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ity. secret Union clubs. Unionists prevail. camp Boone. military preparations. General Robert Anderson. General George H. Thomas. Domination of the Federals. peril of the Southern party. humiliation of Kentucky. seizure of Columbus and Paducah. Before General Johnston's arrival at Richmond, deputations from the West had reached there, asking that he might be assigned to command on that line. General Polk had visited Richmond partly for that purpose, and had also written urgently; State line, occupied Hickman on the 5th of September, and on the 7th secured Columbus. General Grant, who had just taken command at Cairo, where he had arrived on the 2d of September, thus anticipated and foiled in that quarter, promptly seized Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee River, September 6th, with a detachment, following it with additional forces next day. General Polk made a respectful representation of the facts to Governor Magoffin, offering at the same time to withdraw the Conf
detail. The occupation of Columbus by General Polk has already been related. This, and the simultaneous seizure of Paducah by General Grant, opposing two hostile armies on the soil of Kentucky, had ended the supposed neutrality of that State. wling Green at once. Information I believe to be reliable has just been received that General Polk has advanced upon Paducah with 7,500 men. The indications are distinct leading to the conclusion that the enemy design to advance on the Nashville Rivers by forts at Donelson and Henry will be given in detail hereafter. General Grant had possession of Smithland and Paducah, at their mouths. Indeed, the outlets and navigable waters of all the Rivers of Kentucky, the Sandy, Licking, Kentucky,was less than 20,000 men. General Fremont reports that he had, September 14, 1861, at and near Cairo, 12,831 men, and at Paducah, 7,791 men; together, 20,622 men, under General U. S. Grant. report on the conduct of the War, part III., p. 41. in t
Jeff Thompson's irregular command. It has already been seen that this plan failed through want of cooperation. Both Generals Polk and Pillow felt the pressing necessity for the occupation of Columbus, and on August 28th Pillow wrote to Polk urging its immediate seizure. This had been Polk's own view for some time, but orders from the War Department had restrained him. It was only, therefore, when an hour's delay might have proved fatal, and when it was too late to prevent the seizure of Paducah by the Federals, that General Polk felt justified in exceeding his instructions, and thus disturbing the pretended neutrality of Kentucky. The Secretary of War and Governor Harris both remonstrated; but President Davis replied to his explanations, Necessity justifies your action. Polk was rapidly fortifying, when General Johnston arrived at Columbus. About this time, September 10th, Grant wrote to Fremont, proposing to attack Columbus, which, under the circumstances, seems to the writer
When I made the call, I hoped that some might come armed; I cannot now conjecture how many will do so. The call was made to save time, and in the hope that, by the time they were organized and somewhat instructed, the Confederate Government would be able to arm them. As at present informed, the best effort of the enemy will be made on this line, threatening at the same time the communications between Tennessee and Virginia covered by Zollicoffer, and Columbus from Cairo by river, and Paducah by land, and maybe a serious attack on one or the other; and for this their command of the Ohio and all the navigable waters of Kentucky, and better means of transportation, give them great facilities of concentration. As my forces at neither this nor any of the other points threatened are more than sufficient to meet the force in front, I cannot weaken either until the object of the enemy is fully pronounced. You now know the efforts I anticipate from the enemy, and the line on which
o, of November 12, 1861: On the evening of the 6th instant I left this place with 2,850 men, of all arms, to make a reconnaissance toward Columbus. The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending out reinforcements to Price's army in Missouri, and also from cutting off columns that I had been directed to send out from this place and Cape Girardeau, in pursuit of Jeff Thompson. Knowing that Columbus was strongly garrisoned, I asked General Smith, commanding at Paducah, Kentucky, to make demonstrations in the same direction. He did so by ordering a small force to Mayfield, and another in the direction of Columbus, not to approach nearer, however, than twelve or fifteen miles. I also sent a small force on the Kentucky side, with orders not to approach nearer than Elliott's Mills, some twelve miles from Columbus. The expedition under my immediate command was stopped about nine miles below here on the Kentucky shore, and remained until morning. All this ser
