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a source of great weakness to the Confederacy. The converging currents of so many Rivers, uniting at Cairo in one great flood, enabled the United States Government to collect flotillas of gunboats, which searched out every navigable stream, and overawed communities unaccustomed to War. The line of defensive works in progress at different points from Columbus to Memphis might be expected to defy this fresh-water navy; but the River system of Kentucky itself was tributary to the North. The Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers, rising in the Alleghanies, flow first southwest, and thence by sharp bends to the North, traversing respectively the northern and Southern portions of Tennessee, and finally emptying close together into the Ohio near its mouth. The history of the attempt to defend these 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
direction the acceptance of twelve months unarmed men against the steady refusal of the department, he would not be surprised at any effort to repress promptly such disingenuous practices. General Johnston's letter, however, evoked no reply as to the other matters involved. The secretary had probably said in a former letter, of December 22d, all that he had to say on the subject. These are his words: Zollicoffer reports himself in almost undisputed possession of the banks of the Cumberland, from the forks near Somerset, all the way down to the Tennessee line, and seems able to guard your right flank, so that your front alone appears to be seriously threatened, and I had hoped you had sufficient force in your intrenched lines to defy almost any front attack. I have not, unfortunately, another musket to send you. We have an immensely valuable cargo of arms and powder in Nassau, blockaded there by a Yankee gunboat, that I am trying to get out. But, if we succeed, it will be
It was not without cause that General Johnston regarded the left centre of his line with apprehension. A full narrative of the defenses of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be given in another chapter. Here, it is only necessary to state that there were garrisons at the forts and obstructions in the rivers, thought to be sufficient to prevent the passage of gunboats. But the country in front, between the Cumberland and Green Rivers, was a debatable ground, in which the Federals had recruited more soldiers than the Southern army. It was continually menaced by these native corps, and also by gunboat expeditions up these rivers from the Ohio. Smalluld of course be inadequate to meet a column, but that risk he had to take. He depended a good deal on the character of the country between Columbus and the Cumberland River for its defense. It was generally covered by heavy forest and undergrowth, and intersected by numerous roads, and thus capable of defense by a force inferio
eneral Scott, retired. On November 9th the Department of the Cumberland was discontinued by the United States War Department, and the Department of the Ohio constituted, embracing the States of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky (east of the Cumberland River), and Tennessee; and Brigadier-General D. C. Buell was assigned to its command, which he assumed November 15th. Army of the Cumberland, vol. i., p. 40. At the same time General H. W. Halleck superseded Fremont in command of the Departmenta mixed command. They rendezvoused at Fort Donelson late in October, and, moving thence to Hopkinsville, were thrown forward, about the middle of November, by General Tilghman, commanding there, to observe the section between the Green and Cumberland Rivers. Major Kelly, with one squadron, traversed the country to the Ohio River, where he captured a supply-transport, well loaded. having rejoined Forrest, they attacked the Federal gunboat Conestoga at Canton Landing. The novel sight was t
ollicoffer, with his limited supplies and half-disciplined troops, in observation merely, until such time as he could reinforce his army or incorporate it with the main body under his own command. As Zollicoffer proceeded north, through Jamestown, Tennessee, and Albany, Kentucky, he reported that the country in Tennessee was sterile and unproductive; while Wayne and Clinton Counties, and part of Pulaski County, in Kentucky, were comparatively abundant in forage and subsistence. The Cumberland River, making a big bend to the north from Cumberland Ford, describes almost a semicircle before it enters Tennessee, near Martinsburg. At one of its most advanced salients to the north is Mill Springs, on the south bank of the river. Zollicoffer describes this point as commanding the converging roads from Somerset and Columbia, as in a fertile and well-stocked country, with provisions plenty and cheap, and as possessing the advantage of a grist and saw mill, which would aid materially in s
nts for the defense of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Governor Harris wished to locate the fo Tennessee, Donelson on the west bank of the Cumberland, only twelve miles apart. The gates to the you on the defenses of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers at the time of my taking command in the ssary on the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. For the present, do not move the regim3d, says: As to the defenses of the Cumberland River below Clarksville, they should be at leas to establish a timber-obstruction in the Cumberland River, under the range of the guns of Fort Doneeral Charles J. Clark, and proceed to the Cumberland River, to take charge of Forts Donelson and Henommand of the defenses of the Tennessee and Cumberland, which General Johnston ordered, as soon as derate lines by way of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and early in February carried out the der which the well-filled rivers of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee, give for active operations,
ville, and move to the support of Donelson. He was directed to encamp on the left bank of the Cumberland, so as to leave open the route to Nashville in case of the loss of the fort. Suggestions wer allow it, and appealed to General Johnston by telegraph. He also went by steamer to Floyd at Cumberland, leaving Buckner temporarily in command, and persuaded Floyd to concentrate all his troops at ace to be defended by the army was quadrangular in shape, being limited on the north by the Cumberland River, on the east and west by small streams, now converted into deep sloughs by the high water; y on the 10th. Scott's Louisiana Cavalry Regiment was in observation on the right bank of the Cumberland. The aggregate of this force has been variously stated. General Johnston estimated it at ommanders, composed of troops sent forward from Henry, and others transported by way of the Cumberland River. His first brigade, commanded by Colonel Charles Cruft, comprised the Thirty-first and F
essee River, having fallen yesterday into the hands of the enemy, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, not being tenable, preparations should at once be made for the removal of this army to Nashville in rear of the Cumberland River, a strong point some miles below that city being fortified forthwith to defend the river from the passage of gunboats and transports. The troops at present at Cll cut off the communication of the force here under General Hardee from the south bank of the Cumberland. To avoid the disastrous consequences of such an event, I ordered General Hardee yesterday toeneral Johnston, who had established his headquarters at Edgefield on the northern bank of the Cumberland, saw the last of his wearied and tired columns defile across and safely establish themselves b as late as February 15th he found that the measures he had taken to obstruct by a raft the Cumberland River, which was falling, were thwarted by the dead weight of popular opposition, directed by the
e a brief but comprehensive view of his situation : headquarters, Western Department, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, February 27, 1862. Sir: The fall of Fort Donelson compelled me to withdraw the forces under my command from the north bank of the Cumberland, and to abandon the defense of Nashville, which, but for that disaster, it was my intention to protect to the utmost. Not more than 11,000 effective men were left under my command to oppose a column of General Buell's of not less than 40,000 thich have washed away the bridges, swept away portions of the railroad, and rendered transportation almost impossible. General Floyd has arrived here. The rear-guard left Nashville on the night of the 23d. Edgefield, on the north bank of the Cumberland, opposite the city, was occupied yesterday by the advanced pickets of the enemy. I have remained here for the purpose of augmenting my forces and securing the transportation of the public stores. By the junction of the command of General Crit
wling Green is an admirably selected one, with Green River along our front, and railway communication to Nashville and the whole South. Had we simply to contend with an enemy advancing from Louisville, and attacking in front, we should have nothing to fear; but, as you are aware, our flanks and rear are threatened by an immense force, and, although they have made no demonstrations in those quarters, I cannot believe their generals to be so blind as to be unaware of their advantages by the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers. Grant, who is now at Cairo, longs for an opportunity to retrieve his disgrace at Belmont, and while be has full command of the rivers, there is nothing to prevent him from advancing with his gun-boats and transports upon Nashville. True, the rivers are low at present, and it may be a question whether his vessels can ascend them, even at a flood — this remains to be seen. The only warlike obstructions to his progress would be Forts Henry and Donelson. If, when Bue
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