on the south of the Arkansas River and is therefore safe, but is too weak to make any successful resistance to the enemy, whose forces number about 20,000, and the crisis which I hoped had been deferred at least two months is thus unexpectedly upon us. Under these embarrassing circumstances would it be justifiable to strip this country of its only of defense, thereby allowing the enemy to oven the State and win a wavering people from their loyalty to us by the seductive promises of place and proportion while at the same time it is a matter of extreme doubt weather the troops thus sent away could reach Vicksburg in time, or rather with the almost certainty that they would not do so?
My information from Helena is to the effect that a heavy force of the enemy has passed down the Mississippi on transports, doubtless for the demonstration upon Vicksburg. Corroboratory of his I received a telegram last night from General Blanchard at Monroe, La., Informing me of the landing of a large force of the enemy at Milliken's Bend and the destruction of the railroad deport at Delhi and the bridge over Bayou Macon. Thus it seems very certain that any force I can now send from here would not be able to reach Vicksburg, and if at all not before such a re-enforcement would be useless, while such a division would enable the enemy to penetrate those portion of the Arkansas valley where the existence of supplies of subsistence and forage would afford them leisure to overrun the entire State and gradually reduce the people to a dependence upon the Federal Government.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. H. HOLMES,
Lieutenant-General, Commanding Department.
VICKSBURG, MISS., December 30, 1862.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Jackson, Miss.:
In saying, "want all the troops I can get," I mean that if the enemy continues to increase his force, and I have no doubt no doubt he will all the troops orders to re-enforce me will be absolutely necessary to insure the safety of Vicksburg and Port hundson. i cannot entirely abandon Grenada. The heavy rain will relieved the approach from Skipwith's Landing. Have accordingly ordered troops Vaugan's to snyder's Mill via Yazoo River, an important position. Relief for men in trenches is necessary; they have been now there days in them. So far we have heels all advanced points wing very considerable loss to enemy and small to ourselves.
The enemy will strengthen an Baton Rouge. Their strength is 8,000. If necessary, troops can be returned from there. This is the vital point. The enemy is persevering. I desire to work with you.
J. C. PEMBERTON,
JACKSON, MISS., December 30, 1862.
General BRAGG, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
Van Dorn has destroyed the depot at Holly Springs. Grant has recrossed the Tallahatchie. I wish to unite Forrest and Roddey with Van Dorn for further operations. Please inform them and tell where they are.
J. E. JOHNSTON,