OR, Series 1, Vol. 32, Part 3, Page 663

Hdqrs. Cav. Dept. of West Tenn. and North Miss.
March 21, 1864
Lieut. Col. T. M. Jack
Assistant Adjutant-General
   I have the honor to report the arrival of my advance at this place on yesterday morning at 11 o'clock, and deem it proper to give the lieutenant-general commanding a report of the condition of the country through which I have passed, also the state of affairs as they exist, with such suggestions as would naturally arise from observations made and a personal knowledge of facts as they exist. From Tupelo to Purdy the country has been laid waste, and unless some effort is made either by the Mobile & Ohio Railroad Company or the Government the people are bound to suffer for food. They have been by the enemy and by roving bands of deserters and tories stripped of everything; have neither negroes nor stock with which to raise a crop or make a support. What provisions they had have been consumed or taken from them, and the majority of families are bound to suffer. They are now hauling corn in ox wagons and by hand-cars from Okolona and below to Corinth, and as far north as Purdy, also east and west of Corinth, on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, but their limited means of transportation will not enable them to subsist their families, and my opinion is that the railroad can be easily and speedily repaired, and that any deficiency in iron from Meridian north can be supplied from the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, and that a brigade of cavalry with a regiment or two of infantry placed at Corinth would afford protection to that section, and would be the means of driving out of the country or placing in our army the deserters and tories infesting that region, whose lawless appropriation of provisions, horses, and other property is starving out the defenseless and unprotected citizens of a large scope of country. Repairing and running the railroad would enable the inhabitants to procure provisions from the prairies and would prove an invaluable acquisition in the transportation of supplies and troops from this section.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. Forrest