Forrest's 2nd West Tennessee Raid - "Cattle Raid"

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DixieRifles

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At Time 2:59=== "Put a penny on Sonny(?)" or Sully?

Texas A&M updated their display in the Student Union for the memorial to one of their fallen soldiers from WW2. Staff Sergeant George D. Keathley, B Company, 338th Infantry, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for action at Monte Altuzzo on the Gothic Line. My dad was in the same infantry division: 85 "Custer" Division. One of the officers on the ROTC staff contacted me and I donated the DUI pin for the 338 Infantry Regiment that is in the display. I was invited out to the dedication of the new display and bronze relief but I couldn't make it.
 

Nathanb1

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It's Sully. :smile: I always like to see the dollar bills amongst the pennies. It's supposed to give you luck on finals....I assume those are for either dissertations or theses--or just really bad students!
 

DixieRifles

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I was only a few days late, but I made a visit to Moscow Battlefield with a fellow member of CWT Forum.
This is a photo of two crazy Civil War Nuts. We toured the sites of Germantown and Collierville while the trees were covered in ice and some branches falling on Hiway 57.

I don't know who is the craziest:
DixieRifles for wearing his kepi at all the battle sites he visits --- and this time he was wearing his Confederate issue "hoodie"
or
KLSDAD who drove 16 hours to get here which included 3 hours stuck on I-55 in Arkansas.

Moscow_Dec8.jpg
 
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DixieRifles

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This thread was originally begun in 2009. Then it was bumped up with 150th anniversary of the Battle of Moscow on December 4.
I thought it was time to track the events in "real time". First, I need to post OR's dated Christmas Day 1863. This is from the Union command as they try to locate and cut off the return routes for Forrest, Bell and Richardson. Grierson and Hurlbut are ordering troops into positions and burning bridges. These are only a few samples. I thought it best to post a scanned image rather than garbled text version.

Estenaula is located on the South Fork Hatchie River, midway between Brownsville and LaGrange.

CattleRaid_US-Dec25.jpg


CattleRaid_US-Dec25-Hurlbut.jpg
 

DixieRifles

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Now a few letters from the Confederate Cavalry command. These date back to 22nd December. The first is from General Forrest---I've cut out a portion of this lengthy message. This one gives his strength. As you may recall, Col. Bell is driving a large wagon train with ~1,000 unarmed recruits and 200-300 cattle.

The second is from General S. D. Lee, the Departmental commander, dated the 24th.
CattleRaid_CSA-Dec22-Forrest.jpg


CattleRaid_CSA-Dec22-Lee.jpg
 

DixieRifles

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Col. Tyree Bell crosses the Hatchie River

I didn't want to rely upon one source for the story of the Raid but Col. Tyree Bell has the best account of the crossing of the Hatchie River. This is quoted directly from his biography "Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell, CSA; Forrest's Fighting Lieutenant".
In Forrest's bio "Campaigns of General N B Forrest", it states that Bell crossed with 40 wagons and cattle and hogs during the previous night and thru mid-day of 25th---Christmas Day.


Soon after dark, Forrest came up to Bell’s position and the two discussed the likelihood of an attack by Grierson’s troopers the next morning. Bell was worried. The long, ponderous column invited attack, and the troops at hand were too few to provide reliable defense. To add to their worries, Lt. Col. Dew W. Wisdom’s and Maj. Charles McDonald’s armed battalions of veterans, plus Lt. Col. William D. Lannon’s band of Kentuckians (Wm W. Faulkner’s regiment), in all about 500 men, had been sent to strike at the enemy column advancing from Corinth toward Jack’s Creek and were out of immediate supporting distance. There was however, the rear guard of Bell’s column. It was armed. Bell told Forrest that he believed it should be brought up to Estenaula and pushed over the river. “I will go back to the ferry,” Bell told Forrest, “cross the river and go to see Colonel Newsom and give him his orders.” So Bell turned his horse about and went back. Taking with him Capt. Reuben D. Clark, who was acting as his adjutant. By now there were many unarmed men on both banks of the Hatchie, and Bell passed through them, dismounted, boarded the ferry, and re-crossed the river. When he reached the other bank he walked about half a mile to the point where Newsom had halted with his regiment. Bell told Newsom he wanted the entire regiment across before daybreak, and he so instructed Capt. Jo Lea who was superintending the crossing, making certain that Lea understood that Newsom’s armed men were to be given priority. The bitter cold weather complicated everything. Not only the water, but the mud was freezing.

