War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0471 Chapter LI. ATTACK ON MEMPHIS, TENN.

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The date of the foregoing dispatch is evidently incorrect, as my three dispatches of the 21st were delivered to General Smith on the morning of the 22d, as appears from the official report of the bearer of the dispatches. At that time General Smith was at Oxford with his entire command, except the cavalry under General hatch, referred to in his dispatch, which was between Oxford and Panola.

I append hereto a map* showing the topography of he country. there were but two lines of possible retreat for the enemy, one via Holly Springs and the other via Panola. The Tallahatchie was very high and impassable, except upon the bridge at Panola. Had my orders been obeyed, as you will see by reading them, Forrest would have found himself penned up between the Coldwater and the Tallahatchie, and escape would have been impossible. That Forrest should have left our immediate front at Oxford and made this move on Memphis without its being discovered by our large cavalry force in his immediate vicinity is somewhat strange.

The results of the raid in casualties foot up a loss of 1 officer killed, 6 wounded, and 4 captured; enlisted men, 14 killed, 59 wounded, and 112 missing. the loss of the enemy in killed was 22, and they left about 15 so badly wounded on the field that they could not be carried away, and we captured in addition 25 prisoners. Forrest made a forced march both in advancing and retreating, and he cannot have ruined less than one-half his entire mount by he expedition. The whole affair was an utter failure on his part, and would have resulted in dispositing of him forever but for reasons I have named.

Our troops all behaved well. The provost guard (Eighth Iowa Infantry Volunteers), Lieutenant-Colonel Bell commanding, acted with great bravery and promptitude, and the enrolled militia of Memphis turned out with great alacrity and did excellent service. To Brigadier-General Buckland, commanding District of Memphis, and Brigadier-General Dustan, enrolled militia, my thanks are due for their prompt and valuable assistance.

I will add that the impression generally prevailing that Memphis is a fortified city is far from correct. The only defense to the city, with its large amount of Government stores and supplies, is Fort Pickering, situated on the river-bank just below the city, which commands he city, but cannot properly be said to protect it. The picket-line around the city is from eight to ten miles in length, rendering it impossible with an ordinary garrison to concentrate at any one point sufficient force to present an obstacle to a sudden cavalry dash such as the one just experienced. There has been no time during the occupation of the place by our forces when the city might not have been entered by a body of rash cavalry riding down our pickets a sin this instance.

I have ordered the immediate construction at all the salient points int he outskirts of the city of earth-works of sufficient strength to assist materially in defense against similar raids in future.

I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM T. CLARK,

Asst. Adjt. General, Department and Army of the Tennessee.


*Not found.