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[452] unconditionally. In fact, Van Dorn had resumed his march on the evening of the 20th, and was moving rapidly toward the north, where he hoped to continue his devastations. A few hours after his departure, the reinforcement sent by Grant, which had been detained on the road by an accident, arrived at Holly Springs. This was the only important success obtained by Van Dorn.

On the following day, the 21st, he made an attack on the post of Davis' Mill which was only defended by two hundred and fifty men. Hoping to overcome so small a band, he tried several times to carry it by assault at the head of his dismounted troopers; but being repeatedly repulsed, he was obliged to give up the attempt, leaving a considerable number of wounded upon the ground. Being always in search of some new weak point, he presented himself successively before Cold Water Bridge, Middleburg and Bolivar, but found everywhere the small Federal garrisons so well prepared to receive him that he did not venture to attack any of them seriously.

While Van Dorn was occupying Holly Springs, Forrest had undertaken an expedition still more dangerous to Grant's communications in Western Tennessee. This partisan chief, who had been sent by Bragg to harass Rosecrans, had been for some time overrunning Central Tennessee. About the 10th or 12th of December, he crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton, with three thousand five hundred horse and six pieces of artillery, for the purpose of striking the region of country comprised between its course and that of the Mississippi. This force was not enough to capture the principal fortified posts of the Federals if the small garrisons occupying them knew how to defend themselves behind their parapets and palisades. But General Sullivan, who commanded the district, committed the error of concentrating all of them at Jackson, where he waited resolutely for Forrest, leaving only convalescents and poorly-armed recruits at the other posts. Forrest took good care to avoid him, and presented himself on the 20th of December before Humboldt and Trenton, the defenders of which, being invalids and men without experience, did not make a long stand against his artillery and skilful skirmishers. He was thus able to destroy at leisure the important

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