War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0206 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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was not supposed that the word "Executive" referred to any one but myself; but, of course, in a matter like this, your own explanation of your meaning is conclusive.

[XXVII.] The telegram of the Secretary of War of 5th June, followed by that of 8th June, conveyed unmistakably the very reverse of the meaning you attributed to them, and your reference to them as supporting your position is unintelligible. I revert, therefore, to my telegram of 28th May. That telegram was in answer to one from you in which you stated that, on the arrival of certain re-enforcements then on the way, you would have about 23,000; that Pemberton could be saved only by beating Grant, and you added:

Unless you can promise more troops, we must try with that number. The odds against us will be very great. Can you add 7,000?

My reply was:

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 you. We cannot hope for numerical equality, and time will probably increase the disparity.

[XXVIII.] it is on this language that you rely to support a statement that I informed you no more troops could be spared from Tennessee, and as restricting your right to draw troops from that department. It bears no such construction. The re-enforcements sent to you (with an exception presently to be noticed) were from points outside of your department. You had, in telegrams of 1st, 2nd,* 7th May, and others, made repeated applications to have troops withdrawn from other departments to your aid. You were informed that we would give all the aid we possibly could. Of your right to order any change made in the distribution of troops in your own district no doubt had ever been suggested by yourself nor could occur to your superiors here, for they had given you the authority. [XXIX.] The re-enforcements which went with you from Tennessee were (as already explained, and as was communicated to you at the time) a mere exchange for other troops sent from Virginia.

[XXX.] The troops subsequently sent to you from Bragg were forwarded by him under the following dispatch from me of 22nd May:

The vital issue of holding the Mississippi at Vicksburg is dependent on the success of General Johnston in an attack on the investing force. The intelligence from there is discouraging. Can you aid him? If so, and you are without orders from General Johnston, act on your judgment.

[[XXXI.] The words that I now underscore suffice to show how thoroughly your right of command of the troops in Tennessee was recognized. I knew from your own orders that you thought it more advisable to draw troops from Mississippi to re-enforce Bragg than to send troops from the latter to Pemberton, and one of the reasons which induced the instruction to you to proceed to Mississippi was the conviction that your views on this point would be changed on arrival in Mississippi. Still, although convinced myself that troops might be spared from Bragg's army without very great danger, and that Vicksburg was, on the contrary, in immediate peril, I was unwilling to overrule your judgment of the distribution of your troops while you were on the spot, and therefore simply left to General Bragg the power to aid you if he could and if you had not given contrary orders.

[XXXII.] The cavalry sent you from Tennessee was sent on a similar dispatch from the Secretary of War to General Bragg, informing him


*Dated May 1; received May 2, 1863.