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[397] the movement with a part of his forces, affording me the opportunity of taking the offensive with a lesser disparity of numbers, and offered me the chances of cutting off his line of communication.

‘The retrograde movement was made in preference along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, because it was the true line of retreat, covering our main depots and lines of communication with the East, and was approved by General R. E. Lee, Acting General-in-Chief, in his letter of the 26th ultimo.’

Question No. 2.—What is the plan of future operations and whether an advance of the army is contemplated, and what prospect there is of a recovery of the territory which has been yielded?’

Answer No. 2.—The plan of future operations must depend to a great extent on the movements of the enemy; should he divide his forces, the offensive must be taken as soon as the condition of our troops and our means of transportation will permit; but should he keep his forces together he must be made to divide them by demonstrations on his right or left, and false reports in the newspapers.’

Question No. 3.—Why was it not deemed advisable to occupy the hills north and east of Corinth, and could not a stronger line than that around Corinth have been selected?’

Answer No. 3.—The defensive lines at Corinth were selected by General Bragg and his engineer, and were approved by General A. S. Johnston and myself when we arrived there. They consisted of a series of elevated ridges, protected in front and flank by extensive forests and two creeks and “bottoms,” which the enemy had to cross immediately under the guns and musketry of the lines. The best proof of the judgment shown in their selection is, that they compelled him to advance by a system approximating to regular approaches, against a force only half as strong as his own, and much inferior in discipline and all the appurtenances of war. These lines were mere rifle-pits with slightly constructed batteries, enfilading the roads from the front. Hills are not per se defensive lines, especially when nothing more than “elevated positions;” isolated by ravines, thick woods, and underbrush, and situated in a country made easily passable in every direction with a little labor. They are also badly supplied with water for a large force. Whereas, in the lines adopted, the defensive forces were more concentrated around the intersection of the Memphis and Charleston with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and within easy supporting distance of each other; they were also nearer to the Tuscumbia Creek, which afforded a good line to retire behind, whenever it should become necessary to abandon Corinth. If a stronger line could have been taken in the vicinity of Corinth, answering the same purposes, Generals Johnston, Bragg, and myself were unable to discover it.’

Question No. 4.—What was the cause of the sickness at Camp Corinth? Would it have been avoided by occupying the higher grounds in front? Has it been avoided by retiring to the present position?’

Answer No. 4.—There were several causes for this sickness. First, the want of good water. Second, the want of proper food (the salt meat furnished to the troops being often not fit to eat), also the almost total want of fresh beef and vegetables, beef having been furnished once a week or every ten days, instead

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