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[513]

Jackson, June 19, 1863.
Hon. J. A. Seddon:
Dispatch of 16th received. I think that you do not appreciate the difficulties in the course you direct, nor the probabilities in consequence of failure. Grant's position, naturally very strong, is intrenched, and protected by powerful artillery; and the roads are obstructed. His reenforcements have been at least equal to my whole force. The Big Black covers him from attack, and would cut off our retreat if defeated. We cannot combine operations with General Pemberton, from uncertain and slow communication. The defeat of this little army would at once open Mississippi and Alabama to Grant. I will do all I can, without hope of doing more than aid to extricate the garrison.

J. E. Johnston.

Richmond, June 21, 1863.
General J. E. Johnston:
Yours of the 19th received. Consequences are realized, and difficulties are recognized as very great; but still think, other means failing, the course recommended should be hazarded. The aim, in my judgment, justifies any risk, and all probable consequences.

James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.

Richmond, June 21, 1863.
General J. E. Johnston:
Only my conviction (of almost imperative necessity for action) induces the official dispatch I have just sent you. On every ground I have great deference to your superior knowledge of the position, your judgment and military genius; but I feel it right to share, if need be to take, the responsibility, and leave you free to follow the most desperate course the occasion may demand. Rely upon it, the eyes and hopes of the whole Confederacy are upon you, with the full confidence that you will act, and with the sentiment that it were better to fail, nobly daring, than, through prudence


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