Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/624

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141
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

Johnston now sent a second message to Pemberton (May 14th), saying: "The body of troops mentioned in my note of last night compelled Brigadier-General Gregg and his command to evacuate Jackson about noon to-day. The necessity of taking the Canton road at right angles to that upon which the enemy approached prevented an obstinate defense." He also stated that, being reinforced by the brigade of Gist, from Beauregard’s department, and Maxey’s brigade, he hoped to prevent the enemy from drawing provisions from the east, and continued: "Can he supply himself from the Mississippi? Can you not cut him off from it? and above all, should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him? As soon as the reinforcements are all up, they must be united to the rest of the army. I am anxious to see a force assembled that may be able to inflict a heavy blow upon the enemy. Would it not be better to place the forces to support Vicksburg between General Loring and that place, and merely observe the ferries, so that you might unite if opportunity for fighting presented itself. If prisoners at Jackson tell the truth, the force at Jackson must be half Grant’s army. It would decide the campaign to beat it, which can be done by concentrating, especially when the remainder of the eastern troops arrive; they are to be 12,000 or 13,000." This apparently approves Pemberton’s move against Grant’s communications. But Pemberton did not receive the letter until two days later.

On the next morning, after the above second message to Pemberton was sent, Johnston, then ten miles north of Jackson, received Pemberton’s notice of a move toward Dillon, and answered: "Our being compelled to leave Jackson makes your plan impracticable. The only mode by which we can unite is by your moving directly to Clinton, informing me, that we may move to that point with about 6,000. I have no means of estimating the enemy’s force at Jackson. I fear he will fortify if