Jackson. I am in position with eight brigades near Edwards's Depot.On the morning of the 14th, while on my way to Edwards's Depot from Bovina, I received the following dispatch, dated May 13th, from General Johnston, then at Jackson:
I have lately arrived, and learn that Major-General Sherman is between us, with four divisions, at Clinton. It is important to reestablish communications, that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once; to beat such a detachment would be of immense value. The troops here could cooperate. All the troops you can quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all-important.I immediately replied as follows:
Bovina, May 14, 1863.I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication. I moved at once with whole available force, about sixteen thousand, from Edwards's Depot, leaving Vaughan's brigade, about fifteen hundred, at Big Black Bridge; Tilghman's brigade, fifteen hundred, now at Baldwin's Ferry, I have ordered to bring up the rear of my column; he will be, however, from fifteen to twenty miles behind it. Baldwin's Ferry will be left, necessarily, unprotected. To hold Vicksburg are Smith's and Forney's divisions, extending from Snyder's Mills to Warrenton, numbering, effective, seven thousand eight hundred men. The men have been marching several days, are much fatigued, and I fear will straggle very much. In directing this move, I do not think you fully comprehend the position that Vicksburg will be left in; but I comply at once with your order.
The “detachment” General Johnston speaks of in his communication consisted of four divisions of the enemy, constituted an entire army corps, numerically greater than my whole available force in the field; besides, the enemy