In relation to that object, for which the expedition was ordered, it certainly was not “a success,” “complete” or partial.
And as to any relation between General Thomas
's operations near Mill-Creek Gap, and General Sherman
's “against Meridian
,” the latter was abandoned on the 20th, and the retrograde movement to Vicksburg
began on the 21st.
In consequence of this, Hardee
's troops ( “the reinforcements” referred to above), only the foremost of which had reached the Tombigbee
, were recalled by the President
on the 23d, before General Thomas
's designs had been discovered.
It is incredible that the skirmishing about Mill-Creek Gap on the 25th and 26th of February could have been intended to “cause the recalling” of Hardee
's troops, for they had been on their way back two or three days; or for the relief of Sherman
, who was four or five days march on his return to Vicksburg
, while Lieutenant-General Polk
's troops were on the Tombigbee
As to being outnumbered, the Federal
army had four divisions and six regiments-probably at least seventeen brigades; it encountered seven Confederate brigades on the 25th, and eleven on the 26th.