directly upon Bowling Green
, or by the water lines, which it was thought the forts that have been mentioned sufficiently guarded.
So long as this line was maintained, General Johnston
's department was safe and could not be invaded.
Soon after the occupation of this position, the commands of Hardee
, aggregating seven or eight thousand men, were brought from Missouri
, where they had been operating to no purpose, and by strenuous effort and earnest solicitation, General Johnston
succeeded in recruiting and bringing to the front several regiments, but failed to induce the people of his department to respond properly to his own zealous exertions, or even to convince them of their peril.
The battle of Manassas
had induced throughout the entire South
a ruinous feeling of confidence and security.
regiments were also organized during the winter.
The troops were constantly drilled and instructed in the duties of the camp, and frequent expeditions were undertaken, which not only inured them to the hardships of the march and the bivouac, but contributed to delay the advance of the Federal
forces by inducing the belief that the Confederates
were preparing for aggression.
This condition of things, however, could not last long.
Forty-eight thousand men were collected in the Federal
armies under Buell
, and heavy forces were massing at Cairo
, C. F. Smith
, to attack Donelson
This movement, if successful, would lay open the road to Nashville
, force the evacuation of Bowling Green
, and isolate and risk the loss of. Memphis
On the 19th of January the first shock of arms was felt, on the left flank, at Fishing Creek
, where the Confederate General George B. Crittendon
was defeated by Thomas
and forced to a disastrous retreat.
The United States Government, determined to improve success, rapidly reinforced Buell
, and he, in turn, reinforced Grant
On the 2d of February the Federal
movement up the Tennessee
and Cumberland rivers
The only reinforcement Johnston
could obtain from his government was Floyd
's brigade from Western Virginia
; otherwise he was compelled to rely for troops entirely upon his own department.
The entire Federal strength for offensive purposes upon the Bowling Green
and the river lines early in February cannot be estimated at much, if any, short of 90,000 men. To meet their assaults, Johnston
, by greatly reducing the garrison at Columbus
, leaving only the slenderest depot guards, and calling into the field every other effective soldier in Tennessee