Answer. No. 1. My detailed report of the evacuation of Corinth was sent by special messenger to the War Department on the - instant (about one week since). The retreat was not of choice, but of necessity. The position had been held as long as prudence and the necessities of the case required. We had received our last available re-enforcements. Our force was by sickness and other cause to about 45,000 effective men of all arms, exclusive of cavalry, scattered over a large extent of country, to watch the movements of the enemy and protect our railroad communications, while his force was known to be at least twice as strong as ours, better disciplined, and more amply supplied in every respect; but before adopting so important a measure it was submitted to a meeting of general officers, composed of Generals Bragg, Polk, Van Dorn, Hardee, Price, and Breckinridge, who unanimously approved of the movement. In retiring toward Tupelo it was hoped the enemy would have followed the movement with a part of his forces, affording me the opportunity of taking the offensive with a lesser disparity of numbers and afforded me the chances of cutting off his line of communication. The retrograde movement was made in preference along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, because it was the true line of retreat, covering our main depots and lines of communication with the East, and was approved by General R. E. Lee, acting general-in-chief, in his letter of the 26th ultimo.
Question. No. 2. What is the plan of future operations, and whether an advance of the army is contemplated, and what prospect there is of a recovery of the territory which has been yielded?
Answer. No. 2. The plan of future operations must depend to a great extent on the movements of the enemy. Should he divide his forces, the offensive must be taken as soon as the condition of our troops and our means of transportation will permit; but should be keep his forces together, he must be made to divide them by demonstration on his right or left and false reports in the newspapers.
Question. No. 3. Why was it not deemed advisable to occupy the hills north and east of Corinth, and could not a stronger line than that around Corinth have been then selected?
Answer No. 3. The defensive lines at Corinth were selected by General Bragg and his engineers, and were approved by General A. S. Johnston and myself when we arrived there. They consisted of a series of elevated ridges, protected in front and flank by extensive forest and two creeks and bottoms, which the enemy has to cross immediately under the guns and musketry of the lines. The best proof of the judgment shown in their selection is that they compelled him to advance by a system approximating to regular approaches against a force only half as strong as his own, and much inferior in discipline and all the appurtenances of war. These lines were mere rifle pits, with slightly-constructed batteries enfilading the roads from the front. Hills are not per se defensive lines, especially when nothing more than elevated positions, isolated by ravines, thick woods, and underbrush, and situated in a country made easily passable in every direction with a little labor. They are also badly supplied with water for a large force; whereas in the lines adopted the defensive forces were more concentrated around the intersection of the Memphis and Charleston with the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and within easy supporting distance of each other. They were also nearer to the Tuscumbia Creek, which afforded a good line to retire behind whenever it should become necessary to abandon Corinth. If a stronger line could have been