“  side. The arrival of General Lorenzo Thomas has changed the enemy's plans, or his movement up the river was a ruse. I ought to have back Buford's brigade; certainly no more troops should leave this department. A dispatch from Brigadier-General Chalmers, yesterday, says, sixty-four boats left Memphis since Thursday, loaded with soldiers and negroes, ostensibly to assault Vicksburg. The raft on the Yazoo, at Snyder's Mills, has given way, and is entirely destroyed; I am, therefore, compelled to strengthen the batteries there at the expense of Vicksburg. General Stevenson reports that eight boats passed the bend last night; one was burned and two disabled; apparently, the other five escaped uninjured. Indications of an attack on Vicksburg are so strong, that I am not warranted in sending any more troops from this department.” From information received after this dispatch was sent, I learned that eight of the enemy's most formidable gunboats, besides his transports and barges, succeeded in passing safely on the sixteenth. I found it a very difficult matter to obtain the necessary hawsers and chains for the raft in the Yazoo, but it was speedily replaced under the active and energetic supervision of Mr. Thomas Weldon. My request for the return of the troops forwarded to Middle Tennessee to reinforce General Bragg, was immediately complied with. A portion of them, however, had reached Chattanooga; the remainder were halted by telegraph at various points on the route, and the whole were restored to this department as soon as was practicable. The enemy's vessels of war occupying the river between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf, it was impossible for me to operate effectually in the Trans-Mississippi Department, to prevent the advance of the enemy to the west bank of the river. On the seventeenth April,therefore, I addressed the following telegraphic communication to Captain E. Powell, A. Q. M., at Natchez: “Forward the following to Lieutenant-General Smith, or Major-General Taylor, viz.: ‘For the want of the necessary transportation, I cannot operate effectually on the west bank of the river; the enemy is now in force at New Carthage and Richmond. I beg your attention to this.’ ” Captain Powell notified me at once that this dispatch had been forwarded by courier. On the eighteenth, I addressed a second communication, through the same medium, as follows: “Lieutenant-General Smith, or Major-General Taylor: The enemy are cutting a passage from near Young's Point to Bayou Vidal, to reach the Mississippi River, near New Carthage; without co-operation it is impossible to oppose him. Inform me what action you intend to take.” To these communications, and to a subsequent one of twenty-second April, I received no reply, until after the capitulation of Vicksburg, when an acknowledgment of the receipt of that of the twenty-second, dated May thirtieth, reached me. On the nineteenth, reports of raids in Northern Mississippi, from several points in Tennessee, reached me. All the available cavalry north of the Southern Railroad was at once placed at the disposal of Brigadier-Generals Ruggles and Chalmers, commanding respectively the First and Fifth military districts, which embraced all the northern portion of the State of Mississippi; and both were notified of the expected raids. Two companies of cavalry of Waul's Legion alone were ordered to report to Brigadier-General Barton, at Warrenton. One of the marauding expeditions, under Colonel Grierson, which crossed the Tallahatchie River at New Albany, succeeded in passing directly through the State, and eventually joined General Banks' forces at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So great was the consternation created by this raid, that it was impossible to obtain any reliable information of the enemy's movements, rumor placing him in various places at the same time. On the twentieth, I addressed the following telegram to General Johnston: “Can you not make a heavy demonstration with cavalry on the Tallahatchie, towards Abbeville, if only for fifty miles? The enemy are endeavoring to compel a diversion of my troops to Northern Mississippi.” The same day the following communication was addressed to General Johnston in response to one from him, asking if I could not send reinforcements to the assistance of Colonel Roddy: “I have not sufficient force to give any efficient assistance to Colonel Roddy. The enemy are advancing from Memphis, via Hernando; from Grand Junction and LaGrange, via Holly Springs and Salem, and from Corinth, via New Albany. You are aware that I have but a feeble cavalry force; but I shall certainly give you all the aid I can. I have literally no cavalry from Grand Gulf to Yazoo City, while the enemy is threatening to pass the river between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf, having now twelve (12) vessels below the former place. A gunboat and one transport passed Austin on the eighteenth, having in tow fifteen flat-boats or pontoons, with twenty-five skiffs on them. Another transport passed Austin on the nineteenth, towing sixteen flats or pontoons.” Brigadier-General Ruggles was directed to send all his available cavalry, both Confederate and State, at once towards Corinth, as a diversion in favor of Colonel Roddy, General Johnston having informed me that a superior force of the enemy from Corinth was in front of Roddy at Tuscumbia, and desiring me, if possible, to send aid to the latter. Having no available cavalry to meet the raid of Grierson, which was ravaging the northern portion of the State, I endeavored to employ a portion of Buford's brigade (infantry), then returning to the department, and directed the commanding officer of the First regiment, on his arrival at Meridian, to remain until further orders, to protect the most important points on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and thereby succeeded in paving the valuable property, machinery, &c., at Enterprise, upon
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.