War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0244 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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On the 14th, I sent General Pemberton the following:

All that we can attempt to do is to save you and your garrison. To do this, exact co-operation is indispensable. By fighting the enemy simultaneously at the same points of his line, you may be extricated. Our joint forces cannot raise the siege of Vicksburg. My communications with the rear can best be preserved by operating north of railroad. Inform me as soon as possible what points will suit you best. Your dispatches of the 12th received. General Taylor, with 8,000 men, will endeavor to open communications with you from Richmond.

To this communication General Pemberton replied, June 21, recommending me to move north of the railroad toward Vicksburg, to keep the enemy attracted to that side, and stating that he would himself move at the proper time by the Warrenton road, crossing the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry; that "the other roads are too strongly intrenched and the enemy in too heavy force for a reasonable prospect of success," unless I could compel him to abandon his communications by Snyder's.

On the 15th, I expressed to the Department the opinion that without some great blunder of the enemy we could not hold both Mississippi and Tennessee, and that I considered saving Vicksburg hopeless. On the 18th, I said:

Grant's position, naturally very strong, is intrenched and protected by powerful artillery and the roads obstructed. His re-enforcements have been at least equal to my whole force. The Big Black covers him from attack, and would cut off our retreat if defeated.

On June 22, in reply to a dispatch from General Pemberton of the 15th, in which he said that, though living on greatly reduced rations, he had sufficient for twenty days, I informed him that General Taylor had been sent by General E. K. Smith to co-operate with him from the WEST bank of the Mississippi, and that in a day or two I would try to make a diversion in his favor, and, if possible, open communications, adding-

though I fear my force is too small to effect the latter. I have only two-THIRDS of the force you told Messenger Saunders to state to me as the least with which I ought to make an attempt. Scouts report the enemy fortifying toward us and the roads blocked.

A day or two after this, a dispatch was brought me from General Pemberton, dated June 22, suggesting that I should make to Grant "propositions to pass this army out, with all its arms and equipage s,"renewing his hope of my being able, by force of arms, to act with him, and expressing the opinion that he could hold out for FIFTEEN days longer. To this dispatch I replied June 27, informing him that General E. K. Smith's troops had fallen back to Delhi, and that I had urged him to assume the direct command, and continued:

The determined spirit you manifest, and his expected co-operation, encourage me to hope that something may yet be done to save Vicksburg and to postpone both of the modes suggested of merely extricating the garrison. Negotiations with Grant for the relief of the garrison, should they become necessary, must be made by you. It would be a confession of weakness on my part, which I ought not to make, to propose them. When it becomes necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my authority.

On June 29, field transportation and other supplies having been obtained, the army marched toward the Big Black, and on the evening of July 1 encamped between Brownsville and the river.

Reconnaissances, which occupied the 2nd and 3rd, convinced me that attack north of the railroad was impracticable. I determined, therefore, to make the examinations necessary for the attempt south of the railroad; thinking, from what was already known, that the chance for suc-