Dec 20 1862. The Rebel cavalry under Forrest has disrupted our communications to the point that our advance must be stopped. I wrote Gen. McPherson,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Oxford, Miss., December 19, 1862.
Major General J. B. McPherson,
Commanding Right Wing, &c.:
There will be no farther advance of our forces until further directions.
The enemy under Forrest have crossed the Tennessee below Clifton and are now near to Jackson. Communication it cut off, so that I cannot hear from there.
Sullivan reports the strength of the enemy at from 5,000 to 10,000 and still crossing. Dodge, however, had a scout among them before they commenced crossing, who estimates their force at about 5,000.
Ingersoll’s cavalry watched their movements for the last 25 miles, and yesterday had an engagement with them at Lexington, resulting in a defeat for us, Colonel Ingersoll and two pieces of artillery falling into the hands of the enemy. Last night Sullivan brought them to a halt about 6 miles from Jackson.
I have re-enforced Sullivan to the full extent of the capacity of the road to carry troops, partly from Columbus, partly from Corinth, one brigade from here, and by concentrating of the forces of the District of Jackson. Lowe is also moving from Heiman. I think the enemy must be annihilated, but it may trouble and possibly lead to the necessity of sending further forces from here.
A dispatch from General Halleck, received late last night, directs me to divide my forces into army corps, one of which is to be commanded by Major-General McClernand, he to have the chief command of the Vicksburg expedition, but under my direction. I was in hopes the expedition would be off by this time, and it may be that they are about starting.
We must be ready for any move. I think, however, it will not be a retrograde one.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 68-9
O.R., I, xvii, part 2, p 435-6