Wednesday, May 21, 2014

April 6, 1864 (Sunday): Forrest Proposes A Move

General Nathan B. Forrest

Jackson, Tenn., April 6, 1864.
    GENERAL: I desire to return you my thanks for past favors received while you were in command of this department and to say that so far I have been successful in every engagement with the enemy and have accomplished all that could be reasonably expected of me. I have in my command four small brigades of cavalry of about 1,200 men each, and if permitted to hold this country will increase it in a short time to perhaps 2,000 more. One of my brigades in composed exclusively of Kentuckians, and Colonel T. G. Woodward is exceedingly anxious to become attached to it. His command is very small and was raised in Southern and Southwestern Kentucky, and I think if transferred to me could be readily filled up. At any rate, if the transfer be made I will send to your army from the conscripts and deserters in this portion of the State at least two men for every one of Colonel Woodward's command that may be sent to me. As to whether the good of the service requires or permits the change is a matter left entirely to your better judgment. Am exceedingly anxious to further Colonel Woodward's wishes, provided it meets with your approbation. I have at present entire possession of West Tennessee and Kentucky south and west of Tennessee River, except the posts on the river of Memphis, Fort Pillow, Columbus, and Paducah. My men are in fine spirits and my command harmonious, and I hope to accomplish much during the spring and summer. My loss in all engagements and skirmishes with the enemy since I re-entered West Tennessee is 15 killed and 42 wounded; that to the enemy over 800. Have sent to General Polk over 600 prisoners, and their killed was 72 and balance of the 800 wounded. The Sixteenth and Twentieth Army corps (Federal) have gone up the river from Memphis-reported destination Chattanooga and Pulaski. I am of the opinion that everything available is being concentrated against General Lee and yourself. Am also of opinion that if all the cavalry of this and your own department could be moved against Nashville that the enemy's communication could be utterly broken up.
     I am, general, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

    N. B. FORREST,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 653.

Forrest had an effective force with good morale, but not in sufficient numbers to change thebalance in Tennessee and Kentucky.  He rightly claimed to control much of western Kentucky and Tennessee, excepting that bordering the river.  The advantage the Union enjoyed in naval superiority was decisive. 

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