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[374] I am of opinion, however, that he will venture slowly and cautiously westward, so long as I shall remain within striking distance of him, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, at or about Baldwin. It may be well for you to know that the telegraph communication from there to Memphis will be completed before a week or ten days.

Whenever you shall be about to abandon the fort, you will telegraph the commanding officer at Memphis to burn all the cotton, sugar, etc., in the vicinity of that city, as per my instructions already communicated to him.

You will necessarily destroy all government property, arms, guns, etc., that you will not be able to carry off with you; and on arriving at Grenada, you will assume immediate command of all troops there assembled, to organize and discipline them. You might also throw up some light works (batteries and rifle-pits), for the defence of that important position against a small force of the enemy. I have thought it advisable to give you the above instructions in view of the probability that I may not be able shortly to communicate with you.

Hoping you may continue to meet with success in the defence of our cause and country,

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,


The telegram referred to above, as being forwarded on the same date, read thus:

Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May 28th, 1862.
Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. Fort Pillow:
We are to retire from here south. Make preparations to abandon Fort Pillow when forces at Grand Junction retire from there, which commandant is ordered to communicate to you and to execute when the enemy crosses Hatchic River from here, at Pocahontas or elsewhere.


To complete the record of this episode of the southwestern campaign—although by so doing the course of this narrative is anticipated—it must be stated here that Fort Pillow was successfully evacuated about the 1st of June, and that its gallant commander, after complying, so far as he could, with the instructions given him, was subsequently sent to Port Hudson, where, not long afterwards, he unfortunately died—not in battle, as he would have wished—but of fever, the result of too great exposure to the weather, and over-fatigue in the performance of his laborious duties. He was a graduate of West Point, and an officer of great intelligence, perseverance, and bravery; never despondent under difficulties; never shrinking from responsibility. He had many

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