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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Clifton in Wayne County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Forrest Crosses Tennessee River

“…pushing the horses off the bluff…”

 

—Forrest’s First West Tennessee Raid —

 
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
1. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
Inscription. (Preface):
Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest led his cavalry brigade on a raid through west Tennessee, Dec. 15, 1862- Jan 3, 1863, destroying railroads and severing Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s supply line between Columbus, Kentucky, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Forrest crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton, defeated Union Col. Robert G. Ingersoll’s cavalry at Lexington, captured Trenton and Union city, and ranged briefly into Kentucky. He raided back through Tennessee, evaded defeat at Parker’s Crossroads, and crossed the river again at Clifton. Forrest’s success forced Grant to switch his supply base to Memphis.

Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest’s First West Tennessee Raid late in December 1862 began when his command arrived here on the night of December 15 to ferry approximately 2,100 soldiers across the Tennessee River. Forrest ordered the construction of two flatboats, each capable of carrying 25 men and their horses. The troops stayed out of sight, without fires, while sentries watched for Union gunboats. By December 17, the Confederates were over and riding westward.

A Confederate diarist described the movement across the river. “During the night we moved close to the river bank, which was a bluff… On our side, they were pushing the horses off the bluff, and about ten feet clear fall into the swift,
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
2. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
icy cold water, the horses were going out of sight. When they came up the poor brutes would swim around in a circle until one would see the fire on the sandbar and strike out for it… We lost eight horses. My company had taken off their saddles and tied them together with their blankets, over coats, and private belongings, in as small, compact bundles as possible, to be carried to the island in canoes. We stood there in a cold drizzling rain until we were wet to the skin all over, and so numbed with cold we could barely stand. After about two hours in this condition, order came for us to saddle up and move up the river and cross on a flat boat, two of which Forrest’s vanguard had built and hidden. It was broad day when we got upon the opposite bank.”
 
Erected 2012 by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 23.238′ N, 87° 59.711′ W. Marker is in Clifton, Tennessee, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection of East Water Street and Main Street on East Water Street. Click for map. Marker along the Tennessee River Bank at the edge of town. Marker is in this post office area: Clifton TN 38425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other
Forrest First West Tennessee Raid Dec. 15, 1862-Jan 3, 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
3. Forrest First West Tennessee Raid Dec. 15, 1862-Jan 3, 1863
markers are within 16 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Stribling House Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clifton (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cedar Grove Iron Furnace (approx. 12 miles away); Brownsport Furnace (approx. 15.3 miles away).
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Gen. Nathan B. Forrest image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
4. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest
Courtesy of Library of Congress
Col. James W. Starnes image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
5. Col. James W. Starnes
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
6. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
Here the command of Bedford Forrest Twice Crossed the River on the First West Tennessee Raid Dec. 1862- Jan. 1863 Sons of Confederate Veterans
We the People of Clifton honor here image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
7. We the People of Clifton honor here
those from among us who lost their lives in service of our country. Enter with reverence leave nothing behind but your prayers and your gratitude.
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
8. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
Tennessee River image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
9. Tennessee River
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 421 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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