this army through my personal peculiarities, after what such a friend as you have told me they are, and I will countermand the orders and move at once on the road to Ripley
Few commanders have ever been so beset as Van Dorn
was in the forks of the Hatchie
, and very few would have extricated a beaten army as he did then.
One with a force stated at ten thousand men, headed him at the Hatchie bridge
, while Rosecrans
, with twenty thousand men, was attacking his rear at the Tuscumbia bridge
, only five miles off. the whole road between was occupied by a train of near four hundred wagons, and a defeated army of about eleven thousand muskets.
But Van Dorn
was never, for a moment, dismayed.
He repulsed Ord
, and punished him severely; while he checked Rosecrans
at the Tuscumbia
until he could turn his train and army short to the left, and cross the Hatchie
by the Boneyard
road, without the loss of a wagon.
By ten P. M. his whole army and train were safely over the Hatchie
, and with a full moon to light us on our way we briskly marched for Ripley
, where we drew up in line of battle and awaited the enemy; but he not advancing, we marched to Holly Springs
When, in November, Van Dorn
's advance, he then occupied the works on the Tallahatchie
, which he held for a month — Grant
's force was sixty thousand, Van Dorn
's was sixteen thousand.
He then retired behind the Yallabusha
to Grenada., and awaited Grant
's advance until Christmas eve, 1862, when, leaving the army at Grenada
, under Loring
's command, he moved with two thousand horse around Grant
's army, swooped down upon Holly Springs
, captured the garrison, destroyed three months stores for sixty thousand men, and defeated Grant
's whole campaign and compelled him to abandon Mississippi
From that time Van Dorn
resumed his proper role
as a general of cavalry, in which he had no superior in either army.
His extrication of his cavalry division from the bend of Duck river
, equaled his conduct in the forks of the Hatchie
In the spring of 1863, he was the chief commander
of the cavalry of Bragg
's army, then at Tullahoma
; he had as brigade commanders Armstrong
, and Martin
, and, with about eight thousand men, was preparing to move across the Ohio
His command was bivouacked in the fertile region of Middle Tennessee
His headquarters were at Spring Hill
, and almost daily he would engage the enemy with one of his brigades while the other three were carefully drilled.
His horses were in fine order and his men in better drill, discipline and spirit than our cavalry had ever been.
He was assassinated just as he was about to move on the most important enterprise of his life.
I believe that in him we lost