maining two regiments started around by way of Jackson. The lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, who arrived here several days ago, thinks they must be heard from to-day. My force without them will fall a little short of 5,000 men, and as in our conversations a force of 7,000 was always hypothecated, I feel in doubt as to what you would direct me to do if you were here. I feel eager to pitch into them, but I know that it is not your desire to "send a boy to mill," and I rely upon your confidence, and trust that you will approve the course which circumstances, with all the light that my best thought can reflect upon them, may seem to indicate as wisest, best, and most promising. My great anxiety is as to results and not as to my own connection with them. I have now, I think, reliable information as to Forrest's strength and position, and I think he will show fight between the Coldwater and Tallahatchie. If he does, and moves far enough to the east to run against me in the vicinity of Salem or Ripley, it will suit us much better than to fight him as low down as Pontotoc, where he could concentrate a large force, and where we would be to some extent jaded and farther from home. I have my whole command in readiness to move at a moment's warning, and if the cavalry from Columbus is not heard from to-morrow I will move down and try what I can do with what I have. The delay in infantry in getting off relieves my mind a little, as I think you will be delayed a few days beyond expectation in Vicksburg. I send you inclosed a statement* of an intelligent young gentleman jus tin from Johnston's army. I have no doubt he intended to tell the truth, but of the accuracy of his statement you can better judge in the light of other intelligence you have. Wheeler's cavalry will be likely to be thrown over upon the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, I think.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
WM. SOOY SMITH,
Brigadier General, Chief of Cavalry, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.
February 2, 1864.
[Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee:]
DEAR GENERAL: Seventy of the Seventh Indiana Cavalry, on the way from Bolivar to this city with dispatches for me from Colonel Waring, came upon McGuirk's Third Mississippi Regiment of Cavalry, 300 strong, at La Grange; pitched into them, routed them, killed 2, wounded several, and captured 9 prisoners, and a portion of them returned to Bolivar with their prisoners. The remainder came on with the dispatches, copies* of which I inclose.
WM. SOOY SMITH,
Brigadier-General, Chief of Cavalry.