An important Dispatch.
A dispatch, says the Washington Star
of Jan. 15, 1897, written by the Confederate General Forrest
, dated September 21, 1863, during the movements of troops about Chattanooga
, has recently been brought to light.
Much importance has been attached to this document, because of the opinion attributed to General Longstreet
that it contained the instructions which determined the fate of the Confederacy
The dispatch is a brief one, dictated by General Forrest
under most exciting conditions, signed by him, and addressed to General Polk
, who was asked to forward it to General Bragg
At the time the message was written, General Forrest
, it is said, was making observations high up in a tree on Missionary Ridge
He had been sweeping the great battle-field of Chickamauga
with his glasses; he believed he saw evidences of an attempt on the part of General Rosencranz
and his army to escape from the trap in which the Confederates
supposed they had snared him, and in which they expected to capture him and his whole army.
He, then, calling down from the tree, dictated the dispatch in question to his adjutant, who wrote it upon a sheet of dingy, blue paper, with a lead pencil, using an upturned saddle stirrup as a writing desk.
This dispatch announced to General Polk
, General Forrest
's belief that the enemy were evacuating Chattanooga
, and his opinion that the Confederate army ought to press forward as rapidly as possible.