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[15]

Chapter 16:


Important changes in the military arrangements of the enemy were made about this time. Major General George B. McClellan was assigned to the chief command of his army, in place of Lieutenant General Scott, retired. A Department of Ohio was constituted, embracing the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky east of the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers; Brigadier General D. C. Buell was assigned to its command. At the same time, General Henry W. Halleck superseded General John C. Fremont in command of the United States Department of the West. General W. T. Sherman was removed from Kentucky and sent to report to General Halleck. General A. S. Johnston was now confronted by General Halleck in the West and by General Buell in Kentucky. The former, with armies at Cairo and Paducah, under Generals Grant and C. F. Smith, threatened equally Columbus, the key of the lower Mississippi River, and the water lines of the Cumberland and the Tennessee, with their defenses at Forts Donelson and Henry. The right wing of General Buell also menaced Donelson and Henry, while his center was directed against Bowling Green, and his left was advancing against General Zollicoffer at Mill Springs, on the upper Cumberland. If the last-named position could be forced, the way seemed open to East Tennessee, by either the Jacksboro or the Jamestown routes, on the one hand, and to Nashville on the other. At the northeastern corner of Kentucky there was a force under Colonel Garfield of Ohio, opposed to the Confederate force under General Humphrey Marshall.

The strength of Marshall's force in effective men was about sixteen hundred. Knowing that a body of the enemy under Colonel Garfield was advancing to meet him, and that a small force was moving to his rear, he fell back some fifteen miles, and took position on Middle Creek, near Prestonburg. On January 10, 1862, Garfield attacked him. The firing was kept up, with some intervals, about four hours, and was occasionally very sharp and spirited. Marshall says in his report: ‘The enemy did not move me from any one position I assumed, and at nightfall withdrew from the field, leaving me just where I was in the morning. . . . He came to attack, yet came so cautiously that my left wing never fired a shot, and he never came up sufficiently to engage my center or left wing.’ Garfield was said to have fallen back fifteen miles to Paintsville,

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January 10th, 1862 AD (1)
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