War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0224 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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I feel intense anxiety as to your plans, and should be gratified to learn them as far as you deem safe to inform me.


Secretary of War.

CANTON, MISS., June 4, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

Your dispatch of yesterday received. By [The] mistake on your part is, that all your numbers are too large; in reference to Beauregard nearly as ten to six. The troops you mentioned, including Jackson's, just arrived, are less than 5. 600. * My only plan is to relieve Vicksburg. My force is far too small for the purpose; tell me if you can increase it, and how much. Grant is receiving re-enforcements. Port Hudson is closely invested. The great object of the enemy for this campaign is to acquire possession of the Mississippi. Can you collect here a force sufficient to defeat the object?

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, Va., June 5, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston:

The mistake was not mine, as I rested on official reports of numbers sent. I regret inability to promise more troops, as we have drained resources even to the danger of several points. You know best concerning General Bragg's army, but I fear to withdraw more. We are too far outnumbered in Virginia to spare any. You must rely on what you have and the irregular forces Mississippi can afford. Your judgment and skill are fully relied on, but I venture the suggestion that to relieve Vicksburg speedy action is essential. With the facilities and resources of the enemy time works against us.


Secretary of War.

CANTON, MISS., June 5, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON:

DEAR SIR: I thank you cordially for your kind letter of May 25 [23], but almost regret that you feel such confidence in me as is expressed in it. From the present condition of affairs, I fear that confidence dooms you to disappointment. Every day gives some new intelligence of the enemy's strength-of re-enforcements on the way to him. My first intention on learning that Lieutenant-General Pemberton was in Vicksburg was to form an army to succor him. I suppose, from my telegraphic correspondence with the Government, that all the troops to be hoped for have arrived. Our resources seem so small, and those of the enemy so great, that the relief of Vicksburg is beginning to appear impossible to me. Pemberton will undoubtedly make a gallant and obstinate defense, and hold out as long as he can make resistance; but unless we assemble a force strong enough to break Grant's line of investment, the surrender of the place will be a mere question of time. General Grant is receiving re-enforcements almost daily. His force, according to the best information to be had, is more than treble that which I command.



*In General Johnston's "Letters-sent" book, this appears as 26,000; it is as above in dispatch received by Mr. Seddon.