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[493] Kentucky. General Bragg has about forty-two thousand men, besides irregular cavalry, which in a few days will occupy Readyville, this place, and Eagleville. They can cross the Tennessee only by ferrying, a very slow process, which Rosecrans would certainly interrupt. The movement to join General Pemberton would, by any route, require at least a month. From the information given me here, I believe that the country between the Tennessee and General Pemberton could not support the trains our troops would require for a march through it. If I am right in this estimate, the President's object of a speedy reenforcement of the army in Mississippi, cannot be accomplished by sending troops from Tennessee. To send a strong force would be to give up Tennessee, and would, the principal officers here think, disorganize this army. Rosecrans could then move into Virginia, or join Grant, before our troops could reach Pemberton's position; for the Tennessee is no obstacle to them. The passage of the Tennessee is so difficult and slow that we shall be unable to use the same troops on both sides of the river until next summer. Two thousand cavalry will be sent to break up the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and four thousand will be employed in the same way in West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. The latter may delay General Grant.

Most respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. E. Johnston, General.

Vicksburg, December 22, 1862.
Mr. President:
From such information as I have been able to obtain, I think that we shall require, to hold this department and the Mississippi River, an active army of about forty thousand men, to oppose the troops of Grant and Banks, and for garrisons at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, capable of holding those places against combined attacks until succored by the active army.

Major-General Smith has about five thousand nine hundred

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