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Named for General John Coffee, who commanded troops under General Andrew Jackson during the Creek Wars and the War of 1812, the town of Coffeeville is in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. The first European-American to reside in the area was Davidson M. Rayburn, who traded hatchets, guns, knives, beads, calico and other items. After the Choctaw were forced to cede their lands to the U.S. government, the area was opened to settlement, and the Indian villages were replaced by white towns, Coffeeville among them. Coffeeville became a relay station for the Simms line of stage coaches, and the town prospered. When Yalobusha County was organized, Coffeeville was named the county seat. In 1858, the Mississippi Central Railroad completed its tracks into Coffeeville. Then came the American Civil War, known as the War of Northern Aggression in the South. Union troops controlled much of Northern Mississippi by November of 1862, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant began the Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign, a push following the rail line into the heart of the state, capturing towns along the way. Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s troops were in retreat after a defeat at the Battle of Corinth, falling back into Coffeeville. The Confederates decided to ambush the Union cavalry just outside of the town. Troops under the commands of Confederate generals Tilghman, Baldwin and Rust hid along a wooded ridge alongside the Coffeeville Road. Around 2:30 on December 5, Union Cavalry led by Colonel Theophilus Lyle Dickey approached Coffeeville, and was fired upon by Confederate artillery and infantry. Union troops were pushed back about three miles from a larger contingent of Union troops under General Grant. After a battle that lasted from about 4:00 pm to after dark, the Union troops retreated to Oxford, and Grant’s Mississippi invasion was halted. Coffeeville is east of the Holly Springs National Forest. Nearby communities include Bryant, Gums, Spearman, and Velma.



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