War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0341 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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DEMOPOLIS, February 24, 1864. (Received Richmond, 25th.)

The following dispatch just received:

HEADQUARTERS,

Starkville, Miss., February 23, 1864.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

Major-General Forrest reports at 9 yesterday evening 2 miles south of Pontotoc:

"We have had severe fighting all day with the enemy. The engagement closed about dark. We have killed about 40 of the enemy and captured about 100. Our loss not known, but not so heavy as that of the enemy. The prisoners captured report 2 colonels and 1 lieutenant-colonel killed this evening. Colonel Forrest was killed this evening, Colonel Barksdale badly wounded in the breast, Colonel McCulloch wounded in the hand. We have captured four or five pieces of artillery. General Gholson came up this evening, and will follow after them and drive them as far as possible. The fighting commenced near Okolona late this evening; was obstinate, as the enemy were forced to make repeated stands to hold us in check and to save their pack-mules, &c., from stampede. The fight closed with a grand cavalry charge of the enemy's whle force. We repulsed then with heavy loss and completely routed them."

S. D. LEE,

Major-General.

General Lee's own column is pressing the enemy's infantry with the view of harassing it on its retreat toward Canton. General Hardee's command has been ordered back to Dalton.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

General S. COOPER.

DEMOPOLIS, February 27, 1864.

The following dispatch from General Lee, at Macon, just received:

A cavalry force crossed Pearl River on the 22nd near Philadelphia, moving toward Kosciusko. Jackson and Ferguson left Starkeville on 24th, moving westward. Richardson's brigade left Tampico same day for Grenada. At last account General Gholson was still pursuing enemy near New Albany, and had captured a good many prisoners. Forrest could not follow up his success with his main force for want of ammunition. Sherman still moving westward.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond.

DEMOPOLIS, ALA., March 3, 1864.

Following from one of my staff officers, dated Hillsborough:

February 26, Sixteenth Army Corps crossing Pearl River at Ratliff's Ferry; Seventeenth at Grant's Ferry, en route for Canton.

February 27, enemy finished crossing to-day. Head of column is passing through Canton.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.