Union troops received reports on December 16th 1862 that Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest had crossed the Tennessee River just north of Savannah, Tennessee. The intelligence said that Forrest had 2,000 men with him and was heading for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Acting on this information the Union sent Colonel Robert G Ingersoll with about 700 men, including 2 guns that were part of an Indiana Battery to defend the town of Lexington, Tennessee.
Ingersoll prepared for the Confederates advance by positioning pickets east of town along Beech Creek and burning two bridges that crossed the creek southeast of town. Forrest was spotted on the night of December 17th 1862. Union troops pulled in to within two miles of town and Ingersoll prepared to fight along the State and Lower Roads. Union Major Otto Funke, located 4 miles down the State Road began the fight with Forrest’s troopers at dawn on December 18th 1862. After several hours of fighting the Confederates overtook Funke’s force. Forrest sent most of his men up Lower Road. Ingersoll tried to mass his troops on Lower Road, but was to late. The Union men held for three charges, before being overrun.
Forrest’s men captured both of the Union cannons and 149 men including Ingersoll. The Union prisoners were held at Trenton, Tennessee for a few days before being paroled.