On April 11, I again telegraphed General Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, and General J. E. Johnston, at Tullahoma, as follows:
A scout from Austin reports that forty transports, loaded down, but without troops, passed up the Mississippi River on the 3rd and 4th instant.
Brigadier-General Chalmers reports that-
Ellet's Marine Brigade passed up the Mississippi on the 7th. The same evening three gunboats and nineteen transports laded with troops passed up, the last ten boats from Tallahatchee, 20 miles up Coldwater, on Wednesday, going up. I think that most of Grant's forces are being withdrawn to Memphis.
On the same day I again telegraphed General Johnston as follows:
The following report just received: Scout Kemp reports, "Near Byhalia, on the 10th, the enemy is strengthening his guard on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
Twelve thousand troops passed Memphis going up the river on the 7th. The same day FIFTY pieces of artillery were landed at Memphis and taken to the Memphis and Charleston depot. Part of Grant's army reported to be going to Corinth and down the Mobile and Ohio Railroad; the balance to re-enforce Rosecrans. "
Lawson reports near Memphis, 10th-
Marine Brigade gone up the Cumberland River; also fourteen transports and two gunboats passed up the river. On the night of the 7th, a corps of engineers reached Memphis from below.
Acting on these and other corroborating reports, I said to General Johnston, in closing my dispatch, "I am collecting troops here, and can send you 4,000 at once, if absolutely necessary; " and accordingly the brigades of Generals Tilghman, Rust, and Buford were, on April 13, placed under orders to move with dispatch to Tullahoma, while General Vaughn's brigade of East Tennesseeans was
ordered to be held in readiness to move at short notice. Major L. Mims, chief quartermaster, was instructed to furnish the necessary transportation as speedily as possible, and the following dispatch, dated April 12, was transmitted to General Johnston:
I will forward troops to you as fast as transportation can be furnished-about 8,000 men. Am satisfied Rosecrans will be re-enforced from Grant's army. Shall I order troops to Tullahoma?
On April 15, statements made by persons just out of Memphis, of which I was notified by telegraph, indicated that the retrograde movement from Vicksburg was probably a ruse, and that an early attack might be expected on that place; and on the 16th I telegraphed General Johnston thus:
I can send you only two brigades. The latest information induces the belief that no large part of Grant's army will be removed.
On the same day General Stevenson was directed to delay the movement of [J. C.] Vaughn's brigade, and on the 17th Major Mims, chief quartermaster, was instructed that no more troops would be forwarded in the direction of Tullahoma until further orders. General Tilghman's brigade was held in position between Jackson and the Big Black Bridge, and on the same day the following telegram was dispatched to General Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector GENERAL:
General Stevenson reports that eight boats attempted to pass Vicksburg last night; five succeeded in passing, one was burned and sunk, and two disabled. General Chalmers reports sixty-four steamers left Memphis on the 15th instant, loaded with troops and negroes, apparently with intention of making an assault on Vicksburg. The enemy has nine boats between Vicksburg and Port Hudson. I cannot send any more troops, and think that those on the way to General Johnston should come back.
General Bowen, at Grand Gulf, was immediately advised of the passage of the boats referred to in the above dispatch, and instructed to