front which has been lying on its arms for the last two days; which brigade is on the Purdy road, one mile in rear of its pickets. He also says there is a brigade on the right of his brigade extending towards the trail road; also says that the enemy have thrown up intrenchments across the Purdy road, one mile in rear of his pickets, on which they have planted batteries with abatis in front; he says that Sigel was in our front inspecting batteries two days ago. I have sent him to you. I hear through Colonel Wirt Adams that two or three deserters from some regiment, designation not known, passed our lines last night and went over to the enemy. I will investigate further.
L. Polk, Maj.-Genl.
Corinth, Miss., Sunday Night, May 25th, 1862.Dear General,—I have thought it proper to reduce my views to writing on the subject we were discussing to-day. You will give them whatever weight they deserve; they are honestly entertained. I think our situation critical, and whatever is resolved on should be carried promptly into execution. With best wishes for your success and an honest desire to serve you and our cause, I remain, very truly your friend,
Corinth, Miss., May 25th, 1862.The situation at Corinth requires that we should attack the enemy at once, or await his attack, or evacuate the place. Assuming that we have fifty thousand men and the enemy nearly twice that number, protected by intrenchments, I am clearly of opinion that no attack should be made. Our forces are inferior, and the battle of Shiloh proves that with only the advantage of position it was hazardous to contend against his superior strength, and to attack him in his intrenchments now would probably inflict on us and the Confederacy a fatal blow. Neither the number nor instruction of our troops renders them equal to the task. I think we can successfully repel any attack upon our camp by the enemy; but it is manifest no attack is meditated; it will be approached gradually, and will be shelled and bombarded without equal means to respond. This will compel us to make sorties against his intrenched positions under most adverse circumstances, or to evacuate the place. The latter seems to me inevitable. If so, the only remaining question is, whether the place should be evacuated before, or after, or during its defence. After fire is opened, or the place is actively shelled or bombarded, or during such an attack, it will be difficult to evacuate the place in good order. With a large body of men imperfectly disciplined, any idle rumor may spread a panic, and inextricable confusion may follow, so that the retreat may become a rout. The same objections would apply to any partial or feeble defence of the place and re-attempt to evacuate it in the meanwhile. If the defence be not determined or the battle decisive, no useful result would follow, but it would afford