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‘  so began the marvellous career of audacity and success that ended only with the civil war. With 1,500 men he swooped upon the fortifications at Murfreesboro, destroyed the railway station and the forts, took 1,200 prisoners, including two brigadier-generals—Crittenden and Duffield—destroyed $700,000 worth of stores, captured sixty wagons, 500 mules and horses, one battery of artillery, and escaped in safety with the loss of but sixteen killed and twenty-five wounded. The country swarmed with Federal troops, and Forrest's escape reads like a chapter in fiction. General Buell wrote:’ Our guards are gathered up by Forrest as easily as he would herd cattle. Why don't you do something? After checking Buell's advance upon Bragg, who had marched into Kentucky, Forrest was again relieved of his command (November, 1862), and was ordered back to Tennessee to raise and equip another, if he could. ‘By December 1st a new brigade of 2,000 men had gathered around him at Columbia; but they had virtually no arms, ammunition or other equipment, and the only source of supply was the enemy's garrisons. Forrest accordingly ventured to cross the Tennessee river, though it was patrolled by gunboats, and marched with his small brigade into West Tennessee in the face of more than 12,000 Federal troops. He eluded pursuit, captured Colonel Ingersoll and his command, near Jackson, captured the garrison at Forked Deer creek, then captured Trenton and its garrison, and again Union City with its garrison, and destroyed immense quantities of stores. Being surrounded finally by three brigades, he attacked one after the other, and made his escape in safety, taking with him 500 recruits, full supplies of arms, ammunition, horses, and clothes for his men, together with five pieces of artillery, eleven cannon, thirty-eight wagons and teams, and 1,500 prisoners.’ In his account of Forrest's raid into West Tennessee, in 1863, Bishop Gailor quotes the words of ‘a northern correspondent,’ who wrote: ‘In the face of 10,000 Federal troops, Forrest, with less than 4,000, has marched right through the Sixteenth Army Corps, nine miles from Memphis, carried off 100 wagons, 200 cattle, 3,000 conscripts, destroyed several railroads and many towns.’ In his successful attack on General William S. Smith, Forrest stated that he had 2,500 men engaged against 7,000.
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