War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0463 Chapter XXIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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feet of trestle-work ready, and think in fur or five days will clear out the enemy and restore communication. I have had no communication with any place south of Trenton which wa captured, from which I think all is safe below that point. I have only received that from paroled officers and soldiers. Nothing from General Grant. Have sent dispatches to him by the way of Memphis.




Holly Springs, Miss., December 23, 1862.


Raids made upon the railroad to my rear by Forrest northward from Jackson, and by Van Dorn northward from the Tallahatchie, have cut me off from supplies, so that farther advance by this route is perfectly impracticable. The country does not afford supplies for troops, and but a limited supply of forage.

I have fallen back to the Tallahatchie, and will be only able to hold the enemy at Yalabusha by making a demonstration in that direction or toward Columbus and Meridian.

News received here from the south says that Vicksburg is now in our hands. Butler with Farragut's fleet are said to have ascended the river and to have been successful in their attack. This does not come, however, in sufficiently reliable a shape to have any order or change of plan upon it.

These raids have cut off communication, so that I have had nothing from the north for over a week. Telegraph will probably be working through by to-morrow and railroad within five days.




Saint Louis, Mo., December 23, 1862.

Brigadier General F. P. BLAIR:

GENERAL: Yours of the 12th was duly received, and I have cordially done all I could to start your command as well and fast as possible. In this I only do my duty to a soldier who has in the commencement of the war done enough to deserve the position he holds and the special favors the honorable Secretary of War and His Excellency the President have sought to confer on him. I am sorry to be obliged to hurry forward your command or hold you for an interior move. I had to correspond with headquarters to procure permission to make certain prescribed moves and now work somewhat to an agreed programme. Prompt action is necessary to success at Vicksburg, for the enemy has railroad facilities for massing troops there which may used to great advantage to the rebels. My hope is that Grant has diverted that force, if so, Vicksburg must be struck before it can be re-enforced, and the Jackson Railroad must be destroyed. Success must depend more on action than strength. Strategy is better than force, but not such strategy as confines evolutions to a single line of operation. If you do nor arrive at Vicksburg before the rebels mass a great army there you


*See Rawlins to Commanding Officer Memphis, December 25, p. 480.