War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0225 Chapter XXXVI] GENERAL REPORTS.

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scouts say, too, that he has constructed lines of circumvallation and has blocked up all roads leading to his position. The enterprise of forcing the enemy's lines would be a difficult one to a force double that at my disposal. If you are unable to increase that force decidedly, I must try to accomplish something in aid of the besieged garrison; and yet, when considering it, it seems to me desperate.

Your suggestion to General Kirby Smith was promptly dispatched to him. I have no doubt that the time is favorable for attacking Helena.

In replying by telegraph to your letter and telegrams, I have said

that if you can increase this army it should be done. If you cannot, nothing is left for us but to struggle manfully with such means as the Government can furnish.

I beg you to consider in connection with affairs in this department that I have had not only to organize, but to provide means of transportation and supplies of all sorts for an army. The artillery is not yet equipped.

All of Lieutenant-General Pemberton's supplies were, of course, with his troops about Vicksburg and Port Hudson. I found myself, therefore without subsistence, stores, ammunition, or the means of conveying those indispensable. It has proved more difficult to collect wagons and provisions than I expected. We have not yet the means of operating for more than four days away from the railroads. That to Vicksburg is destroyed. We draw our provisions from the northern part of the State.

The protection of that country employs about 2,500 irregular cavalry. It is much too small. I am endeavoring to increase it by calling for volunteers, but am by no means sanguine as to the result.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. Johnston.

CANTON, MISS., June 5, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON:

Grant still receives re-enforcements. Scouts near Friar's Point report 8 boats, loaded with troops, passed down Monday and Tuesday.

Twelve empty transports passed up.

J. E. Johnston.

CANTON, MISS., June 5, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON:

Brigadier-General [J. W.] Whitfield, who was ordered to report to me when I was in Tennessee, but could not, has just done so. What is your intention in regard to him? I am informed that it will be very unfortunate for him to command the brigade to which he has belonged.

J. E. Johnston.

CANTON, June 6, 1863.

General S. COOPER:

The following is just received from Captain Thomas Henderson, of scout service:

PANOLA, MISS., June 6, 1863.

Scout Wilson reports, 11 o'clock yesterday, since Sunday seventeen transports with troops gone down the river from Memphis. All came from railroad. Grant orders all forces possible sent him. Eight thousand wounded arrived and large arrangements made for more.


J. E. Johnston.