HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Corinth, Miss., April 11, 1862.
GENERAL: On the 2nd ultimo, having ascertained conclusively, from the movements of the enemy on the Tennessee River and from reliable sources of information, that his aim would be to cut off my communications in West Tennessee with the Eastern and Southern States, by operating from the Tennessee River, between Crump's Landing and Eastport, as a base, I determined to foil his designs by concentrating all my available forces at and around Corinth.
Meanwhile, having called on the Governors of the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana to furnish additional troops, some of them (chiefly regiments from Louisiana) soon reached this vicinity, and with two divisions of General Polk's command from Columbus, and a fine corps of troops Mobile and Pensacola, under Major-General Bragg, constituted the Army of the Mississippi. At the same time General Johnston, being at Murfreesborough, on the march to form a junction of his forces with mine, was called on to send at least a brigade by railroad, so that we might fall on and crush the enemy, should he attempt an advance from under his gunboats.
The call on General Johnston was promptly complied with. His entire force was also hastened in this direction, and by April 1 our united forces were concentrated along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad from Bethel to Corinth and on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad from Corinth to Iuka.
It was then determined to assume the offensive, and strike a sudden blow at the enemy, in position under General Grant on the west bank of the Tennessee, at Pittsburg, and in the direction of Savannah, before he was re-enforced by the army under General Buell, the known to be advancing for that purpose by rapid marches from Nashville via Columbia. About the same time General Johnston was advised that such an operation conformed to the expectations of the President.
By a rapid and vigorous attack on General Grant it was expected he would be beaten back into his transports and the river, or captured, in time to enable us to profit by the victory, and remove to the rear all the stores and munitions that would fall into our hands in such an event before the arrival of General Buell's army on the scene. It was never contemplated, however, to retain the position thus gained and abandon Corinth, the strategic point of the campaign.
Want of general officers needful for the proper organization of divisions and brigades of an army brought thus suddenly together and other difficulties in the way of an effective organization delayed the movement until the night of the 2nd instant, when it was heard, from a reliable quarter, that the junction of the enemy's armies was near at hand. It was then, at a late hour, determined that the attack should be attempted at once, incomplete and imperfect as were our preparations for such a grave and momentous adventure. Accordingly, that night at 1 a. m. the preliminary orders to the commanders of corps were issued for the movement.
On the following morning the detailed orders of movement, a copy of which is herewith, marked A, were issued, and the movement, after some delay, commenced, the troops being in admirable spirits. It was expected we should be able to reach the enemy's lines in time to attack him early on the 5th instant. The men, however, for the most part, were unused to marching, and the roads, narrow and traversing a densely-wooded country, became almost impassable after a severe rain-
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