Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/205

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Recollections of General Earl Van Dorn, 199

attack till some time in May, when General Coburn came out of Franklin with about five thousand men and was enticed to a point near Thompson's Station, where, after a sharp engagement, he sur- rendered in time to prevent a simultaneous attack in front and rear Forest's brigade having gotten behind him. On the day following Forest was sent with his own and Armstrong's brigade to attack Brentwood (believed to have been weakened in order to replace the captured garrison of Franklin), and succeeded in beating and cap- turing the force there (about twelve hundred), together with a large number of horses and many arms of different kinds. Out of this affair came an altercation between Van Dorn and Forrest, which is worthy of note as characteristic of both.

Forrest had reported his success to Van Dorn, who had in turn reported it to Bragg ; and he, being in need of just such things as Forest had captured, directed Van Dorn to send them forthwith to him. This order of Bragg' s was repeated by Van Dorn to Forrest, who replied that he did not have the captured property, and could not comply with the order. (I always supposed that Forrest's and Armstrong's men appropriated most of the captured property at the moment of capture). To this Van Dorn said : " Either your re- port to me is incorrect, or your command is in possession of the property, and you must produce and deliver it." Forrest replied indignantly that he was not in the habit of being talked to in that way, and that the time would come when he would demand satisfaction. Van Dorn said, quietly: " My rank shall be no barrier; you can have satisfaction at any time you desire."

Forrest passed his hand thoughtfully across his brow, and replied with a good deal of dignity and grace: " I have been hasty, general, and am sorry for it. I do not fear that anybody will misunderstand me, but the truth is you and I have enough Yankees to fight, with- out fighting each other, and^I hope this matter will be forgotten." Van Dorn said : " You are right, general, and I am sure nobody will ever suspect you of not being ready for any kind of fight at any time. I certainly am willing to drop the matter, and can assure you that I have no feeling about it; but I must insist that my orders shall be obeyed as long as I am your commander. Let us drop the sub- ject, however, as I have work for you to do." The conversation then turned on the subject of a Federal raid which had just been reported to Van Dorn by scouts, and Forrest, being ordered to inter-