The Very Forest Seemed to Fall

Exhibit with painting showing a long line of dozens of Union cannons firing.

Wayside Exhibit - The Very Forest Seemed to Fall

Exhibit Text:

The sound judgment of Major John Mendenhall, my chief-of-artillery, enabled me to open 58 guns almost simultaneously…turn[ing] a dashing [rebel] charge into a sudden retreat and route, in which the enemy lost…1800 men in a few moments…The very forest seemed to fall…and not a Confederate reached the river.

- Thomas Crittenden, major general, commanding the Left Wing

We opened a lively fire and soon stopped the Butternuts who in turn fled…throwing away everything that impeded their flight…The dead rebels lay so thick upon the ground that we could not draw the [cannon] across the field until the bodies had been removed allowing us a path.

- John Nourse, private, Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery

Subtext: Imagine a line of cannon stretching south from here the length of seven football fields, end to end. Amassing so much artillery firepower in one place was extremely rare in the Civil War. Veterans of the fight for McFadden’s Ford never forgot this sight.


Last updated: May 1, 2020

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