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[453] branch of railway from Humboldt to Columbus, through which Grant received his supplies. For some days he was master of the whole country, and conscientiously fulfilled his task. At last Sullivan collected a sufficient number of troops to resume the offensive, and started in pursuit of him with one division composed of all arms. Forrest, being closely pressed, took the road by which he had come; but Dunham's Federal brigade, which had been sent to intercept him, met him on the 31st at Parker's Cross-roads, twenty-eight kilometres north of Huntingdon, on the Lexington road. Attacked by superior forces which threatened to surround their two wings, the Federals were on the point of being crushed. They, however, resisted vigorously, facing the enemy on every side, who, from numerical superiority and the power of his artillery, possessed an immense advantage over them. Forrest felt so sure of victory that he proposed to Dunham to capitulate. The latter, being still in hopes of speedy relief, was determined to fight to the last extremity; but his ammunition failed, his convoy was in the hands of the enemy, and it was but two o'clock in the afternoon. He might therefore consider himself as lost, when in an instant everything was changed. Sullivan, who had hastened over from Huntingdon, appeared on the field of battle with Fuller's brigade. A few cannon-shots and some volleys of musketry, taking Forrest's soldiers in flank, who were already worn out by the struggle, sufficed to stop them; a moment after, they took flight, leaving a large number of prisoners and four pieces of cannon in the hands of the Federals. Dunham had two hundred and twenty men disabled; as for Forrest, his losses amounted to more than five hundred. Unable to recover from this reverse, he retired for some time out of reach of the Federals.

But the damage caused by both himself and Van Dorn to Grant's line of communication on the 20th of December, was an irreparable blow to Grant's army. It found itself suddenly deprived of all the resources necessary to its existence. The supplies destroyed at Holly Springs were intended to subsist it for several weeks. In order to replace them, it would have required to put instantly in operation all the capacity and force of the Columbus Railroad; but this line, which was also destroyed

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