- General Beauregard telegraphs for instructions after the fall of Donelson. -- General Johnston's answer. -- Colonel Jordan's report of the situation at Columbus. -- General Beauregard calls General Polk to Jackson, Tennessee, for conference. -- opinion of the latter as to the strength of Columbus. -- he concurs, however, in General Beauregard's views. -- evacuation of Columbus authorized by the War Department. -- General Beauregard's detailed instructions to that effect. -- defects in River defences at Columbus. -- Governor Harris of Tennessee. -- General Johnston retreating towards Stevenson, along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. -- his letter of February 18th to the War Department. -- depression of the people. -- General Beauregard resolves to replenish the army. -- makes use of the discretion given him by General Johnston. -- his plan of operations. -- Believes success depends upon offensive movement on our part. -- calls upon the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee; and also upon Generals Van Dorn, Bragg, and Lovell, for immediate assistance. -- sixty and ninety days troops. -- the War Department not favorable to the method proposed, but finally gives its assent. -- General Johnston requested by General Beauregard to change his line of retreat and turn towards Decatur, so as to co-operate with him. -- General Johnston accedes to his request.
After receiving, at Corinth, the despatches announcing the fall of Fort Donelson, with the capture of most of its garrison, General Beauregard telegraphed General Johnston to know whether he had issued any direct orders for the troops in General Polk's district. The following answer, forwarded to Columbus, in anticipation of General Beauregard's arrival there, was received by him on the 17th, at Jackson. It is given in full:
Two days afterwards General Johnston himself forwarded this additional telegram: