War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0885 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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CAMP. JOHNSON, THREE MILES ABOVE DONIPHAN,

ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE RIVER,

June 25, 1863.

Colonel JOHN Q. BURBRIDGE:]

GENERAL: Our scouts, who have just returned from near Ironton, report a heavy concentration of cavalry at that point, estimated at 15,000 or 20,000. They are collecting all their forces from the north and northwest portions of the State to this point. There is a larger cavalry force at Ironton than ever before known to be at that point. They are daily expecting the advance of General Price's army. They are commanded by General Davidson. McNeil's command is also at Ironton. Their picket is stationed at Big Creek Bridge, about 8 miles above Patterson. They are about 300 in number; their scouts all coming as low down as Greenwood Valley. They have also reported the country to be full of rebels. I send you a paper of the 20th.

B. A. JOHNSON,

First. Lieutenant, Commanding, Reves' Co. of Missouri Scouts, on Outpost Duty.

FORT SMITH, ARK., June 25, [1863.]

Brigadier-General CABELL, Commanding.:

GENERAL: I received last night a letter from General Cooper, dated 23rd, in which he says:

I will send to-day a force of about 1,000 mounted men up west side of General River to intercept and capture the anticipated train, should it come down on that side of the river. Colonel Watie, with 500 men, will proceed as far up as Cabin Creek.

He does not say that he has any positive information in regard to the train. It is reported from unofficial sources that the Osage have reported the train as coming.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. STEELE.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE WEST,

Jackson, Miss., June 26, 1863.

Lieutenant General E. KIRBY, SMITH,

Commanding, &c., Trans-Mississippi Department:

GENERAL: You have probably learned before this reaches you of the critical aspect of affairs at Vicksburg. General Pemberton is closely invested with his garrison, numbering about 18,000 effectives. It is impossible with the force the Government has put at my disposal to raise the siege of the city; the most that I can do is possibly to extricate the army, leaving the place in possession of the enemy. If forced to the alternative, this is what I shall be compelled to do, however reluctantly. Our only hope of saving Vicksburg now depends on the operations of your troops on the other side of the river. General Pemberton says he has provisions for a fortnight; perhaps he has them for a long time. Now, if you can contrive either to plant artillery on the Mississippi banks, drive beef into Vicksburg, or join the garrison, should it be practicable or expedient, we may be able to save the city. Your troops up to this time have done nothing. Placing the highest confidence in your intelligence, skill, enthusiasm, and appreciation of the mighty stake involved in the great issue now pending, I have earnestly to suggest that you will repair with all possible dispatch in person