War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0784 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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COLUMBUS, MISS., February 20, 1864.

Captain R. M. HOOE,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the result of my observations and information as to the position, force, and direction of the enemy at or near Aberdeen yesterday:

Arriving in about 6 miles of Aberdeen, I learned from scouts of Colonel Forrest that a large picket force of the enemy were stationed on the road I was traveling, viz, the Burton and Aberdeen road, at its junction with the Aberdeen and West Point road, about 4 miles from Aberdeen. I also learned from the scouts that Colonel Forrest was moving in the direction of the enemy on the West Point and Aberdeen road. I then charged my course so as to intercept Colonel Forrest, which I did at Payne's Chapel, 8 or 10 miles from Aberdeen. Colonel Forrest had with him a portion of his brigade, consisting of or amounting to about 400 men. He continued moving int he direction of Aberdeen until he came on the enemy's pickets at the point above referred to, where he routed them and drove them into Aberdeen. I continued with Colonel Forrest (who fell back to Payne's Chapel) until 2 o'clock this morning. Scouts were sent out in all directions, and from them during the night we learned the following facts, viz: That Aberdeen had been occupied by a force of the enemy, not exceeding 400 cavalry and three pieces of artillery; that all of this force had been withdrawn late on the evening of the 19th in the direction of West Point, with the exception of a few marauding parties and pickets; that no considerable force of the enemy had crossed the river in this direction; that the force at Aberdeen had made a junction with the column from toward Houston, at on near Prairie Station, and was encamped about 6 or 8 miles from Colonel Forrest when I left him. Their direction seemed to be down the railroad toward West Point, in which direction Colonel Forrest was to move this morning to join General Forrest. The whole force of the enemy in North Mississippi does not exceed 5,000 men, according to the best information that can be received. Their object appears to be to destroyed the grain and provisions along the line of the railroad.

Very respectfully,

C. G. ARMISTEAD,

Colonel Cavalry, Provisional Army, C. S.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,

Waverly, February 20, 1864.

Captain R. M. HOOE:

Captain Odom and the men of my command met me at this place. They left General Forrest at West Point at 12.30 o'clock, and state the enemy was advancing 4,000 strong, skirmishing slightly. General Forrest was sending McCulloch's brigade to the enemy's right; kept General Richardson in front, and Colonel Forrest, with whom the general expected me to effect a junction, was working around to the enemy's left and rear. General Forrest was confident of capturing the force. I regret that I have been so slow in my movement, but am crossing over the river as rapidly as possible, and I think will be over by daylight. If the enemy does not take the alarm and