War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0193 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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CANTON, MISS., May 24, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

The following, received by courier at Jackson yesterday from General Pemberton, telegraphed to me by Colonel [B. S.] Ewell:

Vicksburg, MISS., May 20.

Enemy assaulted intrenchments yesterday on center and left; were repulsed with heavy loss; our loss small. Enemy's force at least 60,000.

MAY 21.

Enemy kept up heavy artillery fire yesterday; two guns dismounted in center and works injured. Their sharpshooters picked off officers and men all day. Works repaired and guns replaced last night. The vital question is ammunition. The men are encouraged by a report that you are near with a large army, and are in good spirits.

2 p. m. -Brisk artillery and musketry fire to-day; three guns dismounted in center; will replace them if possible. Heavy mortar firing from gunboats. The fire of the sharpshooters is severe.

3 p. m. -During past two days enemy has gone up river in transports in large force. Where going not known.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., May 24, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Canton, MISS.:

I concur in your reliance on [belief of] the tenacity with which General Pemberton will defend his position, but the disparity of numbers renders prolonged defense dangerous. I hope you will soon be able to break the investment. Make a junction and carry in munitions. General [G. J.] Rains, who has made valuable inventions, is ordered to you for special service, and will, I think, be useful both on land and river. General Bragg has probably communicated with you. If my strength permitted, I would go to you.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

JACKSON, MISS., May 27, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

A young man sent out by Major-General Stevenson reports that hard fighting has been going on since Tuesday of last week with continued success to us. Our men confident and in fine spirits; but we cannot break the investment without an army. General Cooper tells me that but 13,000 have been ordered. General Pemberton estimates Grant's force at not less than 60,000. When all the re-enforcements arrive shall have but 23,000. Tell me if additional troops can be furnished.

The two cases of cipher are independent of each other.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., May 28, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Canton, MISS.:

The re-enforcements sent to you exceed by, say, 7,000 the estimate of your dispatch of 27th instant. We have withheld nothing which it was practicable to give. We cannot hope for numerical equality, and time will probably increase the disparity.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

13 R R-VOL XXIV, PT. I