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[519] contest for many hours, with a courage and obstinacy rarely equaled; and, though they failed to secure a victory, the world will do them the justice to say they deserved it.

With a moderate cavalry force at my disposal, I am firmly convinced that the Federal army under General Grant would have been unable to maintain its communications with the Mississippi River, and that the attempt to reach Jackson and Vicksburg from that base would have been as signally defeated in May, 1863, as a like attempt, from another base, had, by the employment of cavalry, been defeated in December, 1862. The repulse of General Bowen at Port Gibson, and our consequent withdrawal to the north bank of the Big Black, rendered it necessary that I should, as rapidly as possible, concentrate my whole force for the defense of Vicksburg from an attack in the rear by Grant's army, which was hourly swelling its numbers. Orders, therefore, were immediately transmitted to the officers in command at Granada, Columbus, and Jackson, to move all available forces to Vicksburg as rapidly as possible. On the morning of the 3d, two of the enemy's barges, loaded with hospital and commissary stores, were destroyed in attempting to pass the batteries at Vicksburg. On the 5th, I telegraphed General Johnston that six thousand cavalry should be used to keep my communications open, and that the enemy advancing on me was double what I could bring into the field. To the Honorable Secretary of War I sent the following telegram, under date of May 6th: “General Beauregard sends but two brigades, perhaps not five thousand men. This is a very insufficient number. The stake is a great one: I can see nothing so important.” On the 7th the President notified me that all the assistance in his power to send should be forwarded, and that it was deemed necessary to hold Port Hudson, as a means of keeping up our communications with the Trans-Mississippi department. Major-General Gardner, who, with Brigadier-General Maxcey and five thousand (5,000) men, had previously been ordered to Jackson to reinforce this army, was immediately directed to send Maxcey's brigade rapidly forward, and to


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