“  Saunders arrived with two hundred thousand caps, but brought no information as to your position or movements. The enemy is landing troops in large numbers on Louisiana shore, above Vicksburg. They are probably from Memphis, but it may be from Yazoo; I cannot ascertain positively. On the Graveyard road the enemy has run his saps to within twenty-five yards of our works. He will probably attempt to sink a mine; I shall try to thwart him. I am anxiously expecting to hear from you, to arrange for co-operation.”
I insert here two dispatches from General Johnston, one of which is acknowledged in my letter above:Vicksburg, June 15, 1863.“The enemy has placed several very heavy guns in position against our works, and is approaching then very near by sap. His fire is almost continuous. Our men have no relief — are becoming much fatigued, but are still in pretty good spirits. I think your movement should be made as soon as possible. The enemy is receiving reinforcements. We are living on greatly reduced rations, but I think sufficient for twenty days yet.” The enemy had now placed in position on the peninsula several very heavy guns, the fire of which was very destructive, and though repeated attempts were made we could not succeed in silencing them. On the nineteenth, the following telegram was sent to General Johnston: “The enemy opened all his batteries on our lines about half-past 3 o'clock this morning, and continued the heaviest fire we have yet sustained, until eight o'clock, but he did not asault our works. Artillery is reported to have been distinctly heard about two o'clock A. M., towards and east of Snyder's Mills, supposed to have been an engagement with your troops. On the Graveyard road the enemy's works are within twenty-five feet of our redan, also very close on Jackson and Baldwin's Ferry roads. I hope you will advance with the least possible delay. My men have been thirty-four days and nights in trenches without relief, and the enemy within conversation distance. We are living on very reduced rations, and, as you know, are entirely isolated. What aid am I to expect from you? The bearer, Captain Wise, can be confided in.” On the night of the twenty-second a party from Cumming's Georgia brigade, Stevenson's division, made a gallant sortie on the Hall's Ferry road, and captured a Lieutenant-Colonel and twelve men, with their intrenching tools, &c. On the night of the twenty-third a heavy skirmish occurred in front of Cummings's line for the possession of a picket-station, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy. Under date of the twenty-first, the following dispatch was sent out to General Johnston:Your dispatches of fourteenth and sixteenth received. If it is absolutely impossible in your opinion to raise the siege with our combined forces, and that nothing more can be done than to extricate this garrison, I suggest that, giving me full information in time to act, you move by the north of the railroad, drive in the enemy's pickets at night, and at daylight next morning, engage him heavily with skirmishers, occupying him during the entire day, and that on that night, I move by the Warrenton road, by Hankinson's Ferry, to which point you should previously send a brigade of cavalry, with two field batteries to build a bridge there, and hold that ferry; also Hall's and Baldwin's to cover my crossing at Hankinson's. I shall not be able to move with my artillery, and wagons. I suggest this as the best plan, because all the other roads are too strongly intrenched, and the enemy in too heavy force for a reasonable prospect of success, unless you move in sufficient force to compel him to abandon his communications with Snyder's, which I still hope we may be able to do. I await your orders. Captain Cooper understands all my views, and will explain further.
June 14, 1863.All that we can attempt is to save you and your garrison. To do this exact co-operation is indispensable. By fighting the enemy simultaneously, at the same point of the line, you may be extricated. Our joint forces cannot raise the siege of Vicksburg. My communications with the rear can best be preserved by operating north of the railroad. Inform me, as soon as possible, what point will suit you best. Your dispatch of the twelfth received. General Taylor with eight thousand men will endeavor to open communication with you from Richmond.
Late in the afternoon of the twenty-fifth the enemy exploded his first mine, under the parapet of General Forney's works. In his official report that officer says: “The explosion effected a breach through which the enemy immediately attempted to charge, but was promptly and gallantly repulsed. The Sixth Missouri regiment, which had been held in reserve, was on the spot immediately after the explosion, and its commander, Colonel Eugene Irwin, was instantly killed while attempting to lead a charge over the ”June 22, 1863.Your dispatch of the fifteenth received. General Taylor is sent by General E. K. Smith to co-operate with you from the west bank of the river, to throw in supplies, and to cross with his force if expedient and practicable. I will have the means of moving towards the enemy in a day or two, and will try to make a diversion in your favor, and, if possible, communicate with you, though I fear my force is too small to effect the latter. I have only two-thirds of the force you told messenger Saunders to state to me the least with which I ought to make an attempt. Scouts report the enemy fortifying towards us, and the roads blocked. If I can do nothing to relieve you, rather than surrender the garrison endeavor to cross the river at the last moment, if you and General Taylor communicate.