War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0359 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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FOUR MILES FROM NEWTON,

Hillsborough and Garlandville Road, Feb. 11, 1864-3.30 p.m.

GENERAL: I may have reported enemy on the south of railroad, as it was the main stage road to Morton, but never reported them bearing down on Mobile to General Loring. The enemy went above railroad at Morton toward Hillsborough. Their cavalry (about 100)

were in Lake this morning, burning it. Is possible the enemy may be on the Hillsborough and Garlandville road above railroad; they are not south. It has never been my opinion so far that the enemy would move on Mobile before going to Meridian. Will cover Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

Yours, respectfully,

S. D. LEE,

Major-General.

Lieutenant-General POLK,

HEADQUARTERS,

Five Miles South of Lake Station, February 11, 1864.

GENERAL: I send you an extract of a letter from Dr. Buck, one of the most reliable citizens of Jackson. He writes:

The army of Sherman numbers at least 40,000 (certainly not over 45,000), 2,500 of whom are mounted. They are perfectly and completely appointed in every respect. This column, in my opinion, is the right wing of Grant's army, and if it can be destroyed will defeat the last and ablest effort of the Yankees to subjugate the South. If they succeed, I dare not look at the probable future.

I have hear nothing from my scouts this morning. The enemy seem to have slackened in their march. I have scouts watching their movements closely, and will report as soon as I hear from them. I have ordered Ferguson back to Newton, as I am now in position to meet enemy in this direction.

Yours, respectfully,

S. D. LEE,

Major-General.

Lieutenant-General POLK,

Meridian.

P. S. - The enemy were not, at Forest last night, nor at Lake. They must have taken the Hillsborough road at Morton, and are either following Loring or are on the Hillsborough and Garlandville road. Ferguson is near Garlandville. I have ordered him toward Newton and to get in front of the enemy.

S. D. LEE,

Major-General.

NEWTON,

February 11, 1864-6.30 p.m.

Am now at this point. Have sent Ferguson to get in front of enemy on Hillsborough and Decatur road. The enemy are evidently on that road and moving on Meridian. Please notify me when and where you expect to fight, that I may have a hand at proper time. Never reported to General Loring, at Morton that it was my opinion the enemy were south of the railroad and bearing on Mobile. Have examined my letters. I suggested the possibility, and stated that I