rejoined on the 21st: “Consequences are realized and difficulties recognized as being very great.
But I still think, other means failing, the course recommended should be hazarded.
The aim, in my judgment, justifies any risk, and all probable consequences.”
In another telegram of the same date, he added: “Only my conviction of almost imperative necessity for action, induces the official dispatch I have just sent you. On every ground I have great deference for your superior knowledge of the position, your judgment, and military genius, but feel it right to share — if need be, to take — the responsibility, and leave you free to follow the most desperate course the occasion may demand.
Rely upon it, the eyes and hopes of the whole Confederacy are upon you, with the full confidence that you will act, and with the sentiment that it is better to fail nobly daring, than, through prudence even, to be inactive.
I look to attack in the last resort, but rely on your resources of generalship to suggest less desperate modes of relief.
I can scarce dare to suggest, but might it not be possible to strike Banks
first, and unite the garrison of Port Hudson
with you, or to secure sufficient cooperation from General Smith
, or to practically besiege Grant
by operations with artillery, from the swamps, now dry, on the north side of the Yazoo
, below Haynes
's Bluffs I rely upon you for all possible to save Vicksburg
I explained, on the 24th: “There has been no voluntary inaction.
When I came, all military materials of the department were in Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
Artillery had to be brought from the East
; horses for it, and field transportation, procured ”