War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0662 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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MERIDIAN, February 3, 1864.

General COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:

I have just sent the following dispatch to General Johnston. I think the necessity for his action urgent and indispensable. Thee interests exposed are of vital importance:

MERIDIAN, February 3, 1864.

General JOHNSTON,

Dalton:

I am advised reliably of a pontoon bridge across Tennessee River at Larkin's Ferry, and that on 31st several regiments of infantry had crossed, also cavalry in large bodies, supposed to be Wilder's. The conviction is that they are going to Gadsden and thence through the mining and manufacturing districts to Selma. You are aware that I have no force at my disposal to meet this, especially when I inform you that there is at this moment a movement being made from Vicksburg and Yazoo City and Collierville on my forces confronting those points, and that Mobile continues to be threatened. I must therefore call upon you to aid me in protecting that line. You have received, I hope, my former dispatches upon that subject. Please let me know what you can do.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

DALTON, February 3, 1864.

Lieutenant-General POLK,

Meridian:

The enemy, much more than double my number, is in motion in my front. I have not cavalry enough to observe him, so that it is impossible for me to promise further than that I will at any time give you all aid in my power, but do not see now that I can help you.

J. E. JOHNSTON.

MERIDIAN, February 3, 1864.

His Excellency President DAVIS,

Richmond, Va.:

I beg leave to call your immediate attention to a dispatch* sent by me to General Cooper, of this date.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Meridian, February 3, 1864.

General JOHNSTON,

Dalton:

GENERAL: I am in receipt of your letter by Colonel Pressley, asking my aid in recovering thee absentees in the West Tennessee regiments, supposed to be in General Forrest's command. I made the proper indorsement on the back of the letter, referring it to General Forrest, but said to Colonel Pressley that I did not think this a proper time to attempt to recover those men. In the first place, I am threatened in the front, held by the command in which those men are; and in the second, they have been so short a time with General Forrest, that any attempt to detach them now would result in

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* See above.

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