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Confederate Dispatches

 

 

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT

Of Mississippi And East Louisiana

Grenada, Miss., December 5, 1862

General Joseph E. Johnston

Commanding, & c., Chatanooga, Tennessee:

GENERAL: Your telegram of the 4th instant reached me at a late hour last night, and a brief message was forwarded in reply, indicating my present position.

The large re-enforcements received by the enemy in West Tennessee within the last few weeks, and his concentration of forces to the amount I believe, of not less than 60,000 at La Grange, Grand Junction, and other points between my position on Tallahatchie and his base, rendered it more than doubtful whether I should be able to hold so long a line with the very small force at my disposal. I was aware also that a considerable force (not much less than my own) had been landed on the east bank of the Mississippi River, at Friar's Point and Delta. About the 27th November the enemy commenced a simultaneous movement of his armies in my front and from the Mississippi River, threatening my rear. Gunboats and transports loaded with troops were also reported descending the river toward Vicksburg, and a demonstration from below was made at the same time against Port Hudson, on the successful holding of which point, together with Vicksburg's defenses, depends the navigation of the Mississippi River.

Port Hudson is an isolated position, not naturally strong by its land approaches, and at any time open to attack from below. It is by this time strongly in trenched and garrisoned by about 5,500 effectives. Port Hudson is distant 58 miles from the railroad depot at Tangipahoa. These troops are not available on a sudden emergency for any other point nor can it be readily re-enforced. Vicksburg is strongly in-trenched, and about 6,000 of all arms are bold in immediate vicinity for its defense, My army on the Tallahatchie, including artillery and cavalry, num bored about 22,000 effectives, most of the cavalry being in advance and covering both flanks.

Under the circumstances narrated above, I determined to withdraw from the Tallahatchie and to establish my line behind the Yalabusha River. The movement was commenced on the morning of the 1st of December, the advance guard as a reconnoitering party of the enemy consisting of five regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and two field batteries having advanced to skirmishing distance from our advanced works.

By the gross misconduct of the authorities of the Mississippi Central Railroad, and the positive disobedience by them of my orders, a small amount of public property, say 300 rounds field ammunition, a few tents, &c., were burned before leaving.

The enemy's cavalry and some mounted infantry have followed up our movement, occasionally skirmishing with our rear guard, without, however, delaying our march, which has progressed without the loss of a wagon or any description of property.

General 'Price's corps is now being established between this point and the Tuscahoma Ferry. Van Dorn will occupy the ground on his right.

The heavy rains which have fallen will, I believe, enable me to hold this position with my small force unless a movement is made by the enemy to turn my right by the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General, Commanding

P.S.-- The re-enforcements ordered by General Bragg will be re­tained for the present at Jackson. I have no hope of any assistance from General Holmes, and have telegraphed fully on that subject to Richmond some days since.

Respectfully,

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General

 

 

Grenada, December 5, 1862

Maj. J. R. WADDY:

Have all troops ready to move at moment's notice. Are they provided with ammunition! Direct three days' rations to be kept cooked. Tell General Ruggles to enforce strict police and order in and about Jackson, keeping guards and patrols night and day. Tell Major Mayo to have small arm ammunition ready if needed, particularly ball, and ball and buck, caliber 69.

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General, Commanding

 

 

Grenada, December 5, 1862

Major-General VAN Dorn, Coffeeville:

I wish you to start at an early hour in the morning, so as to arrive this side the river to-morrow evening. A regiment of cavalry, under a good officer, must be sent as quickly as possible to Greenwood, where the roads and crossing are said to be good.

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General, Commanding

 

 

Coffeeville, December 5, 1862

Lieutenant General Pemberton:

I will start the wagons in the morning. Will start the troops soon after they get off. Doubt if we can reach Grenada by dark with the artillery. The roads are horrible. I may reach Tatum's Station. Maury's division will get in; Lovell's corps doubtful. In the fight this evening we lost about 40 killed and wounded; took about 30 prisoners; killed and wounded quite a number.

EARL VAN DORN

 

 

RICHMOND, December 6, 1862

General Holmes,

Little Rock, Ark., via Vicksburg:

The President reiterates his orders that you send without delay sufficient force from your command to General Pemberton.

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector-General

 

 

Grenada, December 6,1862

General S. Cooper:

General Lovell being senior to General Price, what disposition shall be made of him?

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General, Commanding

 

 

Grenada, December 6, 1862

General S. Cooper:

I have taken position behind the Yalabusha River. My left cannot easily be turned, and if attacked in front shall endeavor to hold the po­sition. Yesterday had sharp and successful skirmishing. We had about 40 killed and wounded; the enemy more, and 45 prisoners. All prisoners taken from us have been sick and wounded.

J.C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant General, Commanding

 

 

Hdqrs., First Corps, Army of West Tennessee

December 6, 1862

Maj. J. R. WADDY,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Grenada:

Major: When I left the Tallahatchie, the Fourth Alabama, having the smallpox among it, was ordered to take a route east of that taken by the army, to avoid the towns, and proceed south of the Yalabusha River. If it is near Sarepta it is making its way south. I have had no report from it.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. LOVELL

Major General, &c

 

 

RICHMOND, December 7, 1862

General J. C. Pemberton:

Are you in communication with General J. E. Johnston? hope you will be re-enforced in time.

JEFFERSON DAVIS

 

Dispatches Page I

Dispatches Page II