Oxford, Dec. 19. 1862.
Jackson is moving north with a large force of Cavalry. Will probably be at Rocky Ford to night. Send out all the Cavalry you can to watch their movements. I am sending Cavalry from the front to follow Jackson. Let the 2nd join them in the pursuit.
U. S. GRANT
Telegram, copies, DLC-USG, V, 18, 30, 91; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent. O.R., I, xvii, part 2, 439. On Dec. 19, 1862, Col. Robert C. Murphy telegraphed to USG. "Have ordered out all my Cavalry as you order. Where is Rocky Ford you Speak of I found no map here & have none but what I have made of surrounding Country that are reliable Shall have Cavalry on the new albany & Pontotock road will tha[t] be the course" Telegram received, DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Telegrams Received. O. R., I, xvii, part 2, 440. On the same day, 9:00 P. M., Murphy telegraphed to USG. "My cavalry are 'boots and saddles' and ready to move. Where is Rockyford ? I have no maps of the country except those I have made myself." Supplement to [Wisconsin] Assembly Journal of Friday, March 13, 1863, p. 13. On the same day, USG telegraphed to Murphy. "Rocky ford is on the Tallahatchie about 20 miles above Abberville or Rail Road crossing. In the morning will be early enough for your Cavalry to start and then go due East from Holly Springs to watch the enemy. They must be on their guard not to be caught and if they can retard the movements of Jackson until Mizner can get up." Copies, DLC-USG, V, 18, 30, 91; DNA, RG 393, Dept. of the Tenn., Letters Sent. O. R., I, xvii, part 2, 440.
On Dec. 20, Murphy telegraphed twice to Lt. Col. John A. Rawlins. "Contraband just in reports Van Dorn only 14 miles from here with 5,000 cavalry, intending to destroy stores here, and then dash on Grand Junction. He is on the Ripley [road] and expected to reach here by daylight. Have ordered out my cavalry, but my force is only a handful." "Have ordered out my cavalry to the east. Have sent some trains on to bring up my troops on the north as far as Coldwater and the south as far as the tank. I have now here, exclusive of cavalry, less than 500 men. Van Dorn was informed of this fact by paroled prisoners on yesterday." Ibid., p. 444. At 7:00 P. M. on Dec. 20, Murphy wrote to Rawlins. "Although you telegraphed me last night at 11. oclock that it was unnecessary to send out my Cavalry to look after Jackson who was advancing North with a large force, until this morning—yet from information from a Contraband at 5. oclock this morning that Genl Van Dorn was advansing on me with 22 regiments or 12,000 men & would be here at daylight inducd me to act at once & make every disposition for a faithful defence. Accord'gly I ordered the whole Cavalry force under Col McNeil to report to me at once, at the rail road depot, & proceeded there to issue orders for trains