Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/716

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Eighteenth battalion and part of Fifth regiment, Lieut.-Col. A. H. Chalmers.

On February 24th it was reported by Inspector-General Girault that General Forrest had in camp at and near West Point fully 6,000 cavalry; was daily increasing his force, and taking active steps to suppress the banditti in the Mississippi swamps.

Sharp's and Brantly's brigades, about 5,000 strong together, were sent from Meridian to Augusta, Ga., early in March, General Taylor having been ordered to send every available man east for the campaign in the Carolinas. Thus stripped of all infantry troops, Mississippi was left to depend upon the cavalry that might be collected by General Forrest, and it was hoped that his genius might overcome the fearful odds against him and win a victory that would put some hope and heart into the wornout soldiers of the Confederacy. General Beauregard informed General Taylor, on March 9th, that no portion of the army could be sent him to aid in the defense of Mobile, nor could any money be sent to pay his men their long overdue wages. He expressed his opinion that desertion was now an epidemic in all the armies, and advised Taylor to remove everything valuable to Macon, "which probably will be the last place in the Confederacy which will be attacked by the enemy."

Early in March a cavalry brigade marched from Memphis through northern Mississippi, traversing the theatre of the former bloody contests without opposition, though closely watched by part of Forrest's command. The defense of the lines at Mobile, during the latter part of March and early April, was participated in by Sears' brigade under Col. Thomas N. Adaire, including the remnants of the following regiments: Fourth, Maj. T. P. Nelson; Seventh battalion, Capt. S. D. Harris; Thirty-fifth, Capt. G. W. Oden; Thirty-sixth, Lieut.-Col. Edward Brown; Thirty-ninth, Capt. C. W. Gallaher; Forty-sixth, Capt. J. A. Barwick. These troops, with