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he state lying between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi. But as the possession of the former river by the enemy rendered the lines of communication of the army at Columbus liable to be cut at any time by a movement from the Tennessee River as a base, and an overpowering force of the enemy was rapidly concentrating from various points on the Ohio, it was necessary, to prevent such a calamity, that the main body of the army should fall back to Humboldt, and thence, if necessary, to Grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either point and still have a line of retreat to the latter place, or to Grenada, and, if needful, to Jackson, Mississippi. Captain Hollin's fleet of improvised gunboats and a sufficient garrison was to be left at Columbus for the defense of the river at that point, with transports near at hand for the removal of the garrison when the position became no longer tenable. Every preparation for the retreat was silently made. The defenses of Bowling Green
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Vicksburg, siege of (search)
ch side of that stream, and it was important to break those connections. To this end General Grant concentrated his forces near the Tallahatchee River, in northern Mississippi, where Generals Hovey and Washburne had been operating with troops which they had led from Helena, Ark. Grant had gathered a large quantity of supplies at Holley Springs, which, through carelessness or treachery, had fallen (Dec. 20, 1862) into the hands of Gen. Earl Van Dorn, and he was compelled to fall back to Grand Junction to save his army. Taking advantage of this movement, a large Confederate force under Lieut.-Gen. J. C. Pemberton had been gathered at Vicksburg for the protection of that post. On the day when Grant's supplies were seized Gen. W. T. Sherman left Memphis with transports bearing guns to besiege Vicksburg. At Friar's Point they were joined by troops from Hatteras, and were met by Commodore Porter, whose fleet of gunboats was at the mouth of the Yazoo River, just above Vicksburg. The t
a base, by an overwhelming force of the enemy, rapidly concentrated from various points on the Ohio, it becomes necessary, to prevent such a calamity, that the main body of that army should fall back to Humboldt, and thence, if necessary, to Grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either point, and still have a line of retreat to the latter place, or to Grenada, Mississippi, and, if necessary, to Jackson, Mississippi. At Columbus, Kentucky, will be left only a sufficient garrison for of General Johnston as to the military situation, and adding the suggestion that Columbus should be abandoned altogether, as soon as Island No.10 could be made ready for defence; and that instead of his falling back to Humboldt, and thence to Grand Junction and other points in rear, he should hold the Louisville and Memphis and the Memphis and Charleston railroads, with Jackson as his centre, and Humboldt and Corinth as left and right flanks, with proper detachments at Iuka, Tuscumbia, and even
he hope of soon being able to increase his strength. Instead, therefore, of operating, with his movable forces, on the defensive line laid down by General Johnston, as shown by the memorandum of the 7th, that is, from Columbus via Jackson to Grand Junction, fifty miles west of Corinth, with Memphis or Grenada, and Jackson, Mississippi, as ultimate points of retreat, General Beauregard determined to take up a new defensive lineconfronting the enemy from that part of the Tennessee Rivera line exwas sent by special messengers to the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana—the rendezvous of the troops furnished to be as follows: those from Tennessee, at Jackson, Tenn.; from Alabama, at Corinth; from Mississippi, at Grand Junction; from Louisiana, at Jackson, Tenn., if by railroad, and at Columbus, Ky., if by water. a plan which I deem most practicable for the recovery of our losses and the defence of this river, and call upon them for the means of execution. I prop
ation of all the Confederate forces. The services of the officers General Beauregard had called for now became indispensable, in view of the great diligence and energy displayed in the assembling of his forces. Though required for the proper organization of the troops under General Polk, these officers were even more needed to assist General Bragg in preparing for the field the large number of raw Confederate and State forces just concentrated at the three points designated, Corinth, Grand Junction, and Bethel. Every moment was precious, and rapid and determined action imperative. On the 4th of March, General Beauregard, therefore, again urgently asked for two major-generals and five brigadiers—one of the latter to serve with the cavalry—and all to be ordered to report immediately to him. To his great surprise—and greater disappointment—the War Department replied that these officers could not be spared. General Beauregard's perplexity was extreme. He could not account for the
