Railroad, which would draw him after me and increase the obstacles he would have to encounter in his march.
It is evident that Corinth, situated at the intersection of those two railroads,presents the advantage, besides its favorable local features for defense of possessing those two main arteries for the supplies of a large army. By its abandonment only one of those roads could then be relied upon for that object. If the enemy took possession of this strategic point, he would at once open his communications by railroad with Columbus and Paducah in his rear and Huntsville on his left flank, and thus relieve himself from the awkward position in which he is about to find himself by the rapid fall of the Tennessee River.
It is also evident that the true line of retreat of forces at this point is along the Mobile and Ohio road toward Meridian and thence toward Montgomery, so as to be able, a a last resort, to unite with the armies of the East. This line not only covers the railroad and river lines of communication to Selma and Montgomery, but also from a position along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad the enemy would expose his railroad lines of communication already referred to he should attempt to move on to Memphis, but if he should march in force on the latter, place to change his line of communications, Forts Pillow and Randolph, on the Mississippi River, would have to be abandoned. This would give the enemy command of the Mississippi River from Vicksburg to the Ohio and Missouri Rivers, and enable
him to concentrate a large force against Vicksburg. The fall of the latter place would endanger our line of communication thence to Meridian and Selma (the latter portion now nearly completed) and the Armies of the Mississippi and of the West would soon be compelled to abandon the whole State of Mississippi and another large portion of Alabama, to take refuge behind the Alabama River.
It might be asked, why not retreat along the Memphis and Charlestown Railroad toward the Mississippi River? The reason is obvious. Cut off from communication with the East, the State of Mississippi could not long support a large army. It might also be asked, why not attempt to hold both the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads? Because, being already inferior in numbers to the enemy, should we divide our forces, it would not take him long to destroy both fractions.
Thus it becomes essential to hold Corinth to the last extremity, if the odds are not too great against us, even at the risk of a defeat.
Should the Department judge otherwise, however, I stand ready to carry its views into effect as soon as practicable,as my only desire is to save the cause and serve the country.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
HDQRS. WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Numbers 30. [?]
Corinth, Miss., May 19, 1862
From this date, until otherwise ordered by the War Department, the component parts of rations issued to the army will be as follows:
Pork or bacon to the ration, 10 ounces: salt or fresh beef of the ration, 1 pound; flour or corn meal to the ration, 20 ounces, or hard bread to the ration, 1 pound; flour or corn meal to the ration, 20 ounces, or hard bread to the ration, 1 pound; beans or pease to 100 rations, 8 quarts: rice (in lieu of beans or pease) 15 pounds; coffee to 100 rations, 3 pounds; rye to 100 rations, 3 pounds; sugar to 100 rations, 15 pounds; molasses