The Battle Of Paducah Essay Research Paper

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The Battle Of Paducah Essay, Research Paper THE BATTLE OF PADUCAH “More than just a skirmish” by Scott Bradley For many years “The Battle of Paducah” has been grossly under-stated. There is no mention of the battle in most history books. The latest Kentucky History book has no mention of the battle at all. Without a doubt, Paducah has been overshadowed by the massacre at Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864, some eighteen days later. In fact, if the Battle of Paducah had not turned out the way it did, the Massacre at Fort Pillow may have never taken place. With over thirty-thousand rounds exchanged between the Union and Confederate forces, and the death of one of the South’s foremost Colonels, the “skirmish” at Paducah’s significance should not be overlooked. . On

March 1, 1864, a man with a battle record that few could imagine began planning to recruit troops and mounts from West Kentucky. This man fought at battles such as Fort Donelson and Shiloh. He also served under General Bragg and General Sooy Smith. He is none other than General Nathan Bedford Forrest. (herein referred to as Forrest). On March 1, 1864 three Kentucky regiments received orders from General Forrest asking them to join his force around Columbus, Mississippi. The Third, Seventh, and Eighth Regiments immediately went up the Tombigbee River and joined Forrest’s forces. These Kentucky regiments had been badly damaged in the many hard fought battles they had already experienced. Word that they were going back to their home state of Kentucky came as a great comfort. Upon

arriving, some of the men found that they would have to walk because of the lack of mounts; not a complaint could be heard. One may ask why Forrest would want such a worn and tattered regiment. To put it simply, he wanted to advance into West Kentucky and who knew the land better than those who have lived there. Immediately, Forrest split his command into four brigades, consisting of about seven thousand total men. The first commanded by Colonel J. J. Neely, the second by Colonel Robert McCullock, the third by Colonel A. P. Thompson, and fourth by Colonel T. H. Bell. The bulk of the fighting brigade would be that of Colonel A. P. Thompson with the Third, Seventh, Eighth and Twelfth Kentucky regiments, along with The Jeffrey Forrest regiment. The Twelfth Kentucky had been under

General Forrest for some time. General Buford would command the divisions of Thompson and Bell. Meanwhile, it was no secret what Forrest planned. A report from Major General S. A. Hurlbut of the Headquarters Fourth Division, District of West Tennessee states: “It is reported that Forrest with about seven-thousand men was at Tupelo last night or the night before, bound for West Tennessee.” He adds: “I think he means Columbus or Paducah.” On the morning of March 15, Forrest readied his entire command in Columbus Mississippi, and set out for Jackson, Tennessee. Forrest arrived at Jackson with about fourteen hundred riders on March 20. The remainder of his force would soon follow. On March 22 Forrest decided to leave General Buford at Jackson, and take about 800 men of the

Seventh Tennessee and Twelfth Kentucky to Trenton, Tennessee. After collecting supplies, recruiting and rallying with Buford and his other troops, Forrest left for West Kentucky. Then, hearing of a federal command at Union City, Tennessee, Forrest ordered Colonel Duckworth to take the Seventh Tennessee, and the Twelfth Kentucky and try to take the town. Thinking that Forrest’s entire force was approaching the town, a newspaper reported, that Forrest, with over seven thousand men and heavy artillery, were about to advance on the town. Upon arriving at Union City, Colonel Duckworth saw he was not strong enough to storm the fort. Duckworth then resorted to an old Confederate trick which made his numbers seem larger than they actually were. After making a considerable amount of