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[204]

Chapter 3:

Pulaski.

WE left the Federals in possession of Corinth and Memphis, the army of Beauregard disappearing in the depths of semitropical forests where the Tombigbee takes its source, and Montgomery's ships lying at the bottom of the Mississippi.

The part to be played by the Federal fleets was fully laid out; Farragut, by ascending the river, and Davis, by descending it, were to endeavor to join hands and destroy all the obstacles which still obstructed its course.

What, in the mean time, was the large army encamped at Corinth going to do? It had allowed Beauregard to escape at the very moment when it felt sure of crushing him; but it could yet strike some decisive blows either to eastward or westward, the Confederates being nowhere sufficiently numerous to make any strong opposition.

Eastward, Mitchell had forced open the way to Chattanooga and approached the gap which opens south-east of that town, before which, at a subsequent period, so much blood was shed at the battles of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. He was master of the passes of the Tennessee, and the Federals, stationed at Corinth, could reach Chattanooga much more speedily than their adversary encamped at Tupelo. They might probably conquer by the same stroke the whole upper course of the river which waters this town.

Westward, the Federals could sweep both sides of the Mississippi, cause all the Confederate works which defended them to fall, and perhaps prevent the enemy from erecting the formidable citadels of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the capture of which, at a later period, cost so dear.

The Tennessee was rapidly falling, and would soon cease to be

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