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[114] course, to the Big Black river. That such was to be his mode of obeying the order, General Pemberton had written General Johnston, in a note dated the 14th, at 5 P. M.; which contained, however, no reference to the council of war. It was part of the tragedy of errors which the whole campaign illustrated, that this answer reached General Johnston before the note previously sent.

Meanwhile, no grass was growing under Sherman's feet. On the 14th, Johnston, hearing that the Fifteenth Corps was twelve miles from Jackson, on the Raymond road, and that both it and McPherson were moving on Jackson, sent out one-brigade to meet each corps, and evacuated the city, which was promptly entered. McClernand, who had been near Edwards' Depot, having received orders to that effect, joined the main body in the neighborhood of Jackson, out of which General Johnston had marched with his little army, then 6,000 at most, toward Clinton, twenty odd miles north. Ascertaining the Federal concentration, he dispatched an order to Pemberton on the same day, informing him of the situation of affairs and the disposition of forces, and asking if he could not close their communications with the river, and above all beat them if for want of supplies they were compelled to fall back. It was part the second of this tragedy of errors that Pemberton received this communication not till after the battle of Baker's creek, when too late to affect his action.

The battle of Baker's creek happened in this wise: When General Johnston, on the 15th, received General Pemberton's second note of the day before, disclosing his designs on Dillon's, Johnston instantly replied that “the only mode by which we could unite was his [Pemberton's] moving directly to Clinton and informing me [Johnston], that I might meet him there with 6,000 men.” Hardly had Pemberton got well clear of Baker's creek when this order reached him. He reversed his columns and prepared to obey it promptly, and dispatched a courier so to inform General Johnston. Just at this point a new factor appears, in the shape of Grant, who had heard in Jackson of Pemberton's designs to attack him piecemeal, and who had conceived the design of reversing the operation. McPherson, McClernand, Blair and Hovey were ordered on the 15th to march to Bolton's Depot, eight miles east of Edwards' Depot. Returning to Edwards' Depot, General Pemberton formed his line of battle-remaining, General Johnston contends, for five hours in front of a single Federal division, which he might have crushed. Battle was delivered by Grant on the 16th, with all his force. The Confederate resistance was spirited, but unavailing. General

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