War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0247 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

stated. General Pemberton's march, with whatever purpose made, was begun after the enemy had abandoned Jackson and was almost in his presence.

My order of the 15th, at which time I should have joined General Pemberton to take immediate command of the main army, but that I was still too weak to attempt such a ride, which was received by him very early on the morning of the 16th, required him to abandon that movement. Had he obeyed it, the battle of Baker's Creek would have been escaped.

About the middle of January, finding the cavalry in Mississippi inactive, and being satisfied by the representations of well-informed persons acquainted with the country that it could not be usefully employed in Mississippi until late in the spring, and persuaded that a larger cavalry force was needed to cover that portion of Tennessee from which General Bragg was drawing his supplies, I transferred about two-THIRDS of the cavalry of Mississippi to Tennessee. By this transfer from Mississippi, at a time when Grant had fallen back on Memphis, and Sherman and McClernand had been repulsed at Vicksburg, I gave strength to the Army of Tennessee, which had been greatly reduced by the engagements near Murfreesborough, and enabled General Bragg to cover the country and secure supplies for his army.

About March 20, General Pemberton applied for cavalry for the protection of the northern part of the State during the planting season, but his reports, heretofore referred to, indicated that the enemy's forces were to be employed in Tennessee rather than in Mississippi; and Van Dorn's cavalry being then absolutely necessary to hold the country from which General Bragg was drawing his supplies, I would not send it, and so informed General Pemberton. When he reported that Grant's army was returning to Mississippi, a strong brigade of cavalry was ordered from Tennessee into that State.

The time to strike the enemy with the best hope of saving Vicksburg was when he was landing near Bruinsburg. To do this with any prospect of success, a rapid concentration of all the forces should have been made and an attack. Under this conviction, I telegraphed to General Pemberton on May 1, from Tullahoma:

If Grant's army land on this side of the river, the safety of Mississippi depends on beating it. For that object you should unite your whole force.

And again on May 2:

If Grant crosses, unite your whole force to beat him. Success will give back what was abandoned to win it.

These instructions were neglected, and time was given to Grant to gain a foothold in the State. At Port Gibson and Raymond detachments of our troops were defeated and driven back by overwhelming numbers of the enemy.

On the 13th, when I learned that there were four DIVISIONS of the enemy at Clinton, distant 20 miles from the main body of General Pemberton's forces, I gave him orders to attack them, and notified him that we could co-operate. This order General Pemberton disobeyed, and so reported to me in his letter of the 17th. It directed him to move 20 miles to the east, to co-operate with me in attacking Sherman. He moved to the south, and made our co-operation and junction impossible. He claims that this order compelled him to make the advance beyond the Big Black, which proved so disastrous. Before I had reached Jackson, and before the order was given, General Pemberton made his first advance beyond (east of) the Big Black, to Edwards Depot. After the receipt