The War in the southwest.
(from our army correspondent)
Memphis May 31, 1862
The evacuation, retreat, falling back, ‘"going up."’ or whatever else you please to call it, of the army of the Mississippi, from Corinth
is now a fixed, unchangeable, immutable, unsuitable fact, and as the thing is done, I suppose there is no harm in saying so. The Federal have found it out, and our own people need no longer be kept in the dark by the either in a mantle with which the army officials have their operations.
By this time Halleck
is ‘"weeping, walling, and gashing his teeth,"’ with chagrin at having been so completely filled.
This is the first time that our brave little Frenchman has had occasion to retire before the enemy, and the success which attended the movement has stamped him at once as the muster General of the war.--With an enemy immediately in front of him, shelling his men even while they were in the act of retiring, with sick to move of provisions to be provided with a places of safety, and all the multifarious operations of an army to be performed, he succeeded even beyond his own expectations in placing himself fairly beyond the reach of the foe before they were aware of the intended evacuation.
I have not heard that a men was lost, or a dollar's worth of nobles property destroyed.
The , however, have not yet transpired, and it may be that before the army reached.
Its resting place, the Roer guard were slightly engaged with the Federal
skirmishers. --This supposition is induced by several returns in town this morning, to the effect that a portion of Price
's army had a fight after the main body of the army had moved out. I said there was no loss of public property.
Four trains of cars were destroyed, and six engines; but this was done by the railroad officials, under a misapprehension of instructions when the trains were left between Corinth
, and the three badges being burned which connected these places, nothing could be done but destroy the cars.
The loss, however, is not great.
We already have more rolling stock than we can use.
The causes which led to the evacuation are such as will commend themselves to every fairly judging mind.
was, so to speak.
powerless.--Had he advanced upon the entrenchments of the enemy, already within a mile — indeed, so near that shell were thrown into the heart of his camps — his success, if at all, should have been limited, and the loss of life would have been great.
The Federal could have fallen back foot by foot, contesting every inch of ground, and thus compelled our men to follow, clambering over abattis
and among their enfilading ambuscades, while death thinned our ranks.
A complete rout, such as was necessary to ensure complete victory, was, therefore, at least, doubtful, if not impossible, and the result of a failure would have been disastrous in the extreme.
Now, however, we have Halleck
in our tolls.
The picture is reversed.
We have fallen back out of the woods into open fields.
where a battle when fought may be comprehended at a glance.
Our camping ground is better, the water is pure, and the health of our men will be much improved.
In a military point of view, our advantages are that.
is compelled to follow, or relinquish the pursuit altogether, he can no longer do so under cover of entrenchments concealed in thick woods; while our opportunities for making or preventing flanking movements are proportionately increased.
The further the Federal General
marches his army of 70,000 away from his gunboats and transports, the greater will be the difficulties by which he will be upset.
Already his men are dying by hundreds.
No longer ago than last week fifteen Federal transports went down the river loaded with Federal sick, and it may easily be imagined that the effect produced upon the unacclimated Yankees
when they attempt to march through the bottoms of the Mississippi valley
, will be of such a terrible nature as to raise a howl of indignation in the North and West against the cautious, ditching.
dillydallying old woman's policy of Halleck
, which has deprived them of the privilege of fighting the Confederates
behind their entrenchments at Corinth
Taking this view of the case, any unjust criticism on the part of the press or the people would be ill-timed and prejudicial to our interests.
The movement is not only one of the best, in point of strategy, that has been made during the war, but it will be productive of the highest good ultimately.
The motto of Beauregard
is ‘"forward, always forward;"’ and if he has taken one step to the rear now, be sure he will follow it with two forward by and by Like the Irish school-boy, he will advance back wards.
Affairs in Memphis
look ‘"grand, gloomy, and peculiar,"’ reminding one of a picturesque old ruin deserted by its inhabitants — that is, when compared with the gay, lively, and prosperous city which we knew in times past.
Few are left in the city who have participated in the secession movement, except the old men and ladies, who, God bless them, are always true to the South
The town is filled with extortioners, and a broader streak of Unionism cannot be found in any city south of Mason
Large numbers of Northern men are here, many of whom are in the army, and have done good service to the Confederacy
; but there are others rotten to the core, who will throw the Stars and Stripes to the breeze on the advent of the first Yankee soldier.
All public property has been removed.
The banks have sent away their funds and established their institutions elsewhere.
The jail is being torn down to prevent its being used as a place of imprisonment to Southern citizens, and the full rigor of martial law is exercised over the city.
Billiard and bar-rooms have been , and houses of ill-fame can only be visited by mesite of a pass forsake Provost Marsh at
or his assistants — a document which frequently finds its way into the bend of eager applicants.
There are no soldiers here — plenty who ought to be, and now and then an officer is visible on the street.
Goods of all kinds commend treble prices, and though Confederate money is not absolutely refused, the speculative merchants, ‘"have no change,"’ so that large bills are made comparatively valueless.
are intent on their defence of Vicksburg
, and the gallant little town will be held until not oppressions is left upon the other.
[The fore going letter should have reached us several days ago. Though it loses some of its interest in consequence of delay, we publish it, because it disclosed some facts not generally known and stamps Halleck
's dispatches from Corinth
with falsehood-- Eds. Dispatch.]