The Fight at Fallen Timbers, April 8, 1862, the day after Shiloh
On April 8, Grant sent Sherman south along the Corinth Road on a reconnaissance in force to ascertain if the Confederates had retreated, or if they were regrouping to resume their attacks. Grant's army lacked the large organized cavalry units that would have been better suited for reconnaissance and for vigorous pursuit of a retreating enemy. Sherman marched with two infantry brigades from his division, along with two battalions of cavalry, and they met up with Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood's division of Buell's army. Six miles (10 km) southwest of Pittsburg Landing, Sherman's men came upon a clear field in which an extensive camp was erected, including a Confederatefield hospital, protected by 300 troopers of Confederate cavalry, commanded by Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest. The road approaching the field was covered by fallen trees for over 200 yards (180 m).
As skirmishers from the 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (O.V.I.) approached, having difficulty clearing the fallen timber, Forrest ordered a charge, producing a wild melee with Confederate troopers firing shotguns and revolvers and brandishing sabers, nearly resulting in the capture of Sherman. As Col. Jesse Hildebrand's brigade began forming in line of battle, the Southern troopers started to retreat at the sight of the strong force, and Forrest, who was well in advance of his men, came within a few yards of the Union soldiers before realizing he was all alone. Sherman's men yelled out, "Kill him! Kill him and his horse!" A Union soldier shoved his musket into Forrest's side and fired, striking him above the hip, penetrating to near the spine. Although he was seriously wounded, Forrest was able to stay on horseback and escape; he survived both the wound and the war. The Union lost about 100 men, mostly captured during Forrest's charge, in an incident that has been remembered with the name "Fallen Timbers". After capturing the Confederate field hospital, Sherman encountered the rear of Breckinridge's covering force and, determining that the enemy was making no signs of renewing its attack, withdrew back to camp.
During this clash of forces John Klinefelter "Cline" Hepburn, my great-granduncle, was killed. Cline's younger brother and my Mother's grandfather, Dixon Myers Hepburn, was not a part of the reconnaissance force and was back at Pittsburg Landing with the main Union force. Dixon enlisted with his older brother and was not yet 16 when his brother was killed.
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