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[472] twelve hundred strong; about, one thousand men floating, who are camped in the fort; near four thousand black troops; three thousand enrolled and armed militia, and all Grierson's cavalry, ten thousand nine hundred and eighty-three, according to my last returns, of which surely not over three thousand are on furlough. Out of this a force of about twenty-five hundred cavalry and four thousand infantry could have been made up, and by moving to Bolivar could have made Forrest come there to fight or get out. I have sent Sturgis down to whip Forrest, and, if necessary, to mount enough men to seize any and all the horses of Memphis and wherever he may go.

W. T. Sherman, Major-General Commanding.

And again, writing to General Thomas, at Chattanooga, from Nashville, April 25, he says: “The only danger I apprehend is from resident guerillas and Forrest coming from the direction of Florence. I did want A. J. Smith about Florence to guard against that danger.” While the enemy's coils were being prepared for him, Forrest was quietly gathering recruits and supplies. His first division had left him on the 15th, under orders of General Polk, to guard against a threatened raid from North Alabama on Columbus, Mississippi. General Veatch had been posted at Purdy, with ten thousand infantry, to guard the headwaters of the Hatchie, and was ordered away, to General Sherman's intense disgust, as shown in his dispatches. As soon as Veatch left Purdy, Buford, with a heavy subsistence train, drawn by oxen, moved out by the Purdy road, while Forrest, with his escort and the remnant of his old battalion — in all about three hundred men — moved so as to protect Buford's flank from a heavy force moving from Memphis under Sturgis, and evidently intended, as Sherman had suggested, to capture the Confederates while crossing the Hatchie river at Bolivar. Forrest reached Bolivar first, and posting his three hundred chosen veterans in the fortifications, well constructed by the Federals when they held this place, he coolly received the attack of not less than two thousand cavalry, repulsed them with serious loss, and they retired evidently believing Forrest's whole command present. He then moved on, having suffered no serious loss, save the wounding of his gallant Adjutant, Major Strange. Hurlbut was severely censured, removed from his command at Memphis, and General C. C. Washburn put in his place. When, a short time after this, Forrest came into Memphis and captured Washburn's uniform from the room in which he slept, it is said that Hurlbut curtly remarked: “They removed me because I couldn't keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, but Washburn couldn't keep him out of his bedroom.”

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