War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0329 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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The only instructions or suggestions received from General Johnston in reference to the movements at Grand Gulf are contained in the following dispatches, which were dated and received after the battle of Port Gibson, and when our army in retreat from that position was recrossing the Big Black:


If Grant's army lands on this side of the river, the safety of Mississippi depends on beating it. For that object you should unite your whole force.


If Grant crosses, unite your whole force to beat him. Success will give back what was abandoned to win it.

The question of supplies and the necessity of a sufficient cavalry force (without which I was powerless) to protect my communications, in event of a movement south of Big Black toward Bayou Pierre, has been sufficiently referred to in the body of my report.

I have one more remark to make with reference to cavalry: General Johnston informed me about the middle of April that he had ordered a brigade to my assistance. So far as my knowledge extends, it did not enter the limits of my department. For a few days subsequently, General Johnston notified me that a strong force of the enemy in front of Roddey prevented his leaving Northern Alabama at that time, and requested me, if possible, to send a force to co-operate with him. To this I replied, under date of April 20, from Jackson, reminding him that I had but a feeble cavalry force, but that I would certainly give Colonel [P. D.] Roddey all the aid I could, and added:

I have virtually no cavalry from Grand Gulf to Yazoo City, while the enemy is threatening to cross the river between Vicksburg and Grand Gulf, having twelve vessels below Vicksburg.

In relation to the battle of Baker's Creek, I wish to add a few words in elucidation of my official report: When I left my position at Edwards Depot, it was with the expectation of encountering the enemy. I was, therefore, neither surprised nor alarmed when on the night of the 15th I learned his close proximity; nor should I have then desired or attempted to avoid battle, but for my anxiety to comply with General Johnston's instructions of the 15th instant, in which he says:

The only mode by which we can unite is by your moving directly to Clinton, informing me, that we may move to that point with about


The remainder of this dispatch is embodied in my report. I used every exertion to comply implicitly with his directions, but the enemy prevented it. It appears, as will be seen by reference, that General Johnston supposed the enemy to be still at Jackson when he wrote on the 15th while in his note of the 14th (received subsequently), the enemy being then also at Jackson, he informs me that the force under General Gist, he hopes-

will be able to prevent the enemy in Jackson from drawing provisions from the east. This one [Gregg's, with which he was present in person] may be able to keep him from the country toward Panola. Can he supply himself from the Mississippi? Can you not cut him off from it; and, above all, should he be compelled to fall back for want of supplies, beat him?

The remainder of this dispatch is also contained in my report. I here insert a dispatch from General Johnston not given or referred to in my report:


I have just received a dispatch from Captain [W. S.] Yerger, informing me that a detachment of his squadron went into Jackson this morning just as the enemy was