War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0873 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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tention to this as being one of numerous instances is which department commanders assume to exercise authority over subjects the responsibility for an control of which belong exclusively to this department. The injury to the service and the great inconvenience resulting from such conduct are most apparent, and I submit that the adoption of some mode to prevent it repetition is indispensable.




Alexandria, November 21, 1862.

Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON, Comdg. Dept. of Mississippi:

GENERAL: I reached this place last night from below, and found your communication of the 12th instant, which had missed me on the road. The communication I had the honor of addressing you from the Bayou Teche, and which you have doubtless received, explains the position of affairs in the lower part of this State. The enemy could not use the river without first driving me from Donaldsonville and La Fourche country, and I presume this is but the first step against Port Hudson. I sent a courier to General Beall to throw a force over the river to operate on the enemy's rear, if he could possibly do so, as this would have enabled me at the time to crush Weitzel, and thus delay operations against Port Hudson. Now, with the enemy in full possession of Berwick Bay and firmly established on the La Fourche the task would be difficult.

From my present position west of the Teche I cannot reach the river without making a long detour to the north to avoid the impracticable country between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers and striking the latter above Port Hudson.

To defend the lover part of this district against an enemy supreme on the water is simply an impossibility. The country is penetrated in every direction by large, deep bayous and lakes, the defense of which would require a large army. But I have no idea the enemy can spare troops at this time for serious operations in this quarter. His flank is now clear to Port Hudson, and the great campaign must be to open the Mississippi River. Were it not for the salt mine I would feel like taking the responsibility of going over to you which every man and gun. Great as my necessities were I would not countermand the order for Morrison's regiment to join you, so deeply impressed am I with the importance of strengthening you to the utmost.

I have commenced erecting a work on the Atchafalaya at the Butte-a-la-Rose. This is the only point on that steam at which all the numerous branches and arms united in one channel. If it can be held, it of transporting salt, &c., to Vicksburg so long as we control the Mississippi. In asking for a regiment from your side of the river it was for the purpose of giving some confidence and backbone to the raw leaves, composing the principal part of my little force. Even the temporary loan of a regiment I would not have asked for had I known at the time of the enemy's movement from above. Of course under the circumstances of your present position you have need of every man, and you ought to have 25,000 men from Holmes.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,