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“ [188] Black River from the west.” His telegram of the 12th,1 dispatched before I entered Mississippi, and his official report,2 prove that before I reached Jackson, where my first order to him was written, he had established his “movable army” six or seven miles “beyond” the river; and a large detachment (two brigades) near Raymond, twelve or fourteen miles still farther east. Those papers prove, also, that he had crossed the Big Black to give battle to the enemy, and expected Edwards's Depot to be the battle-field.

Early on the 19th, when near Vernon, I received Lieutenant-General Pemberton's reply to my note, conveying to him the order to evacuate Vicksburg. It was dated May 18th. After acknowledging the receipt of that order, General Pemberton said: “On the receipt of your communication, I immediately assembled a council of war of the general officers of this command, and having laid your instructions before them, asked the free expression of their opinions as to the practicability of carrying them out. The opinion was unanimously expressed that it was impossible to withdraw the army from this position with such morale and material as to be of further use to the Confederacy. While the council of war was assembled, the guns of the enemy opened on the works.... I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as possible, with the firm hope that the Government may yet be able to assist me in keeping this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi River. I still conceive it to be the most important point in the Confederacy.”

Such an estimate of the military value of Vicksburg,

1 See page 174.

2 See General Pemberton's report, page 33.

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