Explanation: Col. Streight was sent on a raid to destroy Southern railroads in northern Alabama and Georgia.
From Nashville, Tennessee, Union Col. Abel D. Streight led what became known as his "Mule Brigade" on a 17 day raid through the hills of northern Alabama . Although the purpose of the move toward Georgia was to destroy Southern railroads, the raid was fraught with problems from the start.
First, he was forced to contend with a formidable foe in brilliant cavalryman Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest. Immediate problems forced him to overlook the Confederates for several days. Streight and his 2,000 troopers were infantrymen, but they needed horses for the rough terrain of the Alabama mountains. An army expert convinced authorities in Nashville that 800 mules would be better suited to the task.
The mules presented more problems than they alleviated. Of all of the mules, 50 or 60 were left behind because they were 'too near dead" for such an exepedition or died before it stsrted. It also took 1 1/2 days for the animals and men to become aquainted. Streight was scheduled to meet Brig. Gen.
Grenville M. Dodge on the 16th, but the cantankerous mules made him late. Dodge had reached the rendezvous point at Eastport and met Confederate cavalryman Col. Phillip D. Roddy, who pushed him 23 miles to Bear Creek. On arriving in Eastport, Streight left for Bear Creek and a conference with Dodge. Back in Eastport, Roddey's cavalrymen, tipped off by the constnt braying of the mules, stole into the Union corrals and stampeded 400 of them. Only 200 mules were recovered.
After receiving 200 mules as replacements at Tuscambia, and with 1,500 of his best men, Streight was ready to concentrate on the enemy, Gen. Forrest. In the next week, Streight and his entire command traveled across the Alabama hills, clashing with Roddey and Forrest at Day's Gap, Hog Mountain, and finally at Lawrence.
With only 600 men, creatively deployed to look like thousands, Forrest called for Streight's surrender on May 3rd. Streight's men eventually handed down their guns, only to find they had been tricked. That which appeared to be a continuous train of guns was a mere section of artillery, ordered to move in circles. Forrest's orders to imaginary units completed the ruse resoundingly. Streight had been stopped, and once again Forrest emerged as a hero.