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[262] on the march from Nashville to Savannah, with five divisions of the best organized, disciplined, and equipped troops in the Federal service, numbering fully thirty-seven thousand effectives.1

General Buell2 had entered Bowling Green on the 15th of February, the day after it was evacuated by the Confederates, and one day before the surrender of Fort Donelson. He had then advanced leisurely on Nashville, about seventy-five miles distant, arriving opposite that city, on the Cumberland River, on the 23d. It was surrendered to him on the 25th, by the civil authorities, and he occupied it the next day. The rear guard of the Confederate forces, under General Floyd, had left Nashville for Murfreesboroa, thirty-two miles distant in a southerly direction, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, when the enemy appeared on the south side of the river.

General Buell remained at Nashville, a passive spectator of General Johnston's slow and quiet retreat, first to Murfreesboroa, thence to Fayetteville, Huntsville, and Decatur, making no apparent effort to harass him or prevent his junction with the forces collected, meanwhile, by General Beauregard, about Corinth. The Federal general's torpor does not seem to have been disturbed until about the middle of March, when he was instructed by General Halleck—who had been assigned, on the 11th, to the command in chief—to unite his forces with those of General Grant, at Savannah, on the Tennessee River. This point of concentration was afterwards changed to Pittsburg Landing, twelve miles higher up, on the opposite side of the river; but no immediate communication to that effect was made to General Buell. While on the march, however, he decided to move to Hamburg, about six miles above Pittsburg, and thence to the place of concentration, wherever it might be.

While at Nashville, Buell's whole force in Tennessee and Kentucky

1Buell himself, with five divisions, numbering nearly forty thousand men, was ordered from Nashville, to the support of Grant.’—Badeau's ‘Military History of U. S. Grant,’ vol. i. p. 68.

2 He was a contemporary of General Beauregard's at the United States Military Academy, and had done good service as a young officer in Mexico. He was on the staff of General A. S. Johnston, as Adjutant-General in the Utah expedition, shortly before the late war between the States. He was brave and intelligent, but was generally considered too much of a disciplinarian to effect great results with irregular troops.

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