headquarters Forrest's cavalry Department, Columbus, Miss., March 8th, 1864.
Colonel — I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements and operations of my command against the Federal forces under command of General Smith, in the engagements of the 20th, 21st and 22d ultimo.
Learning on the 14th ultimo at Oxford that the enemy was moving in heavy force in the direction of Pontotoc, and believing his destination to be the prairies, and from thence a junction with Sherman, I withdrew all my forces from the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers and moved rapidly to Starkville, which place I reached on the evening of the 18th ultimo.
On the 19th the enemy were reported at Okalona, but his movements or intended course was not developed; and fearing he might cross the Tombigbee, I ordered Bell's brigade to Columbus, and also dispatched General Ruggles to use all his effective force to prevent them from doing so. At the same time, I ordered Brigadier-General Chalmers, c