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“ [202] in an exhausted country; much from Georgia, brought over wretched railroads; and provision collected. I have not had the means of moving. We cannot contend with the enemy north of the Yazoo. He can place a large force there in a few hours-we, a small one, in ten or twelve days. We cannot relieve Port Hudson without giving up Jackson, by which we should lose Mississippi....”

The want of field .transportation was then delaying an expedition toward Vicksburg. That want made it impossible, then, to march the much longer distance to Port Hudson, even if it had been expedient to do so. But such an expedition, by us, would have enabled General Grant to destroy our army, for, by the help of his strong lines, two-thirds of his forces could have been sent to intercept us, while the other maintained the investment of Vicksburg.

On the 28th, the necessary supplies and field transportation having been procured, the equipment of the artillery completed, and a serviceable floating-bridge finished (the first constructed having proved a failure), the army1 was ordered to march next morning toward the Big Black River. In the afternoon of July 1st, Loring's, French's, and Walker's divisions bivouacked near Birdsong's Ferry, on that river, and Breckenridge's, with the floating-bridge, near Edwards's Depot. The cavalry, under General W. H. Jackson, was placed in observation along the river.

This expedition was not undertaken in the wild spirit that dictated the dispatches from the War Department, of the 16th and 21st of June. I did not

1 The “effective force” was a little above twenty thousand infantry and artillery, and two thousand cavalry.

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