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r-General Polk, the Confederate commander in West Tennessee, having information that the Federal force at Cairo was about to seize Columbus, a strategic point of great importance in Southwestern Kentucky, crossed the State line, occupied Hickman on the 5th of September, and on the 7th secured Columbus. General Grant, who had just taken command at Cairo, where he had arrived on the 2d of September, thus anticipated and foiled in that quarter, promptly seized Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee River, September 6th, with a detachment, following it with additional forces next day. General Polk made a respectful representation of the facts to Governor Magoffin, offering at the same time to withdraw the Confederate forces from Kentucky provided the Federal forces also withdrew simultaneously, with a mutual guarantee not to enter or occupy any point in Kentucky in the future. He was warned by the proclamation of the Governor, September 13th, in obedience to a resolution of the General
ess to the Confederacy. The converging currents of so many Rivers, uniting at Cairo in one great flood, enabled the United States Government to collect flotillas of gunboats, which searched out every navigable stream, and overawed communities unaccustomed to War. The line of defensive works in progress at different points from Columbus to Memphis might be expected to defy this fresh-water navy; but the River system of Kentucky itself was tributary to the North. The Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers, rising in the Alleghanies, flow first southwest, and thence by sharp bends to the North, traversing respectively the northern and Southern portions of Tennessee, and finally emptying close together into the Ohio near its mouth. The history of the attempt to defend these Rivers by forts at Donelson and Henry will be given in detail hereafter. General Grant had possession of Smithland and Paducah, at their mouths. Indeed, the outlets and navigable waters of all the Rivers of Kentucky,
be raised as promptly as the militia, as more economical and producing less inconvenience to the citizen; but now time is of the first importance, that I may cover the homes of your citizens, and save them from the sufferings always attending an invasion. The same call was made on the Governors of Alabama and Mississippi. General Johnston requested also that the troops of North Alabama, and slave-laborers recruited in the same region, should be sent forward to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River; thus indicating, as clearly as it was possible, that it was to guard its own gate that the military force of the State was drawn upon. On the 29th of November, General Johnston says to the secretary: We are making every possible effort to meet the forces the enemy will soon array against us, both on this line and at Columbus. Had the exigency for my call for 50,000 men in September been better comprehended and responded to, our preparations for this great emergency would now
nd Zollicoffer's 4,000 men had 8,000 or 10,000 men opposed to them in Eastern Kentucky, under General Thomas. Polk had small permanent camps at Feliciana and Mayfield, to guard his flank. Similar posts were established at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, near the State line. General J. T. Alcorn had two or three regiments, principally Mississippians, at Hopkinsville. These commands reported to Buckner. Colonel Stanton's regiment, and some companies, wuld be reinforced; but this you know without my suggestion. The effective force here is 12,500. It was not without cause that General Johnston regarded the left centre of his line with apprehension. A full narrative of the defenses of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be given in another chapter. Here, it is only necessary to state that there were garrisons at the forts and obstructions in the rivers, thought to be sufficient to prevent the passage of gunboats. But the country in
of Tennessee; Henry on the east bank of the Tennessee, Donelson on the west bank of the Cumberlandraight line westward from Virginia to the Tennessee River; it then follows this stream almost due s wishes you to keep a vigilant eye on the Tennessee River. If possible, fortify opposite to Fort Hever, the Eastport, was undertaken on the Tennessee River, but under so many difficulties that, aftoving on the Confederate lines by way of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and early in Februaryded nearly with the general course of the Tennessee River, and he said, That is the true line of opluable information of the defenses of the Tennessee River, it is more probable that the columns ret gunboats, returning by the left bank of the Tennessee to Paducah. Lieutenant Phelps, of the Conese to Donelson, and across to Danville, Tennessee River railroad-crossing, twenty miles above Hens and energies of the most patriotic, so that the gunboats swept the Tennessee River with impunity.[13 more...]
