Streight's Raid took place from April 19 to May 3, 1863 in northern Alabama. It was led by Union Colonel Abel Streight, whose goal was to cut off the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which supplied General Braxton Bragg's Confederate army in Middle Tennessee. The raid was poorly supplied and planned, and ended with the defeat and capture of Streight and his men at Cedar Bluff, Alabama by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Streight was additionally hindered by locals throughout his march, while pursued by Forrest, who had the advantage of home territory and the sympathy and aid of the local populace, most famously Emma Sansom. This unsuccessful raid was coordinated with the more famous Grierson's Raid down through the center of Mississippi, partially as a feint to confuse the Confederate forces.
Starting in Nashville, Tennessee, Streight and his men first traveled to Eastport, Mississippi, and then eastward to Tuscumbia, Alabama. On April 26, 1863, Streight left Tuscumbia and marched southeastward. Streight's initial movements were screened by Union Brig. Gen. Grenville Dodge's troops.
On April 30 at Day's Gap on Sand Mountain, Forrest caught up with Streight's expedition and attacked his rear guard. Streight's men managed to repulse this attack and as a result they continued their march to avoid any further delays and envelopments caused by the Confederate troops.
The Battle of Day's Gap set off a chain of skirmishes and engagements moving eastward. Finally, on May 3, Forrest surrounded Streight's exhausted men three miles east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama. The actual capture of Streight's forces was achieved by a clever ruse, when Forrest paraded his much smaller force back and forth in front of Streight, convincing Streight that he was opposed by a superior force. After surrendering and being informed of the deception Streight reputedly demanded his arms back for a proper fight, a request cheerfully declined by Forrest.
Chronology of events of Streight's Raid in 1863
- Nashville, Tennessee (April 7–10) — proceeded by river
- Palmyra, Tennessee (April 11–13) — proceeded on foot
- Yellow Creek, Tennessee (April 13–14) — proceeded on foot
- Fort Henry, Tennessee (April 15–17) — proceeded by river
- Eastport, Mississippi (April 19–21) — proceeded either by foot or river
- Bear Creek/River, Mississippi (April 22) — proceeded on foot the rest of the way
- Tuscumbia, Alabama (April 24–26)
- Mount Hope, Alabama (April 27–28)
- Moulton, Alabama (April 28)
- Day's Gap, Alabama (April 29–30)
- Battle of Day's Gap (April 30)
- Skirmish at Crooked Creek (April 30)
- Skirmish at Hog Mountain (April 30)
- Arrival at Blountsville (May 1)
- Skirmishes at Blountsville (May 1)
- Skirmishes at the East Branch of the Black Warrior River (May 1)
- Skirmishes at the crossing of Black Creek, near Gadsden (May 2)
- Damaged ammunition while crossing Will's Creek, near Gadsden (May 2)
- Gadsden, Alabama (May 2)
- Blount's plantation, about 15 miles from Gadsden (May 2)
- Skirmishes at/near Blount's Plantation, Cherokee County (May 2–3)
- Centre, Alabama (May 3)
- Cedar Bluff, Alabama (May 3)
- Surrender to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, 3 miles east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama (May 3)
- Taken to Richmond, Virginia, as prisoners of war