- Battle of Mill Spring -- capture of Fort Henry -- naval bombardment of Fort Donelson -- Gen. Pillow's sortie -- countercharge of Lew Wallace and C. F. Smith -- escape of Floyd and Pillow -- surrender by Buckner -- retreat of Sidney Johnston from the Cumberland across the Tennessee -- Nashville recovered -- Columbus, Ky. -- New Madrid -- Island no.10 -- Fort Pillow -- Memphis -- first siege of Vicksburg -- Grant moves up the Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing -- Sidney Johnston advances from Corinth, Miss. -- assails Grant's front near Shiloh Church -- Sherman and McClernand driven -- Grant borne back -- Buell and Lew Wallace arrive -- the Rebels driven -- losses -- Halleck takes Corinth -- Mitchel repossesses Huntsville and most of North Alabama.
the river Tennessee, taking rise in the rugged valleys of south-western Virginia, between the Alleghany and the Cumberland ranges of mountains, but drawing tribute also from western North Carolina and northern Georgia, traverses East Tennessee in a generally W. S. W. direction, entering Alabama at its N. E. corner; and, after a detour of some 300 miles, through the northern part of that State, passes out at its N. W. corner; reentering Tennessee, and, passing again through that State in a course due north, and forming the boundary between what are designated respectively West and Middle Tennessee, thence flowing N. N. W. till it falls into the Ohio scarcely 70 miles above the mouth of that river, whereof it is the largest tributary, draining an area of over 40,000 square miles. Very rarely frozen, it is usually navigable, save in dry summers, from its mouth to the Muscle Shoals, toward the lower end of its course through Alabama, and thence by smaller boats at high stages of water some 500 miles, to Knoxville, the capital of East Tennessee. The Cumberland, draining the opposite slope of the Cumberland Mountains, takes its rise in the heart of eastern Kentucky, and, pursuing a similar but shorter course, runs W. S. W. into Middle Tennessee, which it traverses very much as the Tennessee does northern Alabama, passing Nashville, its capital, bending N. W. into Kentucky some 20 miles eastward of the latter river,  and pursuing a generally parallel course to that stream, to its own reception by the Ohio, and being navigable for 250 miles by large steamboats, save in seasons of summer drouth, and by boats of 500 tuns for some 300 miles further. These two--the only rivers, save the Mississippi, navigable southward from the border of the Free into the Slave States--were obviously regarded on both sides, in view of the notorious impracticability of Southern roads in Winter and Spring, as the natural routes of advance for our Western armies collected and drilled on and near the Ohio during the Autumn of 1861 and the Winter following. The close of 1861 left Gen. Humphrey Marshall, commanding the Confederate forces in south-eastern Kentucky, intrenched at Paintville, Johnson county, intent on gathering supplies and recruiting. Col. James A. Garfield, of Ohio, commanding a Union brigade consisting of the 42d Ohio, 14th Kentucky, and a squadron of Ohio cavalry, moved up the Big Sandy early in 1862, occupying Paintville1 without resistance, and pushing on to Prestonburg, Floyd county; hear which town, at the forks of Middle creek, he encountered Marshall, whom he put to flight with little loss on either side. Garfield reported his full strength in this engagement at 1,800, and estimated that of Marshall at 2,500. Marshall was obliged to retreat into Virginia. Cumberland Gap was abandoned without resistance to the Unionists next month;2 and Gen. Garfield, with 600 men, made a rapid excursion3 to Pound Gap, where he surprised a Rebel camp, capturing 300 rifles, destroying the camp equipage, and returning to Pikeville without loss. Gen. Zollicoffer, at the close of 1861, held a position on the Cumberland, near the head of steamboat navigation on that sinuous stream, which may be regarded as the right of the Rebel army covering Tennessee and holding a small part of southern Kentucky. His force did not exceed 5,000 men; but even this was with great difficulty meagerly subsisted by inexorable foraging on that thinly settled and poorly cultivated region. His principal camp was at Mill Spring, in Wayne county, on the south side of the river; but, finding himself unmolested, he established himself on the opposite bank, in a substantial earthwork, which he named Camp Beach Grove. He had one small steamboat, which had run up with munitions from Nashville, and was employed in gathering supplies for his hungry men; but the advance of a Union detachment to Columbia, on his left, had rendered his navigation of the river below him precarious, if not entirely obstructed it. On his right front, Gen. Schoepf, with a force of 8,000 men, occupied Somerset; but was content to occupy it, without attempting or desiring to make trouble. But Gen. George H. Thomas, having been ordered4 by Gen. Buell to take command in this quarter, had scarcely reached Logan's Cross-Roads5 when Maj.-Gen. George B. Crittenden, who had recently joined Zollicoffer and superseded him in command, finding himself nearly destitute of subsistence, and apprehending an attack in overwhelming  strength from all our forces in that part of Kentucky, resolved to anticipate it;6 and, at midnight after the next day,7 advanced with his entire available force, consisting of six Tennessee, one Alabama, and one Mississippi regiments of infantry, six cannon, and two battalions of cavalry, to strike and surprise the three or four Union regiments which he was assured were alone posted between him and Somerset. He struck them as he had expected, but did not surprise them;