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[547] I have supposed it contemplated immediate movement on your part to execute it, and that the distance was not so great but that you might, could you have marched at once, have reached and struck the corps in from twelve to twenty-four hours.

Will you state the distance, and what obstacles prevented movement on your part for some twenty-six hours I have deemed it unfortunate that, on receiving this first dispatch from General Johnston, you, knowing that he must necessarily be very imperfectly acquainted with your position and resources, as well as with the movements and forces of the enemy, did not take the responsibility of acting on your better knowledge, and maintain your preconceived plan, or, if unwilling to do that, that you did not at once carry out strictly the order received. It appears to me the more to be regretted that, having written to General Johnston that you would move at once, though against your judgment, in execution of his instructions, you should afterward have so far deviated from them as to resolve to direct your movements toward Raymond instead of toward Clinton. When you came to this resolve, you at once informed General Johnston, but it happened, unfortunately, that, after the receipt of your first order, General Johnston had been compelled to act by the advance of the enemy on Jackson, and to proceed in evacuating, on the supposition that you were executing his first orders, and that you were more easily to be approached by his moving out to the north rather than to the south of the Vicksburg Railroad. Had he known of your purpose to move toward Raymond, the reasonable inference is, he would have directed his movements southward, or more in the direction of your proposed advance. I think it not unlikely misapprehension on this subject prevented his so moving as to have enabled him to have taken part in the battle so soon to be fought by you.

Will you explain more fully the motives for your deviation from the direct execution of the instructions, and the consequences which, in your judgment, would have resulted from pursuing the instructions literally?

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Joseph E. Johnston (4)
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