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[383] and gradually; a method which might have answered against a well-fortified position, held by a correspondingly strong garrison, but which, under the circumstances, exhibited, on his part, most extraordinary prudence, and even timidity.

Meanwhile, the deficiency in good water, and the natural unhealthfulness of the place, began to tell sadly on the Confederate officers and men. They were, moreover, but scantily supplied with food, and that of an inferior quality. This was owing to the chronic mismanagement of the Chief Commissary at Richmond, a fact which General Beauregard had more than once pointed out to the War Department, and which he again brought home to it by the following despatch:1

Corinth, Miss., April 24th, 1862.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, Richmond:
The false views of administration—to say the least—of Colonel Northrop will starve out this army unless I make other arrangements, which I have done. I trust it may not be altogether too late, and that the government will sustain me with means.


The truth is, it was almost impossible to have regular issues of fresh provisions made to the Confederate troops at that time, until General Beauregard took the matter into his own hands, and sent agents to northern Texas and Arkansas, where he bought large herds of cattle, which soon relieved the pressing necessities of his army. Part of these supplies, however, he was afterwards compelled to transfer to the General Subsistence Department, for other armies in the field.

It soon became apparent to General Beauregard that the insalubrity of Corinth would increase as the season advanced, and that, apart from the danger of being overwhelmed by a steadily growing army in his front, he would have to select another strategic position, by which he could hold the enemy in check and protect the country in his rear as well as Fort Pillow, which still closed the passage of the river. The idea of moving westward, to Grand Junction,2 had at first been entertained; but the lack of good water there, and the fear of losing Fort Pillow, fifty-nine miles above

1 See also, in Appendix, letter of General Beauregard to General Cooper, dated April 16th, 1862.

2 At the intersection of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad with the Mississippi Central, fifty miles west of Corinth.

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