Civil War in Tennessee, Hood Campaign of 1864
Middle Tennessee experienced small-scale battles and engagements throughout the war. Many occurred along present-day I-65. At Elkton (Exit 6), Federal forces controlled the Elk River Bridge and protected the Prospect Railroad Bridge with a fort. Pulaski (Exit 14) and Columbia (Exit 46) were major Union command centers. Fighting intensified in September 1864, when Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry passed through here to attack a Union post at Athens, Alabama. He then returned, engaged Federal forces outside Pulaski, and destroyed a camp of escaped slaves near the town. Less than two months later, Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood invaded Middle Tennessee, intending to capture Nashville and then advance through Kentucky and across the Ohio River.