The Battle of Sacramento: Forrest's First Fight, A Skirmish of Future Generals


The Battle of Sacramento has been shrouded in exaggeration and myth from the time it was fought more than 150 years ago. It is probable that few, if any, military engagements this small saw the beginning careers of so many future high-ranking officers. With a total of less than 500 men engaged, here three future generals and five future colonels began their rise to military glory. And while a small skirmish, we see here the same basic elements of warfare that have appeared since the beginning of recorded history. Initial developments leading to the cavalry engagement at Sacramento, Kentucky, on December 28, 1861, occurred during the previous month. In November 1861, Confederate Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Tennessee cavalry battalion was assigned to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, at that time a major outpost on the Confederate defense line in Kentucky. On December 28, 1861, at the onset of what is now known as the Battle of Sacramento, Lt. Col. Forrest fired the first shot; and, with about 150 men, Forrest charged the Union advance. The author, who grew up in the shadow of the battleground, a two-year veteran of Vietnam, writer and university graduate in history, here opens up the facts of this skirmish. This well-documented account explores not just the battle but the men—and women—involved. Following an account of the prelude to the Battle of Sacramento and the battle itself; the Selected Personnel After-Action Activities section presents individual accounts of twenty-three participants. A section devoted to weapons includes: Colt Navy revolvers, the Enfield rifle musket, the Maynard carbine, Sharps carbine and rifle, and shotguns. Portraits, vintage photographs and maps, a bibliography, and an index to full-names, places and subjects enhance the text.


John K. Ward


2012, 5½x8½, paper, index, 132 pp.

ISBN: 9780788454059