10
Jun
09

On This Day, June 10: Battle of Brice’s Crossroads

June 10, 1864

Battle of Brice’s Crossroads

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s legend grows substantially when his Confederate cavalry routs a much larger Union force in Mississippi.

When Union General William T. Sherman inched toward Atlanta, Georgia, in the summer of 1864, he left behind a vulnerable supply line through Tennessee. Of utmost concern to Sherman was the Rebel cavalry under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a daring leader who gave Union commanders in the west difficulty throughout the war. Sherman insisted that Forrest be neutralized and ordered a force from Memphis to hunt down Forrest’s command, which at that time was in northern Alabama.

On June 1, some 5,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry troopers under the command of General Samuel D. Sturgis trudged out of Memphis in search of the elusive Forrest. But rain and poor roads slowed them, and a week’s travel found the Yankees only 50 miles from Memphis.

Forrest had been preparing for an assault on central Tennessee, but Sturgis’s expedition forced him back to northern Mississippi. The Confederates spread out along a railroad between Tupelo and Corinth and awaited the Union advance. On June 8, Forrest learned that Sturgis was moving on Tupelo. He carefully selected Brice’s Crossroads for its muddy roads and dense woods to mitigate the Union’s numerical advantage and called for his men to attack the leading Yankee cavalry, which would force the trailing infantry to hurry to the battle and fight before recovering from the march.

The plan worked to perfection. Around 10 a.m. on June 10, the cavalry forces began fighting, and the Union infantry made a five-mile dash in intense heat and humidity to aid their fellow soldiers. In the afternoon, Forrest orchestrated a series of attacks all along the Union front, which broke the Yankee lines and sent the Federals from the field in disarray with the Confederates in hot pursuit. The chase continued into the next day.

Sturgis’s command suffered over 600 killed and wounded and over 1,600 captured—more than a quarter of the entire force. Forrest’s force suffered less than 600 killed and wounded, and the Confederates captured 16 cannons and 176 supply wagons. Forrest was never able to disrupt Sherman’s supply lines. However, the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads stands as his greatest military victory.

“Battle of Brice’s Crossroads,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2206 (accessed Jun 10, 2009).

On This Day

1190 – Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowned in the Saleph River while leading an army of the Third Crusade to free Jerusalem.

1776 – The Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence.

1801 – The North African State of Tripoli declared war on the U.S. The dispute was over merchant vessels being able to travel safely through the Mediterranean.

1854 – The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, held its first graduation.

1916 – Mecca, under control of the Turks, fell to the Arabs during the Great Arab Revolt.

1924 – The Italian socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti was kidnapped and murdered by Fascists in Rome.

1948 – Chuck Yeager exceeded the speed of sound in the Bell XS-1.

1967 – Israel and Syria agreed to a cease-fire that ended the Six-Day War.

1984 – The U.S. Army successfully tested an antiballistic missile.

1997 – Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot killed his defense chief Son Sen and 11 members of his family. He then fled his northern stronghold. The news did not emerge for three days.

June 10, 1953

Eisenhower rejects calls for U.S. “isolationism”

In a forceful speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower strikes back at critics of his Cold War foreign policy. He insisted that the United States was committed to the worldwide battle against communism and that he would maintain a strong U.S. defense. Just a few months into his presidency, and with the Korean War still raging, Eisenhower staked out his basic approach to foreign policy with this speech.

In the weeks prior to Eisenhower’s talk, Senator Robert Taft and Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg issued challenges to the president’s conduct of foreign policy. Taft argued that if efforts to reach a peace agreement in Korea failed, the United States should withdraw from the United Nations forces and make its own policy for dealing with North Korea. Vandenberg was upset over Eisenhower’s proposal to cut $5 billion from the Air Force budget.

Without naming either man, Eisenhower responded to both during a speech at the National Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting in Minneapolis. He began by characterizing the Cold War as a battle “for the soul of man himself.” He rejected Taft’s idea that the United States should pursue a completely independent foreign policy, or what one “might call the ‘fortress’ theory of defense.” Instead, he insisted that all free nations had to stand together: “There is no such thing as partial unity.” To Vandenberg’s criticisms of the new Air Force budget, the president explained that vast numbers of aircraft were not needed in the new atomic age. Just a few planes armed with nuclear weapons could “visit on an enemy as much explosive violence as was hurled against Germany by our entire air effort throughout four years of World War II.”

With this speech, Eisenhower thus enunciated two major points of what came to be known at the time as his “New Look” foreign policy. First was his advocacy of multi-nation responses to communist aggression in preference to unilateral action by the United States. Second was the idea that came to be known as the “bigger bang for the buck” defense strategy. This postulated that a cheaper and more efficient defense could be built around the nation’s nuclear arsenal rather than a massive increase in conventional land, air, and sea forces.

“Eisenhower rejects calls for U.S. “isolationism”,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2694 (accessed Jun 10, 2009).

Advertisements

0 Responses to “On This Day, June 10: Battle of Brice’s Crossroads”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


June 2009
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers


%d bloggers like this: