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[546] with such morale and materiel as to be of further service to the Confederacy. While the council of war was assembled, the guns of the enemy opened on the works, and it was at the same time reported that they were crossing the Yazoo River at Brandon's Ferry, above Snyder's Mills. I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as possible, with the firm hope that the Government may yet be able to assist me in keeping this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi River. I still conceive it to be the most important point in the Confederacy.

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. C. Pemberton, Lieutenant-General commanding.

At the suggestion of the President, I would call your attention to several points in your recent report of operations in Mississippi, which it would be gratifying to me to have elucidated or explained.

The first dispatch of General Joseph E. Johnston, from Jackson, instructed you to advance and attack in the rear the corps of the enemy at Clinton, and promised cooperation in such attack, on his part. Clinton was on the railroad between General Johnston and Jackson, and yourself at Edwards's Depot. I understood this direction to instruct you to march toward Clinton at once, and by the direct or nearest route, considering the rear to be the side most remote from him (General Johnston), and nearest you, and not to have contemplated that you should make a detour to come around on the rear of the line by which the enemy had advanced toward Clinton. Was a different view entertained by you of the intent of this order?

As the object of the order was to have the corps at Clinton promptly assailed while separate and beyond support,

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