Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/372
Southern Historical Society Papers.
A courier presently arrived, bringing the tidings of Rome's defended bridge. Rumors also floated into camp that Confederate troops were advancing to the defence of the city and the railroads. But the paramount evil announced itself—Forrest was again upon his track. Burnt bridges nor sequestered ferryboats had not stayed him. While the raiders wandered through bog and river bottoms in search of a bridge he had rested his followers. Now the pack was in full cry and the quarry in reach! It was to be a fight to the death!
Streight aroused his sleeping band with difficulty from their heavy slumbers to take up arms in defense of their lives.
A desperate, though losing fight, ensued. Seeing his victory, General Forrest sent a number of his staff to Colonel Streight under a flag of truce to demand a surrender. To accede to this demand was the only course left to the brave raider, and honorable terms were agreed upon.To the three hours which Emma Sansom saved him at Black Creek, Forrest ever attributed this victory of his arms. Not alone was Rome saved, but one of the great Confederate lines of transportation and supply was also saved, and an historian has said that had "the Congress of the Confederate States or the President, in the light of this brilliant achievement, with the recollection of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Murfreesborough, Thompson's Station and Brentwood, fresh in mind, appreciated the great military genius they were hampering with such a small force and had placed him then in command of all the cavalry of the Army of Tennessee, they would have brightened the prospects of an independent Confederacy, and have won the appreciation and confidence of the Southern people."