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Alabama Man Interprets Forrest-Streight Trail In Cullman County
By Ed Ballam December '01 issue

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. - Dan Fulenwider, a native of Cullman County, is putting the finishing touches on a driving tour brochure for the route traveled by the April 1863 running battle across Alabama as Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest pursued Union Col. Abel Streight and Streight's brigade of saddle-sore soldiers on mules.

The publication of the brochure will be the culmination of 11 years of work for Fulenwider, who has ancestors who fought on both side in the Civil War.

"There is so much history here," Fulenwider said. "Forrest and Streight were using the same trails the Indians used." The trails were also used by Davy Crockett as well as Gen. John Coffee along with some 890 Tennessee volunteers during the Creek Indian War. The marking and preservation of the trail protects three historic time frames.

"I've had some good luck finding documents" for tracing some of the trail, he said, including an 1817 survey of the area.
Fulenwider is producing the brochure for the Cullman County Commission and the Cullman County Chamber of Commerce. The commission recently spent about $1,400 to create interpretive signs that mark the places of major battles and troop movement along the county's 34 miles of the trail.

The significant battles of the pursuit occurred at Day's Gap in Battleground, Ala., and Hog Mountain, as well as two ambushes at Grandview and Ryan's Creek, according to Fulenwider.

The fighting earned Forrest the name "Wizard of the Saddle" because three horses were shot out from under him.
The running battle was also unique in that the Crooked Creek skirmish between Forrest and Streight was fought between approximately 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., making it the only battle to continue after dark.

Fulenwider has walked the length of the trail through the state from where Streight and his men crossed into Alabama from Mississippi in the west to east run across the northern third of the state to Rome, Ga.

As a native of the area, Fulenwider has long been interested in history on a personal level. He grew up listening to stories his grandmother told about her grandfather who was in the war.

His interests then developed into an appreciation for local history and he began writing columns for local newspapers and zeroed in on Streight's Raid as an area of particular interest.

Fulenwider is a charter member of Kentucky's Thomas Jefferson Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and, as such, he began showing and telling other Civil War enthusiasts about the battle between Streight and Forrest.

Some 11 years ago, he started informal excursions along portions of the trail. Military people from all over the world have visited to do first-hand warfare analysis as he tells him about troop movement and points out key areas along the trail.

Because the informal tours he was giving were so popular, Fulenwider said he was convinced that tourists would enjoy the trail as well.

He hopes some day to have the entire length of the trail marked and interpreted with signs and brochures. He has been in contact with officials in Lawrence, Morgan and Blount counties regarding marking and interpreting the trail in their areas.
Overall, the trail used by Forrest and Streight is about 225 miles long. Fulenwider has walked and studied the entire length and written about the history of the area in the book Civil War Stories of North Alabama and the South.

He also has served as the narrator of the annual Forrest/Streight Day sponsored by the Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp in Blountsville on the first weekend in May to coincide with the fighting that occurred through April into early May.

"This trail is important to the history of the area," Fulenwider said. "That's why I've worked on it as I have."

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