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of mere annoyance of the Federal garrisons. They were preliminary to a formidable invasion, that of General Bragg and his army, who were about to make a dash for the Ohio, driving back Buell and carrying the war into the enemy's territory. In the active operations that attended Bragg's advance and subsequent retreat, ended by his signal defeat at Stone River, Forrest was not at rest, and he was especially active in the interval before this battle.
He had been detached, with three thousand five hundred cavalry, to operate in western Tennessee upon the lines of communication between Grant and Rosecrans and between both these and their base of supplies at Louisville, and for a fortnight he rode at will through that region, burning bridges, tearing up railroads, threatening fortified places, and capturing small military posts. Crossing the Tennessee at Clifton on December 13, he rode toward and menaced Jackson, then swept northward, tearing up tracks, burning bridges, capturing several places and threatening Columbus, General Sullivan's head-quarters.
At Trenton he captured and paroled seven hundred prisoners, and on his return struck Colonel Dunham with sixteen hundred men. Dunham's trains were taken and his small force was surrounded and its surrender demanded. The brave Dunham refused, and just then General Sullivan suddenly appeared at the head of two brigades and made a furious assault upon Forrest. The boot was now on the other foot. Forrest had outnumbered Dunham, but he found himself overmatched by Sullivan, and after a sharp brush he deemed it wise to seek safer quarters. Two hundred of his men had fallen, while four hundred were made pris oners, and he himself very narrowly escaped capture.
It was a season of raids. While Forrest was making this bold dash on Rosecrans's left and rear, Morgan was busy upon his right, dashing through the heart of Kentucky, taking spoil and prisoners and doing great damage. But this work was not all on one side. The Union General Carter was at the same time occupied in destroying bridges on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, which connected Bragg's army with that of Lee in Virginia, and succeeded in doing considerable damage, in especial burning the great bridge, seven hundred and fifty feet long, over the Holston River.
The great exploit of Forrest, that which Lord Wolseley said read like a romance, came in April, 1863, when Rosecrans, who contemplated moving on Bragg at Chattanooga, sent out an expedition under Colonel Streight for the purpose of sweeping round to Bragg's rear, destroying supplies of every kind, and doing everything possible to cripple him. There were eighteen hundred men under Streight, who left Nashville on April 8 and made his way, partly by land and partly by water, until he reached the command of General Dodge, then marching on Tuscumbia, in northern Alabama.
This was a feint to mask the real object of the expedition. Streight was directed to march with Dodge long enough to give the impression that he formed part of Dodge's force, then to drop out and strike across towards Rome, in Georgia, destroying the ironworks there. Atlanta was also to be reached, if possible, and its railroad lines destroyed.
Streight's men were not mounted when they left Nashville. They were ordered to pick up horses and mules on the way, but half of them were still on foot when Dodge's command was reached. On their march with him they added to their supply of animals, but part of them were still on foot when they were ready to break off and start on their journey east. Dodge meanwhile kept on southward and swept around into Mississippi, destroying public property as he went and finally returning to Corinth.
Colonel Streight was a proved and stalwart cavalry leader, well adapted for the task before him, and he might have succeeded but for " that devil, Forrest," as he called his keen pursuer. The route to be traversed was a barren, mountainous region, chosen because most of its sparse population were Union sympathizers. The road was so steep and rocky and forage so scarce, that mules were taken instead of horses, as being more sure-footed and needing less food.
Carefully as this affair had been managed, the gathering of mules gave rise to a suspicion that some mysterious movement was on foot, and Forrest brought his corps of hard riders at top speed from Tennessee to be on hand if needed. He aided General Rodney in giving Dodge what trouble he could until the evening of the 28th, two days after Streight had set out, when word was brought him that a large body of Union troopers had been seen riding towards Moulton.
The quick-witted raider guessed in a moment what this meant and without a second's delay he began preparations for a sharp pursuit. A suitable body of his best men was hastily selected, several days' rations were cooked, corn was gathered for the horses, and shortly after midnight Forrest and his men were off on one of the hardest rides of their lives. There were twelve hundred in his band, reckless and hardy "irregulars,” veterans of the saddle whose prowess had been tried on many a hard-fought field and in many a bold foray.
So swift was their ride that at dawn of the 30th, when Streight was toiling onward through the ugly mountain country before him, the boom of cannon in the rear gave him the startling news that an enemy was already in pursuit. Forrest's men had rested during the night, and now with wild yells charged up the narrow mountain road. They were severely punished for their haste, their wary antagonist having formed an ambuscade by the roadside, by which many of their saddles were emptied before they got out of the trap.
Forrest's whole force now joined in the attack, but they met with a similar reception, being driven back by a murderous fire and a fierce charge, while two of their guns were captured with their caissons and ammunition. Forrest now dismounted his men and charged as infantry, only to find that no foe confronted him, the Federals being well on the road again, taking their captured guns.
From this time on the chase was largely a running fight. Forrest kept hotly on the track, giving his foes no rest, while a fight took place whenever the two forces came within reach. Do what he could, Streight could not shake off his persistent foe, who clung to him as close as a chestnut burr.
Streight having used up his ammunition, soon abandoned the guns, after spiking them. Further on he was pressed so sharply that he was obliged to leave his wagons. They were fired, but Forrest's men reached them in time to put out the fire and gain their much-needed contents. Pursued and pursuers
had now left the mountains and were in the open country. For four days and nights the chase continued. On the morning of May 2 Colonel Streight threw off his persistent pursuers for a brief time by crossing the deep and rock-walled Black Creek and burning the bridge.
The stream was said to be too deep to ford and the nearest bridge was several miles away. Federals now thought they could get an interval of rest. What was their surprise and dismay, by the time they had gone four miles on their way, to hear the shouts of the indefatigable foes once more behind them. A girl in the vicinity had shown Forrest a difficult but fordable spot in the stream and he had quickly gained the other side.
When May 3 dawned the hot chase was nearing its end. Forrest had given his men ten hours' sleep, while Streight and his worn-out men had plodded on. This all-night ride was a fatal error. While the men were at breakfast Forrest's troopers, fresh from their slumber, rode briskly up and the old teasing rattle of small arms called the worn fugitives into line again. So exhausted were they that many of them fell asleep as they lay behind a ridge, gun in hand and finger on trigger.
The game was evidently up. Streight proposed to fight on, but his officers were all against it, and after a brief parley surrender was decided upon. Forrest had won after the hardest ride of his life. Colonel Streight's raid to the South had ended like General Morgan's raid in Ohio. The two were alike in another way.
Morgan escaped from the prison in which he was confined and Streight did the same. He and four of his officers, who were confined in Libby Prison, took