south of Edwards Depot, May 16, stating it had reached him at 6. 30 that morning; that-
It found the army on the middle road to Raymond. The order of countermarch has been issued. * Owing to the destruction of a bridge on Baker's Creek, which runs for some distance parallel with the railroad and south of it, our march will be on the road leading from Edwards Depot in the direction of Brownsville. This road runs nearly parallel with the railroad. In going to Clinton we shall leave Bolton Depot $ miles to the right. I am thus particular, so that you may be able to make a junction with this army.
In a postscript he reported:
Heavy skirmishing is now going on in my front.
On the afternoon of the same day, I received General Pemberton's first reply to the order sent him from Jackson to attack Sherman, dated Bovina, May 14, 9. 10 a. m., as follows:
I move at once with my whole available force from Edwards Depot. In directing this move, I do not think you fully comprehend the condition Vicksburg will be left in, but I comply at once with your order.
On May 17 (Sunday), I marched 15 miles in the direction indicated in General Pemberton's note received the previous evening. In the afternoon a letter was brought from him, dated Bovina, May 17, a copy of which has been forwarded to the War Department. In this, referring to my dispatch of May 13, from Jackson, General Pemberton wrote:
I notified you on the morning of the 14th of the receipt of your instructions to move and attack the enemy toward Clinton. I deemed the movement very hazardous, preferring to remain in position behind the Big Black and near to Vicksburg. I called a council of war, composed of all the general officers. A majority of the officers expressed themselves favorable to the movement indicated by you. The others, including Major-General Loring and Stevenson, preferred a movement by which this army might endeavor to cut off the enemy's supplies from the Mississippi. My own views were expressed as unfavorable to any movement which would remove me from my base, which was and is Vicksburg. I did not, however, see fit to place my own judgment and opinions so far in opposition as to prevent the movement altogether, but, believing the only possibility of success to be in the plan proposed, of cutting off the enemy's supplies, I directed all my disposable force, say 17,500, toward Raymond or Dillon's.
It also contained intelligence of his engagement with the enemy on the 16th near Baker's Creek, 3 or 4 miles from Edwards Depot, and of his having been compelled to withdraw, with heavy loss, to Big Black Bridge. He further expressed apprehension that he would be compelled to fall back from this point, and represented that, if so, his position at Snyder's Mill would be untenable, and said:
I have about sixty days' provisions at Vicksburg and Snyder's. I respectfully await your instructions.
I immediately replied, May 17:
If Haynes' Bluff be untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, you must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the northeast.
That night I was informed that General Pemberton had fallen back to Vicksburg. On Monday, May 18, General Pemberton informed me by letter, dated Vicksburg, May 17, that he had retired within the line of intrenchments
*Note on General Pemberton's copy says: "Sent off by General P. before being finished-copied. "
16 R R-VOL. XXIV, PT. I