Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forrest's dramatic ride into Murfreesboro

As they were known to do, Nathan Bedford Forrest and his band of audacious Confederate cavalrymen caught the Union army sleeping at Murfreesboro, Tenn.

On July 13, 1862, Forrest struck the important Union supply center, capturing camps and crucial venues en route to scooping up prisoners. The 1,400 Confederates -- utilizing mobility and bluff -- destroyed supplies, freed prisoners held by the Union and tore up portions of railroad track before leaving the city.

"The main result of the raid was the diversion of Union forces from a drive on Chattanooga," says the National Park Service. "This raid, along with Morgan’s raid into Kentucky, made possible Bragg’s concentration of forces at Chattanooga and his early September invasion of Kentucky."

Stones River National Battlefield and Oaklands Historic House Museum, scene of the humiliating Federal surrender, this weekend (July 20-22) are partnering to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the raid.

Gib Backlund, chief of operations at the battlefield, said the raid was the first of three important battles in Murfreesboro, the other two being the bloody Battle of Stones River in December 1862 and the Battle of the Cedars in 1864.

“Overall, we hope people understand in a broader sense military approaches and also how the war affected civilians in places like Murfreesboro," Backlund told the Picket.

The Oaklands Historic House Museum helps tell that civilian story.

Visitors this weekend can tour the mansion and see one of the largest private collections of historic clothing (photo, below). The PNJW Collections exhibit contains original Civil War-era clothing, jewely, shoes, photographs and more.

"The men’s vests are incredible with wild patterns," said tour guide Raina van Setter.

The home was occupied by the affluent and influential Maney family. Forrest clashed with Federal troops on the plantation grounds.

Union Col. William Duffield, commander of the 9th Michigan Infantry Regiment, was wounded in the skirmish and taken into the house, where he was treated by the family. He decided to surrender to Forrest.

According to van Setter, Adaline Maney served black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and cornbread at the surrender ceremony.

Before the raid, Adaline held off with a pistol Union soldiers who came to the home to obtain furniture to be used as fuel for fires.

“She was a headstrong woman," said van Setter.

Here's an overview of weekend events:


July 21-22
: "Galloping to Victory" program at the park, 1563 N. Thompson Lane. At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days, the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry will demonstrate the tactics used by Forrest's troopers while a ranger tells the story of the raid from the Confederate perspective.


-- $5 tours of the mansion, 900 North Maney Ave., Murfreesboro. 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The 8,000-square-foot house is interpreted to 1863. One third of the furniture is original to the Maney family.

-- Historic clothing collection described above. Hours: Friday, 10-4, Saturday, 10-4, Sunday, 1-4. There is a separate $5 fee for this exhibit. Maney Hall, attached to the visitors center. Photography is allowed at the exhibit.

-- Free living history on the grounds, featuring the demonstration of tactics employed by the 9th Michigan Infantry. Infantry demonstrations will be presented at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Stones River National Battlefield
Oaklands Historic House Museum

Top photo, courtesy of National Park Service. Other photos courtesy of Oaklands Historic House Museum.

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