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tv   The Civil War National Museum of the Civil War Soldier - Brices Crossroads  CSPAN  February 21, 2023 11:03am-12:22pm EST

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i would consider as well turnip greens. so again, for the pulled pork or with. oh, yes, within the turnip greens. yes, definitely. and one also i will say one of my favorite features of southern food is the creativity of what counts as a vegetable? i still can't get over seeing mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. this is vegetables. and then once ordering with like this giant chunk of bacon in it and it was listed as a vegetable. but yeah those would be the those those would be up there. i okay. well, thank you all.
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i'm very pleased to introduce our speaker, dr. stewart bennett. he is the author of the battle of brice's crossroads and a contributing author. and stephen woodworth is the chattanooga campaign, the tennessee campaign of 1864. and lou lawrence lee hewitt and thomas scott's confederate generals in the western theater. he's also coauthor of the struggle for the life of the republic a civil war narrative by brevet major. brevet major charles dana miller of the 76 ohio volunteer infantry. dr. barnett is a department chair of social and behavior sciences and professor of history at blue mountain college in blue mountain, mississippi.
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let's give dr. bennett a welcome. very good. give that to. well, it's very, very nice to be here today to be with this group. i want to thank the des and the staff here at pamplin park for having me. i want to thank you all for coming. and i am honored and humbled by being part of the group of historians that we have today. it's such a great group and i'm just glad to be around them and already learning some things from them, but really enjoy being here. i'm looking forward to getting around the parks. i drove here from mississippi and believe me, it's worth every mile of the trip. so it is good to be here today and to be with you folks. i wanted to go ahead and find out now some of you, a lot of
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your from up here in virginia. how many of you by shorthand are familiar with bryce's crossroads, the battle? okay. there's few of you here. i was hoping there would be very few that way. i could say. i can just make this stuff up. it's going to be easy. i mean, this will be great, but no, we're not going to do that. all right. let me just move it as far as why a book on bryce crossroads. i know that some years back now i'm not from mississippi. originally, i've lived on a lot of different states, but at one point i did live down in mississippi in the nineties and then moved away. then i came back to be at blue mountain college on 2009, but i remember coming here for going to brice's crossroads for the first time and i saw the dew on the ground. it was early morning, the sun was coming up and i was on the battlefield. i think because when i got there, i was like, there's not a whole lot there's not a lot of
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monuments there. and it's like, i think i'm in the right place and there's been some books written on it. morris has written on it, and a few other people. and i thought, wow, it'd be great if i had a book that i could really get into here too, to look at. and i left and went on to my exploits. but then again, 2009 came back to mississippi, and this time i only lived about 20 miles away from brice's crossroads. and so i stopped in and i did some more research. and i'm looking at the things there. and the day came when i was asked to write a book on the battle, and they said, now we don't want this huge book, but we do want the work done on it. of course, as historians we use the official records and we go into the different memoirs and letters and all that we can and they said we want it to be something that people can take to the battlefield. that and use it. we wanted to be able to to read it, get the story, but take it
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with them on the battlefield and see the maps, see the pictures. and so there's a lot of pictures here in the book that my daughter took and that i took. and then also to help you with when you go there, say, okay, this area makes sense. so i hope that you will visit bryce's crossroads when you get a chance. if you get a chance, it's very much worth going to see. so let's start the whole thing out here by looking at the big picture. at the big picture. and technology. and i have problems sometimes, but sometimes all you got to do is turn on the button. there we go. so there is the book, of course. and here we go. it was 1864. course we're moving through most of the civil war that we know of now. and what has happened is that grant has been fighting in the
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western theater of the war. and, of course, his second command. you have general sherman. and so grant, as we know, has moved on to the eastern theater. and sherman is now in charge in the west. and for sherman, he's thinking about what he needs to do. and, of course, he has gotten together with grant to make sure how can we win this war? how can we we end it quickly. and so one of the things was that sherman had decided, well, of course, you've got to destroy the confederate army. but he also said, if i had marched to georgia or marched down to atlanta, that is a major rail area. and we take that out. we really cause some problems for the south, the deep south, especially. and so what he thought of was the atlanta campaign. and as he's trying to plan for that, we're looking at leaving from chattanooga, tennessee, and going over 100 miles down to atlanta. and that's a long way.
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and it means you're going to need an awful lot of troops. so he had a good number of troops with things. but as he moves, this was not the march to the sea, folks. that's coming later. what we've got going on here is a huge army coming down, fighting another army and others that come around and moving all the way down. but they've got to have supplies. you've got to have a good supply line. and not only a good supply line, you've got to protect it. and so sherman is taking this is what i'm going to do. i'm going to go ahead. we're going to move south. we are going to to do this as best we can. however, there's this one man that stands in the way for him when it comes to protecting his supply, his supply line. and that is nathan bedford forrest. okay. so he's thinking about nathan bedford for sometimes. i think he's obsessed about him, too, a bit. but he wanted to make sure he protected his supply line. and so he thought, i've got to keep forrest at bay.
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whatever i do, he may cause problems in other areas, but as long as i can keep him off the supply line, i can keep my my army. moving to atlanta. i can take atlanta, then we can worry about forest and other things. but hopefully we won't worry about him. because if i send another army out after him, it'll keep him so busy that he'll be like, he can't move. he has to stay in the mississippi area, tennessee area, that kind of thing, and never be upon the supply line. so what he does is he turns to general washburn, who is over in memphis, who has a number of union troops. and what he does is he says to him, we're going to send a group down towards through mississippi. we're going forrest hutton. okay, and so what we want to do is go down there, find worries at damage him, kill him, capture him. whatever you need to do. but i want him off my supply
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line. all right. so washburn's like, yes, we can do that and we can put it together. and we've got about 2000 troops. who do you want to lead this? and that's when sherman says to send general sturgis. now, frank talked to us last night about general sturgis a little bit. if you remember at fredericksburg. sturgis is an interesting kind of fellow, but there's more to him than meets the eye. and that's what i really want to cover here right now. a lot of times people think that the battle brice's crossroads that sturgis was a buffoon and he really wasn't smart and he didn't do things correctly. well, sometimes he didn't do things correctly here. but there's more to the man. if we go back and we look at him, of course, coming from west point, but he was a brave man, as a matter of fact, he served with was called major sedgwick at the time, before the war. and they were moving through the
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plains and they came across a buffalo herd. now, to understand this a little bit more, dabney murray talks about these buffalo herds and said in a diary that he had gone through a buffalo herd that took three days out of these herds were massive. and when they would bolt and cook and they would stampede feed, you could have a serious problem. well, it turns out that sturgis is with the cavalry. he is with sedgwick. and this is exactly what happened. the buffalo herd stampede it and it came for them. sedgwick was supposedly confused at this point, not sure what to do. sturgis said to him, i know what to do, but i don't have time to explain it. just turn command over to me. sedgwick does that at this point. sturgis says, okay, folks, i want you to spread out to his
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soldiers. you're going to be in a v line with the apex down the front, right in the middle, towards the buffalo, and you're going to spread this way. and when they come at the right time, they started firing in and these buffalo just fell all over the place, piled up and then moved along the other sides. okay. after this was over, he had saved the cavalry. he relinquished command back to sedgwick and they moved on from there. so here he could think quickly. he his quick reactions. he was brave and he stood during that time also, it's mentioned about fighting with the indians, i think the nash pierce, also the apache. there was a time when there was an attack and he took some men and he went after them and he was relentless for days until he finally caught them and was victorious. okay. so there's not a question of bravery with this man.
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there's no question of can he lead and can he act under fire? he's proven himself here now, the problem is something changed when it came to the civil war. sturgis changed. now, there are a lot of people say, well, he became a drunk and well, they were right as far as his alcohol use. he did get drunk and he did overdo it at times. there was a time during the second bull run, the battle there, he tried to commandeer some trains because he was trying to get his men to the fight and was told, no, this is being used for other troops. and he was like, well, hand them over to me. and they said no. and finally his superior said, you tell him to get gone, to move on. and they said they told him that. and he said, well, who's that from? and they goes, well, okay, i'll
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listen then. and he left and people were like, he's really acting strange here. so may have been drinking, maybe not. it's unknown there to me for sure, at fredericksburg. we talked last night with frank. he was sturgis was found during the battle behind a barn and he was sitting down, up against the wall and drinking and ferraro came around and said, what are we supposed to do? what do we do now? and he, sturgis, just handed him his canteen and said, have a drink. and so sturgis now i'm not saying there was anything other than water in that, but he did get up. sturgis is dead. he goes around the side of the barn. he looks out at what's going on and told the officer there, go ahead and send your brigade in and turns around, sits back down
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and begins drinking again at this point, a cannonball goes through the barn and it didn't even faze him. he just sat there cool and did his thing so we could see that there were some problems going on already for him at those places. and it almost seems as if sherman is given sturgis another chance. we're going to take you over to the western theater, but we're going to put you up against forrest. now, think about that. if sturgis could beat forest, now that star will rise. won't it? that would look pretty good. get him moving again. so this is important for sturgis. yes. all right. well, it's of course, it's an portant for sherman as well. now, out in the west as he's preparing sturgis, he's with washburn, he's getting together about, i think at the time, 4000 and man, by this time forest is
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doing his own thing. forrest was known for all of his different exploits that had gone on. there are so many legends. there are so many tales that are true and tells that are questionable. but forrest got results. he was a man who did not go to west point. he did not have any of the military training that the others had. it came natural to him. okay, so a very interesting man. the problem with forest, though, is he didn't play well with others at time. and so there are times they felt maybe it's best we give you an independent commander, send you over here and you can go work for him, that kind of thing. so forrest, at this time is under the man, sd lee. sd lee is over the whole region of mississippi, alabama, parts of western tennessee. and he's trying to make sure everything is safe over there for the confederacy. keeping an eye over there on memphis, making sure that
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nothing's coming out of there, that nothing's going to happen to their area. so forrest runs into a few problems, though, to say the least. forrest. is losing men now. it's not because force is a poor leader. not that at all. as a matter of fact, he had gained a number of men after a while because he won and people want to follow a winner. but what was going on as sherman was getting ready for his push to atlanta, josephine johnston was on his push to pull as many confederate troops together as possible so that when sherman did come down, he could meet him with pretty good number. hopefully what this meant is that you had a number of folks coming from different places, officers from the army, the confederate army coming over to
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wherever there's these these different groups like forest and his commands. and they're checking in. they're saying, wait a minute, you you are in the 19th tennessee. you're supposed to be over here in the army. and you're like, well, i don't know what you're talking about. yeah, i'm in the calvary with forrest. it's like, not anymore. and they would take you now for said this has to stop because they're not going to have enough men, okay. to help make things happen here in our our area. but johnston and others are like, well, that's too bad, but we got our problems. so he lost. oh, let's see. he had maybe 3000 men at the time or so that he was working with and now he lost about 700. okay. now, when they went and got you, you guys over here are like, we hear what's going on and we're going to skedaddle, okay? and the cover of night. so he's going to lose some more people. so as the union is over in
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memphis and they're able to pull up all kinds of troops for the union, we're having hard times in the confederacy for forrest. okay. but he's still able to keep a number of troops. but he is gone. and you'll be familiar with this term. he's going to have to work more with less. okay. we hear that all the time these days. you got to work more with less. and so that's what force is going to end up doing. forced. now is over in the tennis mississippi area, moves over into alabama because he's thinking, well, we got to keep busy and i'm going to go and do something that'll be good and guess what that is? he's going to attack sherman's supply line. he gets close to the tennessee river and s.d. lee calls him back. whoa, whoa, whoa. hang on a minute. there's these guys, about 4000 troops under the surge. this guy, they just left
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memphis. okay, so guess what? he has to come back in at the overall plan, right? keeping them off. okay. so that's working in sherman's favor. so sturgis brings 4000 men. he's got cavalry, he's got infantry. and these guys go after for us and come all the way down. let me see if i can get this to work again. this is in your maps. i should turn this before. of course, you know nathan bedford forrest. sometimes i get going and i'll skip on the pictures, but i'll try my best to move them around for you. of course, general sturgis. and then grierson. grierson is not in the story just yet. okay, we'll get to him. here. we go. all right.
