Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg Program in Mayfield, KY

Post date: Jun 1, 2015 1:19:10 PM

July 14 (Tuesday) 7pm Graves County Library on North 17th Street, Mayfield. Ranger Tom Parson, from the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Mississippi, will speak on the Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg (July 14 and 15, 1864).

Three of the major players are buried in Mayfield: Ed Crossland; Henry Hale; and Henry George. Lt. Col. Leander Jacob Sherrill, father of one of the Merit Clothing Company’s founders was killed in action at Old Town Creek. Come hear why George called this battle a “medley of blunders”.


In recognition of General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 194nd birthday, the Tilghman-Beauregard Camp #1460, Sons of Confederate Veterans, is pleased to announce the 21th annual Lon Carter Barton-Jack Vincent Lecture dealing with General Forrest’s military exploits during the War Between the States. Mr. Thomas E. Parson, a Ranger with the National Park Service headquartered at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Mississippi, will speak at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at the Graves County Library on North 17th Street in Mayfield.

During the spring and summer of 1864, as Union General William Sherman began his invasion of Georgia, Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry was the greatest threat to the long supply line feeding Sherman’s armies. Consequently, several Federal incursions into Mississippi were designed to keep Forrest away from Tennessee. In June one such expedition met with disaster at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, perhaps the greatest victory of Forrest's military career.

A few weeks later another Union General, A. J. Smith, led his veteran soldiers, fresh from the Red River Campaign, into Mississippi to confront Forrest and destroy a section of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. This campaign culminated in three days of bitter fighting near Tupelo where the Confederates under Generals Forrest and S. D. Lee suffered a staggering defeat. Kentucky Brigade historian, Henry George, described it as a “medley of blunders.” Mr. Parson’s lecture will discuss the highlights of the campaign and battle, the part played by the Kentuckians under Ed Crossland, and the controversy over who was responsible for the defeat: Lee or Forrest.

The speaker has been widely acclaimed for his newest book, entitled Work for Giants: The Campaign and Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg. Mr. Parson has also published one other book and several articles in Blue and Gray Magazine relating to the Civil War in Mississippi. Mr. Parson will have copies of his books available for purchase and autographing. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this program of historical significance to our local community. Many Graves (and other Purchase) County families have ancestors who served with General Forrest at Tupelo. At least three key figures in this battle are buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Mayfield. For more information on this event, please contact Commander Scott Parker at 731-336-9893.


Tom Parson is a native of Sylmar, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He enlisted in the US Navy immediately out of high school for a four year hitch which turned out lasting for twenty years. While on leave in May of 1980 he visited his first Civil War battlefield: Shiloh. Tom served on four ships and retired in 1998 as a Chief Petty Officer. Not long after retiring he signed on with the National Park Service and has spent the last sixteen years with Shiloh National Military Park. He spent his first five years with the park maintaining the National Cemetery, the mass Confederate burial trenches and other sites across the battlefield. Tom is a certified Historic Preservation mason and has performed repairs and maintenance on structures throughout the National Parks system. In 2004 Ranger Parson was assigned to the new Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Corinth, Mississippi. His research focuses on military activities in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. Tom lives in Corinth with Nita, his wife of 34 years.