Battle for Lexington
Ingersoll's Last Stand
—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 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 Cross Roads, and crossed the river again at Clifton. Grant changed his supply base to Memphis.
Near this site on December 18, 1862, Col. Robert G. Ingersoll surrendered to Capt. Frank B. Gurley, of Gen. Nathan B. Forrest’s brigade, ending the battle for Lexington. Ingersoll commanded his own regiment, the 11th Illinois Cavalry, as well as the 2nd West Tennessee Cavalry, the 5th Ohio Cavalry, and a two-gun section of the 14th Indiana Battery. He posted most of his command on the Old Stage Road from Lexington and sent two companies of the 2nd West Tennessee to block the Lower Road against Forrest’s advance. When the Federal units encountered the Confederates, on Ingersoll’s orders they fell back toward Beech Creek. Ingersoll slowed Forrest’s advance with his artillery, but soon the Confederates drove the 2nd Tennessee back up the Lower Road and threatened to
Ingersoll, who was among the nation’s foremost orators after the war, accepted his capture with good grace. As Gurley held him at gunpoint, Ingersoll asked, “Is this your Southern Confederacy for which I have so diligently searched?” Informed that it was, he replied, “Then I am your guest until the wheels of the great (prisoner exchange) Cartel are put in motion.” Ingersoll was paroled three days later, after he learned the finer points of draw poker from one of his captors. He lost $50 that a Confederate soldier loaned him but repaid it thirty years later. Forrest and his brigade rode on toward Jackson.
(Inscriptions under the photos in the lower center)
Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, postwar photograph-Courtesy Library of Congress; Capt. Frank B. Gurley, from Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1899)
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Forrest's Raid (approx. 1½ miles away); a different marker also named Forrest's Raid (approx. 6 miles away); Mills Darden (approx. 6.2 miles away); Red Mound (approx. 8.7 miles away); The Battle of Parker's Crossroads (approx. 8.7 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of Parker's Crossroads (approx. 9.4 miles away); Union Wagon Train (approx. 9½ miles away); Parker's Crossroads (approx. 9.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 30, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 430 times since then and 58 times this year. Last updated on March 24, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 30, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.