to move into Missouri. As our troops are now distributed, Vicksburg is in danger.
Most respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston, General.
Lieutenant-General Pemberton is falling back before a very superior force; that Lieutenant-General Holmes has been “peremptorily ordered” to reenforce him; but that, as General Holmes's troops may be too late, the President urges on me the importance of sending a sufficient force from General Bragg's command to the aid of Lieutenant-General Pemberton. Three railroad-accidents delayed my journey so much that I did not reach this place until after twelve last night. Consequently, your dispatch was delivered to-day too late for communication with General Bragg before to-morrow, when I shall visit his headquarters. I do not know General Pemberton's late positions. His march, I suppose, will be toward Vicksburg, where General Holmes's troops must cross the river. His movements, therefore, are facilitating the junction, while they daily render that of General Bragg with him more difficult. The enemy, too, is exactly between the latter and himself. It seems to me, consequently, that the aid of General Holmes can better be relied on than that of General Bragg. I, therefore, respectfully suggest that that officer be urged to the utmost expedition. Should the enemy get possession of Vicksburg, we cannot dislodge him. The Tennessee River is a formidable obstacle to the expeditious march of General Bragg's troops into Mississippi. He may, besides, be compelled to take a circuitous route.