April 30 1863: Battle of Day’s Gap
The Battle of Day’s Gap, fought on April 30, 1863, was the first in a series of American Civil War skirmishes in Cullman County, Alabama, that lasted until May 2, known as Streight’s Raid. Commanding the Union forces was Col. Abel Streight; Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest led the Confederate forces.
The goal of Streight’s raid was to cut off the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which supplied General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army in Middle Tennessee. Starting in Nashville, Tennessee, Streight and his men first traveled to Eastport, Mississippi, and then eastward to Tuscumbia, Alabama. On April 26, 1863, Streight left Tuscumbia and marched southeastward. Streight’s initial movements were screened by Union Brig. Gen. Grenville Dodge’s troops.
On April 30 at Day’s Gap on Sand Mountain, Forrest caught up with Streight’s expedition and attacked his rear guard. Streight’s men managed to repulse this attack and as a result they continued their march to avoid any further delays and envelopments caused by the Confederate troops.
This battle set off a chain of skirmishes and engagements at Crooked Creek (April 30), Hog Mountain (April 30), Blountsville (May 1), Black Creek/Gadsden (May 2), and Blount’s Plantation (May 2). Finally, on May 3, Forrest surrounded Streight’s exhausted men three miles east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, and forced their surrender. They were sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. Streight and some of his men escaped on February 9, 1864.
The battle also led indirectly to the death of Confederate Lieutenant A. Wills Gould, an artillery officer of questionable competence who left guns behind to be spiked by Union forces. Gould was furious with Forrest’s decision to transfer him to another command and fought an impromptu duel with him on June 14, 1863, in which Gould was killed.