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Athens in Limestone County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle

Fort Henderson and Trinity School

 
 
The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 18, 2020
1. The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle Marker
Inscription.  “Just after daylight on the morning of September 24, they opened on the fort with artillery from three different sides, casting almost every shell inside the works.” — Col. Wallace Campbell, 110th U.S. Colored Infantry

In September 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest launched an expedition from Mississippi to disrupt Union supply lines in Tennessee and Alabama. Forrest's cavalry collided with Colonel Wallace Campbell's men south of Athens on September 23. A sharp skirmish ensued, and Campbell slowly withdrew to the fort. Fighting continued throughout the day and Forrest surrounded Fort Henderson that evening. Forrest probed Campbell's defenses the next morning. Imagine the gunfire, yelling, the ground trembling beneath your feet. Finding the fort too strong, he demanded Campbell capitulate. Campbell conferred with Forrest, who convinced the Union commander he was heavily outnumbered, and Campbell agreed to surrender. The Confederates then turned north toward Sulphur Creek Trestle. Forrest invested the Union garrison there on September 25. An artillery bombardment and dismounted

The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 18, 2020
2. The Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle Marker
attack silenced the Federal guns and induced the fort's surrender. Union Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Wade reoccupied Fort Henderson three days later. Forrest's subordinate, General Abraham Buford, attacked Wade on October 1. Wade utilized a newly constructed bombproof, repulsed the Confederate assault and eventually forced Buford to withdraw. For Julius and Samuel Redus, John Jackson, George Allen, Moses Peete, Doctor Peete, John Roberts and their comrades, however, they now faced an uncertain future as prisoners of war.

[Photo captions]
Map: The first fight for Fort Henderson began on September 23. After a morning skirmish, Colonel Campbell launched a sortie into Athens against the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry. The following day, reinforcements from the 18th Michigan and 102nd Ohio nearly broke through Forrest's line and relieved the garrison. During the second battle in October, Lieutenant Colonel Wade credited the innovative use of the bombproof for saving the fort's garrison. American Battlefield Trust

Portrait left: A veteran of the Mexican- American War, Major General Lovell Rousseau fought at Shiloh, Perryville and Stones River. The head of the District of Tennessee, it fell to Rousseau to prevent Confederate incursions against the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Portrait

Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle map. image. Click for full size.
Courtesy American Battlefield Trust (battlefields.org)
3. Battles of Fort Henderson and Sulphur Creek Trestle map.
right: Unlike many officers in the Union and Confederate armies, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest did not receive a formal military education at West Point. Still, Forrest's highly effective operations throughout Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi made him a thorn in the side of the Union high command. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Bottom right: This trestle bridge spanned Sulphur Creek north of Athens. It was protected by an earthen fort and blockhouses. Forrest considered these fortifications to be the strongest on the railroad. Courtesy of Limestone County Archives
 
Erected 2020 by American Battlefield Trust & Paul Bryant Jr.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 34° 47.89′ N, 86° 58.811′ W. Marker is in Athens, Alabama, in Limestone County. Marker can be reached from Trinity Circle north of Browns Ferry Street (County Road 29), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 606 Trinity Cir, Athens AL 35611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Prisoners of War (a few steps from this marker); Coleman Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); The United State Colored Troops (within shouting distance of this marker);

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Reconstruction (within shouting distance of this marker); Trinity School (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Henderson / Trinity School - 1865-1970 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Coleman Family (approx. 0.3 miles away); Governor George S. Houston Home (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Fort Henderson - from American Battlefield Trust website. (Submitted on October 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle. From the American Battlefield Trust website. (Submitted on October 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 68 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 19, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   3. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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Jan. 25, 2021