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[239] and his official correspondence shows that he had done his utmost in that respect. General Beauregard resolved, nevertheless, to invoke at once every possible resource, and, if he saw any expectation of raising an army, to use every effort to that end, while continuing to give general direction to affairs until his physical condition should permit him to assume the cares of formal command. His physicians had assured him that they could keep the illness from which he was suffering under control, and the forlorn condition of the entire West, mingled now with fears for his own home, determined him to make the effort, however doubtful the result might be.

The only forces he could dispose of were some fourteen thousand five hundred men, under General Polk, holding the Mississippi River defences, imperfectly organized and, as yet, poorly equipped for the field; about two thousand, under General Chalmers, at Iuka and its vicinity; and three thousand, under General Ruggles, at Corinth. But the energetic efforts of Governor Harris now gave him the hope of soon being able to increase his strength. Instead, therefore, of operating, with his movable forces, on the defensive line laid down by General Johnston, as shown by the memorandum of the 7th, that is, from Columbus via Jackson to Grand Junction, fifty miles west of Corinth, with Memphis or Grenada, and Jackson, Mississippi, as ultimate points of retreat, General Beauregard determined to take up a new defensive lineconfronting the enemy from that part of the Tennessee Rivera line extending from the river defences at Island No.10 to Corinth, via Union City, Humboldt, and Jackson; throwing his forces across the Louisville and Memphis and Memphis and Charleston Railroads; thus covering Memphis and the important railroad centre of Corinth, with strong advanced forces at Iuka, and a small force at Tuscumbia, to protect his railroad communication with the East. With the Mobile and Ohio Railroad along his line, he would thus be enabled to concentrate quickly, either to oppose any advance of the enemy along the Louisville and Memphis Railroad, or, if ready and strong enough for such an operation, to attack him suddenly should he attempt or effect a landing at any point along the bend of the Tennessee River, between Coffee Landing and Eastport. General Beauregard decided on this new disposition of his forces, in the exercise of that full discretion given him by General Johnston's telegrams of February 16th and

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G. T. Beauregard (3)
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