullivan; General Jeremiah C, 
88, 89. 

Taylor, Captain, Seventeenth In- 
diana regiment, 343. 

Taylor, Captain, 64. 

Taylor, Lieutenant-Colonel Wil- 
liam F., 243. 

Taylor, Lieutenant-General Rich- 
ard, 283, 338, 340, 351. 

Terry. W. H., 28. 

Texas Rangers, 61. 

Thomas, General George H., 141, 
144, 145, 148, 309, 319. 

Thompson, Colonel Albert P., 
killed at Paducah, 197 ; men- 
tioned, 204. 

Thompson, Hon. Jacob, resi- 
dence burned, 280 ; mentioned, 

Thompsons Station battle, loi. 

Thralls battery (Captain James 
C), 240-246. 

Tilghman, General Lloyd, 25, 

34, 35. 
Tishomingo Creek, 240. 

Titus, Captain, 260. 

Tombigbee River, 241. 

Trask, Captain William L., men- 
tioned, 369. 

Trezevant, Colonel Edward Bul- 
ler, killed, 103. 

Trigg, General, 144. 
Tupelo, 240. 

Tyler, Captain H. A., 64, ao8, 
ao9, 243, 343. 

Upton, Brigadier-General Emery, 

337. 347. 
Upton, Major, 201, 202. 

Van Dom, Major-General Earl, 

100, J05, 107. 
Van Wick, Dr., mistaken for 

Forrest and killed, 26. 

Walker, Lieutenant-Colonel, 65, 

Walker, Major-General William 

H. T., 141, 142. 

Wallace, Colonel Campbell, 286. 

Walters, Lieutenant John L., 28. 

Walthall, Major-General Edward 

C, 324. 
Waltham, Captain, 64. 
Walton's battery, 276. 
Waring, Colonel George E., 175, 

182, 186, 237. 
Warner, Major Archibald, 356. 
Washburn, General Cadwsdlader 

C, 231, 270, 274, 278, 279, 280, 

Watson, Captain William K., 105. 

Webster, General Joseph D., 

Wharton, Colonel John A., 61, 

65. 68, 73, 96, 98, loi, 103. 

Wheeler, Colonel James F., 290. 

White, Captain Josiah S., 23. 

White, Lieutenant-Colonel Ra- 
leigh R., 298, 307, 374. 

Whitfield, Colonel J. W., iot, 

Wilcox, Captain, 36. 

Wilder, General John T., 109, 

Wilkins, Colonel A., 238. 

Williams, Captain, 36. 

Wilson, Captain Wallace, 10. 

Wilson, Colonel Andrew N., Six- 
teenth Tennessee Cavalry, 161, 
198, 244, 259. 



Wilson, Colonel Claudius C, 
commanding brigade at Chidc- 
amauga, 140. 

Wilson, General James Grant, 

379. 38T. 

Wilson, General James H., 310, 
312, 313, 321 ; summing up of 
Middle Tennessee campaign, 
330 ; concentrating cavalry for 
final campaign in the south, 
near Waterloo and Gravelly 
Springs, 336. 

Windes, Lieutenant-Colonel F. 
M., 292, 293. 

Winslow, Colonel Edward F., 237. 

Wisdom, Colonel Dew Moore, 

163, 218, 243, 260. 
Wisdom, John H., 122. 
Wood, M. H., 363. 
Wood's division at Chickamauga, 

Woodward, Colonel Thomas G., 

Second Kentucky Cavalry, 

Vx« o> /»•, 04« 
Wright, General Marcus J., 142. 

Young, Captain John T., Com- 
pany A, Twenty-fourth Mis- 
souri Infantry, captured at Fort 
Pillow, 225-226. 






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erick A. Ober, author of " Camps in the Caribbees,** 
** Crusoe's Island," etc. With Map and Illustrations. 
i2mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

"You have brought together in a small space an immense amount of most 
valuable information, which it is very important to have within the reach of the 
American people at this time.** — Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge. 




Oom Paul's People. 

With Illustrations, iimo. Cloth, I1.50. 

"He [the author] has written a plain, Etraighifor ward' nar- 
rative of what he himself saw and learned during his recent visit 
to South Africa. . . . The only criticism of it will be that 
which Sam Weller passed on his own love letter, that the reader 
'will wish there was more of it' — which is the great art of 
letter-writing and of book- writing. " — Ncm Tort Warld, 

" The first systematic and categorical expoation of the 
merits of the whole case and its origins written by a disinterested 
observer. . , , An informing book, and 3 weil-writtcn one," — 
Nik Ysri Mtiil and Express. 

" Gives precisely the information necessary to those who 
desire to follow intelligently the progress of events at the present 
time." — Nem York Cammerdal Advertiser. 

