War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0696 Chapter XLIV. KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA.

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I sent a party to open communication with McMillen's column, but as yet have heard nothing from him. I fear he had encountered more delay then we anticipated, as the rain was very heavy.

I am hoping to hear from him before leaving this point. It is difficult to gain any reliable information.

I have just sent for a negro who is reported to have said that Forrest is at Oakland with a large force. If so he may attempt to prevent the junction of our forces.

Word just in that our advance has been fired on some 2 miles ahead.

Respectfully,

S. D. STURGIS,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General WASHBURN.

SOMERVILLE, May 2, 1864-11.30 a. m.

GENERAL: From all I can learn Forrest was preparing to start south about last Thursday, and that a portion of his force was expected to be at this place to-day. I am sending forward rapidly to Bolivar 700 select men, under Colonel Karge, and a section of artillery, and will move after him with the remainder of my force at once.

Colonel McMillen has not reached this point, but I am directing him to hasten up and follow on as rapidly as possible. He will also transmit instructions to the commander of the force you sent out this morning to follow, bringing with them the bridge, as we may want it to cross the Hatchie.

Forrest has, beyond a doubt, a force of between 6,000 and 8,000. I hear nothing of any of our forces being in the vicinity of Purdy.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. D. STURGIS,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Major-General WASHBURN.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES IN THE FIELD, WIDOW ARMIES' HOUSE, 16 MILES FROM BOLIVAR, ON SOMERVILLE ROAD,

May 3, 1864-7.15 a. m. (Received 6.30 p. m.)

GENERAL: I sent Colonel Karge with 700 cavalry and two pieces of artillery from Colonel Waring's division forward from Somerville at 1 p. m. yesterday. His advance encountered the pickets of the enemy 7 miles west of Bolivar, capturing 2. He met the enemy in force, say 800 to 1,000 strong, at Bolivar. After two hours' severe fighting the enemy was driven from his entrenchments and retreated through the town in a southeasterly direction, I presume toward Pocahontas, though the colonel does not say. The enemy destroyed the bridge over the Hatchie. The reports of citizens are very contradictory; some say forrest was there in person, some say not. It is possible that the main body of the enemy is retreating on the east bank of the river. I exposed to reach Bolivar yesterday. I am detained very much by the delay of Colonel McMillen's column. I have not yet even received information that he succeeded in crossing the Wolf, which, according to his last dispatch, he expected to cross last night. I was compelled to leave a force at Somerville to