Friday, May 30, 2008
My Mississippi Manifest Destiny: The Battle of Tupelo
Tupelo is known for something else, which I'll get to in my next post. Long before Elvis Presley was born there, Tupelo was viewed as an strategic town--a railroad ran through it and the line was a vital line of supply for General Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's Military Division of the Mississippi during the Battle of Atlanta.
(That railroad still runs through Tupelo, and the trains kept me up much of the night I stayed there.
Union Major General Andrew Smith was ordered to secure Tupelo, and was met by forces led by Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee and Maj. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest and July 14. The next day the Northern forces succeeded in securing Sherman's supply line, although Forrest and Lee's armies escaped.
Forrest would cause wreak havoc against the Union forces, particularly the killing of unarmed black soldiers during the Battle of Fort Pillow.
Forrest later was named an honorary grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, although like many members of the group during its incarnations, Forrest denied membership.
As with Corinth, much of the battlefield has been enveloped by development. The National Park Service runs a one-acre site on Main Street near the Natchez Trace.
The marker on bottom has an inscription that would not pass muster today. "To our Confederate dead that gave their lives in battle here on July 14, 1864. For their rights. Erected 1918."
Those rights included owning slaves.
UPDATE March 31, 2009: Besides Nathan Bedford Forrest, another famous American fought in the Battle of Tupelo. William F. Cody of the Kansas 7th Cavalry. Cody of course is better known as "Buffalo Bill." Shortly before his death, Cody revisited the battlefield site.
Previous My Mississippi Manifest Destiny posts:
Shiloh Part Four
Shiloh Part Three
Shiloh Part Two
Shiloh Part One
The Varsity Theatre in Martin, Tennessee
Lincoln and Kentucky
Technorati tags: history Americana byways travel travel blog history Civil War photography photos military Mississippi African American Elvis Presley