Raids in the western theater

In the fall of 1863, Forrest was transferred to the war's western theater (the area west of the Appalachian Mountains). He wasted no time in making his presence felt. In the months following his arrival, his cavalry conducted damaging raids on Union positions throughout northern Mississippi and western Tennessee.

Beginning in June 1864, Forrest launched a series of raids against the supply lines of Union general William T. Sherman, who had begun a major invasion of the Confederacy's western region earlier in the year. Sherman responded by ordering a force of eighty-five hundred Northern troops to find Forrest and stop him. Instead, Forrest launched a surprise attack on his pursuers. This clash, which took place at Brices Cross Roads, Mississippi, on June 10, resulted in one of the greatest Confederate cavalry victories of the war. Despite being outnumbered by almost a two-to-one margin, Forrest pushed his foes into a wild retreat. By the end of the day, his cavalry had captured two thousand soldiers, sixteen cannons, and hundreds of supply wagons.

Forrest's cavalry continued to strike against Union troops and supply lines through the rest of 1864 and into early 1865. But the Union Army's growing dominance over its Confederate foes elsewhere in the South made these raids seem less and less important. In addition, Forrest's cavalry operated during this period under the same shortages of food and supplies that were weakening other Confederate armies. On April 2, 1865, Forrest's fading cavalry was disabled once and for all when it absorbed a terrific beating outside Selma,

Western Rebel Cavalry

A member of the Ku Klux Klan is shown attacking a black family. (From Harper's Weekly, February 24, 1872.)

Alabama, at the hands of Union cavalry forces led by Major General James H. Wilson (1837-1925).

A member of the Ku Klux Klan is shown attacking a black family. (From Harper's Weekly, February 24, 1872.)

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