Colonel [J.] THOMPSON:
Has any arrangement been made for crossing Big Black?
C. L. STEVENSON.
Vicksburg, May 12, 1863.
Major General C. L. STEVENSON:
The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that from information received from Colonel [Elijah] Gates, at Edwards Depot, it appears evident the enemy are advancing in force on Edwards Depot and Big Black Bridge. Hot skirmishing has been going on all morning and the enemy are at Fourteen-Mile Creek. You must take your whole DIVISION and move rapidly to the support of Loring and Bowen, at the Big Black Bridge, leaving Baldwin's and Moore's brigades [of Smith's and Forney's DIVISIONS] to protect your right.
Yours, very respectfully,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF MISS. AND EASTERN LOUISIANA, Vicksburg, May 12, 1863.
Major General C. L. STEVENSON,
GENERAL: I am directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to inquire if you have received the instruction given you this morning to move with your command, with the exception of Generals Baldwin's and Moore's brigades, which hold the right, to Bovina, to support Generals Loring and Bowen at that point. If so, have you complied with them? It may be necessary for the whole army to cross the river, as the battle may be fought on that side. General Tilghman's brigade, of General Loring's DIVISION, is guarding Baldwin's Ferry. You will march at once to support Loring and Bowen.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. M. STAFFORD,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS, near R. Gibson's, May 12, 1863.
[Colonel J. THOMPSON:]
COLONEL: From a note just received from General Loring, I infer that he does not expect me to advance beyond his brigade. Tilghman's left on the Baldwin's Ferry road, about 1 1/2 miles from the river.
You direct me to go at once with my whole DIVISION to the support of Bowen. In half an hour they will be en route. Shall I pass Tilghman, and go to the bridge? I leave Moore at Warrenton, Waul near here, and Baldwin in his position on Hall's Ferry road. The interval between Baldwin and Moore is 9 miles. I shall be at Taylor's headquarters,
*The inclosure referred to by General Stevenson not with original. The inclosure here given was, however, with General Stevenson's letter.
55 R R-VOL. XXIV, PT. III