delay to aid in taking the cattle out and meeting any expedition of the enemy against me.
I can collect together in two or three days at least 100,000 pounds of bacon, and if wagons are sent over with the troops asked for, will load them out with bacon. If you can help me, general, for thirty days I shall organize 7,000 troops, beside getting out a great number of absentees and deserters from the army. General Roddey has written me that he would move in from Tuscumbia at any time to my assistance. Have dispatched him to-day to come at once. With his brigade and the two above asked for can secure the cattle and bacon and hold possession against any raid they may send, and if dispatched without delay, that General Ferguson and Chalmers with their commands will come, I will have boats prepared for crossing the Hatchie at Estenaula, and will have forage gotten up and ready for them.
If they cannot be sent in here, I ask that General Lee harass the enemy as much as possible along the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad west of Corinth. Think I am able to protect myself against any move from Union City, but should they move from Fort Pillow also, shall have more than I can manage wit the raw and unarmed troops I have, and especially so should they move from below at the same time.
If these suggestions or those made in my letter of 5th instant are adopted and approved and carried out, we can largely increase the army. I have reliable information to-day that they are pressing every horse in Memphis to mount infantry, and that nearly all the enemy's force at La Grange has been sent down to Memphis and from thence up the river on boats. Their reported destination is Fort Pillow, from which point a raid under Grierson is to move on me. The troops which were at Eastport, and a number of boats loaded with supplies, have passed down the Tennessee and been taken to Paducah and Columbus, and they are moving up from Memphis to Fort Pillow and Columbus.
They are evidently preparing for a move from that quarter-north-or are fixing to establish a line of communication from Columbus to Tennessee River, and from Reynoldsburg, on Tennessee River, to Nashville; they have a large force completing the Northwestern Railroad from Nashville to Reynoldsburg.
My great desire is to get out the troops and hold the country, if possible; also the provisions necessary for the use of the army. If it can be done without detriment to the service, I hope, general, that you will send all the cavalry you can spare, and at the earliest possible moment, and with them any arms that can be obtained. Have not heard as yet from the troops sent out for arms, but hope they got them and are now the way back.
There are several West Tennessee regiments of infantry in General Bragg's army whose numbers range from 150 to 250 men for duty. If it were possible to et them ordered to you, am satisfied they could soon be filled up from this section. I am gathering up as rapidly as possible all the absentees and deserters from these commands, and will use them until they can be returned to their proper commands.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. G. FORREST,