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[548]

Were you acquainted with the movements of the several corps of the enemy, when, as it appears, they were separated into two or more distinct columns, separated by twelve or fifteen miles, and when you were nearer to one, and perhaps to two, than they were to each other, could you not have struck at one separately, and, if so, what reasons induced you to wait till nearly all their several forces concentrated and attacked you on your march in obedience to General Johnston's renewed order?

While I have not approved General Johnston's instructions-as, under the circumstances, I think it would have been better to have left you to the guidance of your superior knowledge of the position, and your own judgment-I confess to have been surprised that, seeing he had taken the responsibility of positive directions with a view to a prompt attack on a separate detachment of the enemy, you had not seized the occasion, while they were severed, to attempt the blow. I consider the essential part of his orders to have been immediate advance and attack on a column, and that, if you could not execute that, you would have been well justified in attempting no other compliance, and falling back on your previous plan. As it was, neither plan was pursued, and invaluable time, and the advantage of position, were lost in doubtful movements; so, at least, the case has struck my mind.

On another distinct point I should be pleased to have information. How happened it that General Gregg, with his small force, was so far separate from you, and compelled alone, at Raymond, to encounter the greatly superior forces of the enemy? Had he been placed at such distance as a covering force to Jackson, the capital, or with what view?

To recur again to the battle of Baker's Creek, I should be pleased to know if General Loring had been ordered to attack before General Cummings's brigade gave way; and whether, in your opinion, had Stevenson's division been promptly sustained, the troops with him would have fought with so little tenacity and resolution as a portion of them exhibited? Have you had any explanation of the extraordinary


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Joseph E. Johnston (2)
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