Battle of Murfreesboro

Battle of Murfreesboro (HM1B5Z)

Location: Murfreesboro, TN 37130 Rutherford County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 50.764', W 86° 23.54'

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Beginning of a Legend

— Forrest's First Raid —

For two weeks in July 1862, Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest led 1,400 cavalrymen through Middle Tennessee to raid, scout and disrupt the Union Army of the Cumberland's operation there. Leaving McMinnville on July 13, Forrest fought actions at Murfreesboro, on the outskirts of Nashville, at Manchester, and elsewhere. He also destroyed railroad tracks and cut telegraph lines. Forrest's raid, his first independent command, was also the first large-scale raid within the Federal lines in the western theater. It earned him a promotion to brigadier general.

(main text)
Few Union soldiers stationed in Murfreesboro were stirring in the early hours of Sunday morning, July 13, 1862, when Confederate Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry thundered down East Main Street. The substantial Federal garrison here under Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden guarded the vital Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad line, but the troops had been separated into three groups. An infantry regiment, a cavalry detachment, and an artillery battery were camped on Stones River more than a mile northwest of the town square.

Another regiment bivouacked at Maney's Spring (Oaklands mansion), and an infantry company guarded the courthouse.

After capturing the sentinels on the outskirts of town without firing a shot, Forrest formed his men into three columns and attacked each separate Federal detachment simultaneously. The action on the square was heavy, and Union sharpshooters killed more than twenty Confederates from protected positions in the courthouse and surrounding buildings. The Federal defenders held fast until the Confederates set fire to the first floor of the courthouse and threatened to burn them out.

The combination of surprise, strategy, and guile proved to be effective. Each of the three Federal detachments surrendered in turn. Forrest's cavalry took more than a thousand prisoners, including Crittenden, four artillery pieces, and a large quantity of military stores. They also freed a number of local citizens being held hostage in retaliation for the killing of some foraging Union soldiers.

Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Thomas T. Crittenden Courtesy Library of Congress
Rutherford County Courthouse Courtesy Tennessee State Library and Archives
HM NumberHM1B5Z
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at 3:30am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 554874 N 3967045
Decimal Degrees35.84606667, -86.39233333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 50.764', W 86° 23.54'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 50' 45.84" N, 86° 23' 32.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)615
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-109 S Maple St, Murfreesboro TN 37130, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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