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Blooded, battered, broken, and beaten, the Confederate
Army of Tennessee slowly made their way south after the devastating losses at
Franklin and Nashville. General John Bell Hood had broken his own army’s back
at Franklin, and delivered it a mortal blow at Nashville. The demolished army
was now in a disorganized retreat, and were ripe for the picking. General
George Henry Thomas ordered Major General James H. Wilson’s cavalry corps to
pursue and annihilate the remaining Confederate forces. One last glimmer of
hope existed for the worn-out Army of Tennessee; Major General Nathan Bedford
Forrest. Hood placed Forrest in command of the rear guard, and gave him whatever
infantry force he could muster for the fight.
Forrest’s name alone could drive fear into his enemy’s
hearts, and rally the spirits of even a broken army. He gathered his cavalry,
reformed some infantry (some barefoot and carried on wagons) and delayed the
advance of Wilson long enough that the Army of Tennessee was able to get away.
On Christmas day he fought Wilson’s Cavalry at Anthony’s Hill, and the next day
ended the pursuit at Sugar Creek. It would be the last battle fought in
Tennessee, but it allowed the army to regroup, and reform under Joe Johnston
enough for one final effort in the Carolinas.
An effort is underway now to recreate these historic events for the 155th
Anniversary. Plans, so far, are to hold it in January of 2020, though the exact
date is subject to change. Confederate cavalry and infantry impressions will be
sought, as well as a Federal cavalry impression armed with Spencer repeating
rifles. Land has been identified in Giles County, Tennessee, and a site visit
is being planned for August.
Anyone interested in this event, please contact Captain
Matthew Joe Mallory on Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or phone (256-617-1543). Commanders are being sought for the battalions/brigades
and various companies. A sizeable cavalry force must be willing to dismount and
fight on foot.