for foraging and subsistence. The concentration of our cavalry on his column of cavalry from West Tennessee formed the turning-point in the campaign. That concentration broke down his only means of subsisting his infantry, his column was defeated and routed, and his whole force compelled to make a hasty retreat. Never did a grand campaign, inaugurated with such pretensions, terminate more ingloriously. With a force three times that which was opposed to its advance they have been defeated and forced to leave the field, with a loss of men, small-arms, and artillery. Both of their columns are retreating before the squadrons of our pursuing cavalry. The lieutenant-general commanding offers his grateful thanks to the whole army, and trusts that this opening campaign of the new year may be an earnest of the successes which await us in the future.
By command of Lieutenant-General Polk:
THOS. M. JACK,
Numbers 64. Reports of Major General Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, of operations against expedition from Memphis.
HDQRS. CAVALRY DEPT. OF W. TENN. AND N. MISS.,
Oxford, Miss., February 5, 1864.
DEAR SIR: I take the liberty of addressing you, believing a communication relative to the state of affairs in this department would prove interesting and perhaps of importance. I succeeded in bringing out of West Tennessee 3,100 troops, and have since received several hundred more. I regret, however, to state that the difficulties attending organizing regiments by consolidating the odds and ends of paper commands into full regiments have caused quite a number of disaffected officers and men to run away. Having also to leave West Tennessee at very short notice, and unexpectedly to many of the men, they were illy supplied with clothing and blankets, which has contributed in some measure to cause desertion. I have, nevertheless, 3,000 new troops, and hope soon to do good service with them.
The enemy have evacuated Coring and the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as far west as Germantown, and I have ordered the destruction of the road from Corinth to La Grange. The advance of the enemy on Jackson, Miss., and up Yazoo River rendered it necessary to withdraw my command south of the Tallahathcie River in order to co-operate with Major-General Lee, should it be necessary; otherwise the destruction of that road would have been continued farther west. This step, whenever it can be accomplished, is necessary in order to prevent its reoccupation by the enemy, and to keep open communication with West Tennessee, in which there are at this time provisions sufficient to subsist an army of 20,000 men for six months. The people of West Tennessee generally are loyal to the South, and whenever circumstances will admit of it I expect to re-enter it, and am confident I shall be able to raise and organize at least four more full regiments of troops. I regret, however, to state that the people of North Mississippi and the counties adjacent to the Mississippi River are much demoralized by the cotton trade carried on with the enemy. Have endeavored as far as possible to break up all communication with the enemy, seizing all the cotton found in transit, confiscating wagons and teams, and placing the parties under heavy penal bonds