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[556] communication of the 14th, given in my report, unfortunately not received until the evening of the 16th, that he informs me he was compelled to evacuate Jackson about noon on that day; thus showing that, within less than three hours of my receipt of his order, he was himself compelled to leave Jackson, the enemy having moved from Clinton against that place.

And, in the same communication, he further informs me that a body of troops, which was reported to have reached Raymond on the preceding night, advanced at the same time from that direction. Therefore, had I moved immediately, which I could not have done with more than sixteen thousand effective men, I should have encountered their combined forces in my front, had they chosen to give me battle; while McClernand's corps, upon my right, could either have interposed between me and Vicksburg, or have moved at once upon my rear. Nor could I have had much assistance from the reinforcements referred to by General Johnston; for, in the same communication, he informs me that “telegrams were dispatched when the enemy was near, directing General Gist to assemble the approaching troops at a point forty or fifty miles from Jackson, and General Maxcey to return to his wagons and provide for the security of his brigade, for instance, by joining General Gist;” he himself having moved on the 14th, with the small force at Jackson, some seven miles toward Canton, and thus placed himself not less than fifteen miles, as I am informed, by the nearest practicable route, from Clinton; and, on the following day, he marched ten and a half miles nearer to Canton and farther from Clinton.

Let us suppose, therefore, for the moment, that, neglecting all provision for the safety of Vicksburg, and by withdrawing Vaughan's brigade of fifteen hundred men from the defense of the Big Black Bridge (my direct line of communication with Vicksburg), I had swelled my little army at Edwards's Depot to seventeen thousand five hundred (it must be remembered Tilghman's brigade was west of Big Black guarding the important approach by Baldwin's Ferry,


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