Had I received a coy of your orders of May 22, directing General Bragg to send troops from his army to Mississippi, my error would have been corrected then, but it was not sent to me, and I have its evidence for the first time in your letter. The dispatch of the Secretary of War, June 8, received on the 10th, removed my misapprehension.
III. In regard to the repetition and persistence which you impute to me in the first sentence of your letter, I cannot feel that my three brief telegrams, dictated by the respect due from me to you, deserved to be so characterized; the first and SECOND being replies to direct questions in yours of the 15th and 17th, and the THIRD, in reply to yours of June 30, an attempt to say more clearly what had been carelessly expressed in the first. They are so brief as to require scarcely more than a minute for reading, and are respectful in thought and language. You subsequently characterized my misunderstanding the order sending me to Mississippi as a grave error. This error of mine, which was removed by the dispatch from the War Department dated June *, and which had no effect on my military course, does not seem to me, I must confess, a grave one.
IV. In the seventh paragraph of your letter you write:
While at Tullahoma you did not hesitate to order troops from General Pemberton's army; and, learning that you had ordered the DIVISION of cavalry from Northern Mississippi to Tennessee, I telegraphed you that this order left Mississippi exposed to cavalry raids without means of checking them. You did not change your orders,&c.
The only order I gave sending cavalry from Mississippi to Tennessee
was early in January, when I was at Jackson, not Tullahoma. I can find but one telegram received from you on the subject. It is dated April 30, and in these words:
General Pemberton telegraphs that unless he has more cavalry the approaches to Northern Mississippi are almost unprotected, and tevent the cavalry raids.
My reply is of the same date:
About 3,000 of General Bragg's cavalry beyond the Tennessee are employing about 12,000 Federal troops from Mississippi. General Pemberton has been so informed twice.
The main body of the cavalry of Mississippi was near Grenada in January, unorganized and unemployed, and from the condition of the country it was supposed by the officers and intelligent citizens whom I consulted, including the Governor, that it would be useless in the State until late in the spring. Grant had fallen back toward Memphis, and Sherman and McClernand had been repulsed at Vicksburg, but Bragg's army had been terribly reduced by the engagements near Murfreesborough. I therefore directed Major-General Van Dorn to form about two THIRDS of the cavalry near Grenada into a DIVISION and to join General Bragg with it. These troops were transferred from a country in which they could not operate and a department not threatened, and in which the enemy had just been repulsed, to one in which they were greatly needed, where we had just suffered a reverse and were in danger of another. These troops and their gallant leader rendered very important services in Tennessee. They had several engagements with the enemy to the advantage and honor of our arms. Without them we could not have held the country which till the latter part of June furnished food for Bragg's army. More than two weeks before Your Excellency's dispatch of April 30, a brigade of cavalry was sent across the Tennessee to aid in the protection of Mississippi, and reports of large re-enforcements to the garrison of Corinth Being received, Brigadier-General Forrest was sent