proving condition of affairs. Senator Bailey of Tennessee, then colonel of the Forty-ninth Tennessee Regiment, informs the writer that the restoration of confidence among the men in the power of the garrison to resist the passage of the gunboats was chiefly due to Lieutenant Dixon, who lost his life during the siege. On February 8th Buckner conveyed to General Johnston information, derived from friends in Louisville, that there were not more than 12,000 Federals on the Curberland and Tennessee Rivers. In fact, the strength of the movement against Donelson was not developed. To meet it, General Johnston sent a force, which he estimated moderately at 17,000 men, reserving for himself only 14,000 men to perform the more delicate task of retiring before a larger army, ably commanded. Even after reinforcing Grant with thirteen regiments, General Buell, had left seventy regiments of infantry, besides artillery and cavalry-fully 55,000 men. Certain is it, therefore, that General Johnsto
ad no value, except as the gateway of the Tennessee River; nor Donelson, save as an outpost of Nashit was determined that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, having fallen yesterday into the hands olso determined that the possession of the Tennessee River by the enemy, resulting from the fall of that part of the State lying between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi. But, as the possessliable to be cut off at any time from the Tennessee River as a base, by an overpowering force of thwen upon a map, showing the course of the Tennessee River, these memorable and propletic words fell. S. Johnston to survey the course of the Tennessee River as far as Florence, Alabama, where its nacted line could only be obtained south of Tennessee River. When and by whom this would be executedary to take his new position south of the Tennessee River; that the Governor and Legislature would his usual animated style. He says: The Tennessee troops were naturally most influenced by t
eauregard should defend the country west of the Tennessee River. The issue at Donelson left General Johnston wnston would speedily have to retreat behind the Tennessee River. It is needless to say that it was not the purf Fort Henry the enemy having possession of the Tennessee River, which is navigable for their gunboats and tranntil the fortune of war shall have restored the Tennessee River to our possession, or combined the movement of forced to take refuge on the south side of the Tennessee River, in Alabama and Georgia, or Eastern Tennessee. ily cut off by a superior force acting from the Tennessee River as a new base, would be to jeopardize, not onlythe immediate command, toward the left bank of the Tennessee, crossing the river near Decatur, in order to enabnquiry of me about the railroad-bridge over the Tennessee River at Decatur — the practicability of crossing hisere now concentrated all the troops east of the Tennessee River and west of the mountains. It was here that Ge
t preparations were made in the Mississippi Valley, and on the Tennessee River, to overwhelm him on that flank. The storm was gathering. It's, and W. H. L. Wallace's, at Savannah, on the right bank of the Tennessee, at its Great Bend. Smith at once sent Sherman with his divisionity and daring. The water-shed between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, near the Great Bend, follows the general course of the latterese creeks are considerably elevated above the river-level. The Tennessee flows northwest for some distance, until a little west of Hambued it as soon as he saw his way clear to the possession of the Tennessee River. The original design of Halleck, as communicated to his sueral Halleck, and he designated Savannah, on the east bank of the Tennessee, as the place for our junction. The distance from Columbia is niavannah23 Monterey to Purdy15 Monterey to Farmington9 On Tennessee River going down.Miles. From Chickasaw to Bear Creek1 From Bear Cr
on with it at Jackson, Tennessee. Still farther west, the Memphis Railroad to Bowling Green runs northeast, crossing the Mobile & Ohio at Humboldt. With the Tennessee River as the Federal base, its Great Bend from Florence to Savannah formed a salient, to which the railway system conformed. Corinth was the central point and key egic points, Chamberlain and Corinth (according to the map). Having brigades of observation at Purdy and Iuka, the two points threatened by the enemy from the Tennessee River, I also addressed you a letter on the same subject through my adjutant-general, Colonel Jordan. Yesterday evening, however, Captain Jordan submitted to me of the reserve. II.-In the approaching battle every effort should be made to turn the left flank of the enemy so as to cut off his line of retreat to the Tennessee River, and throw him back on Owl Creek, where he will be obliged to surrender. Every precaution must also be taken on our part to prevent unnecessary exposure of o
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