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[561] it; and further to show that consequent upon this want of cavalry, I was compelled to employ infantry, and thus weaken my force in that arm at other important points. I wrote to General Johnston on March twenty-fifth, urgently requesting that the division of cavalry under Major-General Van Dorn, which had been sent to the Army of Tennessee for special and temporary purposes, might be returned to me. Under date of Tullahoma, April third, Colonel B. S. Ewell, A. A. G., replied to my request and from that reply I make the following extract: “In the present aspect of affairs, General Van Dorn's cavalry is much more needed in this department than in that of Mississippi and East Louisiana, and cannot be sent back as long as this state of things exists. You have now in your department five brigades of the troops you most require, viz., infantry, belonging to the Army of Tennessee. This is more than a compensation for the absence of General Van Dorn's cavalry command.”

I will terminate this subject with the following telegram addressed to General Johnston, at Tullahoma, on the twenty-seventh of April:

However necessary cavalry may be to the Army of Tennessee, it is indispensable for me to maintain my communications. The enemy are to day at Hazlehurst, on the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad. I cannot defend every station on the roads with infantry. I am compelled to bring cavalry here from Northern Mississippi, and thus the whole of that section of the State is left open; further, these raids endanger my vital positions.

When it seemed probable that the enemy would succeed in opening a navigable canal across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, and thus to a great extent avoid the batteries established there, I directed that Grand Gulf should be occupied, and as many heavy guns placed in position as could be without too much weakening the defences of Vicksburg.

Believing that the urgency of the case demanded it, I assumed the responsibility of detaining three heavy guns en route for the Trans-Mississippi Department, and withdrew two others from the batteries at Vicksburg. Insufficient as I knew this battery to be, it was the heaviest I could place there. Fort Pemberton, on the Tallahatchie, then occupied our attention; the enemy in large force by land and water, was exerting all his energies against the position with the view of turning the right flank of Vicksburg, and every available gun was required for its defence. This necessity continued to exist until the fall of the rivers rendered an approach by water impracticable. Grand Gulf was not selected as a position for land defence, but for the protection of the mouth of the Big Black, and also as a precautionary measure against the passage of transports, should the canal before referred to prove a success, which then seemed highly probable.

The necessary works were, however, constructed, under the direction of Brigadier-General Bowen, to defend the batteries against an assault from the river front, and against a direct attack from or across Big Black. When, however, the enemy succeeded in passing sufficient transports to cross his troops from the west bank of the river, below Grand Gulf — there being a practicable route by which to move his land forces from above Vicksburg to a point nearly opposite Bruinsburg — the position of Grand Gulf itself lost most of its value; but so great were his facilities of transportation, and so rapid his movements, that it was impracticable to withdraw the heavy guns. The only means of subsisting an army south of Big Black, are from Vicksburg or Jackson; the former requiring a transportation by dirt road of forty, and the latter of fifty-five miles, in addition to that by rail. Without cavalry I could not have protected my own communications, much less have cut those of the enemy.

To have marched an army across Big Black of sufficient strength to warrant a reasonable hope of successfully encountering his very superior forces, would have stripped Vicksburg and its essential flank defences of their garrisons, and the city itself might have fallen an easy prey into the eager hands of the enemy.

The enemy having succeeded, on the night of April sixteenth (as heretofore related), in passing the batteries at Vicksburg with a number of his gunboats and transports, and the report of a heavy movement southward on the Louisiana shore being fully confirmed, I immediately made the necessary dispositions for more perfectly guarding all points between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf, and reinforced Brigadier-General Bowen with Green's brigade, the Sixth Mississippi regiment, the First Confederate battalion, and a battery of field artillery. Other troops were collected on the line of the railroad between Jackson and the Big Black Bridge, and measures were taken to get the troops that were being returned from Middle Tennessee into such positions that they could be readily moved at a moment's notice.

Major-General Stevenson was directed to place five thousand men in easy supporting distance of Warrenton, in addition to the brigade already there. Major Lockett, my Chief Engineer, was sent to Grand Gulf. On the twenty-second I addressed a communication to Lieutenant-General E. K. Smith, acknowledging the receipt of one from him of the fifteenth, asking my co-operation on the west side of the Mississippi, and stating my inability to do so because of the enemy's gunboats in the river, and from want of transportation, and again asking his co-operation in front of Grand Gulf and New Carthage. The following telegram was addressed to Major-General Stevenson on the twenty-third: “I consider it essential that communications, at least for infantry, should be made by the shortest practicable route to Grand Gulf. The indications now are that the attack will not be made on your front or right, and all troops not absolutely necessary to hold the works at Vicksburg

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