HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, ARMY OF Mississippi, Vicksburg, June 24, 1863.
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs me to say to you that he deems it highly desirable that you should forward a report throwing the burden of having been the first to leave the trenches at Big Black Bridge on the shoulders of those who should bear it. It was reported to the lieutenant-general commanding, as you are aware, by some parties unknown, that the SECOND Brigade of this DIVISION was in fault in this matter, and though perfectly well aware that this is not the case, yet, as he was not present, he cannot make this report as of his own knowledge. This should come from you, and being himself interested equally with yourself in wiping off this unmerited reproach upon the fair fame of the brave men of this DIVISION, he requests that you will set the matter right at once before ovens occur which may delay its rectification for a long time. He further directs me to say that Colonel Cockrell has been ordered to place one-half of a regiment on your right, to fill out your line and act as a reserve. This will be over 100 men, for whom you will make room, and place the men of your brigade, relieved thereby, in reserve. This course is deemed best, that no command or portion of a command shall be put in between and break the continuity of your line.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. R. HUTCHINSON,
HDQRS. FIRST DIST., DEPT. MISS. AND E. La.,
In the Field, Okolona, MISS., June 24, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
COLONEL: I have the honor to communicate, through a channel direct and deemed reliable, that it is understood the enemy's force at Corinth is at least 5,000 strong in the town. Have been re-enforced by from 1,500 to 2,000 infantry within the last ten days; no cavalry re-enforcements. Have increased the number of heavy guns and brought in large supplies of ammunition, with 700 saddles. If the movement is not made toward Atlanta, of which you have been informed, it is their purpose to penetrate the country along the Tombigbee. Colonel Cornyn, who commands the Federal cavalry, left Corinth on Monday, the 15th, with about 1500 cavalry and three guns, in the direction of Jackson, Tenn., with orders to retake and burn the place, it being then in the hands of Confederate troops. News was received at Corinth that Cornyn had been repulsed at Jackson and asked for re-enforcements. Only three companies could be sent him, under Captain Spencer, of General Dodge's staff. I was reported at Corinth that the Confederates in Jackson numbered 800, with smaller parties at Purdy and other places.
Should our troops be able to retain their position in the country between the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and the Tennessee River, it will probably defeat the enemy's purpose of moving in force toward either Atlanta or the Tombigbee.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,