The Boers in War. 

The True Story of the Burghers in the Field. 
Elaborately illustrated with Photographs by the 
Author and Others. Uniform with " Oom Paul's 
People." i2mo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

" A book of even wider interest than ' Oom Paul's People.' 
A most novel and curious account of a military form that has 
never been duplicated in modem times ; exceptionally interesting. 
Mr. Hillegas has given us beyond question the best account yet 
published." — Broaklia Eagle. 




Travels and Investigations in the ** Middle Kingdom " — A Study 
of its Civilization and Possibilities^ Together with an Account 
of the Boxer War, the Relief of the Legations, and the Re-estab- 
lishment of Peace. By James Harrison Wilson, A. M., LL. D., 
late Major-General United States Volunteers, and Brevet Major- 
General United States Army. Third edition, revised throughout, 
enlarged, and reset. i2mo. Cloth, 111.75. 

General Wilson's second visit to China and his recent active 
service in that country have afforded exceptional chances for a 
knowledge of present conditions and the possibilities of the future. 
In the light of the information thus obtained at first hand in the 
country itself. General Wilson is enabled to write with a peculiar 
authoritativeness in this edition, which brings his study of China 
down to the present day. In addition to the new chapters which 
have been added explaining the origin and development of the 
Boxer insurrection, the relief of the legations, and the outlook for 
the future, the author has revised his book throughout, and has 
added much valuable matter in the course of his narrative. This 
book, which is therefore in many respects new, puts the reader 
in possession of a broad and comprehensive knowledge of Chinese 
affairs, and this includes the latest phases of the subject. The 
practical and discriminating character of the author's study of 
China will be appreciated more than ever at this time when prac- 
tical questions relating to Chinese administration, commerce, and 
other matters of the first importance, are engaging so much 
attention. This new edition is indispensable for any one who 
wishes a compact, authoritative presentation of the China of 




The Eternal City. 

By Hall Caine, author of "The Christian," "The 
Manxman," " The Bondman," " The Deemster," 
etc. i2mo. Cloth, ^ 

"A vivid and moving picture of Roman life." — Pittsburg 
Commercial Gazette. 

" Bound to exercise a great influence in 
exciting the world." — St. Lauis Post- Dispatch. 

" One of the very strongest productions in fiction that the 
present age has been privileged to enjoy." — Philadelphia Item, 


i ao far undertaken, 
-Clevtland Plain- 

"The most ambitious worli the i 
and may be regarded his greatest si 

"A povrerfii! novel, inspired by a lofty concepfion, and 
carried out with unusua] force. It is the greatest thing that Hall 
Caine has ever attempted." — Brffoilyn Eagle. 

"The praise of the great men of letters — Ruskin, Collins, 
Blackmore, Gladstone — who hailed with delight the advent of 
' The Deemster ' and ■ The Bondman,' should now be readjusted 
to meet present exigencies, for Mr. Hall Caine has done for the 
myriads of his English readers what Walpole did for » smaller yet 
not less discriminating public. . . . The true Italian spirit of 
Onuphrio Muralto we find revived after many years in ' The 
Eternal City.' " — Neze Tork Times Saturday Review. 




The Wilderness RoacL 

A Romance of St. Clair's Defeat and Wayne's Victory. i2mo. 

Cloth, $1.50. 

*' That Mr. Altsheler has caught the wild, free spirit of the life vhich he 
depicts is evident on every page, and nowhere more so than in one of his 
final chapters, *The Meeting of the Chiefs,' where he vitalizes the life-and- 
death struggle of a friendly and a hostile Indian." — New York Mail and 

In Qrdmgf Gimps* 

A Romance of the American Civil War. 1 2mo. Cloth, %\, 50, 

" We do not often ^et as fine a picture as that which Mr. Altsheler paints. 
The tale covers the penod from the election and the inauguration of Lincoln 
until the surrender of Lee and the entrance of the Northern army into Rich- 
mond. . . . Every good American who enjoys the smell of powder and the 
crack of the rifle will appreciate the chapters that describe the battle of 
Gettysburg."— T:*^ Bookman, 

A Herald of the West 

An American Story of 1 8 1 1— 1 815. 1 2mo. Cloth, |t i • 50. 

*' A portion of our history that has not before been successfully embodied 
in fiction. . . . Extremely well written, condensed, vivid, picturesque, and 
there is continual action. ... A rattling good story, and unrivaled in fiction 
for its presentation of the American feeling toward England during our 
second conflict." — Boston Herald, 

A Soldier of Manhattaiv 

And his Adventures at Ticonderoga and Quebec. 1 2mo. Cloth, 
||i.oo; paper, 50 cents. 

