In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Battle of Green River Crossing, 1862

On today's date in 1862, Union Gen. Thomas’s division reached Buell’s army on the road near Munfordville and that evening battled with some of Confederate Gen. Bragg’s troops.

Joseph Wheeler
after promotion to general
Bragg had left Col. Joseph Wheeler and his cavalry command* to conceal his army's movement and to hold off the overwhelming Union advance. This would allow Bragg to withdraw his army toward Bardstown, about 50 miles to the northeast, to connect with Smith's army. The Battle of Green River Crossing, as it is known today, began about 3 miles north of Horse Cave, near today's intersection with I-65. There is no list of casualties, but Col. T.B. Brown of the 1st Alabama, was killed leading his regiment.

The Battle of Green River Crossing is counted as a Union victory, since Wheeler was forced to withdraw. However Wheeler's attack did succeed in slowing the the Union advance long enough for Bragg to cross the Green River unmolested. Wheeler will continue to harass the Union army along its march to Louisville.

Having changed his mind about engaging Buell's army at Munfordville, Bragg has now vacated his strategic position and turns his army northeast, marching to Bardstown. This allowed Buell to pass on to Louisville unopposed. Abandoning Munfordville on the Green River cost Bragg the opportunity to take the Federal Depot at Louisville before Buell’s army arrived there.

* In the months ahead, an ancestor of mine, Great-Great Grandfather David Crockett Neal, will fight in a the 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment under Gen. Wheeler.

Sources: The Third Battalion Mississippi Infantry and the 45th Mississippi Regiment: A Civil War History, David Williamson; Campaigns of Wheeler and His Cavalry, 1862-1865, Joseph Wheeler

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