Civil War Walking Trail
This is a portion of the ridge where the Confederates faced the occupying Union Forces and General W. T. Sherman in the Battle of Collierville. When you look north toward the railroad and the town square you are standing in the shadows of the Confederate soldiers who took this ridge for five hours before Union reinforcements were able to drive General Chalmers back into Mississippi. During the Civil War, both the Union and Confederate soldiers were here at this ridge. See military map showing Union camp, cannons, as well as the location of the stockade and depot.
On the morning of October 11, 1863, it was from this ridge position that the early portion of the Battle of Collierville was fought. It was partially defended by Union forces, but secured by the Confederates. The attacking Confederate Cavalry troopers (numbering about 3,000) led by Gen. James R. Chalmers, galloped into this area from the south, and this ridge was already beginning to be contested by Col. Dewitt C. Anthony's 66th Indiana Infantry Volunteers. Col. Anthony's 66th Indiana and the small group of the l3th U. S. Regular Infantry (escort of Gen. William T. Sherman, who had just arrived on a train headed to Corinth, Mississippi, about the time the hostilities were beginning) gave the defending Union garrison of Collierville about 480 men.
In the weeks following the October 11th battle, this same ridge played a devilish part of the November 3, 1863, battle. The Union Army had learned from the previous engagement, and they had troops manning this ridge, now riddled with rifle-pits.
The November 3rd battle found the post at Collierville commanded by Lt.-Col. George W. Trafton and his 7th Illinois Cavalry that garrisoned the town. This garrison was eight companies of the 7th Illinois. The Confederate's were once again led by Gen. James R. Chalmers, and this time he had slightly fewer troopers (about 2,500) with him.
Cot Edward Hatch and his 2nd Iowa Cavalry (450 troops) had received a telegram in Germantown, Tennessee, (about 8 miles away), that Gen. Chalmers cavalry was moving on Collierville. Col. Hatch left Germantown with the 2nd Iowa and made quick time in reaching Collierville, almost at the same time as did Gen. Chalmers. Col. Hatch had also brought additional artillery with him. Lt.-Col. Trafton's eight company strength was not given in his Official Report, but Col. Edward Hatch's Official Report of the battle gave the combined strength (Trafton's and Hatch's) at 850 men. The battle resulted in General Chalmer's failure to take the garrison and he returned to Oxford, Mississippi.
In the battle November 3, 1863, it is noteworthy to mention that both Union and Confederate forces were cavalry.
(Sidebar letter not transcribed. Click on the picture to read it.)