Hed Quarters in Sadle
May 2, 1863
My highest regardes to Miss Ema Sanson for hir gallant conduct while my forse was Skirmishing with the Federals across Black Creek near Gadisden, Allabama.
Brig Genl Comding N. Ala
After the war, the state of Alabama presented her with a gold medal commemorating her exploit and awarded her a section of public land “as a testimony of the high appreciation of her services by the people of Alabama.”
The Emma Sansom Monument in Gadsden, AL, depicting Emma pointing out the route, as well as double-mounted behind Forrest
The next day, Forrest rested some of his men and sent the rest to “devil them all night.” Streight lost his race to Rome, for the defenses were manned and the possibility of taking the town made impracticable. On May 3, Colonel Streight stopped twenty miles short of his objective to rest. His men were falling off their mules asleep. Under a flag of truce, Forrest met with his Union counterpart to demand the surrender of his entire command, claiming that the Southern forces outnumbered and surrounded the exhausted raiders. While they stood talking, Forrest’s artillery, only two guns, moved back and forth over his shoulder appearing to be multiple batteries. Streight counted fifteen guns, and Forrest told him that was all that were “able to keep up”! His troopers also moved back and forth as if they were five times their real strength. Colonel Streight gave up and surrendered about sixteen hundred men to Forrest’s four hundred ragged veterans. When Streight realized the trick, he demanded their rifles be returned so they could fight it out. Forrest allegedly offered that “all’s fair in love and war.”
Libby Prison, Richmond, VA, where Streight and his men were sent after their surrender to Forrest on May 3, 1863. After ten months, Streight and 107 other soldiers would escape from Libby Prison by tunnelling from their barracks. Streight was eventually able to cross through enemy territory and, on his return, give a debriefing report to his Union commanders. He was restored to active duty, and later participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville.
The man who began the war as a private and ended it as a Lieutenant General had bested a formidable and persevering opponent once again. Streight later escaped from prison in the Great Escape from Libby Prison in Richmond and returned to the field against Forrest in the final campaign that ended the war in Alabama, with the Devil’s surrender. As the old Puritan minister John Flavel wrote, “Providence is a mystery, but it always fulfills God’s Will.”
- A Battle From the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest by Brian Wills
- Nathan Bedford Forrest: In Search of An Enigma by Eddy W. Davison and Daniel Foxx