vements. the movement of the Federal army, which had been frustrated in November, was renewed with better success early in January. General Johnston was now confronted by Halleck in the West, and by Buell in Kentucky. With the exception of the army sent under Curtis against Price in Southwestern Missouri, about 12,000 strong, the whole resources of the Northwest, from Pennsylvania to the Plains, were turned against General Johnston's lines in Kentucky. Halleck, with armies at Cairo and Paducah, under Grant and C. F. Smith, threatened equally Columbus, the key of the Mississippi River, and the water-lines of the Cumberland and Tennessee, with their defenses at Forts Donelson and Henry. Buell's right wing also menaced Donelson and Henry, while his centre was directed against Bowling Green, and his left was advancing against Zollicoffer at Mill Spring on the Upper Cumberland. If this last-named position could be forced, the way seemed open to East Tennessee by either the Jacksboro
ssible under the circumstances. Near their mouths, not far from Smithland and Paducah, the rivers approach within three miles of each other. Here, it is said, an iWithin a mile of the angle of this offset of Kentucky, about sixty miles above Paducah, stood Fort Henry. The Tennessee River traverses Tennessee and Kentucky by a Cairo to Milburn, to menace Columbus; and C. F. Smith, with two brigades, from Paducah toward Mayfield and Murray, threatening Fort Henry and the country from there n in concert with the gunboats, returning by the left bank of the Tennessee to Paducah. Lieutenant Phelps, of the Conestoga, after a reconnaissance as far as the Tepected to prove very efficient laborers. The demonstrations from Cairo and Paducah, and the simulated attack on Fort Henry, January 17th, made it clear that thish up the Tennessee River with his three gunboats, while he himself returned to Paducah with his iron-armored gunboats to make ready for the attack on Fort Donelson.
ountry immediately around Fort Henry; but, after the first mile or two, they were excellent for the season; so that it is probable he was awaiting the promised reinforcements. But Grant and Foote, learning that the Confederates were reinforcing Donelson, hurried their preparations for attack; and, as soon as the first reinforcements arrived, began their expedition against Donelson. Foote started on the 11th, with his fleet, and transports carrying six regiments of reinforcements. Near Paducah they were met by eight more transports loaded with troops, which accompanied them to Donelson. Federal writers place this force at 10,000 men. They were to land near Donelson, and cooperate with the army that marched across the country from Henry. On the same day Grant sent forward his vanguard, under McClernand, three or four miles, and, early on the morning of the 12th, moved with his main column. His force was 15,000 strong, with eight light batteries; and he left a garrison of 2,5
in the well-ordered retreat from Bowling Green to Nashville. Suppose that these forces could have been collected into one compact body without pursuit, molestation, or other interference by the enemy — a result manifestly not in the table of probabilities-and led against either Buell or Grant, what would have been the chance of success? Buell had an army 75,000 strong. Grant could not be assailed in his fortifications on the north side of the Ohio; and, even if his intrenched position at Paducah had been attacked, he had his fleets and 25,000 men, with Buell and Halleck to draw upon for any required reinforcements up to 100,000 men within three or four days call. Nevertheless, it has been urged that these armies should have been concentrated. To concentrate them for any merely defensive purpose strikes the writer as mere fatuity. But this aside, at what one point could a defense of this line have been made? At Columbus? Then must the defense of Middle Tennessee have been a
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., In command in Missouri. (search)
as ordered to Cairo to select a site opposite Paducah for a battery to command the mouth of the Tend point between Paducah and Hickman, and that Paducah should be occupied by us. I asked him now to selected on the Kentucky shore ten miles from Paducah, to be called Fort Holt. In this letter I directed him to take possession of Paducah if he felt strong enough to do so; but if not, then to plant a battery opposite Paducah on the Illinois side to command the Ohio River and the mouth of the To let me know that the enemy was advancing on Paducah. He judged it right to inform General Grant, urging him to take Paducah without delay. General Grant decided to do so, and in accordance with rward to the command I had designed for him,--Paducah and the Kentucky shore of the Mississippi. Honel Rousseau. I have reenforced, yesterday, Paducah with two regiments, and will continue to stren the Northwest and the South. The taking of Paducah, for which I was censured, has since been mad[2 more...]
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