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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.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
1. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
Inscription.  
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
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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, 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.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1862.
 
Location. 35° 23.239′ N, 87° 59.68′ W. Marker is in Clifton, Tennessee, in Wayne County. Marker is at the
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
2. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
intersection of East Water Street and Main Street on East Water Street. Marker along the Tennessee River Bank at the edge of town. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clifton TN 38425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Here the Command of Bedford Forrest Crossed the River (here, next to this marker); Clifton Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); The Stribling House Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hughes House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Clifton (approx. 0.2 miles away); Evans Chapel United Methodist Church (approx. 3.2 miles away); Forrest's Raid (approx. 6 miles away); Dr. B.M. Brooks House (approx. 6.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clifton.
 
Forrest First West Tennessee Raid Dec. 15, 1862-Jan 3, 1863 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
3. Forrest First West Tennessee Raid Dec. 15, 1862-Jan 3, 1863
Gen. Nathan B. Forrest image. Click for full size.
Photographed 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.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
5. Col. James W. Starnes
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed 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.
Photographed 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.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
8. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
Tennessee River image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, March 13, 2012
9. Tennessee River
Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Darren Jefferson Clay, August 21, 2021
10. Forrest Crosses Tennessee River Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2012, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 1,104 times since then and 32 times this year. Last updated on September 29, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on March 15, 2012, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA.   10. submitted on September 29, 2021, by Darren Jefferson Clay of Duluth, Georgia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 24, 2024