n of troops at and around Corinth, General Beauregard had ordered, early in March, the immediate collection of the requisite quantity of grain and provisions, at Union City, Humboldt, Jackson, and Henderson, in West Tennessee, and at Corinth, Grand Junction, and Iuka, in Mississippi, with the establishment of chief depots of supplies of all kinds, at Columbus, Mississippi, and Grenada. At this latter place he had endeavored to establish a percussion-cap manufactory, which he looked upon as veryon as the movements of the enemy, on the Tennessee, had sufficiently developed his intentions, General Beauregard ordered an immediate concentration, by railroad, of all troops then available in West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Those at Grand Junction and Iuka he massed upon Corinth; those at Fort Pillow, and General Polk's forces at Humboldt and Lexington, he assembled at Bethel and Corinth, leaving detachments at Union City and Humboldt, to keep open the communications established, with
o communicate with you. Hoping you may continue to meet with success in the defence of our cause and country, I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg. The telegram referred to above, as being forwarded on the same date, read thus: Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May 28th, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. Fort Pillow: We are to retire from here south. Make preparations to abandon Fort Pillow when forces at Grand Junction retire from there, which commandant is ordered to communicate to you and to execute when the enemy crosses Hatchic River from here, at Pocahontas or elsewhere. G. T. Beauregard. To complete the record of this episode of the southwestern campaign—although by so doing the course of this narrative is anticipated—it must be stated here that Fort Pillow was successfully evacuated about the 1st of June, and that its gallant commander, after complying, so far as he could, with the instruct
his front, he would have to select another strategic position, by which he could hold the enemy in check and protect the country in his rear as well as Fort Pillow, which still closed the passage of the river. The idea of moving westward, to Grand Junction, At the intersection of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad with the Mississippi Central, fifty miles west of Corinth. had at first been entertained; but the lack of good water there, and the fear of losing Fort Pillow, fifty-nine miles aition as formidable as that at Corinth, and in which it will be far more difficult for us to attack him, on account of the distance our army will have to transport its supplies. Supposing the enemy take up their second position of defense at Grand Junction, about sixty miles from here, four thousand additional wagons will be required. . . . Then there is the fatigue of our men, the attacks of guerilla parties in our rear, etc. I look upon the evacuation there as a victory for Beauregard, or, at
. A detachment of our army could, I think, take Louisville, while the main body would be marching to Cincinnati; but if we could get boats enough it would be shorter to go up the Ohio in them. To keep the command of Cincinnati, I would construct a strong work, heavily armed, at Covington. Now, for the operation of Western Tennessee. The object should be to drive the enemy from there and resume the command of the Mississippi River. For these purposes I would concentrate rapidly at Grand Junction Price's army, and all that could be spared from Vicksburg of Van Dorn's. From there I would make a forced march to Fort Pillow, which I would take with probably only a very small loss. It is evident that the forces at Memphis and Yazoo River would then have their line of communication by the river with the North cut off, and they would have either to surrender or cross without resources into Arkansas, where General Holmes would take good care of them. From Fort Pillow I would compel th
n with Ruggles's forces now at Corinth and Grand Junction, for ulterior operations? I am not suffnd Alabama, and to Major-General Bragg.] Grand Junction, Feb. 26th, 1862. To General Beauregard: upon Humboldt, and thence, if need be, to Grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either poinwill have soon at Corinth about 10,000, at Grand Junction about 5000, and at Fort Pillow about 2500.ldt, which is central to Memphis, Jackson, Grand Junction, Henderson, Corinth, and Fort Pillow. I. At Iuka, for 2,500 men for 2 weeks. At Grand Junction, for 10,000 men for 4 weeks. The regim-five thousand men, to be held in depot at Grand Junction, ready for shipment at a moment's notice. enada, Captain Gibbs. Ordnance officer at Grand Junction, Mr. Tonneau. Powder manufactory to beille, or Ripley, Brownsville, Jackson, and Grand Junction, to this place. The enemy have no land fog. By throwing my cavalry forward towards Grand Junction and Tuscumbia, the impression is created t[1 more...]
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