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e concurring in all that had been said as to the importance of holding Vicksburg, which can scarcely be exaggerated, he replied, among other things, that while it was painful to him to have failed for any reason to render the desired assistance, he considered it imperative to retain all his small force, which had been greatly exaggerated—not exceeding at any time 22,000 effective men, for the defense of the valley of the Arkansas.
Returning to Jackson, Mr. Davis and General Johnston, December 26th, addressed the legislature and the large crowd of citizens in attendance.
The President then visited Pemberton's army at Grenada, and subsequently returned to his post of duty at Richmond, having greatly cheered and inspired Mississippi by his presence in the hour of trial.
On Christmas day General Sherman had his forces, consisting of the divisions of A. J. Smith, Morgan L. Smith, George W. Morgan and Frederick Steele, embracing 30,000 men, at the mouth of the Yazoo.