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

Fighting for Trenton

Raid on the Depot

— Forrest's First West Tennessee Raid —

Fighting for Trenton Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 19, 2014
1. Fighting for Trenton 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 C. 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 Cross Roads, and crossed the river again at Clifton. Grant changed his supply base to Memphis.

(main text)
As Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest’s cavalry brigade approached Trenton in December 1862, Union Col. Jacob Fry prepared to meet the attack. Although Fry had fortified the high ground overlooking the town, he received orders to transfer his 500 men to Jackson. This left him with 250 “convalescents, stragglers, fugitives, and other soldiers”—only enough to defend the Mobile and Ohio Railroad depot, which he barricaded with cotton bales. On December 20, he stationed 25 sharpshooters in a brick building across
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the street behind a parapet on the roof, and 6 more in the windows of another brick building. Others were posted in a nearby “stockade.” When Forrest’s men rode into town at 3:00 that afternoon, the Federals opened fire from the buildings and other positions. The Confederates then moved out of range and surrounded the Union position, shelling it from the earthworks that Fry had constructed. Fry decided to surrender, as Forrest “could have leveled the stockade, depot, and all in thirty minutes, and probably killed and wounded a large portion of our men, while we could have done them no damage, being armed only with old guns, without bayonets, and therefore unable to make a charge.”

Forrest reported only two men killed and seven wounded. He claimed that the Federals lost two killed and seven hundred prisoners. The Confederates captured military stores, which they destroyed, as well as several hundred cavalry horses. Forrest took those that were in good condition and gave the rest to the town’s residents. The next morning, he paroled all the prisoners and rode on toward Union City.

(lower left) Forrest's First West Tennessee Raid, Dec. 15, 1862-Jan. 2, 1863
(lower center) Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest Courtesy Library of Congress
(upper right) “Rail-Road Station at Trenton, Tenn.,”
Battle of Trenton Tour Stop 17 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 19, 2014
2. Battle of Trenton Tour Stop 17
Harper’s Weekly, September 13, 1862
Erected 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 September 1893.
Location. 35° 58.792′ N, 88° 56.79′ W. Marker is in Trenton, Tennessee, in Gibson County. Marker is at the intersection of West 1st Street and Medlock Street, on the left when traveling west on West 1st Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton TN 38382, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Forrest at Trenton (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); David Crockett (approx. ¼ mile away); Gibson County Courthouse (approx. ¼ mile away); Gibson County Confederate Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Fighting for Trenton (approx. 0.3 miles away); Female Collegiate Institute (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Fighting for Trenton (approx. 0.6 miles away); C.S.A. Camp Trenton (approx. 3½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
Trenton Depot image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 19, 2014
3. Trenton Depot
Credits. This page was last revised on January 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 896 times since then and 212 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 20, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 1, 2023