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[455] proceeding, the army was constantly provided with the means of subsistence. On the 23d of December, it reached Holly Springs, where immense heaps of ashes and blackened walls reminded it of the disaster which had rendered this retrograde movement necessary; a few days later, it again entered Lagrange and Grand Junction, where it found itself once more in communication with Corinth and Memphis. Pemberton, far from pursuing Grant, had taken advantage of his precipitate retreat, in order to withdraw all but a portion of his forces from Grenada, and bring them to Vicksburg, where he fully expected to be attacked before long.

In point of fact, the whole expedition commanded by Sherman had left Memphis on the 20th of December, the very day that Van Dorn and Forrest had struck the blow which compelled Grant to relinquish the part he was to have played in the combined campaign with his lieutenant. By a strange coincidence, it was the interruption of telegraphic communications by the Confederate cavalry, which decided the departure of this expedition at the very moment when its best chances of success were being sacrificed. On the 18th of December, an order from the President directed Grant to divide all his forces into four army corps, to assign one to McClernand and to place him at the head of the troops destined for the attack upon Vicksburg. The drawing up of the new orders, required by this entire reconstruction of the army, occupied Grant during the whole of the 19th, while on the morning of the 20th Sherman, anxious to avoid a counter-order which he dreaded, left Memphis, thus placing himself beyond reach of the telegraph. But at the very moment that he was thus hastily embarking, the capture of Holly Springs upset Grant's plan of campaign, while the interruption of the telegraph stopped at once the despatches he was sending to Memphis, the first of which announced to Sherman the fact of his having been superseded, the second, by far the most important, being intended to suspend the departure of the expedition, which was henceforth beset with dangers.

But for this interruption of the telegraph, the order of recall, conveyed by a light steamer to Sherman's fleet, would have stopped the latter before the outset of the unfortunate campaign we are about to relate. Shall we blame Grant for having delayed

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