On August 21st 1864 Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest made a raid on Memphis, Tennessee in the early morning hours. He was not trying to capture the town which was occupied by about 6,000 Union troops. Bedford hit the town with three things in mind, first to cause Union troops to pull back out of Mississippi, second to capture the Union generals posted there and lastly to break free the Confederate prisoners of war being held at the Irving Block Prison.
Moving into Memphis with about 1,500 cavalry, Forrest used the heavy morning fog to get past Union patrols. The Confederates galloped through the streets of Memphis firing off shots at Union troops. They did not find the generals, although one, Union Major General Cadwallader Colden Washburn made his escape to Fort Pickering in his night shirt. Union troops were able to prevent the attack on the Irving Block Prison, and so after two hours Forrest withdrew his men. The Confederates cut the telegraph wire, gathered supplies, a large number of horses and about 500 Union prisoners.
Union Major General Stephen Augustus Hurlbut, the commander of the Union Army of Gulf said of Forrest after the raid, "There it goes again! They superseded me with Washburn because I could not keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, and Washburn cannot keep him out of his own bedroom!"