resulted in the burning of all bridges and trestles north and south of Tupelo
, and the destruction of the railroad.
During the raid, a portion of the cavalry division was newly armed with seven-shot Spencer
carbines, capable of firing fourteen shots per minute.
The Confederates were astonished and dismayed by the tremendous amount of lead poured into their ranks, and after the Tupelo fight one of the Confederate
prisoners wonderingly asked a cavalryman, “Say, do you all load those guns you all fight with on Sunday, and then fire 'em all the week?”
In the spring of the following year, 1865, General James H. Wilson
, who had commanded a division in Sheridan
's Army of the Shenandoah, began, under the direction of General Thomas
, an important demonstration against Selma
and Tuscaloosa, Alabama
, in favor of General Canby
's operations against Mobile
and central Alabama
This great raid, which severed the main arteries supplying life-blood to the Confederacy
, was destined to be the culminating blow by the Federal
cavalry inflicted on the already tottering military structure of the Southern Confederacy.
Starting on March 22, 1865, and marching in three separate columns on a wide front, because of the devastated condition of the country, Wilson
began his movement by keeping the Confederate
leaders completely in ignorance as to whether Columbus
, or Tuscaloosa
, was his real objective.
, April 2d, a division of Wilson
's dismounted cavalry, facing odds in position, gallantly carried the Confederate
semipermanent works surrounding the city, in an assault which swept all before it.
's report says:
The fortifications assaulted and carried consisted of a bastioned line, on a radius of nearly three miles, extending from the Alabama River below to the same above the city.
The part west of the city is covered by a miry, deep, and almost impassable creek; that on the east side by a swamp, extending from the river almost to the Summerfield