The Battle of Paducah was fought on March 25, 1864, during the American Civil War. A Confederate force led by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest launched a successful raid on Paducah, Kentucky, to capture supplies.
In March 1864, Forrest set out from Columbus, Mississippi, into West Tennessee and Kentucky with a force of fewer than 3,000 men. Their object was to recruit soldiers, reoutfit their force with supplies, and disrupt Union activities. They arrived in Paducah, Kentucky, on March 25 and quickly occupied the town. The Union garrison of 650 men under the command of Col. Stephen G. Hicks retired to Fort Anderson in the town's west end. Hicks had support from two gunboats on the Ohio River and refused to surrender, while shelling the area with his artillery.
Most of Forrest’s command destroyed unwanted supplies, loaded what they wanted, and rounded up horses and mules. A small segment of Forrest's command assaulted Fort Anderson and was repulsed, suffering heavy casualties. Soon afterwards, Forrest's men withdrew. In reporting the raid on the town, many newspapers stated that Forrest had not found the more than a hundred fine horses hidden from the raid. As a result, one of Forrest’s subordinate officers, Abraham Buford, led a force back into Paducah in mid-April and seized the infamous horses.
Casualties were 90 Union, 50 Confederate. Although this was a Confederate victory, other than the destruction of supplies and capture of animals, no lasting results occurred. It did, however, warn the Federals that Forrest, or someone like him, could strike anywhere at any time.
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