Have detailed officers to gather up all absentees from it. If not objectionable, I will move to Belmont, and rest, where an abundance of forage can be had.
JAMES R. CHALMERS.
NEAR OXFORD, May 6, 1863.
A dispatch from General Ruggles makes me fear my movement was ill-timed. I was in an exhausted region, and compelled to move east or WEST for supplies. Your telegrams to keep your supplies safe, and informing me of the crossing of Coldwater, determined my course. Would turn back, but Van Dorn and the Federals have exhausted the country, poor at best, and we are in no condition for forced marches. I will await orders at Oxford.
JAMES R. CHALMERS.
RICHMOND, May 7, -11. 30 p. m.
General Beauregard insists that he cannot spare more than the 5,000 men sent. I hope he may change his views. The prisoners taken at Post of Arkansas will be sent to you as soon as practicable; number, say, 3,000. Four thousand arms have been sent to Colonel Stockton. Will endeavor to send more, if more are required, to arm the militia furnished to you. Accounts given of troops about Columbus, particularly cavalry, indicate great want of proper commanders. If Lieutenant-Colonel [S. W.] Ferguson is disposable, he might, with temporary rank, render them efficient. Am anxiously expecting further information of your active operations. Want of transportation of supplies must compel the enemy to seek a junction with their fleet after a few days' absence from it. To hold both Vicksburg and Port Hudson is necessary to a connection with Trans-Mississippi. You may expect whatever is in my power to do.
Vicksburg, May 7, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. Johnston, Tullahoma:
Generals Loring's and Stevenson's DIVISIONS, and one brigade of Smith's and one of Forney's, between Warrenton and Baldwin's Ferry. General Bowen's DIVISION at Big Black Bridge, one brigade on either side of river. General Hebert's brigade between Snyder's Mill and Chickasaw Bayou. General Vaughn's north of city, to support Hebert or Bowen. General Lee's, including heavy artillery, in the city. One brigade, about 5,000 infantry, cavalry, and artillery, at Port Hudson; two en route from there to this place. Chalmers', about 1,100, yesterday at Oxford, awaiting to co-operate with Forrest. Ruggles at Columbus; small force of cavalry and State troops.
General Bowen, being attacked by overwhelming numbers, had to leave his position, and for want of transportation, all the horses being killed, had to leave four pieces of light artillery. Our probable loss in killed, wounded, and Missing between 600 and 700.
J. C. PEMBERTON.