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Every preparation for the retreat was silently made. The defenses of Bowling Green, originally slight, had been greatly enlarged by the addition of a cordon of detached forts, mounted with heavy field guns; yet the garrison was only sufficiently strong to withstand an assault, and it was never proposed to submit to a siege. The ordnance and army supplies were quietly moved southward, and measures were taken to remove from Nashville the immense stores accumulated there. Only five hundred men were in the hospital before the army commenced to retreat, but when it reached Nashville five thousand four hundred out of fourteen thousand required the care of the medical officers. On February 11th the troops began to move, and at nightfall on the 16th General Johnston, who had established his headquarters at Edgeville, on the northern bank of the Cumberland, saw the last of his wearied columns defile across and safely establish themselves beyond the river. The evacuation was accomplished by a force so small as to make the feat remarkable, not a pound of ammunition nor a gun being lost, and the provisions were nearly all secured. The first intimation which the enemy had of the intended evacuation, so far as has been ascertained, was when Generals Hindman and Breckinridge, who were in advance near his camp, were seen suddenly to retreat toward Bowling Green. The enemy pursued, and succeeded in shelling the town, while Hindman was still covering the rear. Not a man was lost.1 At the same time Crittenden's command was brought back within ten miles of Nashville, and thence to Murfreesboro.

Scarcely had the retreat to Nashville been accomplished when the news of the fall of Donelson was received. The state of feeling which it produced is described by Colonel Munford, an aide-de-camp of General Johnston, in an address delivered in Memphis: ‘Dissatisfaction was general. Its mutterings, already heard, began to break out in denunciations. The demagogues took up the cry, and hounded on one another and the people in hunting down a victim. The public press was loaded with abuse. The Government was denounced for intrusting the public safety to hands so feeble. The Lower House of Congress appointed a select committee to inquire into the conduct of the war in the Western Department. The Senators and Representatives from Tennessee, with the exception of Judge Swann, waited upon the President.’ Their spokesman, Senator G. A. Henry, stated that they came for and in behalf of Tennessee to ask for the removal of General A. S. Johnston, and the assignment of a competent officer to the defense of their homes and

1 Colonel R. W. Woolley, in New Orleans Picayune, March, 1863.

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