Jackson, Miss., February 5, 1864 - 1.30 p. m.
SIR: I inclose you a copy of a note received from General S. D. Lee in regard to the strength of the enemy. On receiving your communications respecting crossing the river I informed General Lee you declined battle on this side of the river. In this matter he concourse, owing to the force of the enemy. This morning I received the balance of McNair's brigade, and immediately informed General Lee that I would march to his assistance with 2,200 men and join him, and give battle if he desired it or advised it. He informed me he did not advise it, and so I have kept my force stationary here. Up to this time none of my wagons have arrived, neither have my artillery horses. I shall move toward Morton by the same road we passed over on the former occasion. This day, about an hour since, I received a dispatch from Lieutenant-General Polk from Mobile, saying assistance would be sent me, and telling me to continue the work on the railroad. With the enemy within 6 miles of me advancing with two full corps I cannot do this, feeling assured such order would not have been given if the condition of affairs here had been fully comprehended. I shall be in no haste to leave here, and will receive your orders as I fall back.
S. G. FRENCH,
Major-General, & c.
P. S. - I do hope you will throw up tetes-de-pont at the point where you cross and save the pontoons, for I do hope we can cross there and operate against the enemy in a few days.
S. G. F.
SIX MILES BEYOND CLINTON,
February 5, 1864 - 8.45 a. m.
The enemy are driving me with a strong and steady line of battle both on the Clinton and Edwards' Depot road, and on Queen's Hill and Clinton. Their force numbers about 25,000 men.
S. D. LEE.
February 5, 1864 - 2 p. m.
General LORING, [Madison] Station:
Can we throw up tetes-de-pont at Cullum's Crossing and two fords above and save the pontoons for recrossing when re-enforced? I will save mine if not too hotly pressed by the enemy. Lee is 5 miles from here.
February 5, 1864 - 3 p. m.
General LORING, Madison Station:
General Lee was 8 miles from Jackson at 1 p. m. He repulsed a feeble attempt of the enemy to advance. The enemy have two corps