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[485] Campbell — a force of not less than ten thousand effective men if they could have been concentrated.

At the same time Major-General James Wilson was reorganizing his cavalry just north of the Tennessee river, at points favorable for the passage of that stream, either to invade Mississippi or Alabama; and on the 18th of March he crossed near Chickasaw station, Alabama, with seventeen thousand men, five thousand of whom were dismounted, according to Andrews' history of the Mobile campaign.

On the 16th of March, 1865, General Dick Taylor held a council of war in West Point, Mississippi, at which were present Forrest, Chalmers, Buford and Jackson, and it was then determined that the object of Wilson's movements was the destruction of the iron works at Monte Vallo and the shops at Selma, and it was decided that all our forces should move by the shortest lines to Selma, and engineer officers were sent at once to construct pontoon bridges over the Black Warrior at Cahawba. On the 24th of March, Wilson started from Chickasaw station. On the 25th two brigades of the First division started from Pickensville, Alabama, and Jackson from West Point, Mississippi. The bridge across the Warrior had not been completed when Armstrong's brigade reached it, and it was detained here one day. On the 30th they reached Marion, Alabama, and finding that nothing had been done towards bridging the Cahawba, a staff officer was sent by railroad to Selma for pontoon boats, and the division commander was preparing to move on, when an order came from General Forrest, telling him of the enemy's movement on Tuscaloosa, and ordering him to halt and await orders. This caused a delay of one day, when General Taylor, at Selma, hearing of it, telegraphed orders for the First division to move to Plantersville. Before the division could reach Plantersville, orders came from General Forrest to move to Randolph, about twenty miles further north. Before the division could reach Randolph, Forrest had been driven from there, and it turned to Plantersville again. The Ochmulgee swamp had now to be crossed, and Armstrong's brigade was five hours in going one mile across it. When this brigade had gone over, it was utterly impassable to the artillery and Starke's brigade; and these, under the direction of a neighborbood guide, were moved to a crossing five miles above, and after working all night, got over about daylight the next morning, and moving rapidly reached Selma just in time to see it burn.

Forrest, moving with Jackson's division, heard of Croxton's movement on Tuscaloosa, and changed the march of this division by that place. Jackson gallantly met and defeated Croxton, but by this movement was thrown so far out of his line of march that it was impossible for him to reach Selma in time to assist in its defence, and it fell. The fall of Richmond soon followed the fall of Selma, and the Confederate flag went down to rise no more forever.


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