DEMOPOLIS, February 22, 1864.
I send you the following just received from Colonel Perrin.*
I deem it of the utmost importance for you not to permit the column in your front to escape. I send you the Kentucky regiments to Gainesville by steamer to-morrow morning-about 600 men and officers. If you can use them best as infantry for the time you had best communicate with them at Gainesville. I have only to repeat that if it be possible do not permit the column in your front to escape you. The Kentuckians will be in Gainesville on the morning of the 24th. I have the equipments for them at this place, and I think I have nearly horses and mules enough to mount them. If you can afford them any assistance in that way it will facilitate them in reporting to General Forrest for duty at once.
P. S.- I move across the Tombigbee River with Loring's and French's divisions to-morrow morning, and shall follow the enemy in his retreat to Pearl River. I may have a part of General Hardee's command to accompany me. It is now with me. My confident hope and great expectation is that you will crush the force now before you. Its failure to make a junction with Sherman has broken up his campaign, and to crush that cavalry column would be to complete his discomfiture.
YORK STATION, February 22, 1864.
GENERAL: Enemy have left Meridian; now at Daleville, en route to De Kalb. No enemy on Mobile and Ohio Railroad. This is reliable. Colonel Perrin will move his column up the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, keeping up a line of couriers to the operator here. I will keep you posted. Colonel P. is active and has scouts well up to the enemy's column.
S. W. OLIVER.
February 22, 1864-8 a. m.
Lieutenant General L. POLK:
Captain Battle Fort, of my regiment, said at Lauderdale Station last night. The whole town burned and the enemy gone to Daleville. No damage done to the railroad above that point. I have heard nothing from my scouting parties in the vicinity of Meridian. Will hear very soon and report at once.
I am, general, very truly,
R. O. PERRIN,
*See Polk to Cooper, Part I, p. 338.