Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/547

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ate against Chattanooga. The latter town was now the objective of the Federal armies, and Grant and Rosecrans contented themselves with occupying Corinth.

Hardee started for Chattanooga on July 21st with the army of the Mississippi, the infantry being sent by rail via Mobile, leaving the army of the West at Tupelo under Gen. Sterling Price, and about the same time Gen. Joseph Wheeler, who had succeeded Chalmers in command of the cavalry brigade, was sent on a raid into Tennessee. He took with him parts of Jackson's, Wade's, Pinson's and Slemon's regiments, in all about 1,000 men. General Villepigue was in command at Holly Springs, from whom he hoped to obtain reinforcements, but was obliged to leave Jackson's regiment with him instead, and he proceeded to Bolivar and Jackson, Tenn., with about 500 men. With this force he penetrated some seventy miles behind the Federal lines, destroyed the railroad bridges in their rear, and fought in eight separate engagements, in all but one of which the Confederates were victorious. Many prisoners were taken and much cotton and railroad property destroyed.

For about two months from this date there was little activity in northeast Mississippi, except in the way of raids and expeditions. Brig.-Gen. Frank C. Armstrong, chief of cavalry of Price’s army, brought that arm of the service in Mississippi to an excellent condition, and restricted the Federals pretty closely to Corinth, as well as clearing them from West Tennessee.

During this period of the summer, while the attention of the South was mainly directed to the aggressive movements of Bragg toward Cincinnati and Louisville, and the victories of Lee and Jackson on the plains of Manassas, let us turn to the field of operations in Van Dorn’s department and review what had been done in the struggle for the possession of the great river which the Confederacy must hold to preserve its integrity.