cess was much better there, although the consequences of defeat might be more disastrous.
On the night of the 3rd, a messenger was sent to General Pemberton with information that an attempt to create a diversion would be made to enable him to cut his way out, and that I hoped to attack the enemy about the 7th.
On the 5th, however, we learned the fall of Vicksburg, and therefore fell back to Jackson.
The army reached Jackson the evening of the 7th, and on the morning of the 9th the enemy appeared in heavy force in front of the works thrown up for the defense of the place. These, consisting of a line of rifle-pits, prepared at intervals for artillery, extended from a point north of the town, a little east of the Canton road, to a point south of the town, within a short distance of Pearl River, and covered most of the approaches WEST of the river; but were badly located and constructed, presenting but a slight obstacle to a vigorous assault. The troops promptly took their assigned positions in the intrenchments on the appearance of the enemy, in expectation of an immediate assault, Major-General Loring occupying the right, Major General Walker the right of the center, Major-General French the left of the center, and Major-General Breckinridge the left. The cavalry, under Brigadier-General Jackson, was ordered to observe and guard the fords of Pearl River above and below the town. The reports that had at various times been made to me by the commanding officers of troops encamped near Jackson of the scarcity of water led me to believe that Sherman, who advanced in heavy order of battle from Clinton, could not besiege, but would be compelled to make an immediate assault. His force was represented to consist of his own and Ord's army corps and three DIVISIONS in addition. . The spirit and confidence manifested by the whole army under my command was such that, notwithstanding this vast superiority of numbers, I felt assured, with the advantage given by the intrenchments, weak as they were, an assault by him would result in his discomfiture. . Instead of attacking, the enemy as soon as they arrived commenced intrenching and constructing batteries.
On the 10th, there was spirited skirmishing, with slight cannonading continuing throughout the day. This was kept up with varying intensity and but little interruption until the period of our evacuation. Hills commanding and encircling the town within easy cannon-range offered favorable sites for batteries. A cross-fire of shot and shell reached all parts of the town, showing the position to be entirely untenable against a powerful artillery.
On the 11th, I telegraphed the President:
If the position and works were not bad, want of stores (which could not be collected)
would make it impossible to stand a siege. If the enemy will not attack, we must, or at the last moment withdraw. We cannot attack seriously without risking the army.
On the 12th, besides the usual skirmishing, there was a heavy cannonade from the batteries near the Canton and south of the Clinton roads. The MISSILES reached all parts of the town. An assault, though not a vigorous one, was also made on Major-General Breckinridge's line. It was quickly repelled, however, principally by the direct fire of Cobb's and Slocomb's batteries and flank attack of the skirmishers of the First, THIRD, and Fourth Florida and Forty-seventh Georgia Regiments. The enemy's loss was 200 prisoners, nearly the same number killed, many wounded, and the colors of the Twenty-eighth, Forty-first, and FIFTY-THIRD Illinois Regiments.