al purpose as well as to punish the rebel General Forrest, who had been most active in harassing outo destroy the rebel cavalry commanded by General Forrest, who were a constant threat to our railwa
I explained to him personally the nature of Forrest as a man, and of his peculiar force; told him that in his route he was sure to encounter Forrest, who always attacked with a vehemence for whicutterly destroy his whole force.
I knew that Forrest could not have more than four thousand cavalrne.
At the same time I wanted to destroy General Forrest, who, with an irregular force of cavalry,; and then, when he did start, he allowed General Forrest to head him off and to defeat him with anake up the requisite force with which to meet Forrest.
General Sherman also assured him that his oher troops, in watching and operating against Forrest's command.
He made full report to General Gave numbered about five thousand.
Instead of Forrest's strength being then estimated in Memphis at[2 more...]
arch across Georgia to Savannah or Charleston, breaking railroads and doing irreparable damage?
We can not remain on the defensive.
On the 9th (October) he telegraphed General Thomas at Nashville:
I want to destroy all the road below Chattanooga, including Atlanta, and to make for the sea-coast.
We can not defend this long line of road.
On that same day he telegraphed to General Grant at City Point:
It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils are turned loose without home or habitation. * * * * I propose that we break up the rail-road from Chattanooga forward, and that we strike out with our wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. * * * * I can make this march, and make Georgia howl!
October 10th he telegraphed Thomas as follows:
He (Hood) is now crossing the Coosa River below Rome, looking west.
Let me know if you can hold him with your forces now in Tennessee and the ex
with the fleet, I endeavored to ascertain what had transpired in Tennessee since our departure. * * * *
As before described, General Hood had three full corps of infantry—S. D. Lee's, A. P. Stewart's, and Cheatham's—at Florence, Alabama, with Forrest's corps of cavalry, numbering in the aggregate about forty-five thousand men. General Thomas was in Nashville, Tennessee, quietly engaged in reorganizing his army out of the somewhat broken forces at his disposal.
He had posted his only two reg spite of all my efforts to prevent, or to-night if he attempts it. A worse place than this for an inferior force could hardly be found.
I will refer your question to General Wilson this evening, yet fear he can do very little.
I have no doubt Forrest will be in my rear to-morrow doing some greater mischief.
It appears to me that I ought to take position at Brentwood at once.
If A. J. Smith's division and the Murfreesboro garrison join me there, I ought to be able to hold Hood in check fo
ched Columbia, and his large force of cavalry under Forrest was becoming very active.
At this time the correspe H. Thomas, Nashville, Tenn.
* * * * Do not let Forrest get off without punishment. U. S. Grant, Lieutenan get my cavalry, I will march against Hood, and if Forrest can be reached he shall be punished. Geo. H. Thomy force also numbered only about one-fourth that of Forrest, I thought it best to draw the troops back to Nashv Thomas, Nashville, Tenn.
Is there not danger of Forrest's moving down the Tennessee River where he can cros your cavalry as rapidly as possible to look after Forrest, Hood should be attacked where he is.
Time stren0) cavalry to cover my flanks, because he has under Forrest at least twelve thousand (12,000). I have no doubt Forrest will attempt to cross the river, but I am in hopes the gun-boats will be able to prevent him. The enemy its close, and which is now, in addition, aided by Forrest's cavalry.
Although my progress may appear slow, I
He said not then, but intimated that he could procure authority from Mr. Davis.
I then told him that I had recently had an interview with General Grant and President Lincoln, and that I was possessed of their views. * * * * That the terms that General Grant had given to General Lee's army were certainly most generous and liberal.
All this he admitted, but always recurred to the idea of a universal surrender, embracing his own army, that of Dick Taylor in Louisiana and Texas, and of Maury, Forrest, and others in Alabama and Georgia. * * * *
Our conversation was very general and extremely cordial, satisfying me that it could have but one result, and that which we all desired, viz.: to end the war as quickly as possible; and, being anxious to return to Raleigh before the news of Mr. Lincoln's assassination could be divulged, on General Johnston's saying that he thought that, during the night, he could procure authority to act in the name of all the Confederate armies in existence, w
that the State of North Carolina will not consent to continue the struggle after our armies shall have withdrawn further south, and this withdrawal is inevitable if hostilities are resumed.
This action of North Carolina would render it impossible for Virginia to maintain her position in the Confederacy, even if her people were unanimous in their desire to continue the contest.
In the more southern States we have no army except the forces now defending Mobile and the cavalry under General Forrest.
The enemy are so far superior in numbers that they have occupied within the last few weeks Selma, Montgomery, Columbus, and Macon, and could continue their career of devastation through Georgia and Alabama without our being able to prevent it by any forces now at our disposal.
It is believed that we could not at the present moment gather together an army of thirty thousand men by a concentration of all our forces east of the Mississippi River.
Our sea-coast is in possession of t