Five Desperate Hours

By the fall of 1862, Confederate prospects for a decisive military victory in the West were clearly fading.  A succession of Federal victories – Ft. Donelson, the capture of Nashville, Shiloh, and Corinth – gave Union forces control of the major railroads and rivers in middle and west Tennessee, along with northern Mississippi.  Confederate Commander Braxton Bragg was determined to slow the Federal advance into the Deep South by destroying the railroads supplying Federal troops in the region.  To carry out the campaign he turned to one of the Confederacy’s rising military stars, Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Between December 11 and December 31, Forrest and his men rode three hundred miles, destroyed railroad track, and confiscated tens of thousands of dollars in supplies.  The campaign ended with a fierce battle at Parker’s Crossroads. 18 min.