wagons. I suggest this as the best plan, because all the other roads are too strongly intrenched and the enemy in too heavy force for a reasonable prospect of success, unless you move in sufficient force to compel him to abandon his communication with Snyder's, which I still hope we may be able to do. I await your orders. Captain [J. M.] Couper understands all my views, and will explain further.
I insert here two dispatches from General Johnston received about this time, one of which is acknowledged in my letter above:
JUNE 14, 1863.
All that we can attempt is to save you and your garrison. To do this, exact cooperation is indispensable. By fighting the enemy simultaneously at the same point of his line, you may be extricated. Our joint forces cannot raise the siege of Vicksburg. My communications with the rear can best be preserved by operating north of patcreceived. General Taylor, with 8,000 men, will endeavor to open communication with you from Richmond.
JUNE 22, 1863.
Your dispatch of the 15th received. General Taylor is sent by General E. Kirby Smith to co-operate with you from the WEST bank of the river, to throw in supplies, and to cross with his force, if expedient and practicable. I will have the means of moving toward the enemy in a day or two, and will try to make a diversion in your favor, and, if possible, communicate with you, though I fear my force is too small to effect the latter. I have only two-THIRDS of the force you told Messenger Saunders to state to me as the least with which I ought to make an attempt. Scouts report the enemy fortifying toward us and the roads blocked. If I can do nothing to relieve you, rater than surrender the garrison, endeavor to cross the river at the last moment if you and General Taylor communicate.
Late in the afternoon of the 25th, the enemy exploded his first mine under the parapet of General Forney's works. In his official report that officer says:
The explosion effected a breach, through which the enemy immediately attempted to charge, but was promptly and gallantly repulsed. The Sixth Missouri Regiment, which had been held in reserve, was on the spot immediately after the explosion, and its commander (Colonel Eugene Erwin) was instantly killed while attempting to lead a charge over the works. Six men of the Forty-THIRD Mississippi Regiment, who were in a shaft countermining at the time of the explosion, were buried and lost. At dark the enemy had possessed himself of the ditch and slope of the parapet, and our forces retired to an interior line a few feet back. This point was now re-enforced by Colonel [F. M.] Cockrell's brigade, of Bowen's DIVISION, and work was resumed by the enemy and by us, they mining and we countermining.
From this time until the 1st [July] nothing of moment occurred. On that day, however, the enemy sprung another mine on the right of the Jackson road, which is thus spoken of by General Forney in his report:
The result was the entire demolition of the redan, leaving only an immense chasm where it stood. The greater portion of the earth was thrown toward the enemy, the line of least resistance being in that direction. Our interior line was much injured. Nine men who were countermining were necessarily lost, and a large number of those manning the works were killed and wounded. The enemy, however, made no attempt to charge, seeming satisfied with having materially weakened the position. I understand that the amount of powder used by the enemy in this explosion was one ton. While all this was taking place on the Jackson road, the enemy was by no means idle at other points. At the work on the Baldwin's Ferry road, his sappers had nearly reached the ditch. At this place we sprung a countermine, which was, unfortunately, a little premature.
From this time forward our engineers were kept constantly and busily employed in countermining against the enemy, who was at work day and night in mining on different portions of the line. About this time our stock of bacon having been almost exhausted, the experiment of using mule meat as a substitute was tried, it being issued only to those who desired to use it, and I am gratified to say it was found by both