War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0764 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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Guessing at your cipher, I reply they can meet me at Demopolis. Enemy at last accounts still at Meridian breaking up railroad. He will, I think, move this way. Forrest and Lee are uniting in an attack on a heavy cavalry column from above.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

DEMOPOLIS, February 18, 1864.

Major General D. H. MAURY,

Mobile:

As it is important for me to have the use of the Tombigbee River as long as possible, I desire you to employ scouts as far as up as Quitman, who may be relied upon the give me information via Mobile of any movement of the enemy upon that river from the railroad.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

MOBILE, February 18, 1864.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

Enemy reported yesterday moving down Mobile and Ohio Railroad 25,000 strong. Reported this morning at Quitman. His force variously estimated at from 2,500 to 10,000. Yesterday morning the came down to De Soto, 3 miles below Quitman; destroyed a trestle, and returned to Quitman. If this be an advance on Mobile I shall need about 6,000 good infantry in addition to present garrison to defeat him. Mortar-boats lying off Fort Powell have not reopened.

D. H. MAURY,

Major-General.

(Copy sent War Department.)

MOBILE, February 18, 1864.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

Following just received from Major Cummins, my inspector-general:

SHUBUTA, February 18, 1864.

Enemy still at Quitman. Force unknown; estimated from 2,500 to 10,000. Have ordered a scouting party to rear of enemy. Six men, representing themselves General Lee's scouts, were in our camp yesterday. Said Lee was in rear of the enemy and would communicate with us in person to-day. These men have since disappeared. I believe they were spies.

D. H. MAURY,

Major-General, Commanding.

MOBILE, February 18, 1864.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

Below you will find the new key-word: "Fight and conquer."

D. H. MAURY,

Major-General, Commanding.