pike to-morrow, and to Triune the following day. You will take all your camp and garrison equipage with you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[GEO. E. FLYNT,]
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST TENNESSEE CAVALRY,
March 9, 1863.
SIR: In obedience to your order, I marched this morning with parts of five companies, comprising about 125 men, out on the Manchester pike. I first moved out, and waited until Colonel Walker came out to the outpost of our pickets, and, after having coffered with him by courier, I then moved on, occasionally communicating with the colonel, until I had advanced about 1 1/2 miles beyond the point where I left the rebels on Thursday last. I then halted the column, and sent one company forward to make a reconnaissance and to report, which resulted in ascertaining that the enemy had fallen back, and I think that they have gone beyond Beech Grove, to a small place called Fairfield, in the county of Bedford. I communicated these facts to Colonel Walker, who sent me word that he was returning to town, and that I could do so also; which I did accordingly.
With high regard, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLUMBUS,
March 9, 1863-1 a. m.
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:
The abandonment of the railroad and the withdrawal of our troops to Columbus and Jackson will leave all the wide range of the enemy's country between the Mississippi and the Tennessee, say, over 70 miles-from here to Jackson-as the control of cavalry exclusively. I have hardly any.
Van Dorn, encouraged by his new successes, will strike at Paducah and Columbus, well aware of the small force I can oppose to him, and, as I expect no help from the Tennessee posts, I would once more request you for the regiment of cavalry promised long ago, and another light battery; also that the only two efficient cavalry companies he (Third U. S. Cavalry), Captains Howland and McNally, who are under marching order to Memphis, be left at Columbus for the present, as it is impossible for me to spare them now without manifest injury to the service. The railroad as well as telegraph line will be destroyed by the country people themselves as soon as unguarded, and will leave me without cavalry; entirely in the dark-unable to feel the enemy.
The order of our General-in-Chief to hold Columbus at all hazards is filed in my officer. I will defend it to the last, but to hold it requires an adequate force. The sacrifice of the garrison would hardly indemnify the country for the loss of Columbus. It would be the hardest blow for all our troops down the Mississippi, and endless disaster would ensue.