War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0074 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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fields and swamps. We lost what artillery we had with us for the want of a road and bridges. Before reaching the lower for d, I learned the whole force of the enemy had moved to Edwards Depot, and that a large command had passed that day to Big Black. I endeavored to get a competent guide we had to carry us between the enemy's forces to the bridge, but he said it could not be done; it was hazardous in the extreme to attempt the ferries in the face of a large force there. My only means of preventing my DIVISION from being overwhelmed was to force my way through the enemy's lines under cover of night and join my forces to yours. We have no baggage-wagons or cooking utensils, and but 40 rounds of ammunition. The wagons of this DIVISION were sent back to Edwards Depot.

I hear that the enemy have left Jackson. Upon learning its truth, I shall move a short distance to morrow after crossing Pearl River.

With respect, your obedient servant,

W. W. LORING,

Major-General, commanding.

GENERAL JOSEPH E. Johnston.

HEADQUARTERS,

Camp Forrest, MISS.,

August 28, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to forward, through you, a detailed statement of the operations of my DIVISION at the battle of Baker's Creed and my movements consequent upon it.

On May 13, major-General Bowen, in command of his DIVISION, having reported the enemy advancing, I was ordered to re-enforce him with my DIVISION, a very strong position was selected about 1 mile south of Edwards Depot, our left resting on the railroad and the right not far from Baker's Creek.

On the morning of the 14th, general Pemberton ordered a council of war, in which he read a dispatch from General [Joseph E.] Johnston, which stated in substance that the enemy (two or three DIVISIONS)was at Clinton, 9 miles from Jackson, and (if General Pemberton thought it practicable) advised a movement in connection with him, saying that time was all-important. In the council of war there was great diversity of opinion; two generals were for moving at once upon the road to Clinton; two or three were for remaining or moving back; three were for striking at the communications of the enemy, keeping our own open with the bridge over Big Black River, and fighting or not in a position of our own choosing, as would seem best. I understood the opinion of the general commanding to be that he did not approve the move proposed by General Johnston, but coincided with those who were for moving to the enemy's rear.

It was determined by the general to move at 8 o'clock in the morning (15th instant), the army intending to cross Baker's Creek

at a ford which was prevented by its swollen condition. It was, however, put in motion about 3 or 4 p. m., crossing the creek upon a bridge a short distance above the ford. A map was furnished marking the road upon which the army was to march, my DIVISION being in the advance. After moving 4 or 5 miles, we were joined by Major [Samuel H.] Lockett chief engineer, who directed the column to take a cross-road. At these place the army was to have encamped, it having been discovered that the road which