think, on Yazoo and Tallahatchee to meet any force they may bring. If enemy increases his fleets, you will have to increase my guns.
J. C. PEMBERTON.
MOBILE, March 15, 1863.
GENERAL: I have reached this place on my way to your department, but a dispatch recalls me to Tullahoma.
Besides wishing to correspond with Lieutenant-General Smith, to ascertain if any of his troops can operate against the enemy's forces which threaten you on the Mississippi, or if he can make a diversion, I was anxious to confer with you and reach the state of things in the department.
Can a battery be placed near enough to the outlet of the enemy's canal opposite Vicksburg to command it? I see by the Northern papers that dredge-boats are used in the excavation, so that its completion is probably a question of time only.
Is the Coldwater navigable for such boats as are called transports? I have been told by an officer who professes to know that it is not. You intended, however, in the beginning of the winter to have is obstructed, which I presume has been done.
Might not large quantities of corn be obtained from the valley of the Yazoo, by Grenada? They say here that great quantities of rolling-stock, belonging to other roads, are lying along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad idle. It would be well to ascertain the fact, to see them, if the report is true, on the Southern road. The sugar and molasses for the whole army must come through Vicksburg, so that we want, if it is to be had, as much rolling-stock as can run on that road, to supply these articles to other departments as well as to accumulate provisions at Vicksburg. Cannot an occasional train load be sent over in the mean time? It is very important, for with these articles meat can be purchased, which is to be obtained in no other way. You are aware that it is very scarce in all our armies now.
Can cattle cross the Mississippi now as they did last summer and fall? If so, I suggest your sending commissaries to purchase them in large quantities in Louisiana and Texas.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. Johnston.
JACKSON, March 15, 1863.
Fort Pemberton, via Grenada, [Care of Brigadier-General George]:
If you deem it advisable to increase McCulloch's force at Coldwater, do so, either from his own command or from George's State troops, or both. He carries with him 240. What is condition of affairs to-day? Is the river falling?
J. C. PEMBERTON.
GRAND GULF, March 15, 1863.
Major J. J. REEVE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Vicksburg:
I have one battery on Big Black, at Winkler's Bluff, and one of Parrott guns at Grand Gulf.
JNO. S. BOWEN.