Murfreesboro, Tennessee, July 13, 1862
On June 10, 1862, Major General Don Carlos Buell, Commanding the Army of the Ohio, started a leisurely advance toward Chattanooga, which Union Brig. Gen. James Negley and his force threatened on June 7-8. In response to the threat, the Confederate government sent Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forest to Chattanooga to organize a cavalry brigade. By July, Confederate cavalry under the command of Forrest and Col. John Hunt Morgan, were raiding into middle Tennessee and Kentucky. Perhaps the most dramatic of these cavalry raids was Forrest's capture of the Union Murfreesboro garrison,on July 13, 1862. Forrest left Chattanooga on July 9th with two cavalry regiments and joined other units on the way, bringing the total force to about 1400 men. The major objective was to strike Murfreesboro, an important Union supply center on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, at dawn on July 13th. The Murfreesboro garrison was camped in three locations around town and included detachments from four units comprising infantry, cavalry and artillery, under the command of Brig. Gen. Thomas who had arrived on July 12th.
Between 4:14 and 4:30 am on the morning of July 13th, Forrest's cavalry surprised the Union pickets on the Woodbury Pike, east of Murfreesboro and quickly overran a Federal Hospital and the camp of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment detachment. Additional Rebel troops attacked the camps of the other Union commands and the jail and courthouse. By late afternoon all of the Union units had surrendered to Forrest's force. The Confederates destroyed much of the Union supplies and tore up railroad track in the area, but the main result of the raid was the diversion of Union forces from a drive on Chattanoogga. This raid, along with Morgan's raid into Kentucky, made possible Bragg's concentration of forces at Chattanooga and his early September invasion of Kentucky.
Private Jacob Ripley was taken prisoner by the Rebel forces on July 13, 1862. As often happened during the Civil War, captured troops were given immediate paroles, on the condition that they return home and not engage in the war again. The penalty if caught fighting again was death. On July 15, 1862, Jacob received his parole and headed home perhaps heartbroken but certainly not defeated in spirit as later events would show.