On Thursday, May 14, the enemy advanced by the Raymond and Clinton roads upon Jackson. The resistance made by the brigades of Gregg and Walker gave sufficient time for the removal of the public stores, and at 2 p. m. we retreated by the Canton road, from which alone we could form a junction with General Pemberton. After marching 6 miles the troops encamped.
From this point I sent to General Pemberton the dispatch of May 14, of which the following is a copy:
GENERAL: The body of troops mentioned in my note of last night compelled Brigadier-General Gregg and his command to evacuate Jackson about noon to-day. The necessity of taking the Canton road at right angles to that upon which the enemy approached prevented an obstinate defense. A body of troops reported this morning to have reached Raymond last night advanced at the same time from that direction. Prisoners say that it was McPherson's corps (four DIVISIONS) which marched from Clinton. I have no certain information of the other. Both skirmished very cautiously. Telegrams were dispatched when the enemy was near, directing General Gist to assemble the approaching troops 40 or 50 miles from Jackson, and General Maxey to return to his wagons and provide for the security of his brigade-for instance, by joining General Gist. That body of troops will be able, I hope, to prevent the enemy in Jackson from drawing provisions from the east, and this one may be able to keep him from the country toward Panola. Can he supply himself from the Mississippi? Can you not cut him off from it? And, above all, should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him? As soon as the re-enforcements are all up, they must be united to the rest of the army. I am anxious to see a force assembled that may be able to inflict a heavy blow upon the enemy. Would it not be better to place the forces to support Vicksburg between General Loring and that place, and merely observe the ferries, so that you might unite if opportunity to fight presented itself? General Gregg will move toward Canton tomorrow. If prisoners tell the truth, the forces at Jackson must be half of Grant's army. It would decide the campaign to beat it, which can be done only by concentrating, especially when the remainder of the eastern troops arrive. They are to be 12,000 or 13,000.
This dispatch was not answered. General Pemberton stated in his official report that it was received at 6 p. m. on the 16th, "while on the retreat" from the battle-field of Baker's Creek.
On the next day, May 15 (Friday), the troops under me marched 10 1/2 miles farther, to Calhoun Station. On the morning of that day I received a letter from General Pemberton, dated Edwards Depot, May 14 (Thursday), 5. 40 p. m.:
I shall move as early tomorrow morning as practicable a column of 17,000 to Dillon's. The object is to cut off enemy's communications and force him to attack me, as I do not consider my force sufficient to justify an attack on the enemy in position, or to attempt to cut my way to Jackson.
This was the first communication received from General Pemberton after my arrival at Jackson; and from it I learned that he had not moved toward Clinton ten hours after the receipt of my order to do so, and that the junction of the forces, which could have been effected by the 15th, was deferred, and that, in disobedience of my orders and in opposition to the views of the majority of the council of war, composed of all of his generals present, before whom he placed the subject, he had decided to make a movement by which the union would be impossible. General Pemberton was immediately instructed that there was but one mode by which we could unite, viz, by his moving directly to Clinton.
The brigadier-generals representing that their troops required rest after the fatigue they had undergone in the skirmishes and marches preceding the retreat from Jackson, and having yet no certain intelligence of General Pemberton's route or of General Gist's position, I did not move on Saturday.
In the evening I received a reply to my last dispatch, dated 4 miles