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so what you see here, if you'll turn in your maps and you look at that first map that you were given, you will see the area coming out of memphis and you'll see the route both times that sturgis come south. this is the route that he'll take for the most part. they're going to go all the way down into mississippi, down to ripley, believe it. or not. i had to. i had to. now, that joke that joke does not work in mississippi. they're like, yeah, ripley, ripley. okay, yeah. but you guys get it, all right. so they get all the way to ripley. and here's the problem. it's rain ing raining a lot constantly in sheets, torrents, mud, mud, mud, everything. and remember this whole area up here you've had troops going through this back and forth a lot. and so there's not a lot of forage. so you got to bring your own
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forage for your horses, cattle, any of that kind of thing. so now they've got to bring their own stuff and they start through here and it's wet, it's muddy, it's it's just problems they get to. ripley and as you get to ripley, there's a number of places you can still go. and they're like, well, we got to keep going south. but it's at this point that sturgis got together with his officers. he said, you know what? i'm not sure we should be doing this. we're almost out of food, you know, supplies for the horses. the men aren't doing that great either. we're constantly wet. and this is a miserable outfit. we have tried to find forest. he keeps running away, as he would say. and so they all decide, yeah, you're right, was get out of here. and they all head back to memphis without a fight. when he gets back there, he will write to sherman and apologize. and he will say, if only he would just stop and fight. but forest as to why lee and he
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keeps running away, i wish that i could give you some of the hair clipped from his head, but alas, it's not going to happen. the weather, the horses, the whole bit. and so sherman is like, okay, well, next time go out and take 8000. instead of 4000 and take about 200 wagons and take some artillery and do it this time, you see how easy it is for sherman, how easy it was for them out of memphis. okay. so he says, okay, four, don't work. go eight and make sure you keep him busy. now, here's the interesting thing about this. washburn and sturgis report these things and go, but at least the mississippi region is free of forest. that's not the point is sherman must have been banging his head against the wall like, no, no, no, no. you're going to keep him over there. that's the plan. okay. so he said no, 8000.
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go get him and so this time they head out again. and sturgis says more troops. but this time he also has black troops with them. okay. the 55th and the 59th colored troops come along and fort pillow has been fight. some of you know about fort pillow. there was a lot of controversy about that and how prisoners that were black were treated during that whole situation. and so these black troops wore patches, said no quarter. okay. they wore they had the black flag. okay. and that's no quarter. so in other words, we're coming out here and what you did at fort pil, remember fort pillow on the flag, that kind of thing. and so here you have a brigade of black troops led by white officers. and so here you got the whole group and they're together and they start marching out. and guess what? there's hardly any food on the trip. it's raining again and raining
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and raining, i think for for many days. and they're stuck and they get to ripley it's at this point that our friend grierson comes into the picture. okay, you've got 4000 cavill, you've got 4000 infantry, and then you have about 17 artillery. all right. and a mass of wagons and that kind of thing. so now what happens is sturgis makes his way to ripley, and it's bad, like it was first time, and he says calls the conference again and they go, what should we do? well, the ones that were new this time around are the ones that say we need to turn back. hey, we need to turn back. but sturgis says, and the ones who've been on the first trip, what do they say? no, we've got to keep moving forward. it kind of reminds me of our sidney johnston at shiloh.
