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Chapter 2:

Of the many remarkable things in General Sherman's book few will excite more comment than the deliberate attempt to take from General Grant the credit which belongs to him for several very important movements, and either assign it to others, as in the case of the move against Forts Henry and Donelson, or appropriate it for himself, as is done in claiming that he planned the ‘March to the Sea.’ No one general officer of his rank was under greater obligations to another throughout the war than Sherman to Grant, and on this account any unjust treatment of the latter deserves severer condemnation.

General Sherman wrote his book while in Washington. A staff officer at his headquarters copied the rough manuscript daily. All the records of the War Department, including reports, field telegrams, and all other species of official correspondence pertaining to every movement of which he wrote, and arranged for ready reference, were at his disposal. He had only to ask for them, or to send an orderly after them. And yet, incredible as it may seem, he scarcely availed himself of this collection of records, but wrote from memory and from some portions of these which happened to be in his own possession.

In reviewing the campaign up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, Sherman thus gives the credit to Halleck—or to ‘Cullum or I’—on page 219 of Vol. I:

Though it was mid-winter, General Halleck was pushing his preparations most vigorously, and surely he brought order out of chaos in St. Louis with [11] commendable energy. I remember one night sitting in his room, on the second floor of the Planters' House, with him and General Cullum, his chief of staff, talking of things generally, and the subject then was of the much-talked — of “advance,” as soon as the season would permit. Most people urged the movement down the Mississippi River; but Generals Polk and Pillow had a large rebel force with heavy guns in a very strong position at Columbus, Ky., about eighteen miles below Cairo; Commodore Foote had his gun-boat fleet at Cairo; and General U. S. Grant, who commanded the district, was collecting a large force at Paducah, Cairo, and Bird's Point. General Halleck had a map on his table, with a large pencil in his hand, and asked, “Where is the rebel line?” Cullum drew the pencil through Bowling Green, Forts Donelson and Henry, and Columbus, Ky. “That is their line,” said Halleck; “now where is the proper place to break it?” And either Cullum or I said, “Naturally the center.” Halleck drew a line perpendicular to the other, near its middle, and it coincided nearly with the general course of the Tennessee River, and he said, “That's the true line of operations.”

This occurred more than a month before General Grant began the movement, and as he was subject to General Halleck's orders, I have always given General Halleck the full credit for that movement, which was skillful, successful, and extremely rich in military results; indeed it was the first real success on our side in the civil war. The movement up the Tennessee began about the 1st of February, and Fort Henry was captured by the joint action of the navy under Commodore Foote, and the land forces under General Grant, on the 6th of February, 1862. About the same time General S. R. Curtis had moved forward from Rolla, and on the 8th of March, defeated the rebels under McCulloch, Van Dorn and Price at Pea Ridge.

‘As soon as Fort Henry fell, General Grant marched straight across to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, invested the place, and, as soon as the gun-boats had come round from the Tennessee, and had bombarded the water front, he assaulted; whereupon Buckner surrendered the garrison of twelve thousand men, Pillow and ex-Secretary of War General Floyd having personally escaped across the river at night, occasioning a good deal of fun and criticism at their expense.’

If General Sherman had taken the trouble to send for General Halleck's letter-book for the time he mentions above, he would have found a letter to General McClellan, then General-in-Chief of the army, showing that he (Halleck) had no settled plans for a movement up the Cumberland and the Tennessee, and only general ideas of it at most, and that he did not expect such a movement could take place till long after the time General Grant actually captured both Forts Henry and Donelson, and effectually opened these rivers. [12]

This letter, lying at General Sherman's very elbow, is dated at Headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, January 20, 1862. The following extracts are sufficient to settle the question at issue:

I have received no information in respect to the general plan of campaign, and therefore feel much hesitation in recommending any line of operations for these and other troops which I may be able to withdraw from Missouri. Of course this line must be subordinate to some general plan. I take it for granted General, that what has heretofore been done has been the result of political policy rather than military strategy, and that the want of success on our part is attributable to the politicians rather than to the generals. * *

I am aware General, that you are in no way responsible for this; these movements have been governed by political expediency, and in many cases directed by politicians in order to subserve party interest. * * * But is it not possible, with the new Secretary of War, to introduce a different policy, and make our future movements in accordance with military principles. On this supposition I venture to make a few suggestions in regard to operations in the West.

