War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0515 Chapter LI. FORREST'S RAID INTO ALABAMA AND TENNESSEE.

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to a block-house. Colonel Lyon was delayed in sending on the troops asked for want of transportation. Major-General Rousseau telegraphed me on the 24th that on that morning 2,500 men had been ordered from Chattanooga to re-enforce me, and that a portion had already started. My little force here was on the cars all night of the 24th waiting the promised support, and we were all ready to start the moment they arrived, with five days' rations, but no re- enforcements arriving that nor up to 8. 30 a. m. of the 25th, I telegraphed to Major-Generals Rousseau and Thomas, suggesting that the force coming from Chattanooga be telegraphed at Stevenson to proceed to Pulaski by rail, believing that by this route they would meet the enemy twenty-four or thirty-six hours sooner. I was induced to make this recommendation from the belief that Forrest had by that time destroyed the road or Sulphur trestle and would be at Elk River before the re-enforcements could reach me; that by the time we could get off from here the enemy would be over Elk River, and would most certainly be at Pulaski before we could reach Elk River, with that river to cross after all the bridges had been destroyed. If these reasonable suppositions were correct (and they have since proven to be so) I could not possibly have come up with Forrest in thirty-six hours, being compelled to march the entire distance over muddy roads cut up with the large force of cavalry and train of the enemy. By the railroad the first detachment of the re-enforcements would have reached Pulaski four hours after they would reach me, or by 9 p. m. on the 25th, and could have been at Elk River that night by 12 o'clock at farthest, thus saving thirty- six hours. At 5 p. m. th first detachments of re-enforcements arrived at Decatur Junction, 700 strong. Rations were issued to them. At 8. 15 p. m. I had given orders for all to move when telegrams from Generals Webster and Rousseau were received to turn back the re-enforcements intended for me and to order them to Nashville. In order to retard the movements of the enemy as much as possible, I telegraphed to General Starkweather to offer every opposition to his crossing Elk River, and to destroy the bridges and ferries along that stream, which I believed at that time to be too much swollen for the enemy to cross with his artillery. What was done by General Starkweather and his force I have not yet learned, having received no report from troops north of Elk River; and, as General Rousseau moved to Pulaski, I gave no further orders to troops there, supposing that he had taken them all under his immediate command. Learning that a portion of Forrest's forces was at Elkton, and that our forces were being strengthened about Pulaski, I felt satisfied that Forrest would move by way of Fayetteville to the Nashville and Chattanooga road, and directed Colonel Lyon to keep a scout in direction of Fayetteville to inform me of his arrival at that place. On the 27th I ascertained positively that Wheeler, with his whole force, had passed through Somerville in the direction of Guntersville. Clanton was reported with 750 men within four miles of Larkin's Landing. In consequence of the withdrawal of this portion of the enemy's force from the immediate vicinity of Decatur, I deemed it no longer necessary to keep so large a force here. I therefore, on the 29th, ordered the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry and Eleventh Indiana from this post to Huntsville, and left for that place myself. I also sent there a section of artillery from this post under escort of a detachment of the Twelfth Indiana Cavalry. Learning that Forrest had passed Fayetteville on the morning of the 30th, I sent a scout in direction of New Market, under Major De Long, who reported early in the afternoon that he had found the enemy four