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n the Tennessee River. If possible, fortify opposite to Fort Henry, to protect it from being overlooked by the enemy. It can be held with part of the garrison of Henry. Lieutenant Dixon, who is familiar with the country, will be able to point out the proper position. No time should be lost. General Johnston wrote to Generaln the plan of defense already adopted, he promptly sent him back to establish a second defensive line along the Cumberland from Nashville to Donelson and thence to Henry, which might prove not only a secure place of retreat in case of disaster, but an effectual barrier to the invader. General Johnston gave him letters to Governor leck had a map on his table, with a large pencil in his hand, and asked, Where is the rebel line? Cullom drew the pencil through Bowling Green, Forts Donelson and Henry, and Columbus, Kentucky. That is their line, said Halleck. Now, where is the proper place to break it? And either Cullom or I said, Naturally, the centre. Halle
ntre, between Smith and McClernand. These arrangements occupied the whole day. The snow lay more than two inches deep, and the north wind still blew with chilly breath. The torpor of cold and fatigue seemed to cling to both antagonists. Nevertheless, though no assault was made, a rambling and ineffective fire was kept up. But, though the land-forces were thus paralyzed by the rigor of the season, Donelson was not permitted to enjoy a day of rest. Foote, exultant with his easy triumph at Henry, rushed in, hoping to crush the defenders with his heavy guns, and crown the navy with another victory. But the audacious policy which has once succeeded may, when essayed again, recoil with ruin on its author. It was so with Foote. the battle of the gunboats Boynton's History of the United States Navy, and Hoppin's Life of Foote, give the Federal version of this conflict. Colonel Jordan shows conclusively, in his Life of Forrest, pages 67-69, the Federal superiority in armament.
y defensive purpose strikes the writer as mere fatuity. But this aside, at what one point could a defense of this line have been made? At Columbus? Then must the defense of Middle Tennessee have been abandoned without an effort to save it. At Henry and Donelson? The same result would have ensued, for there was nothing to prevent Buell's advance, except the interposition of the force at Bowling Green. But, last of all, if the barrier at Columbus had been abandoned to maintain Bowling Greenucted. General Johnston did all that was possible when he placed Floyd's command at Russellville, within striking distance of both Bowling Green and Donelson, which were alike threatened. Floyd was at Donelson in time, and could have been at Henry with any reasonable warning. If there were not enough men at Donelson, it was not from defect of judgment, but from want of adequate means. The elements, too, fought for the Federals. An unprecedented flood favored their attacks by water, whil
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 12.46 (search)
s the want of an adequate force. it was only one of a number of possible and equally fatal movements, which could not have been properly met and resisted except by a larger force than was to be had. General Johnston could not reduce the force at Columbus without imperiling the Mississippi River, and this was not even debatable. Nor could he hazard the loss of Nashville, if it could be saved. He was compelled, therefore, to take the risk at Forts Henry and Donelson. The thrust was made at Henry, and it fell. as soon as General Johnston learned of the movement against Fort Henry he resolved to fall back to the line of the Cumberland, and make the defense of Nashville at Donelson. Buell was in his front with 90,000 men, and to save Nashville-Buell's objective point-he had to fall back upon it with part of his army. He kept for this purpose 14,000 men, including his sick,--only 8500 effectives in all,--to confront Buells 90,000 men, and concentrated at Fort Donelson 17,000 men u
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 12.47 (search)
uld be readily turned on their right, and I so stated to General Johnston. His reply was, that in the event of a serious flank movement he must evacuate the position, having no relieving army to support it. In the face of this self-evident military proposition, I recommended the immediate evacuation of a position so salient as Bowling Green, that must fall from its own weight if turned-leaving there only a cavalry force in observation, and concentrating at once all our available strength at Henry and Donelson, information having just reached us of the aggressive presence of General Grant on the Tennessee River. That recommendation was not adopted, for the alleged reason that, in the event of a failure to defeat General Grant as proposed, our forces thus assembled might be caught and crushed between the armies of Grant and Buell, and that it would also expose to capture the large stock of military supplies collected so far in advance as Bowling Green and Clarksville, as well as at N
William Tecumseh Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman ., volume 1, Chapter 8: from the battle of Bull Run to Paducah--Kentucky and Missouri. 1861-1862. (search)
