On the 28th, it was ascertained that Grierson was continuing his movement south of Hazlehurst, and not toward Grand Gulf or the Big Black Bridge. Colonel [Wirt] Adams was directed to follow him up and ambuscade him, if possible. These instructions were carried out as far as practicable, and resulted in a smart skirmish near Union Church. Colonel Adams' force, however, was too weak to effect anything important. Grierson, after suffering considerable loss by an ambuscade farther south, which was well planned and executed by a cavalry force from Major-General Gardner's command, eventually succeeded in joining General Banks' army at Baton Rouge.
I have been thus circumstantial in reciting the incidents connected with this celebrated raid that I might clearly demonstrate the great deficiency-I may almost say absence-of cavalry in my department, and the absolute impossibility of protecting my communications, depots, and even my most vital positions, without it; and, further, to show that consequent upon this want of cavalry I was compelled to employ infantry, and thus weaken my force in that arm at other important points. I wrote to General Johnston on March 25, urgently requesting that the DIVISION of cavalry under Major-General Van Dorn, which had been sent to the Army of Tennessee for special and temporary purposes, might be returned to me.
Under date of Tullahoma, April 3, Colonel B. S. Ewell, assistant adjutant-general, replied to my request, and from that reply I make the following extract:
In the present aspect of affairs, General Van Dorn's cavalry is much more needed in this department than in that of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, and cannot be sent back as long as this state of things exists. You have now in your department five brigades of the troops you most require, viz, infantry, belonging to the Army of Tennessee. This is more than a compensation for the absence of General Van Dorn's cavalry command.
I will terminate this subject with the following telegram, addressed to General Johnston at Tullahoma on April 27:
However necessary cavalry may be to the army in Tennessee, it is indispensable for me to maintain my communications. The enemy are to-day at Hazlehurst, on the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad. I cannot defend every station on the roads with infantry. I am compelled to bring cavalry here from Northern Mississippi, and thus the whole of that section of the State is left open; further, these raids endanger my vital positions.
When it seemed probable that the enemy would succeed in opening a navigable canal across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, and thus to a great extent avoid the batteries established there, I directed that Grand Gulf should be occupied, and as many heavy guns placed in position as could be without too much weakening the defenses of Vicksburg. Believing that the urgency of the case demanded it, I assumed the responsibility of detaining three heavy guns en route for the Trans-Mississippi Department, and withdrew two others from the batteries at Vicksburg. Insufficient as I knew this battery to be, it was the heaviest I could place there.
Fort Pemberton, on the Tallahatchee, then occupied our attention. The enemy in large force, by land and water, was exerting all his energies against that position, with the view of turning the right flank of Vicksburg, and every available gun was required for its defense. This necessity continued to exist until the fall of the rivers rendered an approach by water impracticable.
Grand Gulf was not selected as a position for land defense, but for the protection of the mouth of the Big Black, and also as a precaution-