after receiving the dispatch above copied, and after I was on the road to Iuka I received the following dispatch:
JACKSON, TENN., 13, 1862.
Brigadier-General CHALMERS, Iuka:
Move by railroad with your whole force, except your light artillery and one company cavalry, to Bethel Station, Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
Don't change cars at Corinth. Celerity is all-important. Transportation ordered to you.
When I received this dispatch I concluded that a battle was either raging or imminent, and sent back orders for all the troops left at Eastport, except the light artillery and one company cavalry, to follow me as soon as possible under the pressure of the emergency and the scarcity of transportation. I gave orders that tents and camp equipage should be left behind. I hurried on to Iuka myself, and arranged to move the whole force before day. Transportation did not come, and the movement was delayed until 10 o'clock yesterday morning.
Upon examination, which I have caused to be made in the telegraph office, I now find that this last dispatch, as received at this office, was signed "Braxton Bragg," and that the name of General Ruggles was appended by the mistake of the operator. This, however, I had no reason to suspect until this examination was made. The last dispatch followed the other so soon, and seemed so palpably to be such a modification of the first as would be made in the exigency which I supposed to exist, that my dispositions were made as promptly as possible and without hesitation.
I hope this will be a satisfactory explanation of my seeming abandonment of the guns at Eastport.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES R. CHALMERS,
HDQRS. SECOND GRAND DIV., ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Bethel, Tenn., March 15, 1862-10.30 a. m.
General DANIEL RUGGLES, Corinth:
DEAR GENERAL: I sent you verbal instructions last night by Captain Trezevant.
The inclosed dispatch and accompaniments* indicate a change of tactics by the enemy. I hope Chalmers has returned to Iuka with his command, and will hold the enemy in check should he make a demonstration there. General Johnston has been urgently pressed to forward his force from Decatur to a position between Iuka and Corinth, so as to be in position to aid either point. Hold your force in hand, with transportation for any point. Should the enemy give us a chance, it is our policy to fight him as early as possible. Let me urge you, general, to try and preserve the best discipline possible with our men, preventing the plundering of our own people, which is now too common. Execute promptly and rigidly the order the reduce baggage, for we can never make a rapid or successful movement as long as we are so encumbered.
Dr. Foard, my medical director, will be able to dispose of your sick.
Our news from New Madrid yesterday was favorable, but still that