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[373] at once telegraphed, ‘return them forthwith.’ But Commodore Davis, of the United States navy, peremptorily refused to take them back. They were then cared for by General Villepigue, and placed, with great difficulty, in separate quarters, under the intelligent and devoted supervision of Doctor C. H. Tebault, of Louisiana, then a surgeon in the Confederate army. He wrote an interesting paper on the subject, detailing all its circumstances; but this document, to our regret, is not in our possession.

Foreseeing the necessity of withdrawing his forces from Corinth, and having, in fact, resolved to adopt that course within a short time, General Beauregard began to prepare General Villepigue for the event; not that Fort Pillow was then in any immediate danger, for the enemy had no land forces to spare for operations against it, but because a retrograde movement from Corinth necessarily involved the evacuation of the fort. He, therefore, on the 25th, telegraphed to General Villepigue that ‘whenever the place, in his judgment, should become untenable, he must destroy the works and armaments, and evacuate it, as already instructed; repairing to Grenada, by the shortest route, for the protection of the depot; giving timely notice of the same to Fort Randolph and to Memphis.’

Three days afterwards, and when the precise moment of the retreat from Corinth had been decided upon (as will be, hereafter, more fully developed), General Beauregard forwarded the following instructions to General Villepigue:

Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May 28th, 1862.
Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. at Fort Pillow, Tenn.:
General,—Wishing to take the enemy further into the interior, where I hope to be able to strike him a severe blow, which cannot be done here, where he is so close to his supplies, I have concluded to withdraw on the 30th instant from this place for the present, before he compels me to do so by his superiority of numbers. The evacuation of this place necessarily involves that of your present position, which you have so long and gallantly defended. Hence, I have this day telegraphed you that, whenever the enemy shall have crossed the Hatchie River, at Pocahontas or elsewhere, on his way westward, you will immediately evacuate Fort Pillow for Grenada, by the best and shortest route.

Should you, however, consider it necessary for the safety of your command to evacuate Fort Pillow before the enemy shall have crossed the Hatchie, you are left at liberty to do so, having entire confidence in your judgment and ability, not being able to judge from here of your facilities for reaching Grenada.


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