be left at Columbus, confronted by 25,000 men, who were being largely reinforced from Missouri.
In a letter to the Secretary of War, November 15th, General Johnston thus explains his situation:
I therefore revoked my order.
General Polk's force is stated far below what I have estimated it; and, with a knowledge of the case as he presents it, I had left but the choice of difficulties — the great probability of defeat at Columbus or a successful advance of the enemy on my left.
At Donelson or Henry. I have risked the latter.
The first would be a great misfortune, scarcely reparable for a long time; the latter may be prevented.
I have, however, at Nolin, on my front, about twenty-seven regiments, and a large auxiliary force at Columbia, on my right.
The force on my front will await the success of movements on my left.
My force must soon be put in motion.
I am making every preparation with that object.
It has taken much time to provide transportation (which is nearly a