Battle of Paducah
|Battle of Paducah|
|Part of the American Civil War|
|United States of America (Union)||CSA (Confederacy)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Stephen G. Hicks
|Nathan Bedford Forrest|
|8th Colored Heavy Artillery
16th Kentucky Cavalry
122nd Illinois Infantry
USS Peosta (1857)
USS Paw Paw (1863)
|Forrest's Cavalry Department|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Paducah was fought on March 25, 1864, during the American Civil War. A Confederate cavalry force led by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest launched a successful raid all the way to Paducah, Kentucky, on the Ohio River, to capture Union supplies.
In March 1864, Forrest set out from Columbus, Mississippi, into West Tennessee and Kentucky with a force of just under 3,000 men. His object was to recruit soldiers, re-equip his men with supplies, and disrupt Union activities. He arrived in Paducah, Kentucky, on March 25, and quickly occupied the town. The Union garrison of 650 men under Col. Stephen G. Hicks withdrew to Fort Anderson, in the town's west end. The fort was supported by two Union gunboats on the Ohio River, and Hicks began shelling the area with his artillery.
Forrest tried to bluff Hicks into surrendering, warning him, "... if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter." Knowing the fort could not be easily taken, Hicks rejected the demand.
With the Union garrison now safely out of the way in their fort, Forrest’s men began loading any Union Army supplies they could use into wagons and destroying the rest. They also rounded up all the army horses and mules they could find. A portion Forrest's men from Kentucky decided to attack Fort Anderson on their own, much to Forrest's irritation. This attack constituted the Battle of Paducah. It was repulsed, suffering heavy and needless casualties.
In reporting on the raid, many newspapers stated that Forrest missed more than a hundred fine horses hidden by the Yankees. As a result, Forrest sent Colonel Abraham Buford back to Paducah in mid-April and he captured these horses.
Casualties during the Paducah raid totaled 90 Union soldiers and 50 Confederates, most of them during the attack on the fort. The raid was a Confederate victory, but other than destroying Union supplies and capturing needed cavalry mounts, it had no lasting effect. However, it warned the men in blue that even this late in the war Forrest and other Confederates raiders could still strike at any time.
- United States. War Dept, Henry Martyn Lazelle, Leslie J. Perry (1891). The War of the Rebellion: v.1-53 [serial no. 1-111] Formal reports, both .... Washington: Government Printing Office. p. 547.