Bell walked back onto the small ferryboat to return to the west bank. The boat, however, was “so frail and unsteady” that it had not gone more than 30 yards into the Hatchie River before it capsized. “Wagons, team, and a lot of soldiers were in the end of the boat where I was,” Bell recalled, “and everything was big excitement.” A couple of small mules banged into him and knocked him down. Forrest saw the desperation of the situation and the General plunged into the icy stream himself, grabbing for the harness that entrapped the mules. While Forrest attempted to cut the animals loose, Bell managed to free himself from the struggling animals. Believing “it would overtax my strength to try to swim across the river,” he tried floating and swimming downstream, aiming for a bend where he could see some shrubs sticking out of the water. “Finally I got to where I could touch bottom with my feet.”

Captain Clark came to Bell’s rescue at this point and pulled him out of the icy water. Once upon the bank, Bell looked at himself---soaked from head to foot and caked with creek bank mud. “I thought I would freeze to death,” Bell recalled, but Clark and others wrapped him with blankets and built fires on either side of him. Capt. Drew Outlaw “who happened to be around and always had whiskey in his canteen, poured some down me.” Meanwhile Clark hastened to get the nearly frozen Bell some dry clothes.

Early the next morning Bell and Forrest took all the armed men and moved out from Hatchie River bottoms against the 7th Illinois (Cavalry). The enemy retreated, however, “and we never got close enough to them to have a standing fight,” Bell wrote. “After running them all day, we turned our course towards Lafayette, a station on the Memphis and Charleston Road.”

{Edited to add following}
Lt. Col. Dew M. Wisdom was from McNairy County, Tenn. He rose to Captain of Company F, 13th Tennessee Infantry. Early in the war he was wounded twice---having his front teeth knocked out at Belmont. He joined the cavalry and became commander of 19th Tennessee Cavalry. He was wounded at battle of Harrisburg and gained recognition in the battles of Fort Pillow and Brice's Crossroads.
 
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DixieRifles

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Union OR's from December 27th.

CattleRaid_US-Dec27.jpg


Here is a CS message dated 22nd that I omitted. In it, General Lee informs Forrest of his promotion. After Johnston left for AOT, General Lee would soon depart and Forrest would be placed in command of a Cavalry Corps in February 1864, with General Chalmers reporting to him.
CattleRaid_CSA-Dec22-Lee-MagGen.jpg
 

DixieRifles

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Skirmish at Lafayette Station - December 27, 1863

The skirmish was an attack by Forrest and Bell to capture the damaged bridge across the Wolf River. This bridge is a few hundred yards north of the M&CRR in Lafayette (present-day Rossville). Marker located at the town square in Rossville.
Marker_Lafayette_Front.jpg

Marker_Lafayette_Back.jpg


Contemporary Map of Lafayette
(with annotations)
The fort & skirmish was at the bridge over the Wolf River. (Forgot if it was North or South of the river)
The map included flags with labels of the Mile Markers for the Rail Road. Lafayette was at Mile 31; Collierville was Mile 24. The main East/West road closely follows present-day Hiway 57.

(FYI-- the M&C RR was built upon top of a main ridge that crossed Shelby County. The ridge was the water shed between the Wolf River to the North and the Nonconnah River to the South. Of course the ridge eventually diminishes further East.)

Map_Lafayette_top.jpg


The Title for the Map of Lafayette and Collierville, Tenn identifies the surveyor as Lt. J. H. Wilson, the topographical engineer for General Grant in 1862 and early 1863. This is James H. Wilson who rose up through the ranks and eventually commanded a Cavalry Corps. General Forrest surrendered to General Wilson near Mobile in 1865.
Map-Header.jpg



Before posting this, I thought this battle took place on December 31st. I checked back through my posts to see if I stated that and didn't see it anywhere. It occurred on December 27th. See next post.
 
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DixieRifles

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Night Skirmish at Collierville - December 27th, 1863

Quoted from “Nathan Bedford Forrest; A Biography” by Jack Hurst

The latter column, meanwhile, he took toward a Union garrison guarding LaFayette Station on the Memphis & Charleston, having heard it commanded a usable bridge over the Wolf. There Forrest troopers under Colonel Tyree Bell fired a volley with the 200 rifles they had, and the Federals---apparently (and wrongly) assuming the rest of the Confederates had guns, too---retreated, only to be pursued. Other Federals, though, now were coming hard from Collierville five miles west, Moscow eight miles east, and other farther locations; a Union telegrapher at LaFayette had managed to summon them by sending a message about Forrest’s intent to cross the Wolf. When the first Federal troops arrived in a driving rain, the embattled Confederates attacked westward with most of their armed men, leaving a few others to prevent pursuit from the east until dark. With most of his men, wagons, and livestock being pushed hard toward Holly Springs, Mississippi, Forrest drove almost into Collierville, where the Federals he was pursing finally dug in December 27 for a fight the next morning. Day dawned, however, on an empty field in front of the Federals’ position; their pursuer had retreated in the darkness to follow the rest of his column to Holly Springs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quoted from “The Artillery of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Cavalry” by John Watson Morton

While conflicting reports were being telegraphed into Memphis and Washington, the main body of General Forrest’s troops were quietly crossing over the repaired bridge. The supplies and raw troops were then sent on to Holly Springs, Miss., while General Forrest, with Morton’s Artillery, supported by 300 men, proceeded in the direction of Collierville, where a large Federal force had been reported. Scarce two miles had been covered when a body of Federal cavalrymen was met, coming in double-quick time to Lafayette in the hope of cutting off the progress of the wily Confederate. These were charged in General Forrest’s usual impetuous, stormy fashion, with Morton’s guns in front, and after a few volleys the enemy beat a hasty retreat. A torrential rain had been falling for some time, and this assisted in hiding the paucity of the confederate forces. At the moment of the enemy’s retreat scouts brought in information of a body of Federals moving from LaGrange, and general Forrest was obliged to send skirmishers out to meet them and hold them in check as long as possible. He himself, with the artillery, pushed rapidly on to join the train, but at 10 o’clock the enemy overtook him, and a two hours’ fight ensued in the mud and darkness. It resulted in the retirement of the Federals in two bodies, one to the fortifications at Lafayette and the other to the works at Collierville. General Forrest pressed immediately on in the direction of Holly Springs, following his train, and reaching Mount Pleasant, Miss., by daylight on the 28th, he allowed his weary troops a much-needed rest. By short, slow marches he then proceeded across the country to Como, Miss.


{Edited to correct omissions in above quote.}
------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Another source says Forrest reached Holly Springs(as I recall) by dawn on the 28th. One account said General Forrest rode into Collierville to have supper at the home of a Confederate captain.
I can’t find the quote but one witness reported that
glowing red artillery rounds fired from Union artillery in Collierville passed over their heads. Also other description of this face-off indicates that Forrest moved his forces to the ridge on the East side of town, known by the current name of Tabernacle Hill. This ridge is located on the north side of US Highway 57, about 100 yards east of the Shelby county line in Fayette County, which is also the Eastern border of present Collierville.

Thus ends Forrest 2nd West Tennessee Raid.
 
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DixieRifles

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Due to the many requests (only 7th Mississippi), I thought it needed one last entry.

January 1864 - Aftermath of the Raid

According to some authors, General Sherman was not too concerned about Forrest and his raiders. This seems to show in his communication in the OR’s. That would change in a few months. Things seemed to quiet down a bit in the XVI Corps. Union cavalry patrols were sent below the Coldwater River and eventually as far south as the Tallahatchie River. There were a reports of a few Rebel cavalrymen and some prisoners taken. There were a some alarms of massed Rebel forces near LaGrange and Collierville but most turned out to be false.