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before the attack, he said i'd attack them if there was a million. right, wolf? sturgis, kind of in the same city. you can't go back a second time and tell sherman that it's not going to work, except ashley after the way sturgis left for this second trip. on the second trip, he was late getting with his his troops. you know why? because the night before, he was on a bender. and there's all kinds of stories about how he was drunk, and he picked up the hotel room book, and he acted like he was going to hit the guy with. and then he was rude to a lady. and so different things had happened. i remember the officer was with him, said, i was just disgusted with the way he was enacted. so it took him a while to catch up with his army. his army was that thrilled with him? either because not not just for that, but because they go out on parade in there in memphis and
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he would show up and be in a cab. he's just sitting in the back watching them, you know, in the buggy and they're all marching like, what is this? he's not on the horse. he's not out here. he's just doing his thing. so he doesn't really click with his troops, so they leave before him. he follows them. they get to ripley, we go through this whole thing again. and at this point, they said, no, we're going to keep moving. now, when he says, i'm going to keep moving, that's a good thing for our friend, for us, because force is watching and forrest has spread his troops all over these different areas here. now, just to make a point, there will be over in over here towards core it are uka boonville they're going to be down and around down this way. fulton tupelo. he's got a group. this is his communications. if he sees that sturgis goes to
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ripley and heads this way, he knows to get his troops over there. this way he knows here this. i mean, he's watching what's going on now. this is the interesting thing to it. you have spies and you have people who just like to talk. okay? and so grierson has been out and he's looking around and he'll stop at a house and he'll say, oh, excuse me, good evening, ma'am. wandering. have you seen forrest around here? and she would say, why, yes, i have. whether she had or not. and she'd say yeah, he had 10,000 troops with him. grierson is like 10,000. i got to go in and tell sturgis about this and then he'd go back out there and another scout would come in and go, oh, i've met with some of the people there round the town. ripley and and they're telling me he has 20,000 troops, like 20. there's no way he could have 20,000 troops. and sturgis is not believe in
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this by the time the whole thing's done. okay, it's 30,000 troops. and i'm sure johnston could have used them. okay but no, they're not there. so happens is grierson believes it all right. but sturgis does it. so it's going to cost him some problems as we move along. now, what we have is, we've gone down to bryce's crawl. nope. we have gone down to ripley and they make the turn here. okay. they go past stubbs farm, and as they move past through this area, he says, i know exactly where they're going. they came because they're coming this way. and force is like, we've got to get crossroads and we always here get there first with the most that kind of thing, but which is nice, but he's going to have to hoof it seriously being the calvary even. okay, you got that. went over your head. yeah. okay. all right. so, sturgis sturgis.
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all right. forrest, then pulls his troops together from all over. but here's the problem. they don't just pull together like that, okay? he's like, okay, here's where we're at. you guys are up by rienzi and some of these places. you got to get going. but it's been raining and roads are out or bridges are out and there's problems and they rebuild bridges. believe it or not, some artillery falls through and they got to get that out. they got to fix a bridge and go. but they do it quick. it's lots of mud. but all these troops start moving well for us. has about 700, maybe at the most, 1200 when this whole thing starts off. now, as we see the union troops move past stubbs farm, they go past a place that is called hatch bottom, hatch bottom is
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messed up to put it that way. mud, they're going to have to build the road. so they're trying to get all these wagons, all these horses and every artillery. and so now what happens is sturgis says to grierson, take 4000 cavalry right up the hill, get up to the crossroads and check things out. and we are going to be moving through the hatch. you bottom it. i will send the troops through. okay. now, this is the interesting thing about it. it's a bit of controversy. some people say that for us knew the night before and he told one of his officers, it's going to be hot tomorrow and it's not going to rain and it's going to be humid. any of y'all ever been to mississippi in the summertime? it gets humid, it's hot, the whole thing. and they're wearing wool all right. so here they are trying to move down through here and forest is, you know, forces said, oh, this is going to happen. he's going to send his cavalry
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out first. we're going to take them out. and then the he'll call on the infantry and they'll go running to the help for three miles. and there are going to be expended and we're going to ride right over them. okay. there are other accounts that say that forrest was surprised that grierson got to the crossroads before he did, but he made the best of the situation. i tend to agree with that. so interesting little controversies that people have seen that way. so here we have sturgis. he's moving out. he stuck at hashi bottom, grierson has taken his man. they have gone up to the brice's crossroads area. forest comes up that way and he knows they're up there somewhere new jersey and different troops. you can see it on. first map if you want. look at the. we can move it to that. here we go. now this all, there's like three
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or four maps you could put here instead. but this is the overview for it. okay. what happens is force is like another comment we can hear. he tells some of his men go up the road a little bit and see what's going on. they ride up and the one officer said, i rode back faster than i rode up. okay, because they were firing the lead. and so force is like, okay, we know there are it's crossroad, so we're going to fan out. but here's the interesting thing. this is the creativeness of him, strategic, tactical, the whole thing. what forest does is he lines his men up in a field to the left. it's going to be the kentuckians and tennessee troops. but also on the. baldwin road going across it, you're going to have more of the you got kentucky and tennessee over to the north. you have the alabama troops okay. now they're lined up in the
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fields, but in front of them are thick forests. so the union can't see them. so you got grierson up there. he's moved his troops out. closer, closer, closer towards forest. and then forest man come through the woods and stay hidden. but they fire and they fire rapidly. okay, now remember how many troops does he have? maybe 1200 this time. 700. 1200? how many troops do grierson think he has in that 10,000? 20,000 thursday? he's not sure. he's just not sure. and he's afraid they're going to hit me and it's just going to be awful. okay. so now they're firing incessant just going off great. the confederates, the alabamians over there in the north side, they are going to keep going through and it's all woods until you get to the crossroads. no one's going to see them cutting through there for the most part. and so you've got union troops in there and the confederates
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are firing wildly at them and they're like, oh man, it is on. and so they're thinking, oh, this is it. so what happens is you have sturgis back with the infantry and he's trying to get this figured out when a soldier comes back to him with orders from greer's hour, from garrison telling him, hey, this is what's going on, we are being hit by force there. it's huge. we need help. send the infantry. and he writes back, nope, nope. just go on down. push him out of the way. head over toward gunn town. okay. which he possibly could have done. okay. but because concealment and rapid fire, they kept up the scare. all right. so as sturgis is doing this, another comes back. oh, we're in fort. we're it's tough. it's really hard. we need the help. we need infantry. so sturgis decides i'm going to go check this out. says, you guys get out of this muck and get moving.
