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[259] he had so much at heart. General Beauregard's apparent temerity in selecting for his base of operations a point so near the ground chosen for the landing of a powerful enemy, was the result, not of rashness, but of close and sagacious observation. With the eye and daring of a true general—noting the timidity of the Federal forces in their attempts at incursions on the western bank of the Tennessee, and their disjointed manner of disembarking—he knew that the nearer he was to his opponents the better it would be for the handling of his troops and the success of his plan. From a point near his foe he could attack fractions instead of concentrated masses of the enemy, with the chances of success in his favor.

As soon as the movements of the enemy, on the Tennessee, had sufficiently developed his intentions, General Beauregard ordered an immediate concentration, by railroad, of all troops then available in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Those at Grand Junction and Iuka he massed upon Corinth; those at Fort Pillow, and General Polk's forces at Humboldt and Lexington, he assembled at Bethel and Corinth, leaving detachments at Union City and Humboldt, to keep open the communications established, with great difficulty, between Island No.10 and Jackson. A line of cavalry pickets was left in place of the infantry outposts at Union City, Dresden, Huntington, and Lexington; their fronts and intermediate spaces being well patrolled by scouting parties, to give timely notice of any hostile advance; in case of which, the cavalry, if compelled to fall back, had orders to retire gradually on Bolivar, on the Mississippi Central Railroad, thirty-eight miles northwest of Corinth, keeping up constant communication with the forces at Bethel and Corinth.

By the middle of March, less than one month after General Beauregard's arrival at Jackson, Tennessee, he had succeeded in assembling, within easy concentrating distances of Corinth, some twenty-three thousand men of all arms, independently of the fourteen thousand, more or less, he had found in the district under General Polk, on the 17th of February. He hoped to be joined, before the end of March, by General Johnston's command, of about thirteen thousand men—exclusive of cavalry—then arriving at Decatur; and General Van Dorn, at Van Buren, Arkansas, had promised, at that time, his co-operation with an army of nearly twenty thousand. General Beauregard had sent Van Dorn all the

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