After the battle of Stone’s River at the beginning of the year, both armies remained relatively quiet in winter quarters. As Spring approached, military activity began to pick up. Union Colonel John Coburn left Franklin, Tennessee with a reinforced infantry brigade and attached cavalry and artillery on March 4 to reconnoiter south towards Columbia, Tennessee. He encountered and skirmished with the cavalry division of Brigadier General W.H. “Red” Jackson. Pressing on at first light on March 5th he ran into the entire Cavalry Corp of Earl Van Dorn a mile north of the hamlet of Thompson’s station and he foolishly attacked. Easily repulsing the attack, the Confederates went on the offensive.
Dismounting his cavalry division, Brigadier General W.H. “Red” Jackson carried the hilltop position, after several attempts occupied by the Union force. Simultaneously, Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest led his brigade around the left of the Union brigade and into its rear, capturing the Union supply train and cutting off the Union line of retreat. The entire Union infantry force, minus two officers surrendered. The Union cavalry and artillery had withdrawn prior to the surrender and got back to Franklin. Union casualties in this debacle were 1906 to 300 for the Confederates.
No account of this battle would be complete without mentioning 17 year old Miss Alice Thompson. When the 3rd Arkansas lost its color bearer and its attack was in jeopardy of failure, Miss Thompson ran from the house where she was staying, picked up the flag and led the regiment to victory, to the cheers of her Union adversaries. No man was braver on the field that day than that female patriot.