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he goes up to brice's crossroads roads and sees what's going on and he writes back to, send the infantry brigade immediately. okay, so run double quick. so these guys start running. this kind of goes with the story that supposedly had that. they're going to wear themselves out. and so what happens is they head on through sturgis moves through the hatch bottom gets a lot of those you know, they start moving out while he's trying to help with grierson and what was going on over there. now the problem too for grierson is he and sturgis do not get along. they do not get along very well at all. and so as they're there, they also have some artillery the cavalry has pulled some of the artillery up there. but the problem is artillery is firing, but they're firing blind. they really can't see where the
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confederates are. and you really can't fire into the woods where the alabamians are because new jersey and different groups are there. you don't want to hit your own troops so that becomes a problem as time goes on, you'll grierson is going to have fall back he's going to have to fall back and they wait for more troops from that we wait for more of the infantry to come up the second infantry comes up the brigade, they come up the hill. not here. you need to understand when it comes to bryce's crossroads, it's up a hill. you got to go across tisha mingo creek and run up the hill. okay, so what happens is when they finally get up that hill, the first group, they're tired, they're worn out. and so the cavalry are there. and the infantry show up and
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they can't even pull the cartridges because their mouths are so dry. they just can't do anything. and so the cavalry stay and continue the fight surround this time that sturgis goes to grierson and says in so many words, get your cavalry out of the way so the infantry can do their job. and when the you know, when the battle this upset. grierson okay because he's like we have been fighting this for a few hours we're almost out of ammunition. and by the way, where's the ammunition in the wagons. where the wagons hatch you bottom at you, bombs to that two miles away, three miles away. so that makes it a serious problem for them. so now everyone's tired. the confederates are moving forward. now as they move forward, they're coming out of the woods and into the fields. so they're not concealed anymore.
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but there's enough that are okay and they keep on firing and keeping up that scare. now the cavalry might have been able to overpower them, but the problem is they're running out of ammunition. when they start running out of ammunition, do you go towards the enemy or do you go back? are you back up? okay. so they start retreating more. so you start to see more of them retreating towards brice's crossroads. now, as this is going on, the union troops finally get there. the infantry, and we'll go ahead and go to the next show you the next picture. how am i doing on time? okay, now this is kind of gobbled together there. it's kind of hard to see. and i can understand that because you've got a lot of troops doing a lot of things. but i try to keep it basic here. forest around 1:00 ends up getting bell's troops showing
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up. rutger has been with him the whole time, pretty much johnson in over in the woods with alabama and lyon start the thing off but rutger and especially bell come later and now he's got his full force he's got his 4000. now, the interesting thing about this is it is 4000 to 8000. however, look at the way it was fought. remember it was 4000 against maybe 2000 at the most. at the beginning, that kind of thing. it's almost fought peace mill because now they're going to move the cavalry out and bring in fresh union troops. but they're not very fresh because by the time he gets two of those brigades up there and they fill all these spots, they're worn out. as i said, there are cavalry that say, okay, grierson said, move out immediately. and they write back and they say, we can't. these guys are tired. they're laying here. they might have ammunition, but they can't break it. they're they're worn out. you had certain regiments who
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had maybe 300 short with only 200, 200 showed up with 100. you had men from the hatch, you bottom all the way up the hill at brice's crossroads falling out of line. the surgeon the union sergeant. i saw this all along the line as we marched up to that hill. he said they were taking guys who had fainted and put them under a tree, ripped open their shirt and poured water on them. and then they would keep going. but you had all kinds heat stroke. so when the infantry does show up, it's not much of a power walk. now, the confetti rates are worn out, but they're victorious. it's going well for them. so they keep it up. and now you got, like i said, by 1:00, you've got 4000 confederate. you got roughly 8000 of the union. but the black troops are still with the wagons now, as this
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comes together, sturgis is in the middle of it. he's trying to get the artillery to fire in the right place. he's to get grierson to get on the flanks and and stay out of the way and let the infantry work. and the confederates are still coming at him and he's got to be thinking to himself, at least the wagons aren't here. they're back at hatch. you bottom officer comes in and says, sir, the wagons are here. all right, so what happens now is he gets on his horse now, there was a soldier after the war. he wrote, he said, i saw sturgis riding away from the battle. you know, he left us a coward, that kind of thing. i don't think that's correct. i think he saw him riding back down the hill over to the the bridge to shore. mingo creek to try to turn him around because that's what he
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does. he meets him and he says, folks, what are you doing here? and they're like, well, we're the you know, wagons. no. and then he's like, we got the big battle going on. turn them around where? in the field right there. like just turn him around in the field next to the creek and back them out. get them out here. yes, sir. they all come down in there, as many as they could. they go to turn around and what's it been doing for nine days? and this is a field. okay. and so they are sunk up to the axles of these these different wagons, the masters, when they see everything going on and bullets and shells are flying over there cut and straps are getting on horses and it's i'm going, okay, color me gone and they're out of there. so now they're stuck and all these wagons or their ammunition, all kinds of different things for the taking. so sturgis heads back up the
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hill. he goes up to see what's going on with the fighting. but there is one light for the union army here over on the right, the union right. you have the 93rd indiana move down the gunn town road and they actually break through the tennesseans kick. they actually break through where the eighth mississippi, also known as duffs mississippians, they break through there, but there's just not enough because forrest happens to be there. and the reinforcements come in and they plug the gap, which really funny because i believe it was belle who got really upset and frustration of battle and he's like, you know, if if forrest was here, you know, and saw what was going on, maybe he could help and force was behind him. and forrest hit him over the
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head. i'm just kidding. no, he did. forrest said, i am here, sir. and i will not leave you until this is taken care of. and he got his men down from their horses and tied him to the branches. are the bushes there? and got off the revolvers and they were in this along the gunn town road, oak and helped to plug that. now as the 93rd indian are pulling back, the knights minnesota with native americans there two knights minnesota comes through and they hit the road and this time they're able to make some significant cuts there against the mississippians, as well as the tennesseans. but the confederates at this moment got reinforcements. the only thing is reinforcements came from union artillery because the union artillery decided to fire down the gunn town road and they were hitting
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their own men, and now they had to move to the right and get out of the way. it's plugged again and they move back down towards. brice's crossroads so things just couldn't seem to go right for the union army during this battle. so now the union infantry fired as best they could. the those that made it, and now they were running out of ammunition and they started to be squeezed towards brice's crossroads. you can kind of see it. it's almost like a funnel. it gets smaller and smaller and smaller to where the union army is right here and the confederates are right here and they're blocking them. it's at this point, you'll see the second tennessee, the second tennessee has gone around corner to get on the flank by the fishermen, go bridge.
