Nathan Bedford Forrest in Western Tennessee and Mississippi – September 25-28, 2013

Wednesday, September 25 (7:30pm)-Saturday, September 28 (5pm)
Led by Thomas Cartwright
Corinth, Mississippi
Tour Registration: $495.00

Nathan Bedford ForrestLast year America’s History followed Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest thru Middle Tennessee as he created a reputation as one of the premier commanders of the War Between the States. We’ll continue that trek this September with one of the most knowledgeable and zealous historians of the “Wizard of the Saddle,” the incomparable Thomas Y. Cartwright. Forrest was indeed a skilled battlefield tactician, cavalry leader and raider who evoked controversy during the war and in the aftermath of reconstruction. He was a truly larger than life individual. Our 2013 Forrest tour will show you some of his most famous and infamous actions in Western Tennessee and Mississippi.

On our first day we’ll travel to the battlefield at Brice Crossroads (or Brice’s Cross Roads, if you prefer) in Mississippi, one of Forrest’s most storied victories. It is still studied today by members of the U.S. Armed Forces as a classic tactical battlefield maneuver. Interpretation of what happened here on June 10, 1864 is made easier by the battlefield’s pristine condition. We’ll extensively walk the battlefield to give you a solid understanding to Forrest’s ingenious tactics against the Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis. We may even stop at the “gravesite” of John Wilkes Booth which is a few miles from the battlefield. Time permitting we are planning to make a stop at Fallen Timbers, where another unique Forrest escapade occurred in 1862.

On Friday we’ll visit one of the most controversial sites associated with Forrest’s reputation: Fort Pillow. The story may be familiar: a massacre of United States Colored Troopers by Confederate soldiers under Forrest’s command. But the site and the details surrounding the Fort Pillow action may surprise you. This site is indeed off-the-beaten track, so it is not often visited by students of the contentious Southern commander. During our return from Fort Pillow, we’ll make several unique stops: the Britton’s Lane battlefield site, the Denmark Church site and the Salem Cemetery battle site. At Britton’s Lane, a fierce struggle took place on September 1, 1862. One understated description claims that “only half-dozen historical markers dot the site, and there are no massive battlefield maps or push-button audio tapes to guide the curious observer. Yet thousands of brave soldiers from Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio,” including troops from Forrest’s command, “fought and died there in a feverish, four-hour battle.” Another unique site is the Denmark Church and Cemetery which served a prison and final resting place for many casualties following the battle of Britton’s Lane. Confederate General John Ingram, the first commander of the Denmark Danes (6th Tennessee Infantry), is buried here. Salem Cemetery battlefield is an often overlooked Forrest victory fought on December 19, 1862. Forrest achieved his goal to keep the Yankees in their Jackson fortifications, thus allowing him to make raids against Federal rail and communication lines in western Tennessee.

On Saturday we’ll visit another famous action by that Forrest in western Tennessee. This Forrest action is also considered a classic engagement. It was at Parker’s Crossroads that Forrest uttered his now-famous statement, “Charge ’em both ways.” Outnumbered and cut off from the Tennessee River but not to be outfought on New Year’s Eve 1862, Forrest demanded the surrender of Union Col. Cyrus Dunham after some heavy fighting. Dunham refused. Another Federal brigade attacked the Confederates but Forrest’s men fought ferociously on two fronts, eventually withdrawing to Lexington, Tennessee. After lunch, we’ll go to Johnsonville, Tennessee where on November 4-5, 1864 the “Wizard of the Saddle” culminated a 23-day raid thru western Tennessee by capturing a Union supply depot worth millions, and destroying three Yankee gunboats. The Johnsonville raid solidified Forrest as a versatile and savvy mounted commander.

This brief outline does not do justice to the number of Nathan Bedford Forrest sites you’ll see in Western Tennessee and Mississippi, a number of them sometimes overlooked by Forrest enthusiasts.

Registration Fee: $495.00

What’s included: motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of an experienced tour leader/historian. Our hotel will provide a complimentary hot and cold buffet breakfast each day. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary. Dinner is on your own. Tour goes out rain or shine. Please see our policy page for information about cancellations.

Hotel: We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for a group rate of $92.00 per night plus tax (double or single occupancy.) Please call the Doubletree Hotel, 1770 Highway 45 Bypass, Jackson, TN 38305 at 1-800-222-TREE or 731-664-6900 ext 584 (during normal business hours) and ask for the America’s History LLC group rate. This rate is guaranteed until August 26, 2013. Please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Guide/Historian

Thomas Y. Cartwright is an independent scholar, tour leader, popular speaker and former Curator of the Carter House in Franklin, TN. He was a contributor to A Meteor Shining Brightly: Essays on Major General Patrick R. Cleburne. He is a leading authority on Western Theater battlefields and has made numerous appearances on the History Channel commenting on a variety of topics.


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