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[105]

But public opinion warranted and even compelled Davis to assign Johnston to the chief western command in the following November. It included the departments of Bragg, Pemberton, Holmes and others. He at once began urging the policy of concentration, but says he soon found his command was really only nominal. In a letter as early as November 24, 1862, Johnston warned the military authorities that ‘as our troops are now distributed Vicksburg is in danger.’ Later, when Grant was closing his toils around Pemberton, he peremptorially told the government that it must choose between Mississippi and Tennessee; but both would probably be lost, but that the one might be saved by concentrating all their available forces in its defence. These suggestions were not followed. Under Davis' obstinate adherence to the system of diffusion instead of concentration both were eventually lost.

Pemberton's disastrous Vicksburg campaign followed. Davis, to shift responsibility, was not slow in ascribing the misfortune mainly to Johnston's feeble policy. He endeavors to leave the impression that Johnston's general command gave him authority to transfer troops from one department to another, but, in fact, it appears that Johnston was prevented by the administration from giving any personal attention to Vicksburg until it was too late. And the President's telegram to Governor Pettus is proof of his knowledge that the force of Johnston was inadequate to relieve Pemberton.

It was to be expected that Pemberton would attempt to make a scapegoat of Johnston, but the latter correctly says that Pemberton either misunderstood or disobeyed all his orders and wholly misapprehended Grant's warfare. The truth is that Grant outgeneraled them all. Davis' favorite was a mere child in this Union general's hands.

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