Civil War-Era Memories from the Memphis Daily Appeal

Article excerpt

In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, "Civil War-Era Memories" features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years ago. The Appeal is publishing from Atlanta. Perspective from our staff is in italics.

Jan. 20, 1864

We have frequently heard of our troops "charging the Yankees," but they have invariably been fortified with muskets and fixed bayonets. It remained for (Gen. Nathan Bedford) Forrest to inaugurate charging an enemy without a weapon of any description. In his recent retreat from Jackson, Tennessee, he was attacked by the Yankees near the line of the Memphis and Charleston railroad, and his armed forces being small, he ordered the new recruits, two thousand in number, who had not received arms, to charge the enemy. They immediately rushed forward, and the Yankees, astounded at the force coming toward them, fled in all directions, leaving Forrest a clear road to Oxford.

An account from Jan. 23 describes the charge in more detail: (Forrest) divided his men into two columns, one of which he sent, under Col. Faulkner, across the railroad, within five miles of Memphis. The other he commanded in person, taking the Bolivar route, and crossing the railroad near Collierville. …