Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/203

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Gen. N. B. Forrest Captures Memphis.

able to cross the Tallahatchie, ford miles out of the direct course. Arriving at Panola, about 100 of his horses were so fagged that animals and riders were sent to Grenada.

Forrest rested the command a few hours, and then set out for Senatobia, where he arrived about dark, and decided to rest the horses. Before leaving Senatobia he found it would be necessary to bridge Hickahala creek. Never at a loss for means to carry out his purpose, he sent the men to every ginhouse in the neighborhood to take up the flooring and carry it on their shoulders to the crossing, about four miles distant. The woods were full of grape vines, which were twisted together, making two cables as thick as a man's body. These were stretched across the creek and fastened to trees on both banks. Other details were cutting down telegraph poles which were tied together with grape vines also, and rolled into the river to serve as pontoons. They were run under the cables and fastened to them. Poles were then put across these, and on them the ginhouse flooring was laid. Within an hour the command began to cross, the men leading their horses, while the artillery was pulled over by hand.

Six miles further north. Cold Water river was also found to be full, and a second bridge had to be built, twice as long as the one over the Hickahala, which was accomplished in three hours, and the command arrived at Hernando, twenty-five miles from Memphis, before night. Here scouts who left Memphis that day w r with information of the position of the enemy in and around the city, stated that everything was quiet, and no expectation or intimation of any trouble was heard. The horses were very tired from the forced march in deep mud, and had to be rested a few hours, but about 3 o'clock Sunday morning, August 21, 1864, we arrived in the suburbs of Memphis.

Some trusted scouts had been sent ahead to learn the exact position of the enemy's pickets, who reported that there were some 5,000 troops in the city, a great many of whom were negroes and hundred-day men. Forrest ordered the troops to be closed up, and the regimental commanders were called together and each given definite instructions as to what he was expected to do. Captain W. H. Forrest, a brother of the general, was sent in advance with forty men to capture the pickets, if possi-