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[524] had at least an equal force to the south, on my right flank, which would be nearer Vicksburg than myself, in case I should make the movement proposed. I had, moreover, positive information that he was daily increasing his strength. I also learned, on reaching Edwards's Depot, that one division of the enemy (A. J. Smith's) was at or near Dillon's.

This confirmed me in the opinion, previously expressed, that the movement indicated by General Johnston was extremely hazardous. I accordingly called a council of war of all the general officers present, and, placing the subject before them (including General Johnston's dispatch), in every view in which it appeared to me, asked their opinions respectively. A majority of the officers present expressed themselves favorable to the movement indicated by General Johnston. The others, including Major-Generals Loring and Stevenson, preferred a movement by which the army might attempt to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi River.

My own views were strongly expressed as unfavorable to any advance which would separate me farther from Vicksburg, which was my base. I did not, however, see fit to put my own judgment and opinions so far in opposition as to prevent a movement altogether, but, believing the only possibility of success to be in the plan of cutting the enemy's communications, it was adopted, and the following dispatch was addressed to General Johnston:

Edwards's Depot, May 14, 1863.
I shall move as early to-morrow morning as practicable, with a column of seventeen thousand men, to Dillon's, situated on the main road leading from Raymond to Port Gibson, seven and a half miles below Raymond, and nine and a half miles from Edwards's Depot.

The object is to cut the enemy's communications, and to force him to attack me, as I do not consider my force sufficient to justify an attack on the enemy in position, or to attempt to cut my way to Jackson. At this point your

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J. E. Johnston (4)
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