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‘ [339] on Big Black.’ This was done to prevent the foe's passing to his rear.

Large bodies of troops continued to descend the river, land above Vicksburg, and, to avoid our batteries at that place, to move on the west side of the river to reenforce General Grant. This seemed to justify the conclusion that the main effort in the West was to be made by that army, and, supposing that General Johnston would be convinced of the fact if he repaired to that field in person, as well as to avail ourselves of the public confidence felt in his military capacity, he was ordered, on May 9, 1863, to ‘proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces, giving to those in the field, as far as practicable, the encouragement and benefit of your personal direction. Arrange to take, for temporary service, with you, or to be followed without delay, three thousand good troops,’ etc.

On the 12th, the same day General Pemberton had applied for reenforcements, he instructed Major General Stevenson as follows:

From information received, it is evident that the enemy is advancing in force on Edwards's Depot and Big Black Bridge; hot skirmishing has been going on all the morning, and the enemy are at Fourteen-Mile Creek. You must move with your whole division to the support of Loring and Bowen at the bridge, leaving Baldwin's and Moore's brigades to protect your right.

In consequence of that information, Brigadier General Gregg, who was near Raymond, received cautionary instruction; notwithstanding this, he was attacked by a large body of the enemy's forces, and his single brigade, with great gallantry and steadiness, held them in check for several hours, and then retired in such good order as to attract general admiration. Meantime, bodies of the enemy's troops were sent into the interior villages, and much damage was done in them, and to the defenseless, isolated homes in the country.

General Johnston arrived at Jackson on May 13, 1863, and telegraphed to J. A. Seddon, Secretary of War, as follows:

I arrived this evening, finding the enemy in force between this place and General Pemberton, cutting off the communication. I am too late.

In the order assigning General Johnston to the geographical Department of the West, he was directed to repair in person to any part of his command, whenever his presence might be for the time necessary or desirable. On May 9, 1863, he was ordered to proceed at once to Mississippi and take chief command of the forces in the field.

When he reached Jackson, learning that the enemy was between that place and the position occupied by General Pemberton's forces, about thirty miles distant, he halted there and opened correspondence with

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J. C. Pemberton (3)
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