Constructed prior to the summer of 1864 and located north of Athens, Alabama, the fortifications at Sulphur Creek Trestle protected the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. This rail line supported Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's operations during the Atlanta Campaign. The defenses included two blockhouses and fort atop a hill. Elements from the 3rd Tennessee (Union) Cavalry, 9th Indiana Cavalry and 111th United States Colored Troops (USCTs) occupied the works.
On September 25, 1864, Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest surrounded Sulphur Creek Trestle. Forrest posted his artillery at various points on high ground overlooking the fortifications. He then sent Col. Thomas Kelley's brigade in a dismounted advance to engage the garrison. Once Kelley assumed a new position closer to the fort, the Confederate artillery opened fire. After a two hour bombardment Forrest sent a demand through the lines for the garrison to capitulate. The garrison's commander, Lt. Col. John Minnis met briefly with Forrest and decided to surrender.