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“ [186] subject before them (including your instructions) in every view in which it appeared to me, asked their opinions respectively. A majority of the officers expressed themselves favorable to the movement indicated by you. The others, including Major-Generals Loring and Stevenson, preferred a movement by which this army might endeavor to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi. My own views were expressed as unfavorable to any movement which would remove me from my base, which was, and is, Vicksburg. I did not, however, see fit to place my own judgment and opinions so far in opposition as to prevent the movement altogether; but, believing the only possibility of success to be in the plan proposed, of cutting off the enemy's supplies, I directed all my disposable force, say seventeen thousand five hundred, toward Raymond or Dillon's, encamping on the night of the 15th at Mrs. Ellison's, on the main Raymond and Edwards's Depot road, at a fork from which I could advance either to Raymond or Dillon's.” Then came a brief account of the circumstances of the battle of Baker's Creek, and his retreat to the Big Black River, after which he continued: “I am, for the present, holding the Big Black bridge, where a heavy cannonading is now going on. There are so many points by which I can be flanked that I fear I shall be compelled to withdraw; if so, the position at Snyder's Mill will also be untenable. General Tilghman was killed yesterday. I have about sixty days rations in Vicksburg and Snyder's Mill. I respectfully await your orders.”

Soon after reading this letter, I received, from good but unofficial sources, intelligence that the army

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