Posted by: TC Maurice | June 4, 2018

Meeting Announcement

When: June 13th

Where:  La Navona, 154 North Hamilton Road. Gahanna Ohio 43230

Time: 7pm

Speaker: Tom Parson

Topic: Battle of Tupelo

During the summer of 1864 a Union column, commanded by Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson Smith, set out from Tennessee with a goal that had proven impossible in all prior attempts—to find and defeat the cavalry under the command of Confederate majorWork for Giants general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest’s cavalry was the greatest threat to the long supply line feeding Sherman’s armies as they advanced on Atlanta. Smith marched at the head of his “gorillas,” veteran soldiers who were fresh from the Red River Campaign. Aside from diverting Confederate attention away from Sherman, Smith’s orders were to destroy Southern railroads and confront Forrest in Mississippi. Just weeks earlier, a similar Union expedition had met with disaster at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, perhaps the greatest victory of Forrest’s military career.

Joined by reinforcements led by Lt. Gen. Stephen Dill Lee, Forrest and his men were confident and their morale had never been higher. However, for two weeks, Smith outmarched, outfought, and outmaneuvered the team of Lee and Forrest. In three days of bitter fighting, culminating in the battle at Harrisburg, the Confederates suffered a staggering defeat. Forrest’s corps was devastated. He and his men would recover but would never regain their earlier strength, nor would they ever again prove a serious threat to veteran Union infantry. Work for Giants focuses on the details of this overlooked campaign and the efforts, post-battle and post-war, to minimize the outcome and consequences of an important Union victory.

Thomas (Tom) Parson is a native of Sylmar, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Immediately out of high school he enlisted in the US Navy for a four-year hitch which turned out lasting for twenty years. While on leave in May of 1980 he visited his firstTom Parson Civil War battlefield: Shiloh. Tom served on four ships and retired in 1998 as a Chief Petty Officer. Not long after retiring he signed on with the National Park Service and has spent the last nineteen years with Shiloh National Military Park. He spent his first five years with the park maintaining the National Cemetery, the mass Confederate burial trenches and other sites across the battlefield. In 2004 Ranger Parson was assigned to the new Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Corinth, Mississippi. His research focuses on military activities in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. Tom lives in Corinth with Nita, his wife of 38 years.

BOOKS:

Work for Giants: The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg. Kent State University Press, 2014.

Bear Flag and Bay State: The Californians of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry Regiment. McFarland Publishers, 2001.

IN PROGRESS:

Forrest Victorious: The Battle of Brice’s Crossroads.

The Civil War Journal of Chaplain Elijah Edwards, 7th Minnesota Veteran Volunteers.

ARTICLES:

Blue & Gray Magazine

Hell on the Hatchie: The Fight at Davis Bridge, Tennessee. Dec. 2007.

Stopping Grant in Mississippi: The Holly Springs Raid. 2010.

Final Stand in Mississippi: Tupelo, the Campaign and Battle 1864. July, 2014.

 

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