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[473] Clinton ten hours after the receipt of my order to do so, and that the junction of the forces, which could have been effected by the fifteenth, was deferred, and that, in disobedience of my orders, and in opposition to the views of a majority of the council of war, composed of all his generals present, before whom he placed the subject, he had decided to make a movement by which the union would be impossible. General Pemberton was immediately instructed that there was but one mode by which we could unite, namely, by his moving directly to Clinton. The brigadier-generals representing that their troops required rest, after the fatigue they had undergone in the skirmishes and marches preceding the retreat from Jackson, and having yet no certain intelligence of General Pemberton's route, or General Gist's position, I did not move on Saturday. In the evening. I received a reply to my last despatch, dated four miles south of Edwards's Depot, May sixteenth, stating it had reached him at thirty minutes past six that morning; that “it found the army on the middle road to Raymond. The order of countermarch has been issued. Owing to the destruction of a bridge on Baker's Creek, which runs, for some distance, parallel with the railroad, and south of it, our march will be on the road leading from Edwards's Depot, in the direction of Brownsville. This road runs nearly parallel with the railroad. In going to Clinton we shall leave Bolton's Depot four miles to the right. I am thus particular, so that you may be able to make a junction with this army.” In a postscript, he reported “heavy skirmishing now going on in my front.”

On the afternoon of the same day I received General Pemberton's first reply to the order sent him from Jackson to attack Sherman, dated Bovina, May fourteenth, nine o'clock and ten minutes A. M., as follows:

I move at once with my whole available force from Edwards' Depot. In directing this move I do not think you fully comprehend the condition Vicksburgh will be left in; but I comply at once with your orders.

On May seventeenth, (Sunday,) I marched fifteen miles in the direction indicated in General Pemberton's note, received the previous evening. In the afternoon a letter was brought from him dated Bovina, May seventeenth, a copy of which has been forwarded to the War Department. In this, referring to my despatch of May thirteenth from Jackson, General Pemberton wrote:

I notified you on the morning of the fourteenth of the receipt of your instructions to move and attack the enemy toward Clinton. I deemed the movement very hazardous, preferring to remain in position behind the Big Black and near to Vicksburgh. I called a council of war, composed of all the general officers. A majority of the officers expressed themselves favorable to the movement indicated by you. The others, including Major-Generals Loring and Stevenson, preferred a movement by which this army might endeavor to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi. My own views were expressed as unfavorable to any movement which would remove me from my base, which was, and is, Vicksburgh. I did not, however, see fit to place my own judgment and opinions so. far in opposition as to prevent the movement altogether; but, believing the only possibility of success to be in the plan proposed, of cutting off the enemy's supplies, I directed all my disposable force-say seventeen thousand five hundred--toward Raymond or Dillon's.

It also contained intelligence of his engagement with the enemy on the sixteenth, near Baker's Creek, three or four miles from Edwards's Depot, and of his having been compelled to withdraw, with heavy loss, to Big Black Bridge. He further expressed the apprehension that he would be compelled to fall back from this point, and represented that, if so, his position at Snyder's Mills would be untenable, and said: “I have about sixty days provisions at Vicksburgh and. Snyder's. I respectfully await your instructions.”

I immediately replied, May seventeenth: “If Haynes's Bluff be untenable, Vicksburgh is of no value and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburgh, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, you must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburgh and its dependencies, and march to the north-east.” That night I was informed that General Pemberton had fallen back to Vicksburgh.

On Monday, May eighteenth, General Pemberton informed me, by letter, dated Vicksburgh, May seventeenth, that he had retired within the line of intrenchments around Vicksburgh, having been attacked and forced back from Big Black Bridge, and that he had ordered Haynes's Bluff to be abandoned. His letter concluded with the following remark: “I greatly regret that I felt compelled to make the advance beyond Big Black, which has proved so disastrous in its results.” It will be remembered that General Pemberton expected that Edwards's Depot would be the battle-field before I reached Jackson, (see his despatch of the twelfth, already quoted,) and that his army, before he received any orders from me, was seven or eight miles east of the Big Black, near Edwards's Depot.

On May nineteenth, General Pemberton's reply (dated Vicksburgh, May eighteenth) to my communication of the seventeenth, was brought me, near Vernon, where I had gone with the troops under my command, for the purpose of effecting a junction with him in case he evacuated Vicksburgh, as I had ordered, in which he advised me that he had “assembled a council of war of the general officers of this command, and having laid your instructions before them, asked the free expression of their opinions as to the practicability of carrying them out. The opinion was unanimously expressed that it was impossible to withdraw the army from this position with such morale and material as to be of further service to the Confederacy.” On receiving this information, I replied: “I am trying to gather a force which ”

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