"Shortly after noon on March 25, 1864, Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and 2,800
of his cavalrymen, having ridden 100 miles in 50 hours, suddenly descended on
the Ohio River town of Paducah, KY. They were on another of their slashing raids
deep into Yankee territory with the mission of recruiting men and capturing and
destroying Union supplies. Col. Stephen G. Hicks, commander of the important
Union supply depot, withdrew with his 665 men into Fort Anderson, a strong
eastern fort west of town. Two Union gunboats in the river helped defend the
Forrest sent his usual demand for surrender to Hicks: "If you surrender, you
shall be treated as prisoners of war; but if I have to storm your works, you may
expect no quarter." Forrest was not disappointed that Hicks declined to
surrender; he just wanted the large quantity of supplies at Paducah. He ordered
some of his men to keep the Yankees penned down inside the fort while the rest
collected or destroyed the Union stores.
Col. A.P. Thompson, whose hometown was Paducah, disregarded Forrest's command
and ordered an ill-advised assault on the fort. Thompson "was struck by a shell,
which exploded as it struck him, literally tearing him to pieces." This event,
accompanied by a dozen other casualties, ended the charge.
While Forrest's men cleaned out the supplies, the gunboats fired into
Paducah, not hurting the Confederates but causing considerable damage to the
town. Having completed their mission, the raiders rode out of town at midnight.
Forrest reported: "I drove the enemy to their gunboats and fort; and held the
town for ten hours, captured many stores and horses; burned sixty bales of
cotton, one steamer, and a drydock, bringing out fifty prisoners." A few days
later the Rebels read a newspaper that boastfully reported that the Rebels had
missed 140 excellent army horses that had been hidden in a foundry. Forrest
promptly sent a detachment back to Paducah. They again ran Hicks into the
fort, found the horses and took them with them back to Mississippi."
Fascinating Factoid: While traveling to Paducah, part of
Forrest's command, the 7th Tennessee, captured the Union 7th Tennessee at Union
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.