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[248] with the principal towns in west Tennessee and north Mississippi. A strong line of infantry outposts was established from Union City, on the left, to Lexington, on the right, by the way of Dresden and Huntington, protected by a line of cavalry pickets thrown well out in advance, from Hickman, on the Mississippi, to Paris, near the Tennessee River. Mounted parties, supplied with light artillery, patrolled the west bank of the latter stream, and kept General Beauregard well informed of the movements of the enemy's boats.

During the evacuation of Columbus, reports of great preparations for an offensive movement had reached General Beauregard from the Federal rendezvous at Cairo, Paducah, and Fort Henry. Pope's forces were then moving upon New Madrid, the left of our river defences, and it seemed evident that the abandonment of Columbus must necessarily stimulate active hostile operations in the valley.

Convinced that there was early danger to be apprehended from the direction of the Tennessee River, which might result in completely isolating General Johnston's forces, General Beauregard, who now had the assurance of being soon joined by General Bragg and the reinforcements promised him by the governors to whom he had applied, on the 2d of March despatched Captain Otey, of his staff, to General Johnston, with written evidence of the enemy's threatening intentions, and with a short but impressive letter, urging him to hurry forward his troops by railroad to Corinth. This letter read as follows:

Jackson, Tenn., March 2d, 1862.
Dear General,—I send you herewith enclosed a slip showing the intended movements of the enemy, no doubt against the troops in western Tennessee. I think you ought to hurry up your troops to Corinth by railroad, as soon as practicable, for there or thereabouts will soon be fought the great battle of this controversy. General Bragg is with me; we are trying to organize everything as rapidly as possible.

Yours truly,


On the same day, and to the same effect, he also telegraphed General Johnston, reaffirming the urgency of a junction at Corinth, and asking specially for the 9th and 10th Mississippi and 5th Georgia regiments, under Brigadier-General J. R. Jackson, they having been sent to Chattanooga, by order of the War Department, to reinforce General Johnston, then moving upon Stevenson,

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