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[342] back to Sherman. General Cauby sent a part of it to disperse a force of the enemy that was collecting near the Mississippi river. General Smith met and defeated this force near Lake Chicot on the fifth of June. Our loss was about forty killed and seventy wounded.

In the latter part of July, General Canby sent Major-General Gordon Granger, with such forces as he could collect, to cooperate with Admiral Farragut against the defences of Mobile bay. On the eighth of August, Fort Gaines surrendered to the combined naval and land forces. Fort Powell was blown up and abandoned.

On the ninth, Fort Morgan was invested, and, after a severe bombardment, surrendered on the twenty-third. The total captures amounted to one thousand four hundred and sixty-four prisoners, and one hundred and four pieces of artillery.

About the last of August, it being reported that the rebel General Price, with a force of about ten thousand men, had reached Jackson-port, on his way to invade Missouri, General A. J. Smith's command, then en route from Memphis to join Sherman, was ordered to Missouri. A cavalry force was also, at the same time, sent from Memphis, under command of Colonel Winslow. This made General Rosecrans' forces superior to those of Price, and no doubt was entertained he would be able to check Price and drive him back; while the forces under General Steele, in Arkansas, would cut off his retreat. On the twenty-sixth day of September, Price attacked Pilot Knob, and forced the garrison to retreat, and thence moved north to the Missouri river, and continued up that river toward Kansas. General Curtis, commanding department of Kansas, immediately collected such forces as he could to repel the invasion of Kansas, while General Rosecrans' cavalry was operating in his rear.

The enemy was brought to battle on the Big Blue, and defeated, with the loss of nearly all his artillery and trains, and a large number of prisoners. He made a precipitate retreat to Northern Arkansas. The impunity with which Price was enabled to roam over the State of Missouri for a long time, and the incalculable mischief done by him, shows to how little purpose a superior force may be used. There is no reason why General Rosecrans should not have concentrated his forces, and beaten and driven Price before the latter reached Pilot Knob.

September twentieth, the enemy's cavalry, under Forrest, crossed the Tennessee near Waterloo, Alabama, and on the twenty-third attacked the garrison at Athens, consisting of six hundred men, which capitulated on the tenty-fourth. Soon after the surrender two regiments of reinforcements arrived, and after a severe fight were compelled to surrender. Forrest destroyed the railroad westward, captured the garrison at Sulphur Branch trestle, skirmished with the garrison at Pulaski on the twenty-seventh, and on the same day cut the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad near Tullahoma and Dechard. On the morning of the thirtieth one column of Forrest's command, under Buford, appeared before Huntsville, and summoned the surrender of the garrison. Receiving an answer in the negative, he remained in the vicinity of the place until the next morning, when he again summoned its surrender, and received the same reply as on the night before. He withdrew in the direction of Athens, which place had been regarrisoned, and attacked it on the afternoon of the first of October, but without success. On the morning of the second he renewed his attack, but was handsomely repulsed.

Another column under Forrest appeared before Columbia on the morning of the first, but did not make an attack. On the morning of the third he moved toward Mount Pleasant. While these operations were going on, every exertion was made by General Thomas to destroy the forces under Forrest before he could recross the Tennessee, but was unable to prevent his escape to Corinth, Mississippi.

In September, an expedition under General Burbridge was sent to destroy the salt works at Saltville, Virginia. He met the enemy on the second of October, about three miles and a half from Saltville, and drove him into his strongly-intrenched position around the salt works, from which he was unable to dislodge him. During the night he withdrew his command, and returned to Kentucky.

General Sherman, immediately after the fall of Atlanta, put his armies in camp in and about the place, and made all preparations for refitting and supplying them for future service. The great length of road from Atlanta to the Cumberland river, however, which had to be guarded, allowed the troops but little rest.

During this time Jefferson Davis made a speech in Macon, Georgia, which was reported in the papers of the South, and soon became known to the whole country, disclosing the plans of the enemy, thus enabling General Sherman to fully meet them. He exhibited the weakness of supposing that an army that had been beaten and fearfully decimated in a vain attempt at the defensive, could successfully undertake the offensive against the army that had so often defeated it.

In execution of this plan, Hood, with his army, was soon reported to the south-west of Atlanta. Moving far to Sherman's right, he succeeded in reaching the railroad about Big Shanty, and moved north on it.

General Sherman, leaving a force to hold Atlanta, with the remainder of his army fell upon him and drove him to Gadsden, Alabama. Seeing the constant annoyance he would have with the roads to his rear if he attempted to hold Atlanta, General Sherman proposed the abandonment and destruction of that place, with all the railroads leading to it, and telegraphed me as follows:

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