Respectfully forwarded to General Johnston. I will send the next dispatch as soon as received. It would seem that they fear---* if this is true. A scout was sent on the other side of Pearl River to find where they had gone.
G. B. COSBY
LAKE STATION, July 17, 1863.
President JEFFERSON DAVIS:
Your telegram of 16th received on the road; that [of] 14th had not been received when I telegraphed on 15th. The men, misled by many officers, insist on going home. I have no arms to prevent. It is not to avoid a camp for paroled prisoners, but a determination to see their families. I have done everything in my power to keep them together, but in vain. Nearly all troops from Trans-Mississippi and from State of Mississippi have already deserted. Georgians, Alabamians, and Tennesseans will also go when they draw their homes. About 1,600 Missourians will go at once anywhere you wish. I assure you I deplore the necessity of furloughing at this critical period; but it is a necessity. A furlough granted will bring back nine-tenths of the men, who will not otherwise return. General Johnston is falling back. I am marching to Enterprise; will await your orders there, rejoiced to enter at once on duty.
J. C. PEMBERTON.
RICHMOND, July 17, [1863.]
General PEMBERTON, Lake Station:
I have indicated my wish that the troops should be promptly in service. Unless Grant is checked, the means of supporting an army in your department will be destroyed. The men who are near their homes could visit them, and reach the rendezvous nearly as soon as the main force. Exceptional cases might have leave for time according to circumstances. You repeat opinion as to necessity for furloughs, and I cannot know as well as yourself how near it is unavoidable; can, therefore, only ask of you to keep the main purpose in view, and use your discretion.
Twelve thousand arms were sent to General Johnston for militia; they could not have been issued . Five thousand are at Selma, and more will be sent.
JULY 17, 1863.
President JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond, Va.:
Telegram of 17th received en route to Enterprise. With all my desire to keep my army in the field for immediate service, it is impossible to do so. The Missouri troops, say 1,600, are all that can be brought into service now, if immediately exchanged. Stevenson's DIVISION, and Alabama and Tennessee troops of other DIVISIONS, are still pretty well in hand. Having left it to my discretion, I shall furlough the army for thirty days. I feel confident, in so doing, I will bring your troops again together at any point you may designate in a very few days at furthest