The Battle of Fallen Timbers at Shiloh
April 8, 1862
An amazing rear guard action by Colonel Bedford Forrest after the Battle of Shiloh. This property will soon be added to the Shiloh National Military Park, thanks to the Civil War Preservation Trust. It’s located about 7 miles southwest of the Shiloh Visitor Center here. This, and other planed additions, will make Shiloh the largest military park system in the United States.
Recommended reading: The Campaigns of General Forrest
“At twenty paces the Confederates gave a volley with their shot-guns, a formidable weapon at that short distance, and rushed in with pistols and sabres. So sudden was the onset that, despite their numbers, the Federal cavalry broke in disorder, and fled back through the woods running over their own infantry in their panic, creating a scene of singular confusion and tumult for some moments. Many of the infantry were thus knocked down; many horses also were transfixed by the bayonets of their own infantry. Scores of other horses fell and threw their riders sprawling and bruised upon the ground; and all around was a medley of cavalry and infantry, scattering and running to and fro, hither and thither, officers shouting and cursing, and the hurt groaning. Before the infantry could recover from the condition into which the flight of the cavalry had thrown them, Forrest was upon them also with a swift play of sabre and revolver, and they broke as well as the cavalry. The slaughter was considerable, as the flying infantry were closely pursued for several hundred yards by their eager, excited enemy. Men are merciless on such occasions. The loss inflicted was heavy, while seventy were captured.
In the ardency and exultation of the pursuit, Forrest pressed on until he found himself alone within fifty yards of the main body of the Federal expeditionary force,—and beyond, indeed, a large part of those whom he had just surprised and routed. Halting, he saw at a glance that his men, perceiving sooner the situation, had very properly halted, and were then falling back with their prisoners,—which they were doing, however, unaware of the perilous position of their leader. Immediately observed by the enemy, now all around him, Forrest was fired at from all sides. One ball from an Austrian rifle, striking him on the left side, just above the point of the hip-bone, penetrated to the spine, and, ranging around, lodged in the left side—a severe if not, indeed, mortal wound, as his surgeon apprehended. His right leg, benumbed by the blow, was also left hanging useless in the stirrup. Turning his horse, however, he resolved to escape, surrounded as he was by hundreds bent on his death, and shouting, “Kill him !” “Shoot him !” “Stick him!” “Knock him off his horse !” all of which they literally sought to do. His horse, too, was wounded, (mortally, as it proved,) but still bore up under his daring rider, as he dashed out of the throng of assailants, using his revolver with deadly aim to clear his path.” – The Campaigns of General Forrest
Take a 360º Virtual Tour of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield:
360º photography by Bob Henderson