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[163] by the same troops largely reinforced; it escaped with difficulty, Duck River being considerably swollen.

As there were no indications of intention on the part of the Federal commander in Tennessee to take the offensive soon, and my presence seemed to me more proper in Mississippi than in Tennessee, I left Chattanooga for Jackson, on the 9th, and at Mobile, when continuing on the 12th the inspection interrupted by the President's telegram on the 22d of January, I received the following dispatch from the Secretary of War, dated March 9th: “Order General Bragg to report to the War Department here, for conference; assume yourself direct charge of the army in Middle Tennessee.” In obedience to these instructions I returned immediately to Tennessee, and reached Tullahoma on the 18th, and there, without the publication of a formal order on the subject, assumed the duties of commander of the army. In consequence of information that the general was devoting himself to Mrs. Bragg, who was supposed to be at the point of death, I postponed the communication of the order of the Secretary of War to him, and reported the postponement, and the cause, to the Secretary.

The day after my arrival, dispatches from Lieutenant-General Pemberton informed me that the United States naval officers on the Lower Mississippi had ascertained the practicability of passing the Confederate batteries at Port Hudson with their iron-clad gunboats; two of them, the Hartford and Albatross, having )passed those batteries on the 15th, while they were engaged with the other vessels of Admiral

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