War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0456 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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tude for the lives our soldiers in the condition of affairs that we then found them has been misconstrue fro officiousness.

In all this matter we feel that we have discharged our duty in trying to prevent an unnecessary effusion of blood.

Whether the failure on the part of those in the military command to prepare in season to give us the proper protection has arisen from a want of capacity to perceive ; the danger when it was attempted to be shown to them, or a determination to persist in their own cour consequences, we do not pretend to say; but one things is certain, if the means which you freely and generously offered to furnish us for who might make an attack, had been procured and put in proper position, we would have not only repulsed but would have wiped out the force that made the attack.

Why those in command failed to get the artillery that you informed one of our commissioners should be furnished on request or why other officers who were informed of your readiness to furnish such for our protection have not procured the, are questions that properly belong to others to answer, and not to us, for we certainly gave them the information that it was your desire to furnish all that might be necessary to protect this section from a successful attack of the enemy. If we have committed an error, it has been in troubling you, while engaged in taking Vicksburg, to get orders to make the military department in taking here adequate to our defense, but after all, from some cause or other, they have failed to avail themselves of your forethought and our importunities to make the service here sufficient for such purpose.

It is proper here to say that Colonel Thomas Kilby Smith, and the other members of the court of inquiry that happened to be here engaged in examining the case of Colonel I. F. Shepard, have rendered essential service on this occasion, and had their counsel been heeded, perhaps many lives would have been saved, and nearly an entire rout of the enemy been the result. Had Colonel Sherpard's plans, made known to us the day previous to his arrest, been carried out, we have no doubt but that we would have been to-day in possession of a great portion of the forces that made the attack upon us. The great solicitude that we have manufactural and commercial interests involved in this region, which must be and the fatal consequences to all the various interests concerned, is our reason for using all the means in our power to prevent the consequences that have resulted. The capacity of the negro to defend his liberty, and his susceptibility to appreciate the power or motives in the place of the last, have been put to such a test under our observation as to be beyond further doubt.

The other two commissioner being absent, I take the responsibility to send you this letter, hoping that the same May be satisfactory to you and meet With your approval.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. STRICKLE,

Captain and Commissioner.

Major General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Department of the Tennessee.

P. S. -Presuming that you have been officially informed by the military department of the losses and casualties connected With this battle, I have deemed it my duty to be silent on this subject.