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[34] your favor; or, if his strength can not be made available in that way, you will best know how to employ it otherwise. I suppose the Tennessee or the Mississippi River will be the object of the enemy's next campaign, and I trust you will be able to concentrate a force which will defeat either attempt. The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi River, if the enemy's gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but, to one so well informed and vigilant, I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be attained. With the confidence and regard of many years, I am very truly your friend,

letter of General Johnston in answer to above

Decatur, Alabama, March 18, 1862.
my Dear General: I received the dispatches from Richmond, with your private letter by Captain Wickliffe, three days since; but the pressure of affairs and the necessity of getting my command across the Tennessee prevented me from sending you an earlier reply.

I anticipated all that you have told me as to the censure which the fall of Fort Donelson drew upon me, and the attacks to which you might be subjected; but it was impossible for me to gather the facts for a detailed report, or to spare time which was required to extricate the remainder of my troops and save the large accumulation of stores and provisions after that disheartening disaster.

I transmitted the reports of Generals Floyd and Pillow without examining or analyzing the facts, and scarcely with time to read them.

When about to assume command of this department, the Government charged me with the duty of deciding the question of occupying Bowling Green, Kentucky, which involved not only military but political considerations. At the time of my arrival at Nashville, the action of the Legislature of Kentucky had put an end to the latter by sanctioning the formation of camps menacing Tennessee, by assuming the cause of the Government at Washington, and by abandoning the neutrality it professed; and, in consequence of their action, the occupation of Bowling Green became necessary as an act of self-defense, at least in the first step.

About the middle of September General Buckner advanced with a small force of about four thousand men, which was increased by the 15th of October to twelve thousand; and, though accessions of force were received, it continued at about the same strength until the end of November—measles and other diseases keeping down the effective force. The enemy's force then was reported to the War Department at fifty thousand, and an advance was impossible. No enthusiasm, as we imagined and hoped, but hostility, was manifested in Kentucky. Believing it to be of the greatest moment to protract the campaign, as the dearth of cotton might bring strength from abroad and discourage the North, and to gain time to strengthen myself by new troops from Tennessee and other States, I magnified my forces to the enemy, but made known my true strength to the department and the Governors of States. The aid given was small. At length, when General Beauregard came out in February, he expressed his surprise at the smallness of my force, and was impressed with the danger of my position. I admitted what was so manifest, and laid before him my views for the future, in which he entirely concurred, and sent me a memorandum of our conference, a

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