Cullman County, AL | Apr 30, 1863
In the spring of 1863, Union Colonel Abel Streight set out from Corinth, Mississippi under orders from Brig. Gen. Greenville Dodge to target railroads and other Confederate supply lines. Streight's movement was part of a larger effort to divert Confederate attention from Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's operations against Vicksburg. With Streight went a brigade of about 1,300 soldiers. Opposing Streight was Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who by then had established a solid reputation as a tenacious fighter.
Day’s Gap in Alabama was the first and largest battle of this minor campaign. Forrest’s cavalrymen rattled Streight’s rear guard in a surprise attack, but the Federals rallied to the rear’s defense and drove the Confederates off. Unfortunately, the battle sparked a series of small skirmishes that drove Streight deeper into hostile territory. Worn down by Forrest’s constant harassment, unfriendly locals, and his own poor planning, Streight decided to surrender on the 3rd of May, and was taken into custody. He and his men remained in Richmond’s Libby Prison for 10 months, until making a daring escape and returning to the Army of the Cumberland.
Though it ended poorly for Streight, the raid was not a total failure. His campaigned simultaneously with the larger and more successful Grierson’s Raid through Louisiana, and both raids provided a useful distraction for General Ulysses S. Grant as he began his march on Vicksburg, Mississippi.