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[84] not attack the strong force of the enemy intrenched at Corinth, but he sent Armstrong with his cavalry into West Tennessee. With 1,600 men he reached Holly Springs, August 26th, and was reinforced by 1,100 under Col. W. H. Jackson. At Bolivar Armstrong defeated a force, then crossed the Hatchie, destroyed the railroad bridges between Jackson and Bolivar, and on the return defeated a considerable Federal force near Denmark, capturing two pieces of artillery and 213 prisoners. This blow was returned by an expedition from Memphis which burned the railroad bridge across the Coldwater, after a brisk fight between Grierson's cavalry regiment and a portion of Jackson's and Pinson's regiments and two companies of Mississippi mounted infantry.

On September 2, 1862, Price was notified that Bragg was pursuing Buell toward Nashville, and that he should watch Rosecrans and prevent the junction of the latter with Buell. Word was received from Van Dorn that he would be ready to move from Holly Springs on the 12th to support the army of the West. Price immediately advanced his headquarters to Guntown, and having ascertained that Rosecrans was at Iuka with 10,000 men, he marched in that direction on the 11th with his whole army. The cavalry, under General Armstrong, arrived before the town on the 13th, but found there only a small garrison which retired on the 14th when the remainder of Price's forces came up, abandoning a large amount of stores.

Rosecrans was at Corinth and Grant at Burnsville. The latter feared that Price was about to move to Nashville to join Bragg, and made his dispositions accordingly. Price, indeed, received an order to proceed to Nashville; but he believed that this was given under the impression that Rosecrans had joined Buell, and he resolved that as he had the enemy before him, he should continue to hold him. Accordingly he dispatched couriers to Van Dorn, proposing to again unite the armies and attack Corinth.

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