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This Week in the Civil War - July 8, 1862

Forrest
This week 150 years ago in the Civil War saw Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedfort Forrest capture a Union garrison at Murfreesboro, Tenn., after a surprise attack by his cavalry. Forrest and his fighters staged a dramatic offensive against some 900 Union troops that July 13, 1862, and forced the surrender of the federal garrison.

At the time, Murfreesboro was a key Union supply point on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad. Before dawn on that date, Forrest's riders surprised Union pickets and then overran a Union hospital before more rebel troops attacked other Union camps around Murfreesboro. Forrest's daring not only led to the destruction of railroad tracks and supplies but also stopped Union forces intent on driving on to Chattanooga.

All told more than 1,000 casualties were reported. Forrest would not be able to hang onto the town for long, but his raid was the first of many bold strikes into Union-held territory that would make him one of the famous fighters of the war. The Associated Press was one of the first with news of Forrest's exploit on July 15, 1862.

One Northern newspaper reported then that "A special dispatch to the Associated Press says that Murfreesborough has been taken by the confederates, who are mostly Texan Rangers under Colonel Forrest, but was afterwards shelled by our battery." The dispatch reported two ranking Union officers were among those taken prisoner when the federal garrison fell. An AP dispatch a day later reported that rebels afterward spirited away captured officers but released privates in the ranks. "The citizens are taking good care of the wounded, and have buried the dead left by the rebels," AP added.

 From ABC News and the Associated Press

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