Collierville, TN

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1. Battle of Collierville - Wikipedia
2. Battle Summary: Collierville, TN

4. Battle of Collierville - Marker - SCV Camp 1560, Wigfall Grays
5. Battle of Collierville - Historical Markers on

6. Battle of Collierville Association - Collierville C of C
7. HistoryofCollierville - Civil War

(2012) Enlarge Abington House and Union Picket Post
On October 5, 1863, General Chalmers began his raid against the Memphis & Charleston RR with his cavalry division encamped in and around Oxford, MS. Col. Richardson had his brigade and most of Chalmers’ artillery at New Albany. During the 10-day raid, they engaged Union cavalry at New Albany, Lockhart’s Mill on the Coldwater River, Salem and Quinn’s Mill on the Coldwater River. These engagements drove the Union cavalry back to their base at LaGrange.
The Confederates spent the night of October 10 at Quinn’s Mill crossing on the Coldwater River. General Chalmers still had the option of attacking the fort at Germantown or at Collierville. His choice was Collierville since his scout Dewitt “Clubfoot” Fort had drawn up a detailed map of the terrain and defenses.
After flanking the Union cavalry at Quinn’s Mill, the Confederates moved north to Collierville. They surprised and attacked a picket at the Abington House and captured 30.
The original Abington House burned early in 1900’s and the family rebuilt their house directly in front of the old foundation. The new house shown in this photo is located in the S-curve on Sycamore Road, about 100 yards South of Hwy 72.
Enlarged Views: Hit Back Button to return

(2012) Enlarge Union Earthen Fort
View of Main Street looking North at the corner of Washington St. with the Town Square to the left. The Union fort was located in the area of this city block that is bordered by the streets of Main, Washington, & Natchez. The fort lay within the shadow of the present-day water tower. The Fort was built with earth walls about 7 or 8 feet high and said to be 120 X 120 feet and contained a powder magazine.
Union forces were distributed along the Memphis & Charleston RR from Memphis to LaGrange to protect it from attacks by Confederate cavalry raids. In summer of 1863, the Confederate scouts estimated there were 15,000 Union troops stationed from Memphis to LaGrange. There were earthen forts built at Germantown, Collierville, Lafayette (Rossville), and Moscow. Thousands of troops traveled from Corinth to Memphis along the RR and the roads during the build-up of forces at Vicksburg. Then after the fall of Vicksburg, many of these troops returned back the same way on their return to Chattanooga.
During the battle on October 11, General Sherman and his staff occupied the fort. The Union infantry were deployed in rifle pits near the RR tracks and the brick RR depot. This section of the railroad was guarded by the 66 Indiana Regiment. Several companies of the 7th Illinois Cavalry were camped about a mile north of the town near present-day Tara Oaks Elementary School. There was a hill in the area where the cavalry was camped which has been cleared for housing developments.


(2012) Enlarge Memphis & Charleston RR
This is a view of the Town Square just North of Main St. The only thing that is still original to the 1860s is the RR bed that ran East/West. The elevation has changed but not the location of the RR. In the foreground is a replica Parrot gun memorial and behind this is an old depot that acts as home of Chamber of Commerce. The original depot was a brick building used by the Union as a defensive position. It was located on the North side of the RR in the middle of Center Street. Center Street crosses the tracks between the display passenger cars and the red caboose. The original town was built around the intersection of Poplar Road and Mount Pleasant Road. Main and Center Streets were added later that formed the present-day town square.
Just as the Confederates prepared to launch their 3-pronged attack, General Sherman's East-bound train arrived in town. The train passed the town but it backed up so the rear car was situated approximately at the location of the red caboose. This train sat astride the forth-coming battlefield becoming both an obstacle and a target. The train brought Generals Sherman, Ewing, and Lightburn and 240 men of the 13 US Illinois Regulars. Combined with the 66 Indiana Regiment, there were approximately 500 Union infantry entrenched within this town square and the fort---excluding the companies of the 7th Illinois Cavalry.


