Battle of Brices Cross Roads
A monument and interpretive
panels stand at the historic
Battlefield Trail
Walking trails and interpretive
panels help visitors visualize
Brices Cross Roads. - Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield, Mississippi - Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield, Mississippi
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield - Baldwyn, Mississippi
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
The battlefield was the scene of one of Nathan
Bedford Forrest's most impressive victories.
The Battle of Brices Cross Roads
One of the most studied military encounters
in American history took place on June 10,
1864, at a rural crossroads in northern

The Battle of Brices Cross Roads was one of
the most impressive victories of the South's
"Wizard of the Saddle," Nathan Bedford
Forrest. The site is now a national battlefield
park just north of Tupelo near the city of
Baldwyn, Mississippi.

The battle took place as Union General
William Tecumseh Sherman was pushing
south into Georgia on his Atlanta Campaign.
To supply his movements, Sherman
depended on a supply line that was more
than 100 miles long.

Well aware of the danger should Forrest and
his men get loose behind him, Sherman
developed a plan to divert and, hopefully,
destroy the Confederate general. Brigadier
General Samuel D. Sturgis was ordered to
march from Memphis down into Mississippi
for the sole purpose of finding and fighting

Sturgis and his 8,100 man army crossed the
line into Mississippi just in the nick of time.
Forrest was already at Russellville, Alabama,
The news that a Union army was advancing
into Mississippi left him with no choice but to
turn back.

Forrest assembled his small army of 3,500
men along the Mobile & Ohio Railroad just
east of Brices Cross Roads.  Even though he
was outnumbered by a margin of two to one,
the Confederate general moved forward to
meet Sturgis on the morning of June 10,

Shortly after dawn, the advance elements of
Sturgis’ army ran into a Confederate patrol
northwest of Brices and drove it across
Tishomingo Creek and through the cross
roads. They ran into Forrest and a brigade of
Kentuckians, however, and the first real
shots of the Battle of Brices Cross Roads
were fired at about 9:30 a.m. The Federals
halted in the face of stiff resistance and it
quickly became of matter of, to paraphrase
Forrest himself, who could “get there first
with the most.” Both sides rushed forward
troops as fast as possible.

At roughly 11 a.m., Forrest decided on a bold
ploy. Moving forward against the larger force
of Union cavalry and infantry, he arrayed his
line in the shape a long crescent that
overlapped Sturgis' flanks.

For four hours an intense battle raged in the
fields and woods around the cross roads. By
5 p.m., Forrest had shattered the Union line
and was moving in for the kill.

His battlefield tactics had convinced the rank
and file Federal soldiers that they were
outnumbered and facing annihilation.
Realizing he was beaten, Sturgis ordered a
retreat, but the Confederates were on his
heels. The withdrawal turned to chaos when
a wagon overturned on the Tishomingo
Creek bridge and, were it not for a series of
brave stands by African American soldiers
from the U.S. Colored Troops, the entire
Union army might have been captured.

The results were astounding. Forrest had
driven an army twice the size of his own from
the field, capturing 16 cannon and a quantity
of supplies. With a loss of only 493 men, he
inflicted an estimated 2,612 casualties on
the Union army. During his struggle to
retreat, Sturgis is said to have exclaimed,
“For God’s sake, if Mr. Forrest will let me
alone, I will let him alone!”  General Sherman
summed up the battle in his typically colorful
style, “That Forrest is the very devil.”

For many years the national battlefield was
very small, but a massive preservation effort
has now saved 1,390 acres of the historic
site. Monuments, interpretive panels and
walking trails help visitors understand and
explore the battlefield.

The City of Baldwyn also operates a visitor
center five miles east of the park featuring
exhibits, artifacts and an interpretive film.

To reach Brices Cross Roads, travel U.S.
Highway 45 either north from
Tupelo or south
Corinth to Baldwyn, Mississippi (about
18 miles north of Tupelo) and watch for the
signs at the State Road 370 exit. The visitor
center is just off the exit and the battlefield is
five miles east on State Road 370. The park
can also be reached from the
Natchez Trace
Parkway via Highway 145 to U.S. 45.
Bridge at Tishomingo Creek
A modern bridge at the site
where hundreds of men were
killed at Brices Cross Roads.
Confederate Graves
Dozens of Southern soldiers
are buried in a cemetery on
the battlefield.
The Battle of Tupelo
Brices Cross Roads was
followed in July of 1864 by a
second major battle at
Tupelo, Mississippi.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.