Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Battle of Memphis
After defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Island Number Ten, the Union fleet was able to steam downriver to threaten Memphis. Opposing them was a small floatilla of makeshift crafts. Confederate gunboats, some of them converted paddleboats armored with cotton bales, were pitted against Union ironclads and rams. The battle lasted one and a half hours and was watched by the civilian population from the Chickasaw Bluffs. The Union fleet quickly captured or sunk most of the Rebel forces, with the survivors retreating southwards down the river towards Vicksburg, Mississippi. Casualties were extemely lopsided with 180 Southerners killed or injured and only one casualty for the North. The battle ended with Union commanders landing at the city docks and taking control of Memphis, giving the Union army a port for moving supplies down the river.
Another Civil War military engagement also took place in Memphis. In April, 1864 Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest led a nighttime cavalry raid on his hometown of Memphis with the intent of freeing Confederate prisoners and capturing General Washburn, then encamped in Memphis. Washburn barely escaped capture out a back alley behind his headquarters.
- Foote, Shelby. 1958. The Civil War: a narrative. New York : Random House.
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