*' Graphic and intensely interesting. . . . The book may be warmly com- 
mended as a good specimen of the fiction that makes history real and living.** 
— San Francisco Chronicle. 

♦' The story is told in such a simple, direct way that it holds the reader's 
interest to the end, and gives a most accurate picture of the times." — Boston 

The Sun of Saratogfa* 

A Romance of Burgoyne's Surrender, izmo. Cloth, |>i.oo; 
paper, 50 cents. 

" Taken altogether, * The Sun of Saratoga* is the best historical novel of 
American origin that has been written for years, if not, indeed, in a fresh, 
simple, unpretending, unlabored, manly way, that we have ever read." — liew 
York Mail and Express, 



The Strength of the Weak. 

i2ino. Cloth, $1.50. 

The delightful outdoor qoafity of Mr. HoCchldss*t nord forms a chamung 
accompaniment to the adventurous happenings of the romance The author 
has found some apt suggestions in the diary of a soldier of the New Hampshire 
Grants, and these actual experiences have been utilized in the development of 
the tale. The story is one of love and daring and American courage, and the 
varying outdoor scenes which succeed each other as the tale unfolds provide a 
picturesqueness and zest which show the increasing power of an author whote 
previous books have won for him a large circle of admirers. 

Betsy Ross. 

A Romance of the Flag. 1 2ino. Cloth, $ i . 50. 

"A novelized drama, and a right good one, too, with plenty of stir, patrioC- 
ism, and love." — Nevf Tori H^orld. 

** * Betsy Ross ' reaches the American ideal in fiction. It is the long- 
looked-for American novel. Stirring, intense, dealing with great native 
characters, and recalling some of the noblest incidents connected with our 
national history, it is the one novel of the time that fulfills the ideal that we 
had all conceived, but no one had before accomplished.'* — FIdhidelflua Item, 

In Defiance of the King^. 

i2mo. Cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 

'* As a love romance it is charming, while it is filled with thrilfing adventure 
and deeds of patriotic daring ** — Bottom Ad^trttur. 

'* A remarkable good story. . . . The heart beats quickly, and we fed 
ourselves taking a part in the exciting scenes described, the popular breeze sdzci 
upon us and whirls us away into the tumult of war." — Oucago Evcmng Poa, 

A Colonial Free-Lance. 

i2mo. Cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 

" A fine, stirring fMcture of the period, full of brave deeds, startling though 
not improbable incidents, and of absorbing interest fmrn be^nning to end.** — 
Boston Transcript. 

** A brave, moving, spirited, readable romance. Every one of his pages it 
aglow writh the fire of patriotism, the vigor of adventure, and the daring of 
reckless bravery.** — H^asAimgtom Tiwus. 


The Story of the Soldier. 

By General G. A. Forsyth, U.S.A. (retired). Illustrated by 
R, F. Zogbaum. A new volume in the Story of the West Series, 
edited by Ripley Hitchcock. l2mo. Cloth, 111.50. 

In the great task of opening the empire west of the Missouri 
the American regular soldier has played a part large and heroic, 
but unknown. The purpose of this book is to picture the Amer- 
ican soldier in the life of exploration, reconnoissaiices, establishing 
posts, guarding wagon trains, repressing outbreaks, or battling 
with hostile Indians, which has been so large a part of the army's 
active work for a hundred years. 

No romance can be more suggestive of heroic deeds than this 
volume, which appears most opportunely at a time when the 
Regular Army is facing so many and so serious duties in both 
hemispheres. No one is better entitled to write it than the brave 
officer who with his little handful of men held the sandspit in the 
Arickaree for days against Roman Nose and his thousands of 
warriors, and finally won their lives by sheer dogged pluck and 
heroism. Mr. Zogbaum' s illustrations are a most valuable gal- 
lery of pictures of Western army life. 

"To General Forsyth belongs the credit of having gathered together for 
the first time the story of the heroic work, invaluable to the progress of our 
civilization, which regular soldiers performed in silence and obscurity.** — Boston 

" General Forsyth's identity with the army extends over a notable period 
in its history, and he is among the few officers who remain who are able to 
write of their personal knowledge of the thrilling experiences of our soldiers on 
the plains.** — fVashington Army and Navy Register. 

* * The soldierly qualities of the author appear on every page of the volume 
in a precision of statement, a generosity of praise, and an urbanity of temper. 
The narrative is commended to the interest and attention of every student of 
our national life and development.** — Philadelphia Ledger. 

** There is not a dull page in the book.** — Buffalo Commercial. 

**The story presents a fresh and thrilling chapter of American history." — 

Oeveland World.