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[249] and about the disposition of whose troops, and projected plans, Mr. Benjamin wrote that he ‘was still without any satisfactory information.’1 General Beauregard was most anxious that these troops should at once reach Corinth—now become the important strategic point—in anticipation of the arrival there of the reinforcements coming from the adjacent States.

On the 3d, General Johnston, through Colonel Mackall, A. A. G., replied, from Shelbyville, that the 10th Mississippi would be forwarded from Chattanooga, and that his own army would move as rapidly as it could march. He then answered General Beauregard's letter, from Fayetteville, on the 5th, stating that his army was advancing; that it had already reached that place; would move on to join him, as fast as possible; and that, upon his arrival at Decatur, he would decide upon the promptest mode of effecting the desired junction.

General Beauregard, by most strenuous efforts, and in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles, was thus enabled to hope that all our available forces would be assembled in the quarter designated, ready to meet the enemy as soon as he should venture upon the west bank of the Tennessee River, and before he could be fully prepared for our attack.

Hitherto, in order to avoid the burden of the irksome details incident to the organization of an army, General Beauregard had not assumed command, but had directed matters through General Polk; but as the new levies and reinforcements were now gathering, and as there was a prospect of an early encounter with the enemy, he determined formally to assume command, and, on the 5th of March, issued the following order to the forces under him:

Headquarters, army of the Mississippi, Jackson, Tenn., March 5th, 1862.
Soldiers,—I assume this day command of the “Army of the Mississippi,” for the defence of our homes and liberties, and to resist the subjugation, spoliation, and dishonor of our people. Our mothers and wives, our sisters and children, expect us to do our duty, even to the sacrifice of our lives.

Our losses, since the commencement of the war, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, are now about the same as those of the enemy.

He must be made to atone for the reverses we have lately experienced. Those reverses, far from disheartening, must nerve us to new deeds of valor


1 See Mr. Benjamin's letter to General Bragg, dated Richmond, Va., February 18th, 1862.

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