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[161] miles, had killed, wounded and captured more Federal troops than his own command numbered, had destroyed supplies amounting to millions of dollars, and had forced General Grant to abandon an elaborately planned campaign and retreat precipitately beyond the limits of the State. The Confederate loss in killed, wounded and missing did not exceed fifty.

Judged by the magnitude of its results, the capture of Holly Springs was the most important cavalry achievement of the war. The expedition greatly improved the morale of the cavalry, and laid the foundation for the formation of the splendid corps which General Van Dorn subsequently handled with such signal success. He believed in cavalry, and handled it on the theory that it could do anything which the best trained infantry could accomplish. his old troopers will well remember the notable instance of his confidence in them, exhibited at Franklin, Tennessee, a few days before his death. He had sent Forrest around north of Franklin to capture a detachment stationed at Brentwood, and to divert the attention of the garrison at Franklin from Forrest's movement, a demonstration was made on that place. As nothing more than a feint was intended, we were drawn up in front of the earthworks, and for some time a scattering fire was kept up between the skirmishers and batteries on both sides; finally the enemy grew bolder and moved a column of infantry out on a piece of open ground and formed them into a hollow square, apparently for the purpose of inviting a charge. This was too much for a man of General Van Dorn's temperment. Without a moment's hesitation he ordered a charge. The ground was favorable, and the line swept forward in splendid order; for a moment it looked as though the blue square would stand, then it wavered, and at last broke and fled in disorder.

General Van Dorn possessed, in an eminent degree, the qualities essential to success in a cavalry commander, and his untimely death was an irreparable loss to the Southern cause.

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Earl Van Dorn (3)
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