Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Nathan Bedford Forrest left Columbia, Tennessee on a raid on December 11, 1862. He had been ordered by General Braxton Bragg, Confederate commander in the area, to stage this raid to cut Union supply lines. On December 17th, Forrest's advance towards Lexington, Tennessee was detected by Colonel Robert Ingersoll, who had about 650 raw men under his command. Forrest had about 2,500 experienced troopers. There were two roads to Lexington, the Old Stage Road and the Lower Road. Ingersoll ordered a bridge to be destroyed on the Lower Road so he could focus all his men on the Old State Road.
On the morning of December 18th, 150 years ago today, as Forrest advanced up the Lower Road, he found the bridge still intact. The Yankee scouts had failed to destroy it. The Confederates were able to move around the Federal flank and catch them competely by suprise. Ingersoll tried to wheel his troops around the meet the threat, but before that could be done they were fleeing in a panic. In the rout that followed, Forrest's cavalry captured Ingersoll, 140 of his men, artillery, supplies and horses, and scattered the rest of the Union far and wide. In the following days Forrest pushed onward in another successful raid, destroying bridges and cutting Union supply lines.