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the 72nd ohio is sitting on top of log cabin hill. and this is where all the the cannons are. i'm sorry. the wagons are. and so the 76 are 72nd. ohio is here. artillery was their artillery is like this is too hot. we're out of here. and so the 72nd stays. now, here's the interesting thing. the second tennessee cavalry only has so many men, but he takes a page out of force. playbook. he spreads them out all along this area up here. okay. all through here. and what he does is he has these guys fire them, these guys these guys in back and and he has the bugler go around down here, then race over to here, then race over to here and make them think. we've got a huge amount of troops because they can't see us. so now the 72nd ohio and others are like the only way out of this mess is back. the way we came across that bridge, folks, that bridge.
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oh, that's an old bridge. that's not one of these. you know, constructed seamen, you know, rails like they got up there today. okay. this bridge was rickety. it had no sides to it. you ever drove across one of those bridges with no sides and you thought and it's a wooden near like this just isn't a good idea. okay. so here they, go across this thing and not down 72nd. ohio is going to stay put and and now the confederates have they're going to make one huge push at brice's crossroads. they're going to finally make that final push to get them right there. it's at this point, i can't remember who it was. i think it may have been belle, but i'm not sure yells to his troops, fixed bayonets. two these guys have been at. no, it was psychological. he knew that the the union could hear him and he says fixed
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bayonets. and that was like, oh no. okay. so the union, they're all stuck there, packed in there, and they're like, i'm going down the hill. so you got a number of them going down the hill and sturgis is trying to save everything and he is told grierson to stay out of the way. but grierson takes that to mean. okay, we're leaving and takes his cavalry across from the creek and goes up on the other side to wait for further instructions. so now he's. now we've got the second tennessee scaring everyone to death. we got him up on the hill on the right, getting scared about a bayonet charge and all of a sudden it just comes together and they, the confederates, move on them in one motion and push them down the hill. now after as they're pushing them down the hill, remember bear and those woods who's in the woods, some union troops, but alabama, the oc and these
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guys push through like a tide get it. all right so they push through those woods and they hit that whole road right below brice's crossroads. so here you got union troops trying to get down the hill. they got bayonets from behind. they think, and they've got all this going on and then, boom, they come out of the woods. now, at this time, the black troops have come out of hatch bottom and they move up towards brice's crossroads. they're going to be all along that whole road. they're and as a lot of those white troops get out of the way and go across the hatch bottom, they're going to be there to fight off the confederates. and they do a pretty good job of it. okay. but this thing is gone south real quick. and so they will fight the the union soldiers will fight and run. they've got to get out and retreat. the 72 second ohios got to move
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out. everybody tries to get across the bridge at the same time, not going to work. sometimes it gets messed up and there's things overturned. other times they clear it. but this is a problem and you think, well, just go across the water, folks. it was raining for nine days when i wrote this book. i went out there after four days of rain. i thought, i want to see what it would be like just after four least. and it was a rage or it was going through there. it was pretty bad. i mean, i would not it's not that huge. and we'll see a picture, but it's not that huge. but with all that water and the current could take people on down, some people did get across only to get shot in the back, you know, or shot before they even get to it. but it was a messed up situation in the bridge was the best way to go. okay. so a number of them go across and the confederates continue to drive down brice's crossroads. so they take them all the way off to the bridge and the troop.
