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This Day in Georgia History

May 03, 1863

Forrest Captured Raiders Bound for Georgia

In eastern Alabama near Rome, Ga., Confederate forces under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured a Union raiding force under Col Abel Streight. The raiders were headed for Georgia in an effort to disrupt the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was supplying Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Confederate force in northwest Georgia. Streight had sent a Union cavalry force under Capt. Milton Russell to capture Rome, but in a story reminiscent of Paul Revere’s midnight ride, John Henry Wisdom, an Alabama mailman, rode horseback for eleven straight hours to warn Rome of the pending attack. When the Union cavalry arrived on May 3rd, they found Rome’s civilian population armed behind barricades and ready to burn the bridges should the cavalry try to enter the city. While Russell debated whether or not to attack, Gen. Forrest’s forces arrived at Rome.With escape blocked, Russell surrendered.