advance by Smith into Mississippi, Forrest led 2,000 men in a daring raid into Memphis. The Confederates occupied part of the city and skirmished with the 5,000-man Federal garrison. In a savage rearguard skirmish, Forrest mortally wounded a Union cavalry officer - one of 30 Union soldiers that Forrest killed in hand-to-hand combat during the war. Forrest withdrew from Memphis, with only minor casualties.

Following a successful September raid on rail lines in Alabama and Tennessee, Forrest attacked Federal shipping on the Tennessee River. On October 29 and 30 Forrest used artillery to destroy and capture Federal steamboats near Fort Heiman, Kentucky. Adding to his reputation as a bold and innovative commander, Forrest put troopers aboard two of the captured boats, and used his makeshift "navy" to disrupt river traffic. The Federal navy, however, recaptured one of the boats, and forced the Confederates to burn the other.

Forrest next struck Johnsonville, an important depot used by the Federals to transfer supplies from steamboats for shipment by rail to Nashville. Secreting his

At Harrisburg, near Tupelo, the Confederates delivered a series of brave but uncoordinated frontal attacks on the Union positions. Heavy losses were incurred, and each assault was repulsed. That night, Smith set fire to Harrisburg. In a rare night attack, Forrest led a dismounted assault, but broke off when subjected to a hail of musketry. Smith withdrew north the following morning (see map left).

artillery on the west bank, on November 4 Forrest shelled steamboats, warehouses and troops. The Federals panicked, set fire to their vessels, which in turn ignited their stores, causing damage estimated at $6,700,000. After shelling the depot next morning, Forrest withdrew into north Alabama to join General Hood's planned invasion of middle Tennessee.

In a 28-day foray into West Tennessee, Forrest and his raiders blocked the Tennessee near Fort Heiman, then captured Federal shipping which they used to advance on Johnsonville. Despite Federal retaliation, the Confederates bombarded the town, causing extensive damage to Federal shipping and supplies (below).

Battle of Tupelo

July 14, 1864


Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment