By 1861 Rienzi was a prosperous settlement, consisting of 7 or 8 stores, a post office, school, carriage shop, wagon and paint shop, a Methodist Church, a Baptist Church, and a railroad depot.Located at the intersection of the Ripley-Jacinto road and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, Rienzi was strategically important to both the North and the South.
April 14, 1862: CSA Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard ordered BrigGen. Henry Little's brigade to Rienzi Station, Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
April 22, 1862: CSA Gen. Braxton Bragg ordered BrigGen. James M. Hawes' brigade, except Looney's regiment (Col. R.F. Looney, 38th Tenn. Infantry Rgt.), as soon as relieved from outpost duty, to the vicinity of Rienzi and take such position there as may be designated by BrigGen. H. Little. Present for duty :Infantry: Officers 195/Men 2,296. Cavalry: Officers7/ Men 186. Artillery: Officers 4/Men 81.
April 29, 1862: CSA BrigGen. H. Little at Rienzi Station, Camp Rives and commanding station, writes to Col. Thomas Jordan, Assistant adjutant-General, Corinth MS.: "COLONEL: I have the honor to state that I am informed that the militia of the county assembled at Jacinto to-day for muster, and that there is some apprehension felt that the enemy may make a dash with their cavalry and attempt to capture them. Not knowing what force of ours may be between Jacinto and the enemy, I have thought it prudent to dispatch a portion of my command--two regiments of infantry, a section of light artillery, and about 250 mounted men, in all some 1,000 men--to Jacinto, to remain there to-day and return after the militia are dismissed..."
April 30, 1862: Again, Little to Jordan: "COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the detachment I sent to jacinto to protect the militia assembled there for muster returned in the evening. I enclose herewith General Berry's report of the result of said muster. I also rode out and examined the country between here [Rienzi] and Jacinto and the immediate vicinity of that place. all the roads approaching Jacinto are on ridges, from which on both sides spurs and ravines project. The country is very much broken, and timbered with pin, oak, hickory, and in some places a thick undergrowth. It would be difficult to get artillery or a baggage train along except on the regular roads, the grounds between the ridges and bases of the spurs being for the most part wet and marshy. after crossing the bottom immediately east of Rienzi there are two roads leading to Jacinto which unite at that place: there it comtinues due east to Tus-cumbia. About one mile from Jacinto the road from Burnsville comes in, and one-quarter of a mile the Burnsville road is intersected by the jacinot and Neshoba road leading to the Red Sulphur Springs, near the State line. These roads, I am informed, all follow ridges and pass through the same kind of country mentioned above...."
May 5, 1862: From Corinth to Rienzi via the Morrison House and Danville road is good. Distance from Blackland on the direct road to Rienzi, 13 miles.
May 27, 1862: CSA Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard ordered MajGen. William J. Hardee's Corp to move on the direct road from his position to Danville by BrigGen. Patrick R. Cleburnes' camp then to Rienzi and Baldwyn.
May 29, 1862: CSA LtCol. S. J. Murphy (of Alabama cavalry), commanding the post of Rienzi, reported he had 150 cavalry there, guarding bridges and scouting. CSA MajGen. W.J. Hardee planned to rest at Rienzi.
May 30, 1862: CSA Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at Rienzi ordered MajGen. W.J. Hardee to Rienzi. CSA BrigGen. Bushrod R. Johnson told there are provisions including fresh bread at Rienzi for the rear guard, which, if they should be needed, the cavalry would deliver.
May 31, 1862: BrigGen. B. R. Johnson to leave Rienzi.
June 1, 1862: 1st Division, Right Wing, Army of the Mississippi BrigGen. James D. Morgan, US Army, commanding and cavalry division, BrigGen. Gordon Granger, US Army, commanding, moved through Rienzi, including the 1st Ohio Cavalry Regiment and one battalion of the 11th Illinois Cavalry regiment Union BrigGen. Schuyler Hamilton, with one division, at Rienzi.
Of all the skirmishes fought in and around Rienzi, the bloodiest was fought on June 2, 1862.
June 2, 1862: Affair near Rienzi. Illinois 32nd Infantry regiment (Detachment).
June 3, 1862: 4:30 a.m. Advanced camp. General: a detachment of 30 men of the 42nd Illinois (Infantry regiment) was sent out from this camp yesterday evening on the railroad toward Rienzi to examine cross-roads, etc., and encamped about 1 mile of Rienzi. One of the party has just come in, and states that they were attacked about 10 p.m. by an infantry force of the enemy, who after two volleys charged and drove our detachment toward Rienzi or took them prisoners. On returning to camp met our cavalry going toward Rienzi. A. J. Smith, (Union) Brigadier-General.
June 3, 1862: Col. Jacob Ammen, 24th Ohio Infantry, commanding 10th Brigade, marched through Rienzi. Brigade included the 24th Ohio Infantry Regiment.
June through August 26, 1862: The 15th Missouri Infantry was stationed at Rienzi until, along with the rest of the Pea Ridge Brigade, it went north with Sheridan's Division in pursuit of General Bragg in Kentucky.
June 4, 1862: Divisions of Union BrigGen. Thomas Davies and Thomas W. Sherman (this is the other Sherman) at Rienzi.
June 5, 1862: Two divisions under BrigGen. T. W. Sherman ordered to move from Rienzi.
June 6 and 10, 1862: Brig. Gen. Horation P. VanCleve, U.S. Army, commanding the 14th Brigade, 5th Division, Army of the Ohio moved through Rienzi.
June 9, 1862: Brig.Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, U.S. Army, commanding the 5th Division, Army of the Ohio, moved through Rienzi.
June 10, 1862: Union MajGen. John Pope recommends a brigade occupy Rienzi.
June 12, 1862: Union BrigGen. Alexander Asboth ordered to Rienzi by MajGen. J. Pope and a telegraph operator ordered to open an office at Rienzi.
June 13, 1862: MajGen. J. Pope writes MajGen. Henry W. Halleck: "Gen. Asboth reports to me from Rienzi that the woods and swamps east of him are swarming with deserters from the enemy. They are making their way homeward. What is to be done with them? Had they not better be suffered to go? It would take reams of blanks to administer oaths to them. I have not hitherto meddled with them. Thousands have passed on their way home, and as many more are coming every day. They endeavor to pass without coming into camp."
June 23, 1862: Union General Asboth at Rienzi.
July 19, 1862: Union BrigGen William Rosecrans at Rienzi.
July 27-29, 1862: Expedition from Rienzi to Ripley. Kansas 7th Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Col. Albert L. Lee.
August 14, 1862: BrigGen. W.S. Rosecrans writes to MajGen. U. S. Grant in Corinth: "The following dispatch has been receive by Gen. Granger from RIENZI (August) 14, 1862. Colonel Sheridan has returned. Captured 4 secesh, also 300 head of mule, horses, and cattle on Twenty Mile Creek, in vicinity of Carrolsville. Twenty Mile Creek is dry. Our horses had no water from the time they left camp till they returned. Had great trouble to get water for the men, and was obliged to come home (Rienzi) during the heat of the day."
August 16, 1862: Brig.Gen Rosecrans to MajGen. H.W. Halleck in Corinth: "Colonel Sheridan...found no water from the time he left until he returned to Rienzi. Brought back from Butternut 300 head of animals, good mules, fair horses, cattle a lot of contrabands and the Mobile Advertiser of the 12th."
August 17, 1862: BrigGen. Rosecrans to MajGen. Grant: "Will require the troops I spoke of at Danville. This army will then extend from Rienzi to Tuscumbia, a distance of 50 miles front, while your entire corps will extend a distance of 30 miles northwestward."
August 19-21, 1862: Expedition from Rienzi to Marietta and Bay Springs, and skirmishes.. Kansas 7th Cavalry.
August 21, 1862: Headquarters of the 7th Kansas Cavalry at Rienzi.
August 26, 1862: Skirmish near Rienzi. Iowa 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Kansas 7th Cavalry Regiment. Michigan 2nd Cavalry Regiment. US loss (including Kossuth, Aug.27), 5 killed, 12 wounded, 6 missing.
September 7, 1862: Maj.Gen. U. S. Grant reports that two divisions of the Army of the Mississippi, under the command of Maj.Gen. W. S. Rosencrans are being collected at Corinth, Rienzi, Jacinto, and Danville.
September 8, 1862: Col. A. L. Lee, commanding Second Brigade, Cavalry Division composed of the 2nd Iowa and 7th Kansas Cavalry at Rienzi.
September 9, 1862: Skirmish at Rienzi, Kansas 7th Cavalry Rgt. while assigned to the 2nd Brigade.
September 18, 1862: Skirmish at Rienzi Kansas 7th Cavalry.
September 19, 1862: Col. John V. DuBois, 1st Mo. (Union) Light Artillery Rgt., commanding at Rienzi.
September 23, 1862: CSA Maj.Gen. E. Van Dorn expects to reach Rienzi on Sept. 26th or 27th. Union Brig.Gen. W. S. Rosecrans orders a brigade of BrigGen. David S. Stanley's division to Rienzi.
September 25-30, 1862: 11th Mo. (Union) infantry Rgt. at Rienzi.
September 27, 1862: Col. A.L. Lee and 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division at Rienzi.
September 28, 1862: Maj.Gen. W. S. Rosecrans planned to move all of Brig. Gen. D. S. Stanley's division to Rienzi and from there to Kossuth.
September 29, 1862: Maj.Gen. Rosecrans reports that BrigGen. D. S. Stanley will be in Rienzi today. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi consisting of the 27th (Maj. Z. S. Spaulding) 39th (Col. Noyles) 43rd (Col. Swayne) and 63rd (Col. Sprague) Ohio Infantry Rgts. and the batteries of Maurice and Dees, commanded by Col. Fuller, moved from Jacinto to Rienzi. Everything was quiet this day at Rienzi, excepting some cavalry skirmishing in the direction of Booneville.
September 30, 1862: Reconnaissance from Rienzi to the Hatchie River Ohio 27th and 63rd Infantry Regiments while assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Mississippi. Maj.Gen W. S. Rosecrans recommends that Hamilton move at least one brigade from Rienzi. Gen. Stanley at Rienzi.
October 1, 1862: Col. J. V. DuBois withdrawn from Rienzi to Danville. MajGen. E. VanDorn estimated Union force at Rienzi at 2,500.
October 1, 1862: Illinois 9th Infantry Regiment, Col. August Mersy commanding, departed Rienzi. (See communiqué of October 11th.)
October 5, 1862: BrigGen. C. S. Hamilton reports learning that Rienzi had been occupied on October 5th by 2 regiments of rebel troops "and knowing that supplies for the army were to be sent there by rail, I proceed to Rienzi, and to clear that point, in our line of supplies, from any rebel force. Rienzi was reached by nightfall."
October 5, 1862: Iowa 2nd Infantry Regiment at Rienzi (See communiqué of October 10th.)
October 6, 1862: 59th Indiana Infantry Rgt., Col. Jessie I. Alexander commanding at Rienzi.
(See communiqué of October 7-11.)
October 7, 1862: 5th Iowa Infantry Rgt., Col. C. L. Matthies commanding, moved toward Rienzi, reaching there about dark.
October 7, 1862: Gen. C. S. Hamilton occupied Rienzi. Union Brig.Gen. Thomas J. McKean in command at Rienzi and a battalion of the 9th Illinois Inf. Rgt. ordered to Rienzi. The 7th Iowa Infantry Rgt. moved to Rienzi then to Boneyard while assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, District of Corinth.
October 8, 1862: 5th Iowa Infantry Rgt. left Rienzi along with the 4th Minn. Infantry Rgt. and one section of the 11th Ohio Light Artillery Battery.
October 7-11, 1862: Per Col. Jesse I. Alexander, Commanding the 59th Indiana: "...(October 7th) we took the Kossuth road, passed Kossuth, and moved on to Rienzi, where we arrived about 7 p.m. The next day we drew three days' rations, and started at 2 p.m. for the Hatchie River on the Ripley road. Nothing of interest transpired on the march. Arrived at Hatchie at 7 p.m. and bivouacked. Next morning (Oct. 9th) detailed 30 men as fatigue party to build bridges and roads through the swamp and 100 men as grand guard. Lay all day in the sun. Next morning (Oct 10th) we were ordered to retrace our steps to Rienzi, where we arrived about 11 a.m. Next day we received orders to move to our old camp on Clear Creek, which was duly accomplished according to orders. Every officer and soldier under my command did his duty faithfully..."
After participating in the Battle of Corinth, Col. C. L. Matthies of the 5th Iowa Infantry issues this report: "...The next morning (October 6th) we were again on the march toward Kossuth over rough and hilly road, making about 12 miles, passing wagons, camp equipage, ammunition, and arms which the enemy had thrown away in its hasty retreat. The following morning we left our bivouac and marched toward Rienzi, reaching that place about dark, the men worn-out with fatigue and exposure and the suffering to which they had been subjected in the intense heat over dusty roads and by great scarcity of water, having marched more than 24 miles. The next morning I received an order from General Hamilton to take command of the 4th Minnesota Infantry, the 5th Iowa, and one section of the 11th Ohio battery, and proceed at once to the Hatchie River and seize and hold the bridge. After issuing rations to the men (it being about 1 p.m.) I marched with this command, reaching the Hatchie River at 5 o'clock, a distance of 12 miles, and found the bridge destroyed, and Colonel Hatch, with the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, who had partially repaired it, preparing to cross. I crossed my command that night, fording the river and took a position on the west side of the swamp, which place I held until the morning of the 10th, when, receiving orders from General Hamilton, I recrossed the river, joined the brigade, and marched that day back to Rienzi..."
October 9, 1862: Col. Paul E. Burke, 14th Missouri (Union) Infantry Rgt. reports that "Hamilton's division, my regiment, and others left Rienzi yesterday at 4 P.M. for the west."
October 9, 1862: 59th Indiana Infantry Rgt. ordered to return to Rienzi, arriving about 11 A.M.
October 10, 1862: 3rd Division, Army of the Mississippi commanded by BrigGen. C. S. Hamilton returned to Rienzi and during the night rebuilt the bridge over the Tuscumbia near Danville.
October 10, 1862: Col. Elliott W. Rice of the Iowa 7th Infantry Regiment camped at Rienzi, writes to Headquarters: "...The day following (the battle of Corinth) I was ordered 2 miles south of Corinth and on the 7th of this month was ordered to this post (Rienzi)..." The 5th Iowa Inf. Rgt. returned to Rienzi.
October 11, 1862: Col. Aug. Mersey, Commanding the 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry writes to Headquarters from camp near Danville; "Sir: I respectfully submit to you the following report in regard to the part which the 9th Illinois had in the engagement on the 3rd and 4th instant: The 9th Illinois Infantry was stationed, by order of General Grant, at Rienzi, and got the order to rejoin their brigade and division on October 1, and arrived on their old camping ground on the 2nd instant. On the morning of October 3 the regiment marched with the other regiments belonging to the division to Corinth..." (History shows that October 3-4, 1862 was the Battle of Corinth) "The next day (October 5) I was ordered by General McKean, in command at Rienzi, to send the Second Battalion to Rienzi...."
October 12, 1862: Ohio 22nd Infantry Regiment camped at Rienzi. Capt. George R. French writes: "...Sunday morning, 12th, left Ripley with Colonel Lee's command at 3 a.m. and marched to Rienzi, arriving there at 5 p.m. Left Rienzi on the morning of the 13th and marched to Corinth, rejoining our regiment at camp on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad..."
October 20, 1862: MajGen. Earl Van Dorn, CSA, reports to Headquarters of the Army of West Tennessee in Holly Springs: On October 1; "Rosecrans at Corinth with about 15,000 (men), together with the following outpost, viz: Rienzi, 2500; Burnsville and Jacinto and Iuka about 6,000." On October 3; "During the night I had a bridge constructed over the Tuscumbia and sent Armstrong's and Jackson's cavalry with a battery of artillery to seize and hold Rienzi until the army came up, intending to march to and hold that point; but after consultation with General Price, who represented his troops to be somewhat disorganized, it was deemed advisable to return by the same route we came and file back toward Ripley and Oxford."
October 22, 1862: MajGen. E. VanDorn reports that 3 regiments of Federal infantry are at Rienzi.
October 25, 1862: MajGen. U.S. Grant to Gen. Hamilton; "I was aware of the destruction of the railroad for a considerable distance south of Rienzi."
November (?) to November 26, 1862: 14th Missouri (Union) Inf. Rgt. (Birge's Western Sharpshooters) and 36th Illinois Infantry Rgt. at Rienzi while assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, District of Corinth, 14th Missouri Inf. Rgt. redesignated 66th Illinois Inf. Rgt. on November 20, 1862. After leaving Rienzi the 66th Illinois Inf. Rgt. , marched throught Danville and camped on the Tuscumbia Hills, where it established a stockade camp, enclosing 15 acres of ground, as an outpost to the garrison of Corinth, which was named "Camp Davies".
November 13, 1862: LtCol. C.R. Barteau, 2nd Tenn. Cavalry Rgt., reports Union force at Rienzi, 600 infantry and 200 cavalry.
November 18, 1862: Col. and Chief of Cavalry, Army of West Tennessee, W.H. Jackson writes to Headquarters in Waterford, MS. "...I was then ordered to Rienzi, under General Armstrong,; received orders countermanding that move on arrival at Kossuth..."
November 19, 1862: Col C.R. Barteau reports old troops left Rienzi and raw troops were taking their place. Cavalry picket force at Rienzi and infantry at Glendale lately increased to a strength greater than formerly.
November 20, 1862: Col. C.R. Barteau reports Union troops at Rienzi as the Western Sharpshooter( 66th Illinois), 350; 7th Kansas,275; part of 2nd Iowa Cavalry, 360; 6th Illinois Cavalry, 500.
November 28, 1862: Col. C.R. Barteau reports the Federals evacuated Rienzi yesterday at 3 P.M. "They went back to Corinth, and I think they are leaving that place also."
November 29, 1862: Col. C.R. Barteau reports no enemy at Rienzi
December 13-19, 1862: (Union) Col. Mersy moved on Saturday, Dec 13, with the 9th Illinois Infantry, Col.J.J. Phillips commanding: 81st Ohio, Maj. Frank Evans commanding: one section of the 1st Missouri Light Artillery, Captain Tannrath commanding , and the 111 of the 5th Ohio Cavalry and the 53 Illinois Independent Cavalry, under Captain Ford, which were subsequently joined at or near Guntown by Stewart's battalion of cavalry, Captain O'Harnett commanding. The march south was through Rienzi, Blackland, Saltillo and Tupelo, returning to Corinth Friday, Dec. 19th, by way of Marietta, Natchez Trace, and Jacinto. Excerpt from Col. Mersy's report: "I left Corinth on Saturday morning, the 13th instant, at 8 o'clock, with two regiments of infantry, viz: The Ninth Illinois, Lieut. Col. J.J. Phillips commanding, 350 officers, noncommissioned officers and privates, and the Eighty-first Ohio, Maj. Frank Evans commanding, 540 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates; one section of artillery, Captain Tannrath commanding, and 111 cavalry under Captain Ford. I marched through Danville and Rienzi to Dick Smith's, 22 miles, at which place I arrived at sundown and went into bivouac for the night."
January 7, 1863: 66th Illinois Infantry Rgt. engaged in skirmish with rebel scouts and guerrillas at Rienzi.
January 24-25, 1863 66th Illinois Inf. Rgt. engaged in skirmish with rebel scout and guerrillas at Danville, Tuscumbia Bridge and Rienzi.
March 25, 1863: Capt. James M. Burton writes to BrigGen. Daniel Ruggles: "Since my last report, scouts have [come] in from vicinities of Bear Creek, Iuka, Jacinto, Saulsbury, Rienzi and Holly Springs. None of them report any movement of the enemy in this direction. ...A scouting party of 100 in number passed through Rienzi on Sunday afternoon, coming from the direction of Kossuth, and returning by Daniels' toward Corinth."
April 2, 1863: CSA Capt. James M. Burton sends this telegram from Okolona to Gen. Ruggles : "The advance guard of the enemy, some 250 men, 4 miles south of Booneville yesterday a 3 o'clock. Their main body, said to be 3,000 or 4,000, composed of infanty, cavalry, and artillery, with large wagon train, between Booneville and Rienzi."
August 8, 1863: Skirmish at Rienzi; Ohio 5th Cavalry Regiment.
August 11, 1863: Skirmish at Rienzi; 66th Illinois Infantry Regiment
November 22, 1863: US BrigGen. John D. Stevenson notes; " A force of enemy, 150 strong, under Ham, appearing on Ripley road, 5 miles from Camp Davies, were attacked by Major Cramer, 1st Alabama Cavalry, with 70 men, and after a sharp fight were driven in confusion in direction of Rienzi. Enemy's loss, 4 known to be killed. Our loss, 2 severely wounded.
April and May 1864: 20th Tennessee Cavalry returns to Mississippi through Trenton, Cotton Grove, Jackson, Mifflin, Purdy TN and Corinth, Rienzi, Baldwyn to Tupelo MS
MAY 4, 1864: 20th Tennessee Cavalry Co. I camps at Rienzi (Camps in Baldwyn May 5)
June 5, 1864: By order of BrigGen B.H. Grierson 16th Army Corps. Cavalry Division to Col. Joseph Karge, commanding 2nd New Jersey Cavalry: " COLONEL; In pursuance of instructions from BrigGen. S.D. Sturgis, commanding expedition, you will select 200 of the best mounted portion of your command, with 3 days rations, and with the detachments of the 7th Illinois and the 10th Missouri, which have been ordered to report to you-in all about 400 men-you will proceed to Rienzi, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad (via Ripley), so as to arrive there as soon after daylight tomorrow as possible. You will get what information is possible off the telegraph line and then destroy it. Destroy any Confederate stores which may be there, then march north, destroying all bridges and trestle-work you may find along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as far as the Tuscumbia River, including the railroad bridge over that stream near Danville; then in case the river is fordable, leave the bridge and hold the ford on the road leading from Kossuth to Corinth."
June 6,1864: Skirmish at Rienzi MISSOURI 10th Cavalry Regiment
June 9, 1864: 20th Tennessee Cavalry, Co. I rejoins regiment, on picket, Rienzi. Bell's Brigade camped at Rienzi.
June 7-10, 1864: MajGen. N.B. Forrest reports: " The enemy had endeavored to cross the Hatchie River in the direction of Rienzi, but owing to high water had only succeeded in throwing forward about 500 cavalry, which entered Rienzi on the morning of the 7th and attempted the destruction of the railroad track, but left hastily after burning the depot and destroying a few yards of the railroad track. Supposing the main body would move in that direction, General Buford was ordered on the 9th to send Bell's brigade to Rienzi, holding Lyon's brigade, with two batteries of artillery, to await further developments. General Buford was also directed to order the immediate return of Bell's brigade (June 10th) from Rienzi to Booneville."
June 13, 1864: 20th Tennessee Cavalry, Co. F in camp at Rienzi
August 1, 1864; MajGen W.T. Sherman (near Atlanta) writes to Maj.Gen Washburn (in Memphis): "If you have force enough to defend Memphis, Smith should move to Decatur, Ala., where he can be supplied and from which point he can watch Forrest. Roads are now good, and the corn growing about Rienzi and Tuscumbia will feed his stock."
January 6, 1865: CSA Brig.Gen. James R. Chalmers at Rienzi
February 22, 1865: Col. J.G. Parkhurst reports: "...I started for Rienzi; found no rebel troops until I reached a point about one mile from Jacinto, where there were five rebel scouts, but found no pickets, and saw nothing of any (rebel) troops until I reached Tuscumbia River, where there was a picket-post in charge of Lieutenant Phipps, of the Tenth Tennessee (rebel) Cavalry. Lieutenant Phipps halted me and desired to know the object of the flag, and I informed him I was a bearer of dispatches to General Forrest and desired to communicate with him from Rienzi by telegraph; that I could not make known my business to him and could communicate with General Forrest only from Rienzi. Lieutenant Phipps allowed me to pass on and escorted me and my escort into Rienzi. I immediately went to the telegraph office and sent the following communication to General Forrest, at West Point, viz:
RIENZI, February 22, 1865
Maj. Gen. N. B. Forrest, Comdg. Dept. of Mississippi and East Louisiana, C.S. Army, West Point:
I have the honor to report my arrival at this place under flag of truce as the bearer of dispatches from Major-General Thomas, U.S. Army commanding Department of the Cumberland, to yourself. I have some important dispatches, and am authorized to make arrangements for an immediate exchange of prisoners. I most respectfully request a personal interview at your earliest pleasure. I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. G. Parkhurst
February 23, 1865: CSA Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest at Rienzi. Col. Parkhurst reports: "About 9 o'clock on the evening of the 23rd I met General Forrest at the house of Mr. Rowland. He was accompanied by Major Anderson and Judge Caruthers of his staff. The general received me (and Captain Hosea, who, at General Wilson's request, accompanied me) very cordially. I presented the dispatches from the General commanding, after reading which General Forrest remarked that he desired an absolute and immediate exchange of prisoners, rank for rank and man for man, and did not wish to give or take parolees, but that he was anxious for an exchange and would accept the proposition, but that he cound not consummate the arrangements for the exchange until he had submitted the paper to Lieutenant-General Taylor..." Parkhurst remained in Rienzi to wait for Lt. Gen Taylor's decision. Gen. Forrest left for Meridian to see Lt.Gen. Taylor. Parkhurst remarks about communication from Forrest: "It appears that General Forrest was not authorized to make any agreement, but that all matters were to be submitted for the decisions of Lieutenant-General Taylor. In relations to guerrillas, General Forrest remarked that he was as anxious to rid the country of them as well as any officer in the U.S. Army, and that he would esteem it a favor if General Thomas would hang every one he caught. General Forrest desired the prisoners in our hands belonging to General Roddey's command sent to Iuka with other prisoners. He cared but little about them, as they were not of much service or account."
February 28, 1865: Col. J.G Parkhurst writes: " I left Rienzi on the morning of the 28th of February ... The rains had washed away one bridge near Rienzi over the Tuscumbia, which I had rebuilt by men of the escort. The citizens of the county of Tishomingo are in very destitute conditions, and are all depending upon supplies from the Mobile and Ohio railroad. Pursuant to the arrangement made, a train of cars loaded with supplies arrived in Rienzi on the morning of the 28th ultimo."
Special Thanks to John Heseltine of Kennebunk Maine for his extensive research. We appreciate his dedication to help us preserve Rienzi's History. If you are going up to John's neck of the woods, let him know. He knows the best Seafood (real seafood!) Restaurants in town.