Meridian and be prepared with the rest of your forces to co-operate with General Forrest, with whom you will communicate at the earliest practicable moment. The troops and trains will all cross the Tombigbee to-night. Communicate by wire with the general at Demopolis. General Maury anticipated an attack on Mobile by Farragut yesterday. The rumor reaches us that Longstreet has retaken Knoxville with 5,000 prisoners, and is now at Lenoir's.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. M. JACK,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY WEST OF ALABAMA,
In the Field, near Old Marion, Miss., February 16, 1864.
Commanding North Mississippi, in the Field:
GENERAL: Inclosed you will find General Polk's order* placing me in command of all cavalry west of Alabama. Situated as you are, I will give you no orders, relying entirely on your judgment and discretion. It is unnecessary for me to say that I have every confidence in you, and wish you to act untrammeled. The enemy entered Meridian ont he 14th about 3 p. m. His force is 30,000. He kept quiet yesterday about Meridian. I do not know yet whether his destination is Demopolis or Mobile. It is my intention to remain in Mississippi to harass the enemy and prevent his feeding on the country. Should he cross the Tombigbee I will only send a brigade over that river. General Polk has retreated to Demopolis. I am organizing a reserve ordnance train for you of 300 rounds per gun (artillery) and 150 rounds [per man] (small-arms), which I will send to you as soon as it is ready. Should a large raiding party start from your direction toward the grain country on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, I desire you to follow it with most of your command, and I shall meet it with my force. I will write again soon. In the mean time act as in your opinion is to the interest of our cause. So soon as it is practicable I will establish a regular line of communication with you.
I am, general, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
P. S.- The enemy so far have marched on one road, in perfect order, with every precaution. Does not straggle or forage. You are authorized to use cotton to supply your command with all army supplies. The enemy are now advancing and are at Old Marion.
S. D. L.
WEST POINT, February 16, 1864.
I send the following dispatch from Colonel Forrest:
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE,
Judge Calvert's Farm, February 16, 1864.
GENERAL: When I reached this place on my way to West Point I saw dispatch from General Gholson stating that the enemy were this side of New Albany, coming this way. I will remain here until I hear from you, or until I ascertain more of
*See p. 738.
48 R R-VOL XXXII, PT II