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[437] Johnston's friends were confident of his ability, and the President thought that his own judgment should not be put in opposition to so many good, judicious, and intelligent men. He was therefore assigned to the command of the Department of the West; his headquarters at Chattanooga; with full and complete control over the armies operating in Tennessee and Mississippi. After assuming that command, he was directed to go to Tullahoma, to ascertain if General Bragg had so lost the confidence of his troops as to render it expedient to remove him. After reporting in favor of that officer, he remained in Tullahoma, instead of returning to Jackson, where his presence was required by the imminence of General Grant's invasion; and, even in such a crisis, he went to Mississippi only in consequence of a positive order from the Secretary of War.

On arriving in Jackson, instead of leading his troops to join Lieutenant-General Pemberton's, or going to his headquarters, which was feasible, and assuming command in person, he retired with the troops he had, in the direction of Canton, without striking a blow, or endeavoring to impede the progress of the enemy in any manner whatever; and remained inactive for three weeks, although all the troops that could possibly be sent had been directed to reenforce him, swelling his numbers to a respectable army, strong enough to have cut through Grant's lines and relieve Pemberton. Finally, he did move; but only in time to reach the banks of the Big Black River to hear of Pemberton's surrender. This caused him to fall back to Jackson; which

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