The idea of moving down the Mississippi by steam, is in my opinion impracticable, or at least premature. It is not the proper line of operations, at least now. A much more feasible plan is to move up the Cumberland and Tennessee, making Nashville the present objective point. This would threaten Columbus, and force the abandonment of Bowling Green. * * * *

This line of the Cumberland and the Tennessee is the great central line of the Western theater of war, with the Ohio below the mouth of Green River as the base, and two great navigable rivers extending far into the theater of operations. But the plan should not be attempted without a large force—not less than sixty thousand effective men. * * * The main central line will also require the withdrawal of all available troops from this State, also those in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio, which are armed, or still to be armed, and also the transfer to that route, or near it, of all the Kentucky troops not required to secure the line of Green River.

The force at Cairo and on the Ohio River below the mouth of Green River is now about fifteen thousand. Seven regiments have just been ordered there from Missouri.

By the middle or last of February I hope to send fifteen thousand more. If thirty thousand or forty thousand can be added from the sources indicated, these will be sufficient for holding Cairo, Fort Holt, and Paducah, and form the column proposed. * * *

These suggestions are hastily written out, but they are the result of much anxious inquiry and mature deliberation. I am confident that the plan, if properly carried out, will produce important results. I also believe it to be feasible.

I have not designated any particular line or lines of movement; that must [13] be a matter for further study, if the general idea should be approved. Perhaps the main column should move from Smithland, between the rivers, by Dover, etc. Perhaps the line east of the Cumberland, or that west of the Tennessee, would be preferable. These questions, however, are matters easily determined. * * *

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

As General Grant formally proposed, on January 28th, to General Halleck to take Fort Henry, captured it on the 6th of February, moved on Fort Donelson the next day, and took it on the 16th of February, it will be seen from the above letter, that General Halleck, at the time Grant had accomplished this work and opened both rivers, did not expect to have men enough by thirty or forty thousand to begin the vague movement he had in his mind.

But if General Sherman had searched the records with the least care he would have found that even these identical ideas of Halleck, about a move on a line perpendicular to one joining Bowling Green and Columbus were suggested by General Buell.

For the records show that as early as November of the preceding year, Buell had proposed to General McClellan to move around the right flank of the rebels at Bowling Green, and advance on Nashville, while supplies and troops from Halleck should move up the Cumberland, guarded by the fleet. General McClellan urged cooperation on Halleck, who delayed answering dispatches for some time. Finally, on January 3d, at the request of President Lincoln, General Buell wrote General Halleck, setting forth most of the ideas that Halleck afterward submitted as his own to McClellan, and which are given above in the letter dated January 20th.

The records give a connected history of the discussion at this time between the authorities at Washington, and Generals Buell and Halleck.

General McClellan is sick. Are General Halleck and yourself in concert? When you move on Bowling Green, what hinders it being reenforced from Columbus? Answer.


Louisville, Ky., January 1, 1862.
To A. Lincoln, President
There is no arrangement between General Halleck and myself. I have been informed by General McClellan that he would make suitable disposition for concerted action.

There is nothing to prevent Bowling Green being reenforced from Columbus, if a military force is not brought to bear on the latter place.

D. C. Buell, Brigadier-General.

Louisville, 11 P. M., January 1, 1862.
To President Lincoln.
I have already telegraphed General Halleck with a view to arranging a concert of action between us, and am momentarily expecting his answer.

D. C. Buell, Brigadier General.

General McClellan is sick. Are General Buell and yourself in concert? When he moves on Bowling Green, what hinders it being reenforced from Columbus? A simultaneous drive by you on Columbus might prevent it. Answer.

headquarters Department of the Missouri St. Louis, January 1, 1862.
A. Lincoln, President U. S. A., Washington
I have never received a word from General Buell. I am not ready to co-operate with him; hope to do so in a few weeks. Have written fully on this subject to General McClellan. Too much haste will ruin everything here.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

I understand General McClellan is sick. Has any concerted action been arranged for us? If not, can any be arranged between us? If possible, it is desirable it should be done speedily.

