a stand of couriers so that I can communicate with you promptly. I suggest some point at or in the neighborhood of Salem.
In view of the present condition of affairs, I respectfully suggest that you be prepared to move at once or as soon as you are advised of any movement from the railroad in this direction, if you have not already done so, in accordance with my previous requests.
I have been anxiously expecting a letter from yourself or from General Johnston for some days, and ask that you will write me by return courier, so that I can know exactly what do depend on. I still think that if you and Roddey would move in here, we can whip anything they may send against us, and I hope that you will come; at any rate, I shall confidently rely upon your co-operation against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
Will dispatch General Roddey again; have already done so, and rely upon his joining me.
I have instructed the courier if he finds any of your command, to forward this dispatch and remain at Salem for an answer. If he finds none, he will go with it to your headquarters. I will order a guide for your courier to Salem, to remain there for your answer, and suggest that you duplicate your dispatches, sending them by different men, so as to insure my getting one of them.
Have ordered Captain Higgs to send one of his best scouts to Salem, to remain there for your reply. If you can possibly come and aid me in breaking up this move of the enemy, it will give us 10,000 men, infantry and cavalry, by the 1st of April. You are aware that with my force of raw, undrilled, and undisciplined troops it will not do for me to risk a general engagement with a superior force. I have been gathering up the cattle and will, I fear, have to abandon them unless I can get your assistance.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
One courier will deliver this; another will be at Salem to receive a reply. I suggest that your answer be duplicated, one of which send by the bearer of this, and the other forward by your own courier to the man waiting at Salem. Between the two we shall be certain of a reply.
N. B. FORREST,
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Richmond, December 22, 1863.
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XV. So much of Paragraph XVIII, Special Orders, No. 298, current series, as requires Brigadier-General Pillow to report to Lieutenant-General Hardee is rescinded, and General Pillow will now report to General J. E. Johnston for duty.
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By command of the Secretary of War: