brought 18,000 caps, and the latter 20,000, and the following dispatch, the first received since the 18th:
MAY 25, 1863.
My last note was returned by the bearer. Two hundred thousand caps have been sent. It will be continued as they arrive. Bragg is sending a DIVISION. When it comes, I will move to you. Which do you think the best route? How and where is the enemy encamped? What is your force?
J. E. Johnston.
The 200,000 caps mentioned in the above dispatch were captured by the enemy. I dispatched the following in reply:
Your dispatch of 25th received this evening with 20,000 caps; Fontaine yesterday with 18,000. No messenger from you since 18th. I have 18,000 men to man the lines and river front; no reserves; I do not think you should move with less than 30,000 or 35,000, and then, if possible, toward Snyder's Mill, giving me notice of the time of your approach. The enemy encompasses my lines from right to left flank, occupying all roads. He has three corps-Sherman on my left, McPherson center, McClernand on my right. Hurlbut's DIVISION from Memphis and Ellet's Marine Brigade, the last afloat. Enemy has made several assaults. My men are in good spirits, awaiting your arrival. Since investment we have lost about 1,000 men-many officers. You may depend on my holding the place as long as possible. On the 27th we sunk one of their best iron-clad gunboats.
On the 30th, I again dispatched as follows:
Scouts report the enemy to have withdrawn most of his forces from our right yesterday, leaving Hall's Ferry road open, I apprehend, for a movement against you. I expect this courier to return to me.
The meat ration having been reduced one-half, that of sugar, rice, and beans was largely increased. It was important above all things that every encouragement should be given to the troops. With this object in view, I ordered the impressment of chewing tobacco and its issue to the troops. This had a very beneficial influence. The enemy kept steadily at work day and night, and, taking advantage of the cover of the hills. had run his parallels up to within 75 yards of our works. He was also mining at different points, and it required the active and constant attention of our engineers to repair at night the damage inflicted upon our works during the day, and to meet his different mines by counter-mining. Orders were issued to prepare thunder barrels and petards for the defense of weak points, and every precaution was taken to check the enemy in his operations and to delay them as far as possible.
On June 7, the following dispatch was sent to General Johnston:
I am still without information from you later than your dispatch of the 25th. The enemy continues to intrench his position around Vicksburg. I have sent out couriers to you almost daily. The same men are constantly in the trenches, but are still in good spirits, expecting your approach. The enemy is so vigilant that it is impossible to obtain reliable information. When may I expect you to move, and in what direction? My subsistence may be put down for about twenty days.
On the 10th, I again dispatched as follows:
The enemy bombard day and night, from seven mortars on opposite side of peninsula. He also keeps up constant fire on our lines with artillery and sharpshooters. We are losing many officers and men. I am waiting most anxiously to know your intentions. Have heard nothing of you nor from you since May 25. I shall endeavor to hold out as long as we have anything to eat. Can you not send me a verbal message by a courier crossing the river above or below Vicksburg and swimming across again opposite Vicksburg?
Again, on the 12th, I dispatched as follows:
Courier Walker arrived this morning with caps. No message from you. Very heavy firing yesterday from mortars and on lines.