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Tupelo National Battlefield -- Tupelo MS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 34° 15.349 W 088° 44.236
16S E 340041 N 3791886
Quick Description: The Battle of Tupelo took place at Tupelo National Battlefield, near downtown Tupelo MS, in September 1864
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 11/6/2017 9:45:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMX001
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 4

Long Description:
Tupelo National Battlefield at Tupelo MS preserves the site of an important Union victory over Confederate Forces during the Western Campaign of 1864.

From the National Park Service website: (visit link)

"Tupelo National Battlefield

In July, 1864, Union forces, including men from the United States Colored Troops, marched into Tupelo, Mississippi. Disorganized Confederate soldiers fought fiercely but could not overpower the federal troops. Neither side could claim a clear victory, but Union troops had succeeded in their main goal: keeping the Confederates away from Union railroads in Tennessee.

More than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought here between the morning of July 14 and the evening of July 15, 1864.

Why the Battle Happened

In 1863 Federal armies won important victories at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga. In the spring of 1864 the Federal mission was to bisect the South from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to the Atlantic coast at Savannah, Georgia. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman wanted to destroy the Confederate Army led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and occupy Atlanta along the way as he executed his “March to the Sea.”

Sherman knew that his plan was vulnerable. To supply his large troop movement into north Georgia, he depended on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. This line could be most threatened by the excellent horseman of Confederate Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry corps. Sherman needed to keep Forrest in north Mississippi.

In June, Sherman ordered Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis and 8,100 soldiers to move out of Memphis and into north Mississippi for the purpose of fighting Forrest and his cavalry corps of 3,500. Win or lose the primary goal was to keep Forrest in Mississippi. Sturgis's forces were crushed by Forrest on June 10 at the Battle of Brices Cross Roads and the Federals retreated back to Memphis. Although defeated, the primary mission was accomplished.

In July, Sherman still needed Forrest to stay in Mississippi. This time though, Sherman expected better results on the field of battle. Sherman ordered his commander in Memphis "to make up a force and go out to follow Forrest to the death, if it cost 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury." Now the Federal force was 14,000 strong and led by Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith. The Federals left Memphis on July 5 headed into north Mississippi, determined to defeat Forrest.

Leading up to the Battle

Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Lee commanded the Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. In early July Lee was in north Mississippi with Forrest. Lee anticipated that the Federals out of Memphis would target Okolona, Mississippi along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad so he prepared to defend it as Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith moved deeper into Mississippi.

On July 12, the Federals were in Pontotoc, Mississippi, when Smith made a smart decision. On the morning of the 13th, instead of continuing to Okolona, Smith turned his army due east of Pontotoc and headed for Tupelo, also on the railroad. The Confederates were not prepared to defend Tupelo and scrambled to try and stop the Federals from establishing a strong line on high ground. Forrest's men were unable to prevent Smith's force from taking the advantage. During the night of the 13th, both armies prepared for the battle that would surely rise with the sun the next day.

The Battle of Tupelo

On the morning of July 14, the Battle of Tupelo began here (1) at 7:30 a.m. when the Confederates began a series of uncoordinated charges against the Federal position. These attacks were beaten back with heavy losses. Failing to break the Federal center, the Confederates attacked the Federal right, (2) again without success. After dark, the Confederates made another attack from the south (3) without significant effect. Although his troops had repulsed several Confederate attacks, General Smith (Federal) was alarmed. The heat was taking its toll on his soldiers. Also, due to bad planning, his men had little but coffee and worm-infested hardtack (crackers) to eat, and their ammunition supply was very low.

At 2 p.m. on July 15, after skirmishing with Confederates on the western and southern fronts, the Federals began marching north in the direction of Memphis. (4) They marched four miles and crossed to the north side of Old Town Creek and camped in the late afternoon. (5) At 5 p.m., from a commanding ridge south of Old Town Creek, Confederate forces surprised Smith's troops with artillery and infantry fire. The Federals scrambled and formed a line that pushed the Confederates off the ridge (6) and forced them to retreat to Harrisburg. The fight at Old Town Creek ended the Battle of Tupelo. Among the casualties was Forrest himself, who was kept out of action for three weeks."
Name of Battle:
Battle of Tupelo

Name of War: US Civil War

Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): 7/14/1864

Date of Battle (End): 7/15/1864

Parking: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of you and/or your GPS in front of a sign or marker posted at the site of the battle.

In addition it is encouraged to take a few photos two of the surrounding area and interesting features at the site.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Tupelo National Battlefield -- Tupelo MS 8/5/2017 Benchmark Blasterz visited it