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reorganized, the force of General Johnston was increased to seventeen thousand men. The stores not required for immediate use were ordered to Chattanooga, and those which were necessary on the march were ordered to Huntsville and Decatur. On February 28th the march was commenced for Decatur through Shelbyville and Fayetteville. Halting at those points for the purpose, he saved his provisions and stores, removed his depots and machine shops, obtained new arms, and finally, at the close of March, joined Beauregard at Corinth with twenty thousand men, making their aggregate force fifty thousand. Considering the great advantage which the means of transportation upon the Tennessee and Cumberland afforded the enemy, and the peculiar topography of the state, General Johnston found that he could not with the force under his command successfully defend the whole line against the advance of the enemy. He was, therefore, compelled to elect whether the enemy should be permitted to occupy
January 29th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.3
re it lay, backed by its gunboats. That sound judgment and soldierly daring went hand in hand in this attack the sequel demonstrated. Meantime some active operations had taken place in that part of General Johnston's command west of the Mississippi River. Detached conflicts with the enemy had been fought by the small forces under Generals Price and McCulloch, but no definite result had followed. General Earl Van Dorn had been subsequently assigned to the command, and assumed it on January 29, 1862. General Curtis was then in command of the enemy's forces, numbering about twelve thousand men. He had harassed General Price on his retreat to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and then had fallen back to Sugar Creek, where he proposed to make a stand. Van Dorn, immediately on his arrival at the Confederate camps on Boston Mountain, prepared to attack Curtis. His first movement, however, was to intercept General Sigel, then at Bentonville with sixteen thousand men. The want of cooperation in V
says: In five days we moved the accumulations of six months, taking with us all our commissary and quartermaster's stores—an amount sufficient to supply my whole command for eight months—all our powder and other ammunition and ordnance stores, excepting a few shot, and gun carriages, and every heavy gun in the fort, except two thirty-two pounders and three carronades in a remote outwork, which had been rendered useless. The movement of the enemy up the Tennessee River commenced on March 10th. General C. F. Smith led the advance, with a new division under General Sherman. On the 13th Smith assembled four divisions at Savannah, on the west bank of the Tennessee, at the Great Bend. The ultimate design was to mass the forces of Grant and Buell against our army at Corinth. Buell was still in the occupation of Nashville. On the 16th Sherman disembarked at Pittsburg Landing, and made a reconnaissance to Monterey, nearly half-way to Corinth. On the next day General Grant took com
tives created a special committee to inquire into the military disasters at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and the surrender of Nashville to the enemy, and as to the conduct, number, and disposition of the troops under General Johnston. Great feeling was shown in the debates. Generals Floyd and Pillow, the senior officers at Fort Donelson withdrew after it had been decided to surrender, in order to avoid being made prisoners. The Secretary of War (Benjamin) wrote to General Johnston on March 11th as follows: The reports of Brigadier-Generals Floyd and Pillow are unsatisfactory, and the President directs that both these generals be relieved from command until further orders. In the mean time you will request them to add to their reports such statements as they may deem proper on the points submitted. You are further requested to make up a report, from all the sources of information accessible to you, of all the particulars connected with the unfortunate affair, which can cont
as we imagined and hoped, but hostility, was manifested in Kentucky. Believing it to be of the greatest moment to protract the campaign, as the dearth of cotton might bring strength from abroad and discourage the North, and to gain time to strengthen myself by new troops from Tennessee and other States, I magnified my forces to the enemy, but made known my true strength to the department and the Governors of States. The aid given was small. At length, when General Beauregard came out in February, he expressed his surprise at the smallness of my force, and was impressed with the danger of my position. I admitted what was so manifest, and laid before him my views for the future, in which he entirely concurred, and sent me a memorandum of our conference, a copy of which I send to you. I determined to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and gave the best part of my army to do it, retaining only fourteen thousand men to cover my front, and giving sixteen thousand to defend Donelson. The
ration in Van Dorn's forces enabled Sigel to escape. Curtis thus concentrated his forces at Sugar Creek, and instead of taking him in detail Van Dorn was obliged to meet his entire army. By a circuitous route, he led Price's army against the enemy's rear, moving McCulloch against the right flank; his progress was so slow and embarrassed, however, that the enemy heard of it in season to make his dispositions accordingly. The battle of Elkhorn, or Pea Ridge, was fought on the morning of March 5th. Van Dorn reported his force to be fourteen thousand men, and Curtis put his force at about ten thousand. Van Dorn, with Price's division, encountered Carr's division, which had already advanced but was driven back steadily and with heavy loss. Meanwhile, McCulloch's command met a division under Osterhaus, and after a sharp, quick struggle, swept it away. Pushing forward through the shrub oak, his wide-extended line met Sigel's, Asboth's, and Davis's divisions. Here on the rugged spu
March 26th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.3
e railroad-bridge. I have troubled you with these details, as I can not properly communicate them by telegram. The test of merit in my profession, with the people, is success. It is a hard rule, but I think it right. If I joined this corps to the forces of Beauregard (I confess a hazardous experiment), then those who are now declaiming against me will be without an argument. Your friend, A. S. Johnston. To this letter the following reply was made: Richmond, Virginia, March 26, 1862. my Dear General: Yours of the 18th instant was this day delivered by your aide, Mr. Jack. I have read it with much satisfaction. So far as the past is concerned, it but confirms the conclusions at which I had already arrived. My confidence in you has never wavered, and I hope the public will soon give me credit for judgment, rather than continue to arraign me for obstinacy. You have done wonderfully well, and now I breathe easier in the assurance that you will be able to make a
March 18th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.3
ich will defeat either attempt. The fleet which you will soon have on the Mississippi River, if the enemy's gunboats ascend the Tennessee, may enable you to strike an effective blow at Cairo; but, to one so well informed and vigilant, I will not assume to offer suggestions as to when and how the ends you seek may be attained. With the confidence and regard of many years, I am very truly your friend, Jefferson Davis. letter of General Johnston in answer to above Decatur, Alabama, March 18, 1862. my Dear General: I received the dispatches from Richmond, with your private letter by Captain Wickliffe, three days since; but the pressure of affairs and the necessity of getting my command across the Tennessee prevented me from sending you an earlier reply. I anticipated all that you have told me as to the censure which the fall of Fort Donelson drew upon me, and the attacks to which you might be subjected; but it was impossible for me to gather the facts for a detailed report,
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