D. C. Buell, Brigadier-General commanding.

headquarters Department of the Missouri St. Louis, January 2, 1862.
Brigadier-General Buell, Louisville.
I have had no instructions respecting cooperation. All my available troops are in the field, except those at Cairo and Paducah, which are barely sufficient to threaten Columbus, etc. A few weeks hence I hope to be able to render you very material assistance, but now a withdrawal of my troops from this State is almost impossible. Write me fully.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General


headquarters Department of the Ohio, Louisville, January 3, 1862.
General W. H Halleck, Commanding Department of the Missouri.
General: I received your dispatch, and, with more delay than I meant, proceed to the subject of it, in compliance with your request, and I may add also, at the wish of the President.

I do not underrate the difficulties in Missouri, but I think it is not extravagant to say that the great power of the rebellion in the West is arranged on a front, the flanks of which are Columbus and Bowling Green, and the center about where the railroad between those points crosses the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, including Nashville and the fortified points below, It is, I have no doubt, within bounds to estimate their force on that line at eighty thousand men, including a column about Somerset, Ky. In rear of their right flank it is more.

Of their force, forty thousand may be set down as at Bowling Green, twenty thousand at Columbus—though you, doubtless, have more information on that point than I have—and twenty thousand at the center. Considering the railroad facilities, which enable the enemy to concentrate in a few hours on any single point of this front, you will at once see the importance of a combined attack on its center and flanks, or at least of demonstrations which may be converted into real attacks, and fully occupy the enemy on the whole front. It is probable that you may have given the subject, as far as Columbus and the center are concerned, more attention than I have. With reference to the former, at least, I can make no more than the general suggestion already expressed, that it should be fully occupied.

The attack upon the center should be made by two gun-boat expeditions, with, I should say, twenty thousand men on the two rivers. They should, of course, be organized with reference to the depth of water in the rivers; and whether they should be of equal or unequal strength, would depend upon that and other considerations, and can hardly be determined until the moment of departure. The mode of attack must depend on the strength of the enemy at the several points and the features of the localities. It will be of the first importance to break the railroad communication, and, if possible, that should be done by columns moving rapidly to the bridges over the Cumberland and Tennessee. The former probably would not be reached at first, being some thirty-one miles above the first principal battery that I know of at Dover. The other is eighteen miles above Fort Henry—the first I know of on the Tennessee. If the expeditions should not be strong enough to do the work alone, they should establish themselves firmly at the nearest possible point, and remain at least until they ascertained that reenforcements from my columns, or some other source, would not reach them. By uniting, they could establish themselves permanently under the protection of the gun-boats.

I say this much rather to lay the subject before you than to propose any definite plan for your side. Whatever is done should be done speedily, within [16] a few days. The work will become more difficult every day. Please let me hear from you at once. Very truly yours,

D. C. Buell, Brigadier-General commanding.

Four days later General Buell telegraphed as follows:

I am telegraphed by the President. Can you fix a day for concerted action?

D. C. Buell, Brigadier-General.

To which Halleck replied:

St. Louis, January 7, 1862.
General Buell, Louisville.
Designate a day for a demonstration. I can do nothing more. See my letter of yesterday.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

The letter thus referred to was as follows:

headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, January 6, 1862.
Brigadier-General D. C. Buell, Louisville, Ky.
General: I have delayed writing to you for several days in hopes of getting some favorable news from the South-west. The news received to-day, however, is unfavorable, it being stated that Price is making a stand near Springfield, and that all our available forces will be required to dislodge and drive him out.

My last advices from Columbus represent that the enemy has about twenty-two thousand men there. I have only about fifteen thousand at Cairo, Fort Holt, and Paducah, and after leaving guards at these places I could not send into the field over ