Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Delaying Forrest

Marker ID:  
Location: at the entrance to the St. Johns Church and Cemetery on Trotwood Avenue (State Highway 243), Columbia, TN
County: Maury
Coordinates: N 35° 34.467    W 087° 8.381
  35.57445    -87.13968333
Waymark: None


Delaying Forrest
"...a decided stand"
— Hood's Campaign —

In September 1864, after Union Gen. William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood at Atlanta, Hood led the Army of Tennessee northwest against Sherman's supply lines. Rather than contest Sherman's "March to the Sea," Hood moved north into Tennessee. Gen. John M. Schofield, detached from Sherman's army, delayed Hood at Columbia and Spring Hill before falling back to Franklin. The bloodbath there on November 30 crippled the Confederates, but they followed Schofield to the outskirts of Nashville and Union Gen. George H. Thomas's strong defenses. Hood's campaign ended when Thomas crushed his army on December 15-16.

(Main Body of Text):
On November 23, 1864 as Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood's army marched north from the Tennessee River and Union Gen. John M. Schofield's forces withdrew toward Nashville, sixty-year-old Union Col. Horace Capron led his small, poorly armed cavalry brigade toward Waynesboro to observe Hood's approach and report to Schofield. Most of his men were armed with outdated single-shot Springfield muskets. Suddenly, the Union horsemen encountered the advance elements of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry, riding ahead of the main army, near Henryville. The Federals quickly retreated to Summertown spring, and Confederate Col. Edmund W. Rucker's brigade and Forrest's escort attacked them front and rear. Faced with overwhelming numbers, Capron's brigade withdrew and fought a daylong running battle back along the pike through Mt. Pleasant toward Columbia.

Just in front of you, the depression ahead, Capron's command stood and rallied while converging swarms of Confederate cavalrymen attacked and almost overwhelmed them. When the Federals continued their retreat through the Ashwood community, the Confederates continued to press them. The chase ended abruptly the next day, when Rucker's troopers ran headlong into Union Gen. Jacob D. Cox's infantry division formed up in a line of battle about three miles northeast near the pike's intersection with Old Sunnyside Lane. Capron's delaying action prevented the immediate Confederate capture of Columbia and enabled Schofield's retreating army to continue on toward Nashville.

"[Capron] had been ordered to make a decided stand if it sacrificed every man in his brigade." -Maj. Henry C. Connelly, 14th Illinois Cavalry

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.