but Generals Polk and Pillow had a large rebel force, with heavy guns in a very strong position, at Columbus, Kentucky, about eighteen miles below Cairo. Commodore Foote had his gunboat fleet at Cairo; and General U. S. Grant, who commanded the district, was collecting a large force at Paducah, Cairo, and Bird's Point. General Halleck had a map on his table, with a large pencil in his hand, and asked, Where is the rebel line? Cullum drew the pencil through Bowling Green, Forts Donelson and Henry, and Columbus, Kentucky. That is their line, said Halleck. Now, where is the proper place to break it? And either Cullum or I said, Naturally the centre. Halleck drew a line perpendicular to the other, near its middle, and it coincided nearly with the general course of the Tennessee River; and he said, That's the true line of operations. This occurred more than a month before General Grant began the movement, and, as he was subject to General Halleck's orders, I have always given Halleck
ay be put on their guard, and prepare to suppress in their incipiency all such dangerous movements on the part of the slave population. We also learn, from the same gentleman, that about the same time, or shortly after, a party of slaves in Henry County, belonging partly to Union and partly to Southern rights men, made off from the county, taking with them a wagon and horses, with a full supply of provisions belonging to their owners, and made their escape into Indiana. They were immediatelyselves notified to leave the State without delay. A second visit of the same and other parties, with proper certificates, as the gentleman who gives us the facts is informed, was made with the same result. We are also informed that numerous houses and barns, belonging to residents of Henry County, have recently been fired and burned to the ground by the negroes, and that in consequence a general feeling of insecurity prevails thoughout the entire community. Frankfort Yeoman, January 17.
William Boynton, Sherman's Historical Raid, Chapter 2: (search)
River; but Generals Polk and Pillow had a large rebel force with heavy guns in a very strong position at Columbus, Ky., about eighteen miles below Cairo; Commodore Foote had his gun-boat fleet at Cairo; and General U. S. Grant, who commanded the district, was collecting a large force at Paducah, Cairo, and Bird's Point. General Halleck had a map on his table, with a large pencil in his hand, and asked, Where is the rebel line? Cullum drew the pencil through Bowling Green, Forts Donelson and Henry, and Columbus, Ky. That is their line, said Halleck; now where is the proper place to break it? And either Cullum or I said, Naturally the center. Halleck drew a line perpendicular to the other, near its middle, and it coincided nearly with the general course of the Tennessee River, and he said, That's the true line of operations. This occurred more than a month before General Grant began the movement, and as he was subject to General Halleck's orders, I have always given General Hallec
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Sherman, William Tecumseh 1820-1829 (search)
lled march from Jackson to Bridgeport, and passage of that stream; his securing Walnut Hill, on May 18, and thus opening communication with our supplies—all attest his great merits as a soldier. The siege of Vicksburg, the last capture of Jackson, and the dispersion of Johnston's army, entitle General Sherman to more credit than it usually falls to the lot of one man to earn. General McPherson has been with me in every battle since the commencement of the rebellion, except Belmont. At Henry, Donelson, Shiloh, and the siege of Corinth, as a staff officer and engineer, his services were conspicuous and highly meritorious. At the second battle of Corinth his skill as a soldier was displayed in successfully carrying reinforcements to the besieged garrison when the enemy was between him and the point to be reached. In the advance through central Mississippi, last November and December, General McPherson commanded one wing of the army with all the ability possible to show, he havin
urges him to stay and assume command at Columbus. inspection of the works at Bowling Green. what General Beauregard thinks of them. he suggests concentration at Henry and Donelson to force a battle upon Grant. General Johnston fears the risk of such a movement, and adheres to his own plan of operations. fall of Fort Henry. conessee and Cumberland, and had the guns not required at the former places been added to those of the two forts and of other works on both rivers, our resistance at Henry and Donelson, if not finally successful, would have certainly afforded us ample time to retire with the whole of our forces, and to preserve, unaffected by too cruston Railroad was turned, and that great line of communication immediately exposed, the only course for General Johnston was to concentrate, at the proper time, at Henry and Donelson, and, for that purpose, to hold his forces and means of transportation well in hand, so as to be ready, at a moment's notice, to avail himself of his
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