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[495]

Jackson, January 2, 1863.
Mr. President:
General Pemberton continues to command at Vicksburg. He has asked for all the troops here, after being reenforced by Maury's division, in addition to those brigades agreed upon between us. The line of twelve miles to Snyder's Mills probably requires them all. I fear difficulty of subsisting them, however. A report just handed in by the inspecting officers shows that the supply of provision is much smaller than General Pemberton supposed. The place may be reduced, I fear, in consequence of this; or, should it be invested, we shall not have a sufficient force to break the investment.

Grant is still on the Tallahatchie, so that the remainder of Loring's and Price's troops cannot be withdrawn from Grenada. From his halting I suppose he is repairing the railroad. The force at Grenada (about eleven thousand effectives) is too weak to do more than delay the passage of the river by the enemy. My hope of keeping him back is in Van Dorn, under whom I propose to unite all the available cavalry, when Forrest and Roddy can be found.

Should Grant join Sherman at Vicksburg, it would be very embarrassing, for, as he could reach the place from Memphis as soon as we could learn whether he was embarking or moving along the railroad to Grenada, it could be invested by the combined armies. We could not break the investment with eleven thousand men, but it would be necessary to try.

The necessity of holding the Yazoo, as well as Vicksburg, employs a large force, too widely distributed to be in condition for the offensive.

We have no news from Arkansas, which proves, I think, that we are to get no help from that side of the Mississippi.

The Legislature has done nothing yet.

We require about twenty thousand men, the number you have asked for from Arkansas, to make headway against both Grant and Sherman. Will the great victory at Fredericksburg enable General Lee to spare a part of his force Should the enemy's forces be respectably handled, the


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