ary measure against the passage of transports, should the canal before referred to prove a success, which then seemed highly probable. The necessary works were, however, constructed, under the direction of Brigadier-General Bowen, to defend the batteries against an assault from the river front and against a direct attack from or across Big Black. When, however, the enemy succeeded in passing sufficient transports to cross his troops from the WEST bank of the river below Grand Gulf, there being a practicable route by which to move his land forces from above Vicksburg to a point nearly opposite Bruinsburg, the position of Grand Gulf itself lost most of its value; but so great were his facilities of transportation and so rapid his movements that it was impracticable to withdraw the heavy guns. The only means of subsisting an army south of Big Black are from Vicksburg or Jackson, the former requiring a transportation by dirt road of 40 and the latter of 45 miles, in addition to that by rail. Without cavalry I could not have protected my own communications, much less have cut those of the enemy. To have marched an army across Big Black of sufficient strength to warrant a reasonable hope of successfully encountering his very superior forces would have stripped Vicksburg and its essential flank defenses of their garrisons, and the city itself might have fallen and easy prey into the eager hands of the enemy.
The enemy having succeeded, on the night of April 16 (as heretofore related),, in passing the batteries at Vicksburg with a number of his gunboats and transports, and the report of a heavy movement to the southward on the Louisiana shore being fully confirmed, I immediately made the necessary dispositions for more perfectly guarding all points between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf, and re-enforced Brigadier-General Bowen with Green's brigade, the Sixth Mississippi Regiment, the First Confederate Battalion, and a battery of field artillery. Other troops were collected on the line of the railroad between Jackson and the Big Black Bridge, and measures were taken to get the troops that were being returned from Middle Tennessee into such positions that they could be readily moved at a moment's notice. Major-General Stevenson was directed to place 5,000 men in easy supporting distance of Warrenton, in addition to the brigade already there. Major [Samuel H.] Lockett, my chief engineer, was sent to Grand Gulf.
On the 22nd, I addressed a communication to Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith, acknowledging the receipt of one from him of the 15th asking my co-operation on the WEST side of the Mississippi, and stating my inability to do so because of the enemy's gunboats in the river and from want of transportation, and again asking his co-operation in front of Grand Gulf and New Carthage.
The following telegram was addressed to Major-General Stevenson on the 23rd:
I consider it essential that communications, at least for infantry, should be made by the shortest practicable route to Grand Gulf. The indications now are that the attack will not be made on your front or right, and all troops not absolutely necessary to hold the works at Vicksburg should be held as a movable force for either Warrenton or Grand Gulf.
On the 28th, Brigadier-General Bowen telegraphed that "transports and barges loaded down with troops are landing at Hard Times, on the WEST bank. "
I immediately replied as follows:
Have you force enough to hold your position? If not, give me the smallest additional number with which you can. My small cavalry force necessitates the use of infantry to protect important points.