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[494] artillery and infantry for duty to defend a line of ten miles, exclusive of the position of Snyder's Mill, which requires three of his eight regiments. Should the enemy attack by land as well as by water, which is highly probable --almost certain-we would require at least eight more regiments of five or six hundred men each.

I have not seen Port Hudson, but a map of the ground gives me the opinion that it requires a garrison as strong as that necessary here. It now amounts to about five thousand five hundred of all arms; so that an addition of as many more will be required there — in all, eleven or twelve thousand men. For the active force we have now twenty-one thousand men near the Yallobusha. About nine thousand have been ordered to this department from Lieutenant-General Smith's, and it is supposed that an equal force is on its way from Arkansas.

No more troops can be taken from General Bragg without the danger of enabling Rosecrans to move into Virginia, or to reenforce Grant. Our great object is to hold the Mississippi. The country beyond the river is as much interested in that object as this; and the loss to us of the Mississippi involves that of the country beyond it. The eight or ten thousand men which are essential to its safety ought, therefore, I respectfully suggest, to be taken from Arkansas; to return after the crisis in this department.

I firmly believe, however, that our true system of warfare would be to concentrate the forces of the two departments on this side of the Mississippi, beat the enemy here, and then reconquer the country beyond it which he might have gained in the mean time.

I respectfully ask your Excellency's attention to the accompanying letter of Major-General Smith in relation to the inadequacy of the garrison of Vicksburg, begging you to take his estimate of the force needed instead of mine, as his is based upon accurate calculation.

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

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