In February 1864, over seven thousand Union cavalry troops led by Gen. William Sooy Smith started a raid into the Mississippi Prairie to bring destruction to one of the few breadbaskets remaining in the South. Both Smith and Gen. Sherman intended to burn everything in their path. But neither reckoned with Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest’s small Confederate cavalry forced defeated Smith in a running battle that stretched from West Point to Okolona and beyond. Forrest’s victory prevented Smith from joining Sherman and saved the Prairie from total destruction.
The Battle of Okolona: Defending The Mississippi Prairie