Sulphur Trestle Fort Site
Historical Marker of The Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle
Sulphur Trestle Fort Site, 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Elkmont Elkmont
Sulphur Creek Trestle near Athens, Limestone County, Alabama
Backstory and Context
The Battle of Sulphur Creek Trestle (September 23 to 25, 1864) is also known as the Battle of Athens. On the afternoon of the 23rd, Union forces engaged Confederate forces five miles south of Athens as the rebels were destroying a railroad trestle needed to support the Union advance. Union forces retreated to Fort Henderson. On the next morning, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest worked to convince Colonel Wallace Campbell that he outnumbered his force by a factor of ten. The ruse worked, and Union forces surrendered their fort and garrison.
After defeating Union forces at the Battle of Athens, on September 25, 1864, Confederate forces under the command of Forrest continued a campaign to disrupt Union supply lines throughout the area. It was part of this campaign that saw that attack on the Sulphur Branch Trestle Fort on the 25th. Colonel Wallace Campbell was killed during this attack. After the Union surrendered the fort, Forrest reported the capture of several hundred troops and two artillery pieces. After the engagement at Sulphur Branch Trestle, Forrest continued his campaign of destroying and disrupting other important railway bridges.