Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Engagement at Davis Bridge ~ October 5, 1862

Marker ID: NPS 
Location: on Essary Springs Road 1.1 miles south of Wolf Pen Road, Pocahontas, TN
County: Hardeman
Coordinates: N 35° 1.64    W 088° 47.997
  35.02733333    -88.79995
Waymark: None


By late spring 1862, United States forces in the West threatened to cut the Confederacy in two, having captured both New Orleans and Memphis on the Mississippi River, and the vital railroad hub at Corinth, Mississippi, thereby severing the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, the South's only east-west connection linking the Atlantic to the Mississippi Valley. Efforts to complete the split stalled that summer when Union naval forces failed to capture Vicksburg, and field armies struggled to control the vast territory occupied in the spring offensive. The Confederates seized on this lull to launch General Bragg's invasion into Kentucky, and, in early October, sent an army to capture Corinth. However, repulsed there with heavy losses after two days of brutal fighting, this southern force retreated back towards Davis Bridge on the Hatchie River.

With the southern army blocked by Federals advancing from Bolivar, Tennessee, fierce fighting engulfed the crossing. The day long conflict ended east of the river with the Confederates escaping to the south. The failure to retake Corinth proved the last Confederate offensive in Mississippi, as Union forces seized the initiative, and began a final relentless nine-month offensive to capture Vicksburg and take control of the Mississippi River.

The Commander of the Confederate forces, General Earl Van Dorn was headstrong and impulsive. Troops under his leadership incurred serious defeats at both Pea Ridge and Corinth, after which he was relieved of army command. Better suited to cavalry tactics, he conducted the daring raid on the Union supply depot at Holly Springs in December 1862, which helped thwart General U.S. Grant's first attempt to capture Vicksburg.

Inset Bottom Right - portrait of General Ord, USA, captioned: General E.O.C. Ord, commander of the Union troops, was wounded at Davis Bridge. He referred to it as "the miserable bridge." After recovering from his wounds, Ord returned to active duty during the Siege of Vicksburg. He served under General U.S. Grant through the remainder of the War and in 1865 commanded the Army of the James, directing it with great skill at both Petersburg and Appomattox.

Erected by National Park Service - Shiloh National Military Park.


More information:
Tennessee Encyclopedia: Battle of Davis Bridge
CWT: Battle of Davis Bridge