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[384] Memphis, led to a change of plan. Nor must it be forgotten that the defences and river batteries at Vicksburg were then just begun, as we have already shown,1 and that, Fort Pillow falling, nothing could prevent the enemy from enjoying the free use of the Mississippi as far down as New Orleans, where a base of abundant supplies would, no doubt, soon be established. These considerations impelled General Beauregard to hold on to his position at Corinth until forced from it by his adversary.

Meanwhile, he caused thorough reconnoissances to be made along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, for a good defensive position, well supplied with pure water, and occupying a healthy region of country. None could be found nearer than Tupelo, where begins the fertile and salubrious ‘black-land’ region of Mississippi.

There were not many running springs at Tupelo, but excellent water could be had by digging wells from ten to fifteen feet deep. He ordered them dug at once, where it was probable the troops would take up their positions, in rear of some low lands, easily defended and of difficult passage to an army on the offensive.

It was during these reconnoissances and preparations that General Beauregard first turned his attention to the necessity of defending Vicksburg, as has already been shown in the preceding chapter, by the telegrams and letters contained in it and its Appendix. That to him, and neither to General Lovell nor to Governor Pettus, is due the credit of having originated the idea of this defence, is further proved by the following telegrams:

1.

Have seen Lieutenant Brown. Have ordered a work at Vicksburg. Please hold ready to send there sand-bags, guns, carriages, platforms, etc., when called for by Chief-Engineer, Captain D. B. Harris.

Have you constructed traverses and blindages at your forts?


2.

Corinth, April 23d, 1862.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:
Services of General Sam. Jones are absolutely required here as soon as practicable. Having obtained guns for Vicksburg, am going to fortify it. But require engineers. I recommend John M. Reid, Louisiana, as captain, and J. H. Reid, Louisiana, as lieutenant. Am well acquainted with them, they having worked many years under my orders.


1 See Chapter XXIII.

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