War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0228 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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attacks, but he is still closely invested; that he is getting short of provisions and ammunition, and should be speedily relieved.

J. E. Johnston.

JACKSON, MISS., June 20, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

On arriving here I informed General Kirby Smith of the condition of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and requested his aid and co-operation, which he has given. General Taylor, with 8,000 men, is opposite Vicksburg, and temporarily occupies Milliken's Bend and other points on the river. The presence of this force is encouraging. Nothing can be done by us to relieve Port Hudson, which is in imminent peril. General Taylor will make such demonstrations opposite Port Hudson as he can.

J. E. Johnston.

RICHMOND, VA., June 21, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Jackson, MISS.:

Yours of the 19th received. Consequences are realized and difficulties are recognized as very great, but I still think, other means failing, the course recommended should be hazarded. The aim, in my judgment, justifies any risk and all probable consequences.

J. A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, VA., June 21, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. Johnston,

Jackson, MISS.:

Only my conviction of almost imperative necessity for action induces the official dispatch I have just sent you. On every ground I have great deference to your superior knowledge of the position, your judgment and military genius, but I feel it right to share, if need be to take, the responsibility, and leave you free to follow the most desperate course the occasion may demand. Rely upon it, the eyes and hopes of the whole Confederacy are upon you, with the full confidence that you will act, and with the sentiment that it were better to fail nobly daring than through prudence even to be inactive. I look to attack in last resort, but rely on your resources of generalship to suggest less desperate modes of relief. I can scarce dare to suggest, but might it not be possible to strike Banks first and unite the garrison of Port Hudson with you or to secure sufficient co-operation from General Smith, or to practically besiege Grant by operations with artillery from the swamps now dry on the north side of the Yazoo below Haynes' Bluff?

I rely on you for all possible [efforts] to save Vicksburg.

J. A. SEDDON.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON:

Positive information has just been received from General E. K. Smith that FIFTY-seven transports with troops passed Napoleon on the 11th and 12th last, going down the Mississippi River.

J. E. Johnston.