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Chapter 12:

The greatest achievements of the cavalry of the State were under the leadership of Gen. Nathan B. Forrest. He had rendered conspicuous service at Donelson and at Shiloh, but his career fairly began in June, 1862, when, from Tupelo, Miss., he was ordered by General Beauregard to proceed to north Alabama and middle Tennessee and assume command of the cavalry of Colonels Scott, Wharton and Adams. Forrest, himself, held the rank of colonel.

On the 9th of July, Forrest, now a brigadier-general, left Chattanooga with 1,400 men, including his own regiment under Major Smith; the Eighth Texas, Col. John A. Wharton; the Second Georgia, Colonel Lawton, and two companies of Kentuckians under Captains Taylor and Waltham. He made forced marches to Murfreesboro, arriving at 4:30 a. m. of the 13th in front of that place, then held by the Ninth Michigan and Third Minnesota regiments of infantry, 200 Pennsylvania cavalry, 100 of the Eighth Kentucky cavalry, and Hewett's battery of four guns—1,400 men, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Thomas Crittenden.

The attack was made with characteristic energy and continued for several hours, when the entire Federal force was surrendered as prisoners of war. Forrest lost 25 killed and 60 wounded; the Federals, 75 killed and 125 [218] wounded. Among the Confederates killed was Lieutenant Green of the Tennessee battalion. The fruits of the victory were the four-gun battery complete, sixty wagons and teams, the cavalry horses, arms, ammunition and equipments of the garrison, and a large supply of quartermaster and commissary stores.

After Forrest had leisurely retired with his prisoners and captured property to McMinnville, a great hue and cry was raised. Troops were hurried to Nashville for its defense, others were sent to Readyville, Statesville, Wilton, and to a point on the old Franklin road, others toward Lebanon, all charged with the same duty—to ‘cut Forrest off.’ Under date of July 24th, the famous Gen. William Nelson, then at Murfreesboro, informed General Buell that he had ordered a battalion of Wolford's cavalry and a battalion of Beard's to join him. ‘When they do come I will have about 1,200 cavalry, and Mr. Forrest shall have no rest. I will hunt him myself.’ Fortunately for General Nelson, he never found him.

Forrest rested a few days at McMinnville, then left there on the 18th with 700 effective troops and moved on Lebanon, Tenn., which he occupied unmolested for two days, the Federal forces having hastily retired. On the 21st he moved to within a few miles of Nashville, destroyed the railroad bridges across Mill creek, skirmished with the garrison at Antioch, captured 97 prisoners, frightened the garrison at Nashville and retired in order. On his return to McMinnville he sent a flag of truce to Murfreesboro. But ‘he could not be found.’

Gen. Frank C. Armstrong reported from Middleburg, Tenn., on the 1st of September, 1862: ‘Just finished whipping the enemy in front of Bolivar. Ran him in town and captured 71 prisoners, of whom 4 were commissioned officers. Among the Federal dead were two colonels.’ After this affair, General Armstrong crossed the Hatchie river, passed between Jackson and Bolivar, and destroyed the bridges and trestles between the two places. On his [219] return toward the village of Denmark he encountered two regiments of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, and a section of artillery at Britton's lane, under command of Col. E. S. Dennis of the Thirtieth Illinois. Colonel Dennis reports the battle to have been of four hours duration, and claims that his force numbered 800, that he was surrounded by 5,000 Confederates, and in this long struggle sustained a loss of 5 killed and 55 wounded. General Armstrong's account was that he captured Dennis' artillery, destroyed a portion of his wagon train, and captured 213 prisoners, whom he sent to the rear and paroled on the 3d of September. General Armstrong had the co-operation of Col. W. H. Jackson, Seventh Tennessee, whose command, he stated, deserved an equal share of credit with his own.

In an expedition to west Tennessee, Forrest crossed the Tennessee river on the 15th of December and on the 18th, at Lexington, Tenn., attacked the enemy, consisting of a section of artillery and 800 cavalry, Col. R. G. Ingersoll commanding. The Federals were easily routed, with the loss of their 2 guns and 148 prisoners with their horses and equipments. The balance of the force fled in the wildest disorder in the direction of

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