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“ [469] to me intended to elude and not attack Forrest. That General Smith so understood his instructions is evident from his reports. In his report February 26th, 1864, by letter to General Sherman in person, he says: ‘I moved the infantry brigade temporarily assigned to my command, first on Panola and then on Wyatt, and drew Forrest's forces and attention to those points, while I threw my whole force to New Albany, where I crossed the Tallahatchie river without opposition. Forrest then fell back to Grenada, and I moved on by way of Pontotoc.’ In his more formal report of his operations made March 4th, he repeats the same thing more in detail, and seems to take credit to himself for having deceived and eluded Forrest. General Sherman says that Smith might safely have acted on the hypothesis I have stated, that ‘my movements would give employment to every other man of the Rebel army not immediately present with him’ (Forrest); and yet, when Sooy Smith turned back from West Point, S. D. Lee was in one day's march of a junction with Forrest. If General Sherman accomplished all he intended, why was Smith ordered to Meridian, and why did he wait there five days for him? If the chief part of the enterprise was to destroy Forrest, why was Smith ordered to ‘move straight for Meridian, Mississippi,’ when Forrest was not there and not expected there? Why order Smith to move through East Mississippi when Forrest was in West Mississippi? Why send infantry to make a feint on Panola and Wyatt, when Smith was moving for Pontotoc one hundred miles east of Panola? And lastly, if Smith was sent out especially to destroy Forrest, why does Sherman say, ‘I told him that in his route he was sure to encounter Forrest?’ ”

I have no desire to take part in the controversy between Smith and his friend Boynton with General Sherman. Smith may have violated the verbal instructions given him by General Sherman, and he undoubtedly deserved the censure he received for being outgeneraled and whipped by an inferior force. But we cannot consent to this achievement of Forrest's being underrated, by admitting that Sherman's march to Meridian accomplished all that was intended.

Thus ended Sherman's effort to crush Forrest and set free the large number of men required to hold him in check. Mississippi, with its immense stores of corn and beef, was still held, and the railroads soon repaired to feed our army in Georgia. But the student of military operations will be puzzled to understand how Sherman, with four divisions of infantry and a small force of cavalry, crossed such streams as the Big Black and Pearl rivers and passed through the centre of Mississippi, in the face of two divisions of infantry and four splendid brigades of well equipped and well drilled cavalry under West Point officers, almost without firing a shot, while a man who could not drill a company, with three thousand cavalry, one-half raw troops, saved the State by defeating General Grant's Chief of Cavalry with seven thousand picked troops.

It reminds us of what Macauley says of Cromwell: “It is a remarkable circumstance that the officers who had studied tactics ”

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