> "This message was made out in triplicate and handed to
> Captain Yerger and two other couriers. One of these was
> a Northern agent who, on the 14th, delivered his copy
> of Johnston's dispatch to General McPherson.*
> Note: Bearss does not source the above.
AFAIK, Grant is the only source for the assertion that the order was issued in triplicate.
I'm trying to piece together evidence that the federals had compromised Pemberton's intel network by capturing local Confederate scouts and using some sort of quid pro quo (family? property? life?) to force them into temporary service or to divulge information.
I have pretty good evidence that McPherson captured Colonel J.B. Robertson posing as a civilian during McPherson's feint on Canton in October 1863. Shortly after McPherson captured Robertson, the expedition came to a sudden end, and McPherson returned to Vicksburg.
McPherson never reports why he decided to withdraw back to Vicksburg; his list of Confederates captured does not include anyone with a rank above lieutenant. J.B. Robertson would survive the war, so obviously McPherson did not have him killed. One can only assume that Robertson reported that Loring was on the way with all his available force. McPherson's objective accomplished, the federals returned to Vicksburg and Robertson was released.
Suspiciously, the Confederate scouts in Hinds County were operating from Roach's Plantation on May 10th, and possibly Dry Grove on May 11th. The former was overrun by federal cavalry on May 11th, the latter appears to have been overrun by federal scouts on the same day. Captain J.R. Russell, commanding, nevertheless pops back up in Edwards on the night of the 11th.
Given that Johnston recalls only passing along one order, specifically to Captain Yerger, my guess is that Grant's story of the order issued in triplicate was fabricated to protect the honor of those used in this way.