In conformity with your expressed wish, you are relieved from the further command of the Department of Tennessee, which, as advised by you, is united to that of East Tennessee, so as to extend General Bragg's command over the department of General Buckner.On the 18th a dispatch, dated 17th, was received from General Bragg, in which he suggested the transfer of his troops to Mississippi, and an effort to defeat the Federal army with our combined forces. It was too late: such a combination might have been advantageous before or during the siege of Vicksburg: but not after its disastrous termination. It was notorious that, after the events just related, the President censured me very strongly and openly; ascribed the loss of Vicksburg to my misconduct, and asserted that, with the means placed by him at my disposal, I could have defeated the besieging army, or, at least, broken the investment of the place. Telegraphic correspondence with the President and Secretary of War, and the returns of the troops, made by their immediate commanders, informed them accurately of the whole strength of my command.1 Sickness, and details for various employments out of the ranks, reduced the fighting force of that command to about twenty thousand before it could be equipped for the field. General Grant's army was estimated at sixty thousand when it crossed the Mississippi, and, immediately after the investment of Vicksburg, it began
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