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[523]

Jackson, Tenn., March 22d, 1862.
A. S. Johnston, Genl. Comdg., Courtland:
Following despatch just received from Van Dorn:

Van Buren, Ark., March 21st, 1862.
I march my first brigade to-morrow towards Jacksonport, Arkansas. All the troops here will march in a few days to the same point. I will probably have, on White River, by 10th or 12th April, twenty thousand men or more, and about seventy pieces of artillery. It was my intention to attack the forces near New Madrid and Point Pleasant from the north by Greenville. What do you now advise? There is an army of about twenty thousand. Enemy north of this in Arkansas, but they cannot subsist there; nor do I think they can do much harm in the West. We cannot subsist here. I think it more important to save the Mississippi River. Answer me at once. I start for Little Rock day after to-morrow.


I shall try to see you to-morrow, unless you prefer to come here.


Despatch received. 'Tis important to join our forces for defence of valley by shortest route. Could you not come to Memphis, via river? There we will operate to best advantage. I will send you all the boats you may require. Sidney Johnston will be with us. You might come ahead for conference. We still hold Island No.10 and Fort Pillow.


Jackson, Tenn., March 21st, 1862.
D. B. Harris, Engineers, Fort Pillow:
Look, as soon as practicable, to land defence of fort. Construct detached works first, then cremaillere. Total garrison about three thousand men; defensive lines must not be too extensive.


Jackson, March 22d, 1862.
Major-General J. P. Mccown, Comdg. Madrid Bend. Care Colonel Pickett, Union City:
Van Dorn proposes to attack enemy in reverse at New Madrid. Be of good cheer and hold out.


Jackson, Tenn., March 22d.
General A. S. Johnston, Decatur, or wherever he may be:
I consider presence of Major Gilmer indispensable at Fort Pillow for a few days. Safety of the place and Mississippi Valley may depend upon it.


When can you spare Oladowski to attend to the making of guns from bells.


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