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[555] me by what route General Johnston wished me to advance. If the enemy should await my approach at Clinton, and give me battle there, General Johnston would have been in his rear, and might have cooperated; or, if he advanced upon Jackson, and engaged the small force there, and I could, by any possibility, ill obedience to General Johnston's orders, have come up in his rear while so occupied, there would have been cooperation. But, in either event, to unite our troops in this way, it is plain that the enemy, whatever his strength, must be first completely routed. I see no other mode by which a junction could have been effected, unless either General Johnston or myself should pass completely around the position or moving columns of the enemy. I have no reason to suppose he contemplated such a movement when he addressed to me his note of the 13th. In the absence of special instructions as to my route to reach the rear of the enemy at Clinton, I was certainly at liberty to select that which I should deem the most advantageous; time or the distance to be marched being only one element, though a very important one, which should influence my selection. I have no desire, however, to conceal the fact that my understanding of General Johnston's orders was to move as rapidly as possible to attack Sherman's corps at Clinton or wherever I might find it; and I believed that his instructions were influenced by his supposing that these were the only troops I could encounter, as no reference is made to any other force of the enemy. It will be remembered, now, that I received these instructions between nine and ten o'clock on the morning of the 14th, near Bovina, on the west of the Big Black River. I at first determined to obey them at once, although, in my judgment, fraught with peril and absolute disaster; and so informed General Johnston. Before leaving Bovina, I gave some necessary instructions to meet this unexpected movement, and, as soon as possible, proceeded to Edwards's Depot, where I arrived at about twelve o'clock, and learned, from prisoners just captured, that a corps of the enemy was on my right flank, with one division of it near Dillon's. It will be observed in General Johnston's

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