Halifax, NS, Canada
|Posted on: 8/10/2017 9:50:25 AM|
|Union Approach and Retreat|
This battle was preceded by an advance from Memphis by a Union command under General Samuel Sturgiss. Sherman wanted Forrest kept out of Tennessee and far from his supply line while he invaded Georgia. Sturgiss' cavalry had already had a run-in with Forrest on May 2, 1864 near Bolivar, TN and had chased him him off to Tupelo. Sturgiss had followed as far as Ripley and decided "Mission Accomplished." But Sherman had other ideas so Sturgiss was soon on the road from Memphis again to keep Forrest out of Tennessee.
Sturgiss met with his column at Lafayette (now Rossville), Tennessee and started moving on June 2. His original destination was to be Corinth, but by the time he got back to Ripley (June 8) he was almost ready to go back home already. He was urged to continue for the sake of appearances. Grierson's cavalry arrived at Brice's Crossroads early on June 10 and were defeated by the time the infantry arrived. Forrest's men had long distances to cover, but by 1 PM they were all on the field. They formed a semicircle around the Union troops and pushed them back across a narrow bridge over Tishomingo Creek. From then on, Forrest kept the "skeer" on them all the way back to Ripley, attacking their rearguard at every opportunity and giving them no chance to organize a solid front. On June 11 morning, the Yankees arrived at Ripley and after a couple of hours rest, headed for Tennessee, scattering in several directions over roads and through forests. Forrest planned to block some of the Union skedaddlers between Salem and Ripley, but the plan went awry when his horse stumbled and he was knocked unconscious. On June 12, the scattered Union soldiers started arriving at points along the railroad north of the Tennessee line and took the cars for Memphis.
I was interested in the route of Sturgiss' march and retreat. The road system in this part of Mississippi is greatly changed since the battle and some towns that are shown on old maps (Ruckersville, Salem) no longer exist. There are no markers AFAIK for incidents on the march, not even for "The Battle of Ripley."
For anyone into maps, I made a map, probably with a few mistakes about the events leading up to and following the battle. I did not go into any detail about the battle itself except for the markers, trails and historic roads. A few photos from near the battlefield are included.