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[398] of five times a week as ordered. The Commissary-General assured General Johnston, a few days before the battle of Shiloh, that he had made ample provisions for the supply of fresh beef to this army, requested that the matter should be left solely to his own (Colonel Northrop's) agents; this supply has since been ascertained to have been about sixteen thousand head of poor cattle, collected in the parish of Calcasieu, Louisiana, for the purpose of fattening, and now substantially cut off, by the fall of the Mississippi River into the hands of the enemy. Every effort is now being made, by the Commissary of Department No. 2, to relieve the wants of the troops. I will mention here that some of our troops were affected with the commencement of scurvy. It is doubtful in my mind whether the health of the army would have been much benefited by the occupation of the hills referred to, even had it been practicable in a military point of view; General Van Dorn's army corps occupied the hills three or four miles southeast of Corinth—a beautiful location to look at—but was as sickly as the troops located nearer the depot.

‘The present position at Tupelo, on the verge of the prairies, is considered very healthy; the water appears very good; a greater quantity of cattle are being obtained from the vicinity; and a marked improvement seemed to have already taken place in the condition of the troops, when I left there on the 17th instant.’

Question No. 5.—Was it at no time practicable to have cut the enemy's line of communication, so as to compel him to abandon the Tennessee River, or to permit us to reoccupy Nashville?’

Answer No. 5.—If it had been possible to effect either object I would not have been slow in attempting it. I shall never be accused of being too slow in taking the offensive or in carrying the “war into Africa,” whenever practicable with any prospect of success. Several attempts were made by me about the beginning of May (especially on the 9th and 19th to 22d) to draw the enemy out of his intrenched positions, and separate his closed masses for a battle; but he was too prudent to separate from his heavy guns, and his adopted system of “regular approaches;” he steadily declined coming to an engagement until he had accumulated all his available forces in front of Corinth.’

Question No. 6.—What means were employed, after the fall of Island No.10, to prevent the descent of the Mississippi River by the enemy's gunboats? What dispositions were made to defend Memphis, and what was the cause of a failure to preserve that most important of our lines of communication?’

Answer No. 6.—By fortifying Fort Pillow, as was done, and sending there the best troops and most energetic young officer at my command—Brigadier-General Villepigue—who with open batteries effectually defied and held at bay the enemy's gun and mortar boats as long as the operations of the campaign permitted him to hold that position.

‘The best way to defend Memphis, having no forces or guns to send there, was to hold Fort Pillow and Corinth; its fate had necessarily to follow that of those two places, which fell, like so many other most important positions, from the want of sufficient means (men and materials) to hold them longer than was done.’

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