War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0330 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

leaving it. They (the Federals) took the Clinton road. It is matter of great anxiety to me to add this little force to your army, but the enemy being exactly between us and consultation by correspondence so slow, it is difficult to a range a meeting. I will take the route you suggest, however, if I understand it. We have small means of transportation, however. Send forward a little cavalry to communicate with me orally. Is the force between us too strong for you to fight, if it interposes itself?

The various suggestions and instructions in these dispatches seem to me to evidence a want of clear and well-defined plans, and all, however, seem to ignore Vicksburg, the defense of which I had conceived to be the main purpose of the Government in retaining the army in Mississippi.

I would only further remark that when General Johnston, on May 13, informed me that Sherman was at Clinton, and ordered me to attack him in the rear, neither he nor I knew that Sherman was in the act of advancing on Jackson, which place he entered at 12 o'clock on the next day; that a corps of the enemy was at Raymond, following Sherman's march upon Jackson, and that another corps was near Dillon's, probably moving in the same direction, and consequently that the order to attack Sherman could not be executed. Nor was I myself aware, until several hours after I had received and promised to obey the order, that it could not be obeyed without the destruction of my army; but on my arrival at Edwards Depot, two hours after I received the order, I found a large force of the enemy near Dillon's, on my right flank, and ready to attack me in the flank or rear if I moved on Clinton. Not being able, therefore, to make the movement, I determined, in consequence of the wish indicated by General Johnston's order for a forward movement on my part, to make the only movement of that description which gave any promise of success; and, in so doing, I relinquished my own plans for the purpose of carrying out what I supposed to be those of General Johnston.

The battle of Baker's Creek and the entire consequences of my movement resulted from General Johnston's order, and he is in part responsible for them, for if that order had never been given, the battle of Baker's Creek would not have been fought.

I relation to General Johnston's complaint that I had made my report direct to the War Department instead of to him I am surprised, inasmuch as General Johnston had been previously informed by the War Department that I had the right to do so.

I conclusion, I earnestly ask that there may be as little delay as possible in reconvening thee directed to investigate the subjects herein referred to.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Vicksburg, July 2, 1863.

A meeting of the general officers (Major-Generals Stevenson, Smith, Bowen, and Forney) and Lieutenant-General Pemberton, when the following, in substance, was spoken:

All agree to the impracticability of the marching of the troops on any forced march, and exhibit brigadier-generals' reports.

General PEMBERTON. You all know General Johnston's dispatches.

You are of opinion to what extent he can aid us?


*Memorandum found among the"Pemberton papers".