“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Baldwyn in Lee County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)

Brice's Cross Roads

June 10, 1864

Brice's Cross Roads Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, April 23, 2012
1. Brice's Cross Roads Marker
Inscription. Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest "owned" northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee in mid-1864, but that was not where the war was being won or lost. Port Hudson, Louisiana, and Vicksburg, Mississippi, had fallen in July 1863, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River. Gen. William T. Sherman was advancing steadily on Atlanta. Grant was engaging Lee at Cold Harbor and Petersburg, Virginia, in the push toward Richmond.

Still, Forrest's command worried Union planners. His cavalry could move fast, and when dismounted, strike hard. Sherman maintained only a single railroad line to supply depots in central Tennessee. Preservation of that rail link was essential if the push toward Atlanta was to continue. That "lifeline" was particularly vulnerable to attack from the southwest - Forrest's theater of operations. These larger considerations brought about the battle at Brice's Cross Roads that took place on June 10, 1864.

Forrest had actually begun to move on Sherman's lines on June 1, 1864, the same day that Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis left Memphis to engage Forrest's attention in Mississippi and Tennessee in order to keep him from mounting an attack on Sherman's supply line. Sturgis left Memphis with 8,100 troops - Forrest was ordered back to Mississippi to meet the Union invasion. After eight days of marching, Sturgis
Brice's Cross Roads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, November 30, 2008
2. Brice's Cross Roads Marker
met Forrest's 3,500 cavalry in the dense brush east of Tishomingo Creek.

In the mire and muck of the rain-soaked Mississippi roads, Sturgis has allowed his command to string out for more than six miles. After a brief initial skirmish, Forrest engaged the advance Union cavalry units about noon with a superior force of dismounted cavalry, pushing the northerners back to a second line of battle hastily mounted by arriving infantry. The Union cavalry retired as infantry units were thrown into line as they reached the front - weary from the double-time march along impassable roads and exhausted by the heat of the day. Forrest launched another attack about 2:00 p.m. against the second Union line. Again outnumbered by Forrest's troops, the Yankees broke under several charges. It was only a concerted stand at the Cross Roads by Union artillery and a staunch defense by rear guard infantry at the Tishomingo Creek Bridge that allowed most of the Union troops to retreat west of the bridge.

Forrest's (now mounted) cavalry pressured the retreating Union force for more than 25 miles, resulting in heavy Union losses. Federal losses amounted to 223 killed, 394 wounded, and 1623 missing. Eighteen artillery pieces (of 20) and the entire train of 200 supply wagons were lost. Confederate losses amounted to 96 killed and 396 wounded.

In explaining his victory, Gen. Forrest is quoted
Brice's Cross Roads Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Fletcher, November 30, 2008
3. Brice's Cross Roads Marker
Marker in distance (yellow arrow)
as saying, "Well, I got there first with the most men." However, by late July, Atlanta had fallen, Grant laid siege to Petersburg and Richmond in October, and Forrest's command was again bottled up in northern Mississippi by Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith. When Forrest finally moved east into Alabama in November to join Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood's ill-fated invasion of central Tennessee, he had little effect on the major theaters of the larger war during 1864.

Inset Photo of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Map Location of Brice's Cross Roads Engagement relative to Grant and Sherman's Campaigns in Virginia and Georgia
Erected by CWPT (Civil War Preservation Trust). (Marker Number A-1.)
Location. 34° 30.396′ N, 88° 43.61′ W. Marker is near Baldwyn, Mississippi, in Lee County. Marker can be reached from Bethany Road (County Route 370) 0.1 miles east of Guntown/Ripley Road (County Route 370), on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Interpretive tablet is 150 feet east of the beginning of a walking trail at Stop 5 of the Brice's Crossroads Auto Tour. The walking trail through Porter's Field parallels Bethany Road and is just under 2000 feet long. Marker is in this post office area: Baldwyn MS 38824, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers
Brice's Cross Roads Battlefield image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, April 23, 2012
4. Brice's Cross Roads Battlefield
View to the south toward the Crossroads from the walking trail. The marker is in the far distance near the start of the trail (barely visible).
are within walking distance of this marker. Federal's Second Battle Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Brice's Cross Roads (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Battle of Brices Cross Roads (about 600 feet away); General Sturgis' Supreme Effort (about 600 feet away); Brice Home (about 700 feet away); Bethany A.R.P. Church (about 800 feet away); Confederate's Second Battle Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); Morton's Battery (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Baldwyn.
Additional keywords. Brices Crossroads, Tishomingo
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 369 times since then and 66 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.   4. submitted on , by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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