Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Confederate History of Memphis

Marker ID:  
Location: on Front Street south of Jefferson Ave., 51 N. Front Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.791    W 090° 3.262
  35.14651666    -90.05436666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


This bluff was fortified by Gen. Pillow May 1862. Thirty seven companies were equipped here for the Confederate service. The Confederate Ram, Arkansas, one of the first ironclad battleships in the Navy was built and partially armored here, but fearing capture she was sent down the river to be completed and was not ready for action at the time of the attack of the Federal fleet June 6, 1862.

The Confederate fleet of 8 boats protected only by cotton bales and carrying 18 guns gallantly resisted this attack of 6 armored gun boats, 4 rams and 20 mortar boats carrying 84 guns.

The engagement lasted 90 minutes and was the first battle between steam rams in history.

At dawn Aug. 21, 1864, Gen. N. B. Forrest made his grand strategic raid into Memphis, which was then held by Federal general's with 10,000 men. His object being to check the advance of the Federal army into Miss. Arriving here with only 1500 picked men, spent with 50 hours continuous marching, he sent this telegram: "Forrest holds Memphis" to the Federal headquarters in Miss.

The Federal officers, taken by surprise, rushed from their bedrooms and secreted themselves about the city.

After spending 2 hours here, Forrest cut the wires, and left the city taking 500 prisoners, and large quantities of supplies. His loss was only 25 wounded and 8 killed, while the enemy's loss was 90 wounded and 30 killed.

Pres. Davis was a resident of this city for 9 years after his release from prison.

Palms for the Southern Solider
Crowns for the veteran's head
and loyal love and honor
for our Confederate dead

Erected 1909 by Confederate Dames, Tyler Chapter.