Streight's Raid took place from April 19 to May 3, 1863, in northern Alabama. It was led by Union Col. Abel D. Streight, whose goal was to destroy parts of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was supplying the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The raid was poorly supplied and planned, and ended with the defeat and capture of Streight and his 1,700 men at Cedar Bluff, Alabama, by Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest who had 500 men. Streight was additionally hindered by locals throughout his march, while pursued by Forrest, who had the advantage of home territory and the sympathy and aid of the local populace, most famously Emma Sansom.
The actual capture of Streight's forces was achieved by a clever ruse, when Forrest paraded his much smaller force back and forth in front of Streight, convincing him that he was opposed by a superior force. After surrendering and being informed of the deception Streight reputedly demanded his arms back for a proper fight, a request cheerfully declined by Forrest.
This unsuccessful raid was coordinated with the more famous Grierson's Raid, partially as a feint to confuse the Confederate forces.
Abel Streight was a book publisher in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was commissioned colonel of the 51st Indiana Volunteer Infantry Brigade on September 4, 1861.
Chronology of events of Streight's Raid in 1863
- Nashville, Tennessee (April 7–10) — proceeded by river
- Palmyra, Tennessee (April 11–13) — proceeded on foot
- Yellow Creek, Tennessee (April 13–14) — proceeded on foot
- Fort Henry, Tennessee (April 15–17) — proceeded by river
- Eastport, Mississippi (April 19–21) — proceeded either by foot or river
- Bear Creek/River, Mississippi (April 22) — proceeded on foot the rest of the way
- Tuscumbia, Alabama (April 24–26)
- Mount Hope, Alabama (April 27–28)
- Moulton, Alabama (April 28)
- Day's Gap, Alabama (April 29–30)
- Battle of Day's Gap (April 30)
- Skirmish at Crooked Creek (April 30)
- Skirmish at Hog Mountain (April 30)
- Arrival at Blountsville (May 1)
- Skirmishes at Blountsville (May 1)
- Skirmishes at the East Branch of the Black Warrior River (May 1)
- Skirmishes at the crossing of Black Creek, near Gadsden (May 2)
- Damaged ammunition while crossing Will's Creek, near Gadsden (May 2)
- Gadsden, Alabama (May 2)
- Blount's plantation, about 15 miles from Gadsden (May 2)
- Skirmishes at/near Blount's Plantation, Cherokee County (May 2–3)
- Centre, Alabama (May 3)
- Cedar Bluff, Alabama (May 3)
- Surrender to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, 3 miles east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama (May 3)
- Taken to Richmond, Virginia, as prisoners of war
- "Streight's Raid", Encyclopedia of Alabama website. Accessed July 10, 2015.
- Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society
- Abel D. Streight biographical sketch in Streight Family Collection, ca. 1850-ca. 1945, Indiana Historical Society
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