A Failed Campaign
"The thanks of Congress are again due to General N. B. Forrest and the officers and men of his command, for meritorious service in the field, and especially for the daring, skill, and perseverance exhibited in the pursuit and capture of the largely superior forces of the enemy, near Rome, Ga., in May last."
— Confederate Congressional Resolution
"Our ammunition was worthless, our horses and mules in a desperate condition, the men were overcome with fatigue and loss of sleep, and we were confronted by fully three times our number, in the heart of the enemy's country, and, although personally opposed to surrender, I yielded..." —
Colonel Abel D. Streight, USA
In April 1863, Union forces in the West were stalled and Confederate attacks on Union supply lines flourished. In hopes of returning the favor and to divert Confederate attention, Union cavalry raided Confederate territory at several points. One of these raids coursed through northern Alabama and onto the ground before you. Colonel Abel D. Streight commanded this provisional brigade of Union raiders the—51st and 73rd Indiana, 3rd Ohio, and 18th Illinois regiments and two companies of the 1st Alabama Union Cavalry.
Streight's force consisted of 1,800 men, mostly mounted on mules instead of horses. They
set out from Eastport, Mississippi, on April 19, 1863, with the goal of disrupting Confederate supply routes near Rome, Georgia — more than 200 miles away. Streight's advance was discovered and Confederate troops under General Nathan Bedford Forrest commenced pursuit on April 28. Forrest caught up with Streight's rearguard and the forces clashed at Day's Gap on Sand Mountain on the morning of April 30. Streight captured two Confederate cannons and a "running battle" continued all day. As darkness fell, Streight took up a strong position on Hog Mountain, in front of you. After fighting here, Forrest pursued Streight for another 110 miles.
On May 3, his men exhausted, his mules in a "desperate condition" and thinking himself outnumbered, Streight surrendered his command of some 1,500 men to Forrest's less than 500, only 20 miles from his goal of Rome, Georgia.
[Under Map] - After the running battle on April 30, Streight's troubles were far from over. Forrest pursued relentlessly, almost to the Georgia border. Forrest's feat of compelling the
surrender of a Union force three times the size of his is without parallel in the Civil War.
[Under photos] - Colonel Abel D. Streight surrendered his entire force just days after the Battle of Hog Mountain but the following winter he was among the scores of Union officers who
tunneled their way out of Libby Prison. He returned to active duty. Courtesy Library of Congress
General Nathan Bedford Forrest's pursuit of Col. Streight was coupled with a series of bluffs and
ruses which ultimately made Streight think he was outnumbered and outgunned. When Streight found how few men had compelled his surrender, Forrest reportedly said, "Aw, Colonel, everything's fair in love and war." Courtesy Library of Congress