“  should be held as a movable force for either Warrenton or Grand Gulf.” On the twenty-eighth, Brigadier-General Bowen telegraphed that “transports and barges loaded down with troops are landing at Hard Times, on the west bank.” I immediately replied as follows: “Have you force enough to hold your position? If not, give me the smallest additional number with which you can. My small cavalry force necessitates the use of infantry to protect importantpoints.” Major-General Loring, then at Meridian, was ordered to send two of his regiments across the break on the Southern Railroad, near Chunky River, and Colonels Farrell and Reynolds, who were west of the break, were ordered to proceed immediately to Jackson. Major-General Buckner, commanding at Mobile, was notified that I should look to him to assist me in protecting the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as I required all the troops I could spare to strengthen General Bowen. Major-General Gardner, at Port Hudson, was also ordered to move Gregg's brigade rapidly to Jackson. Brigadier-General Tilghman, then on the Mississippi Central Railroad, was directed to move promptly with all his troops (save bridge guards) to Jackson. Major Clark, commanding at Brookhaven, was instructed to send couriers to all cavalry commanders near him, ordering them to move towards Grand Gulf, with directions not to encounter the main body of the enemy, but to harass him in the rear and flank. Similar instructions were forwarded to Osyka and Hazlehurst. To General Johnson, at Tullahoma, the following telegram was sent: “The enemy is at Hard Times, La., in large force, with barges and transports, indicating an attack on Grand Gulf with a view to Vicksburg. I must look to the Army of Tennessee to protect the approaches through Northern Mississippi.” The following, also, to Major-General Stevenson, at Vicksburg: “Hold five thousand men in readiness to move to Grand Gulf, and on the requisition of Brigadier-General Bowen move them. With your batteries and rifle-pits manned, the city front is impregnable.” To General Bowen, at the same time, the following was sent: “I have directed General Stevenson to have five thousand men ready to move on your requisition, but do not make requisition unless absolutely necessary for the safety of your position. I am also making arrangements for sending you two or three thousand men from this direction in case of necessity. You cannot communicate with me too frequently.” I believe I fully estimated the importance of preventing an advance upon Jackson, if it could be done without sacrificing Vicksburg ; but if the latter was lost the former was comparatively of little value. Vicksburg might still be held with Jackson in possession of the enemy, but it was the hope of being able to hold the position on Bayou Pierre, upon which the safety of Jackson depends, that made me most anxious to reinforce General Bowen, or, failing in that, at least to have a sufficient force at hand to secure his retreat across the Big Black. On the thirtieth of April I received the first information of the landing of the enemy on the east bank of the Mississippi River. General Bowen reported by telegraph that three thousand (3,000) Federal troops were at Bethel Church, ten miles from Port Gibson, at three o'clock, on the evening of the twenty-ninth, and that they were still landing at Bruinsburg. Brigadier-General Tracy, of Stevenson's division, had reached Grand Gulf with his brigade on the thirtieth. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, of the Twentieth Mississippi, with fifty mounted men of his regiment, left Jackson for the same place on the twenty-ninth, and Major J. D. Bradford, a good artillery officer, was sent to replace the lamented Colonel Wade as Chief of Artillery. Between twelve and two o'clock P. M., on the thirtieth, Brigadier-General Baldwin, with his brigade of Smith's division, had crossed the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry. At nine o'clock A. M., May first, General Bowen informed me, by telegraph — his army being then in position three miles south of Port Gibson — that General Baldwin was entering the latter place. On the same day General Bowen telegraphed me that prisoners taken reported Mc-Clernand in command; that three divisions had landed, one of which took the right hand road from Rodney, and that the enemy's force was estimated at twenty thousand men. He adds, however, “I disbelieve the report.” At three P. M., the same day, General Bowen advised me that he still held his position, but that he was hard pressed, and concluded by asking when Major-General Loring would arrive. In reply, he was notified, by telegram, that another brigade from Vicksburg was en route to reinforce him, and would probably reach him before Major-General Loring could arrive from Jackson. At 5.30 P. M., he informed me that he was falling back across the Bayou Pierre, and that he would endeavor to hold that position until the arrival of reinforcements. On reaching Rock Springs, about eighteen miles from Grand Gulf, Major-General Loring, learning that Brigadier-General Bowen had fallen back before a large force from Port Gibson, in the direction of Grand Gulf, directed two regiments and a field battery of Tilghman's brigade, which had been withdrawn from the Big Black Bridge, to move as rapidly as possible to Grand Stone Ford, and hold it at all hazards, to prevent the enemy from flanking Bowen in that direction, and then proceeded himself to the headquarters of General Bowen, near Grand Gulf. Major-General Loring, concurring with General Bowen as to the impractica-bility of holding his position with so small a force, directed its withdrawal across the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry. In his official report, Major-General Loring says: “This had hardly been determined upon when your communication was received, stating that the army had fallen back towards Grand Gulf, and ordering it to move at once out of its position, and to cross the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry.” The movement was promptly
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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