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[340] Pemberton, from which a confusion with consequent disaster resulted, which might have been avoided had he, with or without his reenforcements, proceeded to Pemberton's headquarters in the field. What that confusion or want of co-intelligence was, will best appear from citing the important part of the dispatches which passed between them. On May 13th General Johnston, then at Jackson, sent the following dispatch to General Pemberton, which was received on the 14th:
I have lately arrived, and learn that Major-General Sherman is between us, with four divisions at Clinton. It is important to reestablish communications, that you may be reenforced. If practicable, come up in his rear at once—to beat such a detachment would be of immense value. Troops here could cooperate. All the troops you can quickly assemble should be brought. Time is all-important.

On the same day, the 14th, General Pemberton, then at Bovina, replied:

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication. I moved at once with whole available force, about sixteen thousand, leaving Vaughan's brigade, about fifteen hundred, at Big Black Bridge; Tilghman's brigade, fifteen hundred, now at Baldwin's Ferry, I have ordered to bring up the rear of my column; he will be, however, from fifteen to twenty miles behind it. Baldwin's Ferry will be left, necessarily, unprotected. To hold Vicksburg are Smith's and Forney's divisions, extending from Snyder's Mills to Warrenton, numbering effectives seven thousand eight hundred men. . . . I do not think that you fully comprehend the position that Vicksburg will be left in; but I comply at once with your order.

On the same day General Pemberton, after his arrival at Edward's' Depot, called a council of war of all the general officers present. He placed General Johnston's dispatch before them, and stated his own views against the propriety of an advance, but expressed the opinion that the only possibility of success would be by a movement on the enemy's communications. A majority of the officers present expressed themselves favorable to the plan indicated by General Johnston. The others, including Major General Loring and Stevenson, ‘preferred a movement by which the army might attempt to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi River.’ General Pemberton then sent the following dispatch to General Johnston:

Edwards's Depot, May 14, 1863.
I shall move as early to-morrow morning as practicable, with a column of seventeen thousand men, to Dillon's, situated on the main road leading from Raymond to Port Gibson, seven and a half miles below Raymond, and nine miles from Edwards's Depot. The object is to cut the enemy's communication and to 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. At this point your nearest communication would be through Raymond.

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