The Confederate victory at Brices Cross
Roads was a significant victory for Major
General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but its
long term effect on the war proved costly
for the Confederates. Brices Cross Roads
is an excellent example of winning the battle,
but losing the war.
The Confederates suffered 492 casualties
to the Union's 2,164 (including 1,500 prisoners).
Forrest captured huge supplies of arms,
artillery, and ammunition as well as plenty
of stores. Sturgis suffered demotion and
exile to the far West. After the battle,
the Union Army again accused Forrest of
massacring black soldiers. However, historians
believe that charge unwarranted, because
later prisoner exchanges undermined the
Union claim of disproportionate death.
Brice Cross Roads Cemetery
Ghost Photo sent to us from Shelia Vega.
The modern Bethany Presbyterian Church
sits on the southeast side of the crossroads.
At the time of the battle this congregation's
meeting house was located further south
along the Baldwyn Road. However, the Bethany
Cemetery adjacent to the Park Service monument
site predates the Civil War. Many of the
area's earliest settlers are buried here.
The graves of more than 90 Confederate soldiers
killed in the battle are also located in
this cemetery. Union dead from the battle
were buried in common graves on the battlefield,
but were later reinterred in the National
Cemetery at Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1863 Federal armies won important victories
at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Chattanooga.
In the spring of 1864 the Federal mission
was to bisect the South from Chattanooga,
Tennessee, to the Atlantic coast at Savannah,
Georgia. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman wanted
to destroy the Confederate Army led by Gen.
Joseph E. Johnston and occupy Atlanta along
the way as he executed his “March
to the Sea.”
Sherman knew that his plan was vulnerable.
To supply his large troop movement into
north Georgia, he depended on the Nashville
& Chattanooga Railroad. This line could
be most threatened by the excellent horseman
of Confederate Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford
Forrest’s cavalry corp. Sherman needed
to keep Forrest in north Mississippi.
On June 1 Forrest put his 3,500 horsemen
in motion at Tupelo, headed for Tennessee.
By June 4 they had reached Russellville,
Alabama. Meanwhile, a concerned Sherman
ordered Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis and
a force of 8,100 to move out of Memphis
and threaten north Mississippi in hopes
of drawing Forrest away from Sherman’s
much needed railroad in Tennessee. It worked!
Forrest was ordered by Maj. Gen. Stephen
D. Lee to return to Tupelo. On the evening
of June 9, Forrest learned that Sturgis’s
forces were camped about 10 miles northwest
of Brices Cross Roads. Both commanders knew
that the next day would bring battle.
Battle of Brice's Crossroads, in which
the Confederate army, under Major General
Nathan Bedford Forrest, defeated a much
larger Union force on June 10, 1864, to
ultimately secure supply lines between Nashville
and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The site was
established February 21, 1929 and transferred
from the War Department to the National
Park Service on August 10, 1933. The battlefield
was automatically listed on the National
Register of Historic Places on October 15,
1966. It is administered under the Natchez
Bethany A.R.P. Church Cemetery - This cemetery
is the final resting place for many people
that have called this area home for more
than 150 years. This cemetery is also the
burial site for 96 Confederates that fought
and died as a result of the battle. Many
EVP's have been recoded here.
Interpetive Trails - There are two trails
that take you off the road and over the
terrain of the battlefield. There are signs
along these trails that explain the significance
of where you are standing relative to where
the fighting took place. Often visitors
tell of seeing ghost and smelling gun powder.
One trail takes you through the left side
of the Confederate line of battle, the other
takes you through the right side. Where
reports of sounds of the battle are said
to be heard.
Operating Hours & Seasons
The Brice's Crossroads Visitor and Interpretive
Center has a large collection of artifacts
from the battle.
The grounds of the Brices Cross Roads National
Battlefield Site are open during daylight
hours everyday of the year. The Brice's
Crossroads Visitor and Interpretive Center
(operated by the Brices Cross Roads National
Battlefiled Commission) is open 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from
12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The center
is closed on Mondays and most major holidays
and can be reached at 662-365-3969.
The National Park Service administers the
national battlefield site through the Natchez
Trace Parkway. Since there are no visitor
facilities at the battlefield site, visitors
are welcome to learn more about the battlefield
at the Parkway Visitor Center, located 15
miles south of Brices Cross Roads in Tupelo,
located on the Natchez Trace Parkway at
Milepost 266. The Visitor Center is open
every day of the year except December 25,
8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time). The
Natchez Trace Parkway can be reached at
There are no fees or reservations associated
with Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
Site. The site is a unit of the National
Park Service and is administered by the
Natchez Trace Parkway, headquartered in
Tupelo, Mississippi, along the Parkway at
Milepost 266. For questions concerning the
site, call the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor
Center at 1-800-305-7417. The Visitor Center
is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time),
every day except December 25.
There is a small admission fee to visit
the museum at the Brice's Crossroads Visitor
and Interpretive Center located near the
intersection of U.S. 45 and Rt. 370, six
miles east of the battlefield. This is not
a National Park Service facility. For more
information please the Center at 662-365-3969.
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