War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0492 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.

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[CHAP. XLIII.

LA GRANGE, December 25, 1863.

Major-General HURLBUT:

Forrest crossed a part of his force at Estenaula yesterday about 3 o'clock p.m. My force, 500 strong, met him and drove him back to the river. The enemy re-enforced and held their own until dark, when both parties drew off. I am watching them on all roads. Courier just arrived; left my force at 10 o'clock last night; the enemy were pressing us. I have sent out re-enforcements. The roads south of Collierville and Moscow need watching. I have sent small patrols that way.

B. H. GRIERSON,

Brigadier-General.

MEMPHIS, December 25, 1863.

General GRIERSON:

Is this Forrest's main force? If so, Mower must be ordered back to Corinth. The telegraph is cut east of Pocahontas, so that I think they have divided. They evidently mean to effect a crossing and get below the road; and, if so, will not attempt to cross Wolf and Coldwater both, but may be expected, I think, to pass east of La Grange. I shall order bridges in rear or Collierville and Germantown destroyed and watched, and will hold 400 to 500 ready to move up to Germantown or Collierville.

S. A. HURLBUT,

Major-General.

HDQRS. CAVALRY DIVISION, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,

La Grange, Tennessee, December 25, 1863-5 p.m.

Colonel EDWARD PRINCE,

Commanding Seventh Illinois Cavalry, Somerville, Tennessee:

COLONEL: Your dispatch by Lieutenant Maxwell is just received. Your opinion as to the enemy trying to cross between here and Pocahontas is, I think, correct. You will move your command immediately toward New Castle and from thence to Middleburg; or, if that should be impracticable, you will move southeast toward Van Buren. You must keep between this line of railroad and the enemy, and upon no condition allow them to pass you. I do not wish you to fight a superior force, but merely hold them in check, and keep me advised, that the infantry may be disposed in such a manner as to meet them and support you. In case you are hard pressed, you will fall back on Grand Junction or Saulsbury. I think Saulsbury will be the better point. They may attempt to cross the road still farther east near Middleton.

Major Burgh, with the Ninth Illinois, 300 strong, and four pieces of artillery, left here at 9 o'clock a.m. to join you via New Castle. You will endeavor to communicate with him.

A battalion of the Second Iowa, 160 strong, is at Van Buren. Communicate with him also. Hold your command well in hand, and communicate with me often by couriers.

Major Burgh is ordered to report to you.

B. H. GRIERSON,

Brigadier-General.