HEADQUARTERS LORING'S DIVISION,
On the March, February 11, 1864.
General POLK or COMMANDING OFFICER,
GENERAL: I did not send any communication, not having heard anything further of any enemy, and because I had supposed all of our forces had kept Newton. I send you the last note from Colonel Maxwell. Have great difficulty with the roads and have been delayed by them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. LORING,
MERIDIAN, February 1, 1864 - 10 p. m.
General LEE, Newton:
The following dispatch just received from General Loring:
I inclose a dispatch sent to-day to newton. Am of opinion that the party on this road was for observation. The road, through generally good, is in some places extremely bad, and has detained me much to-day. I hope to encamp 12 or 15 miles west of Meridian to-night.
"GENERAL: By a dispatch received 2 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell informs me that the enemy followed him some 11 miles east of Decatur yesterday evening, whence he thinks they took the Garlandville road, as he could find nothing of them this morning. He reports no enemy at Forrest Station up to 1 p. m. yesterday.
"W. W. LORING."
From your dispatch of 6.30 p. m. and other information I think General Loring may be mistaken in the force following him. In the second dispatch above, for "east of Decatur" it should be "west," as I have just heard from Maxwell's cavalry that they skirmished with them 5 miles west of Decatur this morning, when the enemy fell back. The following also from General Forrest:
OXFORD, February 10, 1864 - 1 p. m.
(Received at Meridian 11th.)
One thousand five hundred infantry and 300 cavalry came out as far as Senatobia. Colonel McCulloch met and drove them back as far as Hickhale. I think this is only a feint. Their real move is to go from Collierville to Pontotoc and strike the Praires and Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Am preparing to meet that move as best I can. They have about 10,000 cavalry and mounted infantry. Smith's Dutch brigade, from Columbus, passed Somerville on the 7th going in the direction of Memphis; mounted recently in Memphis.
Report where your brigades are bad order them to join as promptly as possible. Report also how soon you may except to have them concentrated; also how many horses you require for your dismounted men. I can mount them all. Yours covering Maxwell's dispatch of 5 p. m. received.*
MERIDIAN, February 11, 1864 - 10 p. m.
I am in receipt of yours of 4 p. m., with its inclosure. I send you inclosed a copy of a dispatch just received from General Lee. From,
* See Part I, p. 360.