I have a report that places Forrest near the railroad from Louisville to Nashville. He must be pushed off that line at all costs.
Knoxville, March 29, 1864; 10.30 p.m.
Order the most vigorous pursuit possible of the party that has appeared near Lebanon Junction. Burbridge, at Louisville, should attend to it. There is a force of 9,000 cavalry, under Sturgis, at Paris, who can prevent escape to the east, and there are several Kentucky regiments of mounted men subject to Burbridge’s command.
Issue orders assigning to Schofield, Army of the Ohio, General Hovey and the regiments brought by him from Indiana, and order him to conduct them via Murfreesborough, Cowan, Bridgeport, and Chattanooga, to report in advance by letter and telegraph to Schofield at Knoxville.
Issue orders that commissaries at the principal stations along the railroad be prepared to issue provisions to troops marching to the front on the return of the officers in command. Commanding officers of regiments on the march shonld report by telegraph in advance of their progress.
Sawyer sent the following:
Nashville, March 29, 1864
Brigadier-General Burbridge, Commanding, Louisville:
The enemy are reported at Eddyville. If Forrest or any portion of the rebel command attempt to “cross through Kentucky, Hobson or yourself should collect all the returning veterans and such other troops as you can find and try and cut him off, according to the route he may attempt. The general directs that you impress on all that they must not act on the defensive, but must pursue and do all that is possible to kill, capture, and destroy every man of Forrest’s command that has crossed the Tennessee.
The stockade and railroad defenses must be defended if only 50 men have to fight 1,000 men, for Forrest will not have time to stay long in any one place.
Answer what may be your latest information.
By order of Maj. Gen. AV. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER, Assitttimt Adjutant-General