face of a defeated foe, and during the most favorable season for rapid movements and a vigorous campaign, was a matter of great disappointment and regret. Your letter of the twenty-seventh, and my reply on the twenty-eighth of October, in regard to the alleged causes of this unfortunate delay, I submit herewith, marked Exhibit No. 5. In reply to the telegraphic order of the sixth of October, quoted in my letter of the twenty-eighth, above referred to, Gen. McClellan disapproved of the plan of crossing the Potomac south of the Blue Ridge, and said that he would cross at Harper's Ferry and advance upon Winchester. He, however, did not begin to cross till the twenty-sixth of October, and then at Berlin. This passage occupied several days, and was completed about the third of November. What caused him to change his views, or what his plan of campaign was, I am ignorant; for about this time he ceased to communicate with me in regard to his operations, sending his reports directly to the President. On the fifth instant, I received the written order of the President relieving Gen. McClellan, and placing Gen. Burnside in command of the army of the Potomac. This order was transmitted by a special messenger, who delivered it to Gen. McClellan at Rectortown on the seventh. When I left the department of the Mississippi in July last, the main body of the army under Major-Gen. Buell was between Huntsville and Stevenson, moving toward Chattanooga, for which place they had left Corinth about the tenth of June. Major-Gen. Curtis's forces were at Helena, Arkansas, and those under Brig.-Gen. Schofield in South-western Missouri. The central army, under Major-Gen. Grant, occupying the line of West-Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, extended from Memphis to Iuka, and protected the railroads from Columbus south, which were then our only channels of supply. These several armies spread along a line of some six hundred miles from the western borders of Arkansas to Cumberland Gap, and occupying a strip of country more than one hundred and fifty miles in width, from which the enemy's forces had recently been expelled, were rapidly decreasing in strength from the large numbers of soldiers sent home on account of real or pretended disability. On the other hand, the enemy's armies were greatly increased by an arbitrary and rigidly enforced conscription. With their superiority in numbers and discipline they boldly determined to reoccupy Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and, if possible, to invade the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, while our attention was distracted by the invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and an extended Indian insurrection on the Western frontiers. This plan had very many chances of success; but the timely order of the President of August fourth, calling for additional forces, and the patriotic response of the people of the North-West, thwarted the enemy's well-formed calculations. Gen. Bragg suddenly transferred a large part of his army from Tupelo, Mississippi, through the States of Alabama and Georgia, reached Chattanooga in advance of Gen. Buell, turned his left, and, rapidly crossing the State of Tennessee, entered Kentucky by Munfordsville and Lebanon. Gen. Buell fell back upon Nashville, without giving the enemy battle — then followed, or rather moved parallel with Bragg, who, after capturing our garrison at Munfordsville, turned off from the main road to Louisville, along which Gen. Buell passed — the latter reaching Louisville without any engagement. Another column of the enemy had moved from East-Tennessee, after blockading Cumberland Gap, upon Lexington, and threatened Cincinnati. A small force of our raw troops, which had been pushed forward to Richmond, Ky., under Major-General Nelson, were met by the enemy and completely routed. In the mean time, every effort had been made to collect new troops at Cincinnati and Louisville, and to fortify these places against a coup de main. To give confidence to the new levies, a portion of Gen. Grant's army was withdrawn from Mississippi and sent to Kentucky and Cincinnati. No attack was attempted by the enemy. Major-Gen. Buell left Louisville on the first of October, with an army of about one hundred thousand men in pursuit of General Bragg. The latter engaged a part of Gen. Buell's army at Perryville, about ten o'clock on the eighth of October. A general battle ensued, and was continued till dark; it was mainly fought by Major. Geon. McCook's corps ; the enemy retreated during the night; the losses were heavy on both sides, but no official reports of the numbers engaged or the losses on either side have been received. After this battle, the main army of the Rebels retreated to East-Tennessee; Gen. Buell pursued it as far as Mount Vernon or London, then fell back to the line from Louisville to Nashville. Here Major-General Rosecrans superseded him in the command by the orders of the President. As the Secretary of War has ordered a military commission to investigate the operations of Gen. Buell in this campaign, it would be obviously improper for me to express any opinion, unless specially directed to do so. The command of Brig.-Gen. Morgan at Cumberland Gap abandoned that place and retreated to the Ohio River. The alleged cause of this retreat was the want of supplies. The commanding officer, however, had just before reported that he had several weeks' provisions, and under no circumstances would he surrender that important post. An investigation of this matter has been ordered. The withdrawal of a considerable part of Gen. Grant's army to reinforce Gen. Buell and to occupy Zanesville and Cincinnati, induced the enemy to renew operations in Northern Mississippi and Western Tennessee. A force of some five thousand or six thousand men was sent to attack Bolivar and Jackson, Tennessee, and by destroying the railroad to cut off all connection between Memphis and Corinth. The head of the enemy's column was met about four miles south of Bolivar on the thirtieth of
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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