This dispatch was not answered. General Pemberton states in his official report that it was received at six P. M., on the sixteenth, whilst on the retreat (from the battle field of Baker's Creek). On the next day, May fifteenth (Friday), the troops under me marched ten and a half miles further, to Calhoun Station. On the morning of that day I received a letter from General Pemberton, dated Edwards' Depot, May fourteenth (Thursday)--5.40 P. M.: “I shall move, as early to-morrow morning as practicable, a column of seventeen thousand to Dillon's. The object is to cut off enemy's communications and force him to attack me, as I do not consider my force sufficient to justify an attack on the enemy in position, or to attempt to cut my way to Jackson.” This was the first communication received from General Pemberton after my arrival at Jackson, and from it I learned that he had not moved towards Clinton, ten hours after the receipt of my orders to do so, and that the junction of the forces, which could have been effected by the fifteenth, was defeated, and that, in disobedience of my orders, and in opposition to the views of the majority of the council of war, composed of all his Generals present — before whom he placed the subject — he had decided to make a movement by which the union would be impossible. General Pemberton was immediately instructed that there was but one mode by which we could unite, viz., by his moving directly to Clinton. The Brigadier-Generals representing that their troops required rest after the fatigue they had undergone in the skirmishes and march preceding the retreat from Jackson, and having yet no certain intelligence of General Pemberton's route or of General Gist's position, I did not move on Saturday. In the evening I received a reply to my last dispatch, dated four miles south of Edwards' Depot, May sixteenth, stating it had reached him at 6.30 that morning; that “it found the army on the middle road to Raymond. The order of countermarch has been issued. Owing to the destruction of a bridge on Baker's Creek, which runs for some distance parallel with the railroad and south of it, our march will be on the road leading from Edwards' Depot in the direction of Brownsville. This road runs nearly parallel with railroad. In going to Clinton, we shall leave Bolton's Depot four miles to the right. I am thus particular, so that you may be able to make a junction with this army.” In a postscript he reported, “heavy skirmishing is going on in my front.” On the afternoon of the same day I received General Pemberton's first reply to the order sent him from Jackson to attack Sherman, dated Bovina, May fourteenth, 9.10 A. M., as follows: “I move at once, with my whole available force, from Edwards' Depot. In directing this move, I do not think you fully comprehend the condition Vicksburg will be left in, but I comply at once with your order.” On May seventeenth (Sunday), I marched fifteen miles in the direction indicated in General Pemberton's note, received the previous evening. In the afternoon a letter was brought from him, dated Bovina, May seventeenth, a copy of which has been forwarded to the War Department. In this, referring to my dispatch of May thirteenth, from Jackson, General Pemberton wrote: “I notified you on the morning of the fourteenth of the receipt of your instructions to move and attack the enemy towards Clinton. I deemed the movement very hazardous, preferring to remain in position behind the Big Black, and near to Vicksburg. I called a council of war, composed of all the General officers. * * * * A majority of the officers expressed themselves favorable to the movement indicated by you. The others, including Major-Generals Loring and Stevenson, preferred a movement by which this army might endeavor to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi. My own views were expressed as unfavorable to any movement which would remove me from my base, which was, and is, Vicksburg. I did not, however, see fit to place my own judgment and opinion so far in opposition as to prevent the movement altogether; but, believing the only possibility of success to be in the plan proposed, of cutting off the enemy's supplies, I directed all my disposable force — say seventeen thousand five hundred--towards Raymond or Dillon's.” It also contained intelligence of his engagement with the enemy on the sixteenth, near Baker's Creek, three or four miles from Edwards' Depot, and of his having been compelled to withdraw, with heavy loss, to Big Black Bridge. He further expressed apprehension that he would be compelled to fall back from this point, and represented that, if so, his position at Snyder's Mills would be untenable, and said: “I have about sixty (60) days' provisions at Vicksburg and Snyder's. I respectfully await your instructions.” I immediately replied, May seventeenth: “If Haynes' Bluff be ” to keep him from the country towards Panola. Can he supply himself from the Mississippi? Can you not cut him off from it; and, above all, should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him? As soon as the reinforcements are all up, they must be united to the rest of the army. I am anxious to see a force assembled that may be able to inflict a heavy blow upon the enemy. Would it not be better to place the forces to support Vicksburg between General Loring and that place, and merely observe the ferries, so that you might unite if opportunity to fight presented itself? General Gregg will move towards Canton to-morrow. If prisoners tell the truth, the forces at Jackson must be half of Grant's army. It would decide the campaign to beat it, which can be done only by concentrating, especially when the remainer of the Eastern troops arrive; they are to be twelve or thirteen thousand.
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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