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“ [479] in advance of his troops, reached Meridian, and was stopped, and the General, whom I had never seen, came to report. He was a tall, stalwart man, with greyish hair, mild countenance, slow and homely of speech. In a few words he was informed that I considered Mobile safe for the present, and that all our energies must be directed to the relief of Hood's army, then west of Atlanta. The only way to accomplish this was to worry Sherman's communications north of the Tennessee river, and he must move his cavalry in that direction at the earliest moment. To my surprise, Forrest suggested many difficulties and asked numerous questions: how he was to get over the Tennessee? how he was to get back if pressed by the enemy? how he was to be supplied? what should be his line of retreat in certain contingences? what he was to do with his prisoners, if any were taken? etc. I began to think he had no stomach for the work, but at last, having isolated the chances of success from cause of failure, with the care of a chemist experimenting in his laboratory, he rose and asked for Fleming, the superintendent of the railway, who was on the train by which he had come. Fleming appeared — a little man on crutches (he had recently broken a leg), but with the energy of a giant — and at once stated what he could do in the way of moving supplies on his line, which had been repaired up to the Tennessee boundary. Forrest's whole manner was now changed. In a dozen sharp sentences he told his wants; said he would leave a staff officer to bring up his supplies; asked for an engine to take him back twenty miles north to meet his troops; informed me he would march with the dawn, and hoped to give an account of himself in Tennessee. Moving with great rapidity, he crossed the Tennessee, captured stockades, with their garrisons, burned bridges, destroyed railways, reached the Cumberland below Nashville, drove away gunboats, captured and destroyed several transports, with immense stores, and spread alarm over a wide region. The enemy concentrated on him from all directions, but he eluded or defeated their several columns, recrossed the Tennessee river, and brought off fifteen hundred prisoners and much spoil. Like Clive, nature made him a great soldier; and he was without the former's advantages. Limited as was Clive's education, he was a Borson of erudition compared with Forrest.” Such was the quick resolves, the prompt execution and the brilliant result of the first short meeting between these two remarkable men. One, small in statue, but keen in intellect and polished by education — the other, rough and powerful in body and mind. It was Richard, with a battle-axe, that could cleave the bar of iron, meeting Saladin, whose keen scymeter could cut the pillow of silk. Forrest admitted that he was more awed by Dick Taylor's power of will than any man he ever met, or, as he expressed it, “I lost my charm when I met Dick Taylor.”

The consternation of the enemy at his movements can be best appreciated from their telegrams to each other at the time.

Grant telegraphs to Sherman from City Point, Virginia, September

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