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the colored troops kind of lead the last part they're protecting the army as they go up towards white house ridge, which is going to be the last picture that you've got there are a map. okay. now, the interesting thing at this point, a lot of people say, yeah, it's a victory we won. that's not the way for us does things. some of you, i think jim ogden back there with chickamauga could talk on this further. but for us that chickamauga was upset that they didn't the confederates didn't keep moving on the union because, you know, they could keep going after them as they ran back to chattanooga and took more prisoners. but bragg said, no, the army's too tired. it's worn out. it's not going to happen this is kind of microcosm of what if forrest had been in charge. he have wanted to do. you know what i'm saying? so what happens is, as there's a running gun battle, you'll go to the battlefield and you'll see the battlefield. but that's not the whole
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battlefield. you've got to go down the road some and then you go over there to white house ridge and our white house. ridge there going to hold back the confederate tide as best they can. now, remember, it's a running gun battle all the way from brice's crossroads lots of union troops have thrown away their cartridges, throwing away guns, even, i believe. and so they're running and the black troops are picking up cartridges and trying to do something with them. so finally they get over here to white house ridge and you'll see a final stop there. now, what's interesting is that morton's artillery. morton the confederate artillery, we're talking four guns. by the time this day is over, they're going to collect about 17. okay? but they've got their guns up. brice's crossroads shooting down the road as these union troops. and they're also shooting anywhere else can from there.
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the 76 over on the log cabin ridge. i mean, they're they're firing at everywhere down there. so now when they finally get up towards dry creek, it's a large hill there. it's the rip, the old ripley road and going right up there, as you can see it, i should point it out and green right here. so they'll go up dry about this area forest tell us morton get your guns ready because you're going to lead the charge. we have an artillery charge. all right. you don't see those too often. so what happens is they lead the charge and go now. morton, one of his men, said to him, is, did he really say that? and he laughed. he said, you heard him, well, let's do it. and so they lead the charge up that hill straight into him, turn them around and start firing. but also tennessee troops are there and others follow behind and they make it happen.
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they push and they push and they push and they're off the ridge. they head towards hetchy bottom. okay. they're not out of the woods yet. so they get to hatch you bottom and everything's getting stuck and there's wagons everywhere from brice's crossroads down as forrest goes down from bryce's crossroads and sees all of the the different wagons stuck in the field, some of them are burning. people have lit them on fire. these have ammunition, have forage. they have all kinds of things, know bacon, all kinds of food and stuff. and they're burning. forest said they're, burning my wagons, my wagons the burn in my wagons, he said, put out the fires. they all jumped down. they do it except for one officer, one officer sat there. he's like, well, i'm kind of i'm an officer. i i'll do that.
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and force looked at him and said, why aren't you helping my oh, i'm an officer, supposedly. forrest said officer, you goes after him and he jumps down off that horse and he helps put out all these fires. so it's interesting because it's the one time that you can say, i mean, like i said, there was all kinds of food bake and all that kind of thing. but this is the one time in the civil war you could say that forrest saved sturgis bacon. ah, well, it was worth a try. all right, so the union retreat, they make that last stand at white house ridge. they lose all of their wagons, their artillery. so, matter of fact, one artillery piece is said in the official records that they broke the carriage, they took the tube, they threw it in a hatch bottom, and it about eight feet. now, he knows it's sunk eight
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feet. i don't know. okay. but supposedly there in hatch bottom, there is a union artillery piece waiting for someone to find it like me. so. but anyways, they were throwing ammunition in the hatch. you bottom the ambulance. this ambulance wagons full of of hurt union soldiers could not get through. and it's getting dark and it's the bottom and there's musket pops and it's hot and it's humid. these guys are bleeding out, but they can't be moved any more because it's too late. save yourself and they leave the ambulance there and the doctor had them all laid out on the ground as best he could. and left a message for the confederates that said, we hope that you will treat them decent. you know, and they understood the situation.
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the confederates did come through that way. that doctor did say later that they did that they were treated well. they had no you could think of all the horrible things that could happen. but could you imagine being being injured so much that you couldn't really move? you couldn't get away. and it's dark in the bottoms of mississippi, tippy. and here they're coming, screaming, yelling you don't know what's going to happen. you've heard lots of stories. so it's a scary, scary thing. some of the soldiers got into so much mud and it dried on their pants and it slowed him down that they cut their pant legs off and were in shorts to make their way back to memphis. it's a good hoof all the way up to memphis, just where i live in new albany on 22, i believe it is. it's 60 miles to memphis and they're there on foot and even further away. so here these guys are just
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trying to get back home to keep from being captured. a forest does not stop up. he is relentless. he sends his men after him. but here's the thing. a lot of his men are tired. what he does is he trades them for the horse holders. you know what i mean by that? there are certain troops that had to hold the horses. he has all cavalry. so you had so many men to hold so many horse reins. so now you switch and now he's got reinforcements in a way. and so now they help in the pursuit forest. he goes after them, his men go after him. they capture roughly anywhere from 1000 to 1500 men. okay? not including the 700 killed union killed in this fight. by the time the next day, they get back to memphis it's sturgis birthday. you imagine what that would be like. and so it was said that sturgis
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was a drunk. people said he was drinking. when i have done my research, i have found that during this battle he took one sip of whiskey. i believe it was in the morning before all this happened, and he had a drink at the hatch bottom. okay. i did find, since there may be one drink in the middle of the day. okay, but we're not talking some of the stuff he had pulled before he goes back to memphis and there will be a court of inquiry about the whole thing. what happened? how come you're back? you've lost all of your wagons. you've lost all the artillery, you've lost these men and this will be the end of sturgis when it comes to the civil war. okay. grierson will have some bad things to say about him in his memoirs, but he won't really mention that in the official records. things just didn't go well for the black troops as well some of
