War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0208 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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BRANDON, MISS., July 17, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

Jackson was abandoned last night. The troops are now moving through this place to encamp 3 miles to the east. Those officers who have seen the Vicksburg troops think that they cannot be kept together. General Pemberton thinks the best policy is to furlough them by regiments.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., July 18, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston, Brandon, MISS.:

Your dispatch of yesterday received, informing me of your retreat from Jackson toward the east. I desire to know your ulterior purpose. The enemy may not pursue, but move up the Central road, lay waste the rich country toward Tennessee, and co-operate afterward with Rosecrans. Another column, Eastern Louisiana being abandoned, may be sent from New Orleans to attack Mobile on the land side. The recommendation to furlough the paroled troops from Vicksburg offers a hard alternative under the pressure of our present condition.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

JULY 19, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

Your dispatch of yesterday cannot be deciphered. My purpose is to hold as much of the country as I can, and to retire farther only when compelled to do so. Should the enemy cross Pearl River, I will oppose his advance, and, unless you forbid it, order General Bragg to join me to give battle. Prisoners all say that Mobile is to be attacked. I will re-enforce the garrison if necessary, not expecting Sherman to move through Mississippi at present. He must repair railroads first, and our cavalry can break them behind him. In the mean time I will try to restore discipline.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., July 21, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston, near Morton, MISS.:

Return to me the cipher dispatch of 18th, to enable me to learn why my cipher dispatches to you are illegible.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

CAMP near MORTON, MISS., July 22, 1863.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

As it is of the highest importance that you should have the best intelligence of the condition of military affairs in Mississippi, I have desired Brigadier-General [W. S] Featherston to go to Richmond to give you information, which he, an eminent Mississippian and distinguished soldier, can communicate better than any other officer of this army. In selecting General Featherston for this service. I have been influenced as much by my belief of your high opinion of him as by my own.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. Johnston,

General.