(2012) Enlarge Ridge of the Attack
The Confederate cavalry division formed up on this ridge about 600 yards south of the M&CRR. This is a view looking North from Suggs Park towards the town square and water tower, with South Street at the northern edge of the park. The terrain dips down before the RR and gradually rises to the prominent hill just beyond the corner of Main St. and Poplar Street (Hwy 57). On the far left of the ridge is the Hart house which is mentioned in the OR’s as a rallying point. The Hart house was dismantled in the 1940s. A Civil War Trails marker next to Gus’ Fried Chicken on West South Street includes a vintage photo that locates the position of this Hart house.
Colonel Richardson arrived with his brigade first. The OR’s said he formed up too far to the East and was not facing the Union fort. He was most likely on the ridge that is East of Mount Pleasant Road and parallels Keough Road to the south. He shifted his forces left to this location. Chalmers arrived on the scene and placed his brother’s 18 Mississippi Cavalry Battalion and his light artillery in the center of the line.


(2012) Enlarge Chalmers Center of Line
This is a view looking North down Main Street from South Street and looking towards the town square and water tower. Photos from the early 1900’s show very little trees in the town. The eye witness reports describe this as a field. This area would have been the center of the battle with Sherman’s train straddling this road just south of the communications tower.
Chalmers Artillery:
All of the regiments in Chalmers forces were cavalry and usually fought dismounted. His cavalry division included two artillery battalions: Reneau and Buckner. One of the guns in Reneau Battery was disabled when the carriage broke during the previous day. The remaining gun may have been loaned to Buckner Battery. Buckner Batter was armed with one 3-inch ordnance gun and 4 rare William’s Guns. The Williams Gun was a rapid-fire, breech-loading smooth bore gun that fired at 1.6-inch iron shot at a rate of 25 rounds per minute. Only 42 were made during the war. The Union OR’s correctly identify the caliber but incorrectly describe it as a rifled gun. During the battle, Lt. Holt describes how he moved his guns by hand from this ridge up to the RR in order to fire close range at the earthworks.
Flanking Attacks:
Chalmers plan of attack was to send a flank attack in both directions and hit the Union fort from three sides. Col. Duckworth led the 7 Tenn & 2 Missouri Cavalry to the woods on the West of the fort. Col. McGuirk lead the 3 Miss and 1 Miss Cavalry far around to the East. McGuirk’s group engaged a picket about 1 mile north of town. They attacked the camp of the 7 Illinois Cavalry during their Sunday worship service. The 7 Illinois Cavalry were routed and fled into the swamps of the Wolf River. The Confederates captured 18 wagons and 150 mules and 100 horses and destroyed what they could not carry away. However this minor victory diverted McGuirk from his attack on the fort.
The focus of battle seemed to be centered on the depot, west of the fort. The Confederate left wing advanced to the RR and boarded the train and set it on fire. They removed the horses from the cars, including General Sherman’s horse, Dolly. They also took General Ewing’s sword from some baggage. The fire was put out, but the engine was riddled by cannon fire from across the ridge. After 5 hours, General Chalmers pulled back, as Union reinforcements double-timed from Germantown.
After the battle of Collierville, Chalmers’ division headed back to their base at Oxford. They fought one last battle on October 13th at Wyatt (now Wyatt’s Crossing Public Use Area boat ramp on Sardis Lake near Hwy 7)..


(2012) Enlarge Sherman’s Train and Railroad cut
After the fall of Vicksburg, General Sherman was promoted and placed in command of the troops. After the Battle of Chickamauga, General Grant requested Sherman bring his forces to Chattanooga. Sherman traveled with his family up the Mississippi River and his son caught typhoid fever and died in Memphis. Only a couple of week’s later, Sherman’s train was headed East-bound. The train passed the RR depot at Collierville about Noon and was flagged down. The 13 Illinois Regiment unloaded at the same time the Confederates sent out a flag of truce. The Regulars formed south of the RR and along the RR cut. The train backed up so the last car was next to the Depot. After the truce ended, the firing began and the 13th pulled back north of the RR and manned the fort, depot and rifle pits.
This photo is looking East across Mount Pleasant Road at a RR cut. The terrain further to the South (right) has been built-up for commercial property and the RR bed elevation has changed over the years. Local citizens told of finding cannon balls in the trees along this embankment on the south side of the RR.
Union reported 164 casualties for this battle. Confederate claimed Union casualties and prisoners were 320 for the 10 days of the raid. Confederate reported their losses were 128 casualties for the entire raid including the 4 other battles in Mississippi.

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