strength not yet determined. To-night we have information of a force of the enemy at Lauderdale; strength unknown. Recommend a courier line [be] established from Demopolis to Gainesville or this point.
Near Old Marion, February 17, 1864.
The enemy entered Meridian at 3 p. m. yesterday. Lieutenant-General Polk is retreating on Demopolis. I have been placed in command of all the cavalry west of Alabama, including yours. You will use your discretion as to all movements against the enemy. It is not my intention to cross the Tombigbee. Will remain in vicinity of Sherman. You are ordered to impress horses and mules, and keep your command in the most efficient condition and increase it if possible. Am providing a reserve ordnance train for you.
S. D. LEE,
Near Bellefontaine, February 17, 1864.
Brigadier General J. F. CHALMERS:
GENERAL: You will carry out the above order and impress horses and mules to fit up your division and your trains and artillery, in all cases giving the citizens broken-down stock for that impressed, so as to leave the farmer something to plow and make a crop with in raising crops. You will detail men expressly for that purpose, under proper officers, who will keep a strict account and make a proper return of all impressments made, and give a receipt to the parties for stock taken. You will send into the Prairie country and impress for artillery (and reserve them for that purpose) 100 good horses; also all the good mules you can get for transportation. Take all carriage and saddle horses than can be spared first; also require all stock for cavalry to be passed through the hands of your quartermaster, that when issued to the men they can be charged with the valuation or difference between their broken-down horses and those impressed. Men who have no horses will, as far as they have money or pay due them, be required to pay for their horses and be charged with the balance on muster-rolls. Owing to broken-down condition of the horses this command will not be able to reach Starkville to-morrow night, but will be in that vicinity on the road from this place.
N. B. FORREST,
Lewis' Ferry, February 17, 1864.
The march to Demopolis will be resumed at an early hour to-morrow morning. The column of Major-General Loring will move in advance and that of Major-General French in rear.
By command of Lieutenant-General Polk:
THOS. M. JACK,