In the early part of January, the country north of Grenada being considered impracticable, I directed Major-General Van Dorn to bring to General Bragg's aid the cavalry of the Mississippi army, except such as Lieutenant-General Pemberton considered necessary to him. It has not yet arrived.
The enemy's present dispositions indicate no immediate advance against General Bragg. In Mississippi, everything depends upon the result of the labor opposite Vicksburg. If General Grant should succeed in making a navigable canal, and through it pass Vicksburg, and invest Port Hudson with the combined armies, it would be difficult for us to succor the place. Indeed, we have not the means of forming a relieving army.
General Pemberton is not communicative. I am told, however, that he is confident that the canal cannot be made. It seems to me to depend on the condition of the river-whether or not it is too high for work with spades.
I have been told by Lieutenant-Generals Polk and Hardee that they have advised you to remove General Bragg and place me in command of this army. I am sure that you will agree with me that the part that I have borne in this investigation would render it inconsistent with my personal honor to occupy that position. I believe, however, that the interests of the service require that General Bragg should not be removed.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS CHALMERS' BRIGADE, On Triune Pike, February 12, 1863-12.15 p.m.
Major [D. E.] HUGER,
MAJOR: I inclose a note just received from Lieutenant-Colonel [John S.] Prather, commanding cavalry in our front, in which he states that the enemy have appeared in front of him in considerable strength, and requesting that I should advance to his support.
In the absence of instructions on this point, I am unwilling to take the responsibility of complying with hire request, but will hold my command in readiness to obey any orders which you may think proper to give.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. F. TUCKER,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, February 12, 1863-2.30 a.m.
[Colonel W. F. TUCKER:]
COLONEL: I am directed by Lieutenant-General Polk to say to you that you must advance your brigade to the support of Colonel Prather, as he requests, and in any operations that may ensue you must act with discretion, keeping the general constantly advised of what occurs.
WM. D. GALE,