the old State arousing --Ardor of our troops — what has been done — what there is to do — Fortified places — Anxiety to meet the enemy, &c, &c.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Russellville, Ky., Feb. 2, 1862.
That the right wing of the Army of Kentucky has been damaged by the late ill-advised battle, is not to be denied.
, through a miscalculation of the strength of the enemy, and, it is believed, contrary to express instructions from Gen. Johnston
, made an untimely advance and suffered seriously by reason of the superior force brought against him. Enough is known, however, to place the losses of the enemy pari passu
But if this slight reverse, as it has turned out to be, cast a momentary gloom over the cause in Kentucky
, and made many loyal hearts sink with despondency, the vigor of the War Department has signalled the renewal of hope.
Various were the reasons assigned for our defeat.
Many of them were not complimentary to Gen. Crittenden
But when the facts came to be sifted, his conduct continued to appear in a better light, until now there is no whisper against his character.
The whole course of criticism is tersely summed up in four words — Crittenden
erred in judgment.
The loss of General Zollicoffer
is a public calamity.
To a love of the South
, which permeated every fibre of his nature, he added the chivalric spirit of an undaunted leader; and the men who followed his flag, and fought by his side, loved him with more than ‘"Eastern devotion."’ When the bullet pierced his heart, it is no wonder that Tennesseeans felt themselves without a leader, and the shock which his death produced on their minds must account for the precipitate flight of which they are reported to have been seized and possessed.
The character of Tennessee
troops for intrepidity is too well and widely known to need mention by me, and the reference to their running on the present occasion is made as being a part of history, and as showing that scarcely any rule is so universal in its application as not to have exceptions.
The centre of the army is at Bowling Green
With the finest troops in the world around him; with fortifications that would ‘"laugh a siege to scorn,"’ and with able and brave counsellors at his side, General Johnston
awaits the approach of the grand army with perfect composure.
I have carefully examined the fortifications on the hill overlooking Bowling Green
, and can only say in general terms that it surpasses anything I have ever seen in the military line.
In my judgement, it is impregnable; and it will stand to tell to distant ages the genius of Sydney Johnston
The left wing rests on Russellville
are posted with a certain number of men, and are anxious to measure swords with Tom Crittenden
It was a little amusing to see the antics which this ‘"bright son of an aged parent" ’ cut before our troops came to Russellville
, Tom had audaciously crossed Green river
and stationed some of his motley followers at South Carrolton, about 40 miles from Russellville
, From all accounts not a pig, nor an egg, nor a bit of poultry, was safe in the neighborhood of these protectors.
They slew, killed, and ate with a relish unknown since the sheet was let down to Peter.
But Tom got wind that Floyd
had come to town, and forthwith he tucked tail and led his ragged regiments in double-quick across Green river
Whether our Generals
will winter at Russellville
, depends on the movements of the enemy.
I can see no chance for a fight now. Indeed, upon a careful view of the field in Kentucky
our right wing seems the only portion of our army seriously exposed, and that is now put in a condition to defend itself against assault.
I judge that the enemy, who achieves victories so seldom, will indulge in a great deal of palaver before trying another battle.
A letter from Russellville
would be incomplete without some special mention of Gen. Buckner
The position he has held for some years at the head of the Kentucky
forces, and his more recent acts of devotion to the South
, had attracted the attention of all to him as a man of more than ordinary parts.
I shall describe his person, only remarking that as a military man he enjoys the largest popularity with his men. In height Gen. Buckner
is about six feet. His eye is a keen, light blue.
He wears his moustache cut short, and a goatee of light brown in military style.
His hair is of the color of black pepper.
The General seems to be about forty years of age, and looks as if he had been well cared for.--His son, a young man of fine address, is a member of his staff.
The ladies are quite fond of the General
He is very accessible, and treats every one with politeness.
He has a custom of going on review with his hunting shirt instead of his regimentals, which detracts from his appearance.
A stranger is favorably impressed on meeting him, and thinks at once he has met with a person of great nerve and ability.
For several days the life of the soldier has been hard indeed.
Without chimneys to their tents, they have suffered the pelting of the pitiless storm.
The rain has flowed under their rude beds, and the most intense cold has been endured.
They are now better situated, and a little comfort is at hand.
The Government ought, without any delay, to devise some plan, just and fair to all concerned, for re-enlisting the present volunteers and recruiting new ones.
It is childish to suppose that all the present volunteers will reenlist, or that any great proportion of them will, unless an equitable system of conscription be resorted to. I esteem this matter of such vital importance to the Confederacy
, that I would ask the most prompt attention of the authorities in reference thereto.
The military bill just passed by Congress may cure many defects in the former bill, but it remains to be seen whether the great object in view, viz: the raising of a large and efficient army for service after the expiration of the volunteers' present term, can be accomplished by it. My own opinion is, that the Richmond Examiner
has taken the true ground, when it advocates the raising of a standing army by a judicious system of conscription.
How gladly back to old Virginia
turns the step of an absent son. Sickness but increases the desire to see again the familiar homestead.
While lying here in the house of Mr. Hull
, whose lady has shown extraordinary kindness to me, I am reminded of home by seeing hanging on the wall a framed picture, which looks just like ‘"Katy"’ did twelve months ago. The bright eye and flaxen curls seem so natural.
And then on the opposite wall there is ‘"A Mother
's Treasure;"’ and would not ‘"Sallie Pat
"’ laugh to be told it is the image of her. Sweet children, I hope to see the originals in a few weeks; and you, like many others, probably, will be glad to know that this letter closes my correspondence with the Dispatch