single ridge road, with a swamp in our rear, and the enemy between us and our intrenchments, or by a single road through a swampy country, heavily timbered. Success was every improbable; a reverse would have been fatal. The plan of battle was a very good plan of battle, but the topography of the country in which it was to be fought would not permit its execution. It is advisable that more accurate topographical surveys be made of contested ground of which we have the possession for any time.
It was difficult to obtain definite information of our losses on the retreat. Exhibit I shows a list of the ordnance and ordnance stores destroyed by the Federals at Booneville, Miss., June 1, including 6 loaded cars, with 2,200 stands of small-arms and ammunition and accouterments. The details of the loss by the destruction of 7 locomotives and a number of loaded cars, by reason of the premature burning of a bridge by Colonel Cleburne, were not furnished me. It was promised that the return of loss of stores will be forwarded at an early day. The chief of ordnance stated that many small-arms were burned in the tents. He discovered their abandonment after firing the tents by the rapid discharges that occurred. Having learned the fact, a good many were saved. In the vast number of stragglers who deserted the line of retreat, many, weakened by disease and discouraged, abandoned their fire-arms, which, it is feared, are irretrievably lost. General Bragg intended to appoint agents to collect as many of them as possible. It was melancholy to see so many soldiers returning without their guns, and, owing to the irregularities of the adjutants' and medical records and returns, impossible to distinguish between the unfortunate and the offending. The loss of small-arms from this cause is large. No great number of soldiers abandoned their standards with the intention of permanently deserting the army, and very few to go over to the enemy.
I submit exhibit, marked K,* containing General Beauregard's instructions for the guidance of General Villepigue in evacuating Fort Pillow.
According to the best information had by General Bragg when I left Tupelo, July 4, Pope's command of 30,000 men remained at Corinth and in its vicinity. Buell had crossed the Tennessee River with 25,000 men. General Sherman had 12,000 men (two divisions) at Grand Junction, supported by reserves of 10,000 more at Jackson, Bethel, and Moscow. General Fitch had gone down the Mississippi with a brigade from Memphis, and Wallace remained there with some force.
General Bragg had not determined his plan of action. He proposed to avail himself of the railroad to advance immediately 22 miles to Baldwin. He deliberated between attacking at Corinth and leaving that army behind to cross the Tennessee and attack Buell. The danger of the latter plan was, being assailed while crossing and the small chance of being to obtain the means of crossing. The want of water seemed the chief impediment in advancing near the line of the railroad. He seemed to prefer the chance of attacking the enemy on the flank by a movement through Burnsville on Corinth. I do not know that he is considering the propriety of joining General E. Kirby Smith and operating from Chattanooga as a base. Each of these plans is surrounded with difficulties which will present themselves to Your Excellency.
*Not found herewith. See Beauregard and Villepigue, May 28, in reports of the evacuation of Fort Pillow,&c., June 3-5.
5O R R-VOL X