26 Series I Volume XXXVIII-I Serial 72 - The Atlanta Campaign Part I

Page 26 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

the Military Division of West Mississippi, was therefore directed to send the Nineteenth Army Corps to join the armies operating against Richmond, and to limit the remainder of his command to such operations as might be necessary to hold the positions and lines of communications he then occupied. Before starting General A. J. Smith's troops back to Sherman, General Canby sent a part of it to disperse a force of the enemy that was collecting near the Mississippi River. General Smith met and defeated this force near Lake Chicot on the 5th of June. Our loss was about 40 killed and 70 wounded. In the latter part of July General Canby sent Major General Gordon Granger, with such forces as he could collect, to co-operate with Admiral Farragut against the defenses of Mobile Bay. On the 8th of August Fort Gaines surrendered to the combined naval and land forces. Fort Powell was blown up and abandoned. On the 9th Fort Morgan was invested,and after a severe bombardment surrendered on the 23d. The total captures amounted to 1,464 prisoners and 104 pieces of artillery.*

About the last of August, it being reported that the rebel General Price, with a force of about 10,000 men, had reached Jacksonport, on his way to invade Missouri, General A. J. Smith's command, then en route from Memphis to join Sherman, was ordered to Missouri. A cavalry force was also, at the same time, sent from Memphis, under command of Colonel Winslow. This made General Rosecrans' forces superior to those of Price, and no doubt was entertained he would be able to check Price and drive him back, while the forces under General Steele, in Arkansas, would cut off his retreat. On the 26th day of September Price attacked Pilot Knob and forced the garrison to retreat, and thence moved north to the Missouri River, and continued up that river toward Kansas. General Curtis, commanding Department of Kansas, immediately collected such forces as he could to repel his invasion of Kansas, while General Rosecrans' cavalry was operating in his rear. The enemy was brought to battle on the Big Blue and defeated, with the loss of nearly all his artillery and trains and a large number of prisoners. He made a precipitate retreat to Northern Arkansas. The impunity with which Price was enabled to roam over the State of Missouri for a long time,and the incalculable mischief force may be used. There is no reason why General Rosecrans should not have concentrated his forces and beaten and driven Price before the latter reached Pilot Knob.+

September 20 the enemy's cavalry under Forrest crossed the Tennessee near Waterloo, Ala., and on the 23rd attacked the garrison at Athens, consisting of 600 men, which capitulated on the 24th. Soon after the surrender two regiments of re-enforcements arrived, and after a severe fight were compelled to surrender. Forrest destroyed the railroad westward, captured the garrison at Sulphur Branch trestle, skirmished with the garrison at Pulaski on the 27th and on the same day cut the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad near Tullahoma and Decherd. On the morning of the 30th one column of Forrest's command, under Buford, appeared before Huntsville, and summoned the surrender of the garrison. Receiving an answer in the negative he remained in the vicinity of the place until next morning, when he again summoned it surrender, and received the same reply as on the night before. He withdrew in the direction of

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*Subordinate reports of operations against Mobile will appear in Vol. XXXIX.

+Subordinate reports of operations in Missouri will appear in Vol. XLI.

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Page 26 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.