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[337] Brigadier General Bowen, commanding at Grand Gulf, reported that ‘transports and barges loaded down with troops are landing at Hard-Times on the west bank.’ Pemberton replied by asking: ‘Have you force enough to hold your position? If not, give me the smallest additional number with which you can.’ At this time the small cavalry force remaining in Pemberton's command compelled him to keep infantry detachments at many points liable to attack by raiding parties of the enemy's mounted troops, a circumstance seriously interfering with the concentration of the forces of his command. Instructions were sent to all the commanders of his cavalry detachments to move toward Grand Gulf, to harass the enemy in flank and rear, obstructing, as far as might be, communications with his base. A dispatch was sent to Major General Buckner, commanding at Mobile, asking him to protect the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as Pemberton required all the troops he could spare to strengthen General Bowen. A dispatch was also sent to General J. E. Johnston at Tullahoma, saying that the Army of Tennessee must be relied on to guard the approaches through north Mississippi. To Major General Stevenson, at Vicksburg, he sent a dispatch: ‘Hold five thousand men in readiness to move to Grand Gulf, and, on the requisiton of Brigadier-General Bowen, move them; with your batteries and riflepits manned, the city front is impregnable.’ At the same time the following was sent to General Bowen: ‘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 your position. I am also making arrangements for sending you two or three thousand men from this direction in case of necessity.’

The policy was here manifested of meeting the enemy in the hills east of the point of his debarkation, yet all unfriendly criticism has treated General Pemberton's course on that occasion as having been voluntarily to withdraw his troops to within the entrenchments of Vicksburg. His published reports show what early and consistent efforts he made to avoid that result.

After General J. E. Johnston had recovered from the wound received at Seven Pines, he was on November 24, 1862, by special order No. 275, assigned to the command of a geographical department including the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Louisiana, Georgia, and North Carolina. The order gives authority to establish his headquarters wherever, in his judgment, will best secure facilities for ready communication with the troops of his command; it provides that he ‘will repair to any part of said command whenever his presence ’

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J. C. Pemberton (4)
John S. Bowen (4)
R. Randolph Stevenson (2)
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