Nathan Bedford Forrest again demonstrated that so long as he was in the vicinity no Union supply line was safe. On September 23, 1864, near Athens, Alabama, he and 4500 troopers were engaged in destroying a Union controlled rail trestle. He easily beat a Union force that sallied from Fort Henderson to stop him. Taking Athens, he began an artillery barrage on Fort Henderson on the morning of the 24th. Convincing the Union commander that he had 8,000-10,000 men, a common Forrest trick, the garrison capitulated. Shortly after the capitulation, 350 men of the 18th Michigan and the 102nd Ohio had the misfortune to arrive by rail. Forrest promptly attacked them, and they surrendered after losing a third of their numbers.
The next day Forrest moved on the Sulphur Creek Trestle, guarded by a Union fort and two blockhouses. Unbelievably, the fort had been built below adjacent hills. Seizing the hills, Forrest launched an artillery bombardment that killed the Union garrison commander and killed or wounded 200 of the garrison. The remaining 800 Union troops surrended. In two days Forrest had inflicted 2,350 Union casualties, most of them prisoners, in exchange for 139 Confederate.