War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0196 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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RICHMOND, VA., June 15, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Jackson, MISS.:

Your dispatch of 12th instant to Secretary of War noted. The order to go to Mississippi did not diminish your authority in Tennessee, both being in the country placed under your command in original assignment.

To what do you refer as information from me restricting your authority to transfer troops because no more could be spared? Officers ordered to you for duty generally are, of course, subject to assignment by you.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

JACKSON, MISS., June 16, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

Your dispatch of 15th received. I meant to tell the Secretary of War that I considered the order directing me to command here as limiting my authority to this department, especially when that order was accompanied by War Department orders transferring troops from Tennessee to Mississippi; and, whether commanding there or not, that you reply to my application for more troops that no more could be spared would have made it improper for me to order more from Tennessee. Permit me to repeat that an officer having a task like mine, far above his ability, cannot in addition command other remote departments. No general can command separate armies. I have not yet been able to procure the means of moving these troops; they are too weak to accomplish much. The re-enforcements you mention have joined Grant.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., June 17, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Jackson, MISS.:

I do not find in my letter-book any communication to you containing the expression which you again attribute to me and cite as a restriction on you against withdrawing troops from Tennessee; and have to repeat my inquiry, to what do you refer? Give date of dispatch or letter.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

RICHMOND, VA, June 17, 1863.

General BRAXTON BRAGG,

Commanding at Shelbyville:

GENERAL: General Johnston, in telegrams of 15th and 16th, repeats the expression of his opinion that he cannot under existing circumstances advantageously command both in Mississippi and Tennessee; and, in referring to the reported movement of Burnside's corps to re-enforce Grant, says, "Will not this enable us to invade Kentucky? For this, General Bragg's command should extend over East Tennessee. "

The arrangement made of several departments in a geographical district, to the command of which General Johnston was assigned, was intended to secure the fullest co-operation of the troops in those departments, and at the same time to avoid delay by putting the commander of each department in direct correspondence with the War Office. Under this view of the case, the Department of East Tennessee, &c., was created, because of the delay which would attend the transmission of