The Second Battle of Memphis was a battle of the American Civil War occurring on August 21, 1864, in Shelby County, Tennessee.
At 4:00 a.m. on August 21, 1864, Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest made a daring raid on Union-held Memphis, Tennessee, but it was not an attempt to capture the city, which was occupied by 6,000 Federal troops. The raid had three objectives: to capture three Union generals posted there; to release Southern prisoners from Irving Block Prison; and to cause the recall of Union forces from Northern Mississippi. Striking northwestward for Memphis with 2,000 cavalry, Forrest lost about a quarter of his strength because of exhausted horses. Surprise was essential. Taking advantage of a thick dawn fog and claiming to be a Union patrol returning with prisoners, the Confederates eliminated the sentries.
Galloping through the streets and exchanging shots with other Union troops, the raiders split to pursue separate missions. One union general was not at his quarters. Another, General Cadwallader C. Washburn escaped to Fort Pickering dressed in his night-shirt. Forrest took Washburn's uniform, but later returned it under a flag of truce. According to Memphis legend, Confederate cavalrymen rode into the lobby of the luxurious Gayoso House Hotel seeking the Yankee officers. A street in Memphis is named "General Washburn's Escape Alley" in commemoration of the ordeal. The attack on Irving Block Prison also failed when Union troops stalled the main body at the State Female College. After two hours, Forrest decided to withdraw, cutting telegraph wires, taking 500 prisoners and large quantities of supplies, including many horses.
Although Forrest failed in Memphis, his raid influenced Union forces to return there, from northern Mississippi, and provide protection. Union General Hurlbut was quoted afterward as saying, "There it goes again! They superseded me with Washburn because I could not keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, and Washburn cannot keep him out of his own bedroom!"
↑The War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies "AUGUST 21, 1864.— Attack on Memphis, Tenn." Government Printing Office, Washington, 1892. pp. 468ff.
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Memphis metro area landmarks
Tennessee:A. Schwab's - Art Museum of the University of Memphis - AutoZone Stadium - Bartlett Museum - Beale Street - Bellevue Baptist Church - Belz Museum - Botanic Garden - Brooks Museum - Burkle Estate - Central Station - Chickasaw Bluff - Children's Museum - Chucalissa Museum - Cotton Museum - Davies Manor - Dixon Gallery and Gardens - Downtown Trolleys - Elmwood Cemetery - FedExForum - Fire Museum - Fort Assumption - Fort Wright - Graceland - Hernando de Soto Bridge - Liberty Bowl Stadium - Libertyland - Lichterman Nature Center - Lincoln American Tower - Magevney House - Mallory-Neely House - Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park - Memorial Park Cemetery - Memphis Cotton Exchange - Memphis International Airport - Memphis Motorsports Park - Memphis National Cemetery - Memphis Parkway System - Memphis Zoo - Mississippi River - Mississippi River Park - Mud Island Monorail - National Civil Rights Museum - National Ornamental Metal Museum - Oaklawn Garden - Orpheum Theatre - Overton Park - Peabody Hotel - Pink Palace - The Pyramid - Rhodes College - Rock N' Soul Museum - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital - St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral - Shelby Farms - Stax Museum - Sun Studio - South Main Arts District - Tennessee Brewery - Tipton County Museum - T. O. Fuller State Park - Tom Lee Park - Union Station - University of Memphis - Victorian Village - Wolf River
Mississippi:Arkabutla Lake - Bally's Casino - DeSoto County Museum - DeSoto Civic Center - Gold Strike Casino - Harrah's Casino (formerly Grand Casino) - Holly Springs National Forest - Horseshoe Casino - Mississippi River - Resorts Casino Tunica - Sam's Town Gambling Hall - Tunica Resorts - Tunica Roadhouse Casino - Wall Doxey State Park
Arkansas:Horseshoe Lake - Mississippi River - Southland Greyhound Park - Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge