During the Civil War, cavalry raids into the enemy’s interior invoked fear among both civilians and rear echelon troops. Raids were designed to seize and destroy enemy supplies, thus disrupting the enemy’s logistics.
Among the southern cavalry commanders, the very mention of Nathan Bedford Forrest often threw both Union military units and civilians into a panic, given Forrest’s alleged approval of the killing of Negro troops at Fort Pillow in 1862 and because he was alleged to have personally killed thirty men while in close range combat.
In March 1864 Forrest’s command was on the move again, penetrating through western Tennessee to the Ohio River and attacking Paducah, Kentucky. Repulsed at Fort Anderson on Friday, March 23, Forrest retreated, ending his raid but not before spreading paranoia throughout the Ohio Valley.