Monday, April 9, 2012

Battle of Fallen Timbers

The day after the bloody battle of Shiloh, 150 years ago today, Grant sent Sherman forward to pursue the Confederates. He brought along two brigades of infantry and a few cavalry troopers, and Wood's division from Buell. Six miles from Pittsburg Landing, they encountered 350 Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest. Sherman sent infantry skirmishers through a 200 yard section of road covered by Fallen Timbers, from which the skirmish would take its name. Forrest ordered his troops forward, and they charged the Union skirmishers. They surprised the Yankees, cutting and slashing their way forward. This was Forrest's method of tactics. He knew little of traditional warfare, but developed his own methods that were very successful. His men riding through the disorganized Federals, captured 43 men, and almost Sherman himself. However, he suddenly stumbled upon the main body of Union infantry. The Confederates pulled up their horses, but Forrest kept riding, unaware of his men's halt. Ploughing into the Federal line, he soon realized he was all alone. He hacked and slashed the Federals with his pistol and saber as they tried to pull him down from his horse. Finally breaking free, he grabbed a soldier by the collar and rode back to his men, holding the Northerner behind him as a shield from bullets. He made it back to his amazed troopers, and it was found that he was seriously wounded with a bullet in his spine. He survived his wound and would continued to fight the Federals throughout the war. Sherman did not continue his pursuit much further, and he allowed Beauregard to return to Corinth, Mississippi without serious pursuit.


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