Trenton in Gibson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Fighting for Trenton
Raid on the Depot
—Forrest's First West Tennessee Raid —
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.
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 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
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.,” Harper’s Weekly, September 13, 1862
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
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.
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.
Also see . . . The Battle of Trenton. (Submitted on June 20, 2014.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 315 times since then and 20 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.