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them get captured. some are killed, some make it back to memphis, along with some of the other folks. it was a sad city waitin for the army. but look at this. when it was told to sherman that he had failed and sherman said, well, look into that. and he said, what's aj smith doing? okay, send him out with 16,000. you see sherman, they would say at atlantic campaign, always had a in his back pocket. so whenever you blew up a bridge, he just fixed well he had an army in his back pocket. you could do 60. he said tell general moyer if he goes out with some troops, you know, i'll raise him in rank if he can beat forest. the whole thing was to keep forest. now the battle of tupelo. a month later. and here's what's interesting as those and a lot of them fight at brice's crossroads came back through that area towards
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tupelo. there's a faint shadow of a man. and when they finally came up to him, it was a union soldier who had fought at brice's crossroads who had been hiding out for past month, trying to keep from being captured. and now he's back with the army guy. but you're going to have people sliding in for a week or two come and back and mad. okay. there's a lot of guys that went to prisons because they were captured. it was a sad sight on that battlefield. a lot of death and destruction, but forest yeah, he had a big this is what you'd call a lopsided victory. right. but it was a stunning defeat for sturgis. and i can't help but wonder. it's a defeat for the confederacy. see, to now, of course, we'd say in the region it's a it's a
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great win for forest. but in the overall big picture here think big picture. well sherman done the atlantic campaign through june by the time we see the battle of tupelo now we're into july oh he's gone all the way down back and forest hasn't touched his supply line so. maybe not a stunning defeat, but a defeat more or less for the confederacy. when you think of the big picture. sherman was able to keep forest off his supply line, so. all right, thank you. any questions. i guess i should add this real quick. when they did get over to the hatch bottom vato over the black troop said to sturgis, give us
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some ammunition. we're picking stuff. let us get in a line. give us some of the other white troops we can hold here. and it was at that time that sturgis looked at him and he said, if forest will leave me alone, i will leave him alone. he said, you've done all you can do now. you got to save yourself. and that was the end of it for him. all right. questions. but by this stage, the war, how are the two sides armed by this stage of the war? how were the two sides armed? well, the infantry, you've got probably springfields, the confederate and of course, carbines for the union. but there's going to be a different mixed match kind of thing. nothing like you're going to find with confederates. it's believed that some of the confederates, even though they were cavalry, were carrying three band muskets. believe it or not, some different kinds of. repeating rifles, things like that, not a lot.
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well, they've got the stuff, they got the revolvers and and they've got the the smaller cavalry rifles, that kind of thing. i, i can't really tell you exactly every model and all that kind of thing. but you had a smattering of different things. so. any questions during the battle that was reported, the forest was everywhere. yeah. yes, he he was here and he was there. he was all over the valley, the battlefield. he was seen on every possible location. yes. and he kept moving. he did he would move over, help bell. then he left there and went over to lyon. then in johnson, check him out. then he'd back around. he'd look what else is going on and where there was a problem, he was there. so he was a great leader. he communicated. he got around, he helped his troops and the thing is, he used the battlefield to his way of
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doing things. and should have showed some of the pictures. this is one of the pictures this is going from. if you're a cavalry man and the union army, when it first started out, there's brice's crossroads right back here. but look at the undulation of, the ground. if you keep going and it does it more and more so, you couldn't always see where the confederates were at, where the union was at until you came over the side. that's a fun picture. there is the graveyard there, the original graveyard is there. but this is also part of it. this is going down from the brice's crossroads you see that hill now, the original road is up in here somewhere that went down. it's believed okay, but this is log cabin ridge here and then behind this curve is where the wagons were at.
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i know it's hard for you guys see that now. this is a shot. this is brice's crossroads. you see all these woods? that's the way it was when the alabama troops went through. and then right here is log cabin, the ridge right up in here, like heaven hill and then right next to it, across the street were on log cabin hill that is the field where the wagons were folks. this stuff is still here is i think private property but it is what awful place to go to to just think of how many were losing battlefields and it's nice to see some of these way and hopefully that will be saved as well. i was talking to buck in here somewhere about. what's your favorite battlefield and? i couldn't answer that, but i could tell you some. my favorite places on the battlefield. and one of those is right there, top of log cabin hill, sitting
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there looking out at that and right to my right, when i'm sitting on top of here is tissue, mango. now, you can see that's the old osha way doing things. but here's the creek better shot is there and if when you look at it that the floor of it is hard you could take a mountain bike through, but i wouldn't because of all the snakes. well, i've not seen too many there, but it's hard. it's sandstone, limestone kind of thing. and it's the high banks to it. oops. yeah, i was going right and. that again is a shot from log cabin hill. if you're across the street where the wagons were, you could look up that hill. and this is the old ripley road. you can walk up that to the finished part of the battlefield at white house. ridge i didn't talk a lot about the civilians during this fight. i ran of time.
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but anyway this is one of the hills my daughter, emily bennett, is the one that did a lot of the pictures for the books and. i believe that should do it. any last questions before i go? yes, sir. how much the great pictures. i going to look like now? would you get to see, you know, thank you for those pictures. i was going to ask about how which you can see it everything out there how much is interpreted or if you would just one out there could was or size or you can pick up a brochure or something like that, driving tours or anything like that. sure, they do have a caveat or only you can go out there. there are some out there a little bit, but i do a lot of the tours and give tours there and some other people. but it's hard unless you know and there's this book that i've heard of that you could get and it's got lot of information that'll help you find it.
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i hope that's helpful. and yes, just a question how far did forest chase sturgis is towards memphis i know i didn't go all the way to memphis, almost up to carrollton i believe it was. he went pretty far. his men his men did him himself. i can't pinpoint, but i can tell you this. he fell asleep and fell off his horse because he had it was just that kind of a day. and he kept going and going and going and so did his troops. so since that incredible situation. thank you very much. appreciate being with
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