mode of your rendering him assistance than that already contemplated in your orders to General Walker and Colonel [I. F.] Harrison. General Johnston has news both from General Pemberton and General Gardner up to Saturday, the 14th instant. The former reports some sickness in the garrison, twenty days' provisions, and a want of percussion caps. The latter reports a scarcity of provisions and ammunition.
General Johnston expressed himself highly gratified at your courtesy in sending to him your offer to co-operate with him in any manner he might desire, and requested me to assure you of his high personal regard.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. LED. ELGEE.
[Inclosure Numbers 4.] HEADQUARTERS WALKER'S DIVISION, Delhi, July 3, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Department of Trans-Mississippi, Monroe:
GENERAL: In reference to your inquiry as to the practicability of throwing re-enforcements and provisions into Vicksburg, I am reluctantly compelled to state that, with the force at my disposal or within my reach, I consider it utterly impracticable. At no time since my arrival in this region has my force amounted to more than 4,700 effective men. and such has been the deleterious effect of the climate and bad weather, that in two weeks' time, in the three brigades, I had barely 2,500 men fit for duty. Since I have been re-enforced by [J. C.] Tappan's brigade from Arkansas, my force has not exceeded at any time 4,200 men fit for duty.
To reach a point on the Mississippi, opposite Vicksburg, it would be necessary to march for 20 or 30 miles into the narrow peninsula at the eastern extremity of which that city is situated, while on the right and left, only a few miles distant by practicable roads, overwhelming forces can without difficulty be thrown upon my rear, which could not fail to secure the destruction or capture of my command. Since General [J. M.] Hawes' demonstration on Young's Point, on the 7th of June, that point and the immediate river front of Vicksburg have been largely re-enforced, and it would be hopeless to expect that our march could be conducted so secretly that it would be undiscovered until we reached the canal or cut-off. This short line, capable of being perfectly manned by a few thousand men, would present an insurmountable obstacle to our farther progress, and even a delay of two or three hours would be quite sufficient to enable overwhelming forces to be thrown upon the few practicable roads leading toward the rear, and escape would be impossible. In my frequent conferences with Major-General Taylor, while he was conducting in person the operations of the present command, he constantly expressed the utmost anxiety to relieve Vicksburg, but after the 7th of June he considered it so impracticable for my constantly and rapidly diminishing strength to effect this much desired end, that he ordered the withdrawal of the troops. This order was afterward countermanded, and for two weeks I have sought every opportunity to strike an effective blow for the safety of Vicksburg; but such has been the strength of the enemy's forces at Milliken's Bend, Young's Point, and other places along the shores of the Mississippi, that I have been unable to effect anything more than a diversion of a considerable column of the enemy's troops to watch my movements.
At Richmond, La., on the 15th of June, I was attacked by a column of about 8,000 infantry and three batteries. The same day three bri