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[329] foray, it at once established his reputation as a partisan and as a daring cavalry leader, to be dreaded by commanders of Federal posts and stations within his sphere of action.

His raids upon the enemy's lines of communication were frequent and most successful. No rivers stopped him, and any detailed accounts of the railways and valuable military stores he destroyed and the fortified posts he captured would alone fill a volume. His pursuit of Colonel Streight's column for four days and nights in 1863 reads like an exciting novel. It ended in his saving the great arsenal and in the capture of Streight and one thousand seven hundred of his men by the six hundred troopers he then had with him.

He took part in General Bragg's retreat from Tennessee, and one day, being with the tail of the rear guard, an excited old lady rushed from her house and, upbraiding him, urged him to turn round and fight. As he took no notice of her entreaties, she shook her fist at him and cried out: ‘Oh, you big, cowardly rascal, I only wish old Forrest was here; he'd make you fight!’ Such was then the public estimation in which he was held.

But, as we sometimes find in all armies, his commander-in-chief did not agree with this popular opinion of his merits and ability as a soldier; for, later in the autumn, he was superseded by a very inferior man as a cavalry leader. He forthwith resigned his commission; but, instead of accepting his resignation, the central government promoted him to the rank of major-general, and assigned him to the command of North Mississippi and West Tennessee.

There he had to raise, organize, arm and equip an entirely new force. With it he did great things in 1864 against large numbers of well-armed and splendly-equipped Federal cavalry. The cavalry force of about seven thousand men under General Sooy Smith, and belonging to Sherman's army, he completely defeated in a fairly open and prairie country suited for the action of regular cavalry, had either side possessed any. General Sherman officially described Smith's division as composed of ‘the best and most experienced men in the service.’ This part of the campaign had been expressly designed by that general with a view to the capture or destruction of Forrest's force. But Smith was no match for his opponent, who out-generaled him, and the result was the reverse of what Sherman had intended and anticipated. Forrest's force during these operations numbered about three thousand men, one-half of whom were raw and badly-armed recruits. General Grant says: ‘Smith's command ’


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