by Edwin C. Bearss/David A. Powell (editor)
Few students of the Civil War know that legendary historian Edwin C. Bearss produced a classic study on the little-known but significant Tupelo Campaign. The fighting in Mississippi has been overshadowed by Nathan Bedford Forrest’s more spectacular victory at Brice’s Crossroads a month earlier. Bearss performed the research and writing for the Department of the Interior in 1969, and only a handful of softcover copies were produced and circulated. It is published here for the first time, with the assistance of award-winning author David A. Powell, as Outwitting Forrest: The Tupelo Campaign in Mississippi, June 22 - July 23, 1864.
The engagement came about when Maj. Gen. A. J. Smith marched a Federal expeditionary force consisting of his 16th Army Corps into northern Mississippi in early July. The thrust forced a response, the largest of which was delivered by the combined Confederate cavalry commands of Stephen D. Lee (who was in general command) and Forrest.
The tactical result was a Union defensive success. The larger Confederate strategic play, however—one that might have changed the course of the war in the Western Theater—would have been to unleash Forrest on a raid into Middle Tennessee to destroy the single line of railroad track feeding and suppling the Union armies of William T. Sherman in his ongoing operations around Atlanta. Instead, his men were contained with the Magnolia State, where his combat effectiveness was severely damaged.
Editor Powell has left Bearss’ prose and notes intact, while adding additional sources and commentary of his own. The result is an exceptional study that has finally been made available to the general reading public as part of the Savas Beatie Battles & Leaders Series.
- Release date: August 2023
- 192 pages