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[579] an opportunity to our enemies to magnify the facts, give them a pretext to claim a victory and to discourage our friends at home and abroad, and diminish, if not destroy, all chances of foreign intervention.

Under these circumstances I think the evacuation, if it be determined upon, should be made before the enemy opens fire, and not coupled with a sortie against his intrenchments, or partial battle. It should be done promptly if at all. Even now the enemy can shell our camp. It should be done in good order, so as not to discourage our friends or give a pretext for the triumph of our enemies.

With the forces at our disposition, with a vast territory behind us, with a patriotic and devoted people to support us, the enemy as he moves southward, away from rivers and railroads, would find insurmountable obstacles in moving columns so heavy that we cannot strike them, and over a country where his mechanical superiority will not avail him.

If we resolve to evacuate, every hour of delay only serves to augment our difficulties. The enemy every day grows stronger on our flanks, and menaces more and more our communications. If he effects his designs, we must fight at every disadvantage or retreat disastrously. History and our country will judge us, not by the movement, but its consequences.

Respectfully submitted,

W. J. Hardee, Maj.-Genl. Genl. G. T. Beauregard, Comdg., etc.

Corinth, Miss., May 26th, 1862.
I concur fully in the above views, and already all needful preparations are being made for a proper and prompt evacuation of this place.

Corinth, Miss., May 26th, 1862.
Dear General,—I fully concur in the views contained in your letter of the 25th instant, received last night, and I had already commenced giving orders to my chiefs of staff departments for their execution. But everything that is done must be done under the plea of the intention ‘to take the offensive’ at the opportune moment. Every commander of corps must get everything ready to move at a moment's notice, and must see to the proper condition of the roads and bridges his corps is to travel upon.

Thanking you for your kind wishes, I remain, yours truly,

Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, Miss., May 26th, 1862.
Maj.-Genl. Mansfield Lovell, Vicksburg, Miss.:
General,—Your favors of 25th and 26th instant have just been received. I telegraphed you yesterday relative to General Ruggles's position, which I hope is settled for the present. The great point is to defend the river at Vicksburg. The question of who does it must be of a secondary consideration. The troops

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