Sherman realized the waste of manpower required to protect the M&C RR from Memphis to Corinth. It was soon after the after the Battle of Collierville on October 11, when his train was destroyed and he and his staff almost captured that Sherman expressed his first ideas that would eventually culminate in his scorched earth policy in Georgia. By 11th January, General Sherman began hatching his next campaign to advance out of Vicksburg and this plan included moving a cavalry force out of Collierville. This would result in the Battle of Okolona in February 22. He began calling for these forts along the M&C RR to be abandoned and the infantry moved towards Chattanooga.

Both infantry and cavalry in Union(city) and Fort Pillow were moved to Memphis. Corinth was closed and the units moved to Memphis. Col. George Waring’s cavalry brigade in Columbus, KY, was ordered to move to Collierville. While still in the planning stage, Gen. Sooy Smith expressed some excitement about this proposed raid through the Mississippi prairie. He even wrote General Grant about his expectations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to complain about lack of horses and equipment to carry-out his campaign---but I digress as that is a another battle.

This OR is one of the first where General Sherman mentions his Meridian Expedition that would be supported by Gen. Sooy Smith's cavalry division.
OR_US_Jan1864__12.jpg


OR's reporting on the cavalry recon into Northern Mississippi. One reported an IED placed under the track rails.
OR_US_Jan1864__12--RR Mine.jpg


Gen. Sooy Smith prepares for action.
OR_US_Jan1864__14.jpg


Troops are moved to Memphis and surrounding area. General Sherman passes down the order to abandon Fort Pillow----which General Hurlbut would later disobey, resulting in the Battle on April 12. This would result in Hurlbut being removed from command.

OR_US_Jan1864__16.jpg


Orders to evacuate Corinth by rail.

OR_US_Jan1864__18.jpg


Another interesting dialogue related to the Train on the M&C RR. General Hurlbut is trying to hurry up the movement of equipment and especially some Parrott guns.

OR_US_Jan1864__20--Train.jpg


.
I searched for some OR's related to Confederate forces but they seem to be quiet at this time.
 
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DixieRifles

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More info on the Battle of Moscow, Dec. 4, 1863.
. . . . . . .
Colonel Lawrence Sullivan "Sul" Ross (Sept 27, 1838 – Jan 3, 1898) had served as a Texas Ranger in 1860. In 1861, Ross's brother began forming a company of militia to go into the Indian Territory. In the middle of August he departed, with his company, for Missouri to join up with Benjamin McCulloch. On September 7, his group became Company G of Stone's Regiment, later known as the Sixth Texas Cavalry. He was elected Colonel of the regiment in 1862. Ross and his men participated in the Battle of Corinth. Under Ross's command, his Texans twice captured Union guns at Battery Robinett. The Sixth Cavalry's horses arrived soon after the battle, and the regiment was transferred to the cavalry brigade of Colonel William H. "Red" Jackson. Ross fell ill again in September 1863. From September 27 through March 1864, he suffered recurring attacks of fever and chills every three days, symptomatic of tertian malaria. Despite his illness, Ross never missed a day of duty. In early 1864 he was promoted to brigadier general, becoming the ninth-youngest general officer of the Confederate Army
Sometime after the Battle of Moscow, he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1887, he became the 19th governor of Texas and is the namesake of Sul Ross University.
This is a follow-up on the Ross' Texas Cavalry Brigade (aka Whitefield's) and the Battle of Moscow.

Back in December, when KLSDAD drug me out to Moscow on a snowy day, I knew very little about the Texas Brigade that were engaged at Moscow. I thought Col. Ross' Brigade was in South Mississippi or maybe had crossed into Alabama. Most textbooks say Col. Sul Ross was sick and did not return to service until January or February 1864. Some accounts describe how the Texans traveled from Vicksburg area, diagonally across the State of Mississippi and crossed the state line to attack at Moscow, TN. How did they do that?

I have obtained a Diary of Pvt. Thomas Henry Benton Lovelady of Company K, 6th Texas Cavalry, in which he describes their movement and many details of his life. This is a copy of a document, transcribed by hand on ruled paper with Page Numbers of the original journal and the Dates and Years. This copy is 58 pages written from margin to margin with text using what appears to be original spelling. This copy has a brief title: "Traveling On The Plains". I would like to know what became of the original. Was it printed? Is it available on the internet?

Here is a Service Record for Pvt. Thomas Lovelady.
LoveladyTHB_6TXCav.jpg


The following is Pvt Lovelady's description of the Battle of Moscow; quoting from Page 30:

4th - We changed our direction, turned northwest & attacked Moska, where the R.R. crosses the Wolf River, Ross' Brig., our reg. & the 1st Miss charged on horse back under the fire. We fronted in to line as we run, dismounted & never stopped, kept charging, we tore the 6th Ill all to pieces, wasted the 9th very bad too. We run them in the river shot them & caused them to drownd. We got most all of their horses, we then fell back a short distance & campt.

I reviewed the entries over three months to trace their progress. Here are the dates and the places he records. When some dates are omitted, it was when they were in camp or making preparations for their next movement. The entry begins with the 6th Texas Cavalry near Jackson, MS.

=OCTOBER=
20 boarded a Slow train
21 Train came thru Canton, Livingston, below Vernon.
24 rain, glad to cross Big Black River
26 Benton
27 Richland, came thru Goodman, crossed Big Black River

=NOVEMBER=
1 attended Church
3 Attallaville
?
~~~in camp ~~~
11 Came thru French Camp, Bankston, Greensboro
(town no longer exists; near Tomnolen)
12 horse lame
13 came on
(i.e., continued his march)
14 Houson, stopped 4 mi west of Oaklona(Okolona)
15 Oaklona
17 moved 1/2 mile
~~~in camp ~~~
26 marched to Pontotock
(Pontotoc)
27 marched to New Albany
28 Attacked Union camp and drove them 7 miles
29 New Albana
(New Albany)
30
=DECEMBER=
1 crossed Tallahatchie River, camped west of Ripley(surely MS)
2 came to Louisberg? in Tenn on M&C RR
3 moved in the direction of Holly Springs
4
(pg 30) Battle of "Moska" (Moscow, TN)
7 Chulahoma
8 Oxford
9 Water Valley
10 Coffeeville, Grenada
11 Crossed Yellowbush River
(Yalobusha River), Grenada
14 Duck Hill
15 Crossed Big Black River, Attallaville
?
18 Canton
19 Livingston
22 near Brownsville
23 Moors Bluff
24 crossed Big Black River on ferry boat
25
26 He & buddy traveled to Lexington
27 came thru Chula
(Tchula, not far from Lexington)
29 crossed Yazoo River
30 Swum Sunflower River
 
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He tried farming in Tennessee for about 10 years after the war and then packed up his family and family of two children and some pastor friends and moved to California. They paid an additional $85 a day for the use of a Pullman car and another car for their horses and rode to California. His wife was one of the first to die there. Other relatives and friends who had rode with him in the War would join them in California.

Bell lead a brigade in the Hood Nashville Campaign. At the Battle of Franklin they were ordered to advance as dismounted infantry armed with shotguns and pistols against fortified infantry. He lucked out in not being in the thick of the battle. During this campaign he lost an eye to shrapnel and refused treatment and acted as rear guard with Forrest and General Walthall during their retreat. After 35 days of fighting constantly in the saddle in the cold, rain and snow, they returned to Corinth. The Tennesseans and Mississippians were given furlough and in a few days he was riding back up to Trenton, Tenn. What a tough old hombre.
Bell and his men weren't actually in the assault against the fortified line, but they did cover the gap between the far right of Stewart's corps to the river and flushed Yankee skirmishers back to their trenches. They were pretty much out of the fight before reaching within 400 yards of the Yankee line. They did get to receive some ugly fire from Fort Granger though.
 
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I will be giving a talk on Forrest's "Cattle Raid" at the local Collierville SCV meeting on Tuesday nite, 10 October. I plan to talk a little more about Col. Tyree Bell's activities to recruit men and arm them.

If you are in the area, I'm sure we can get you into the meeting.
Good luck Steve !

I wish I could attend your presentation.

Be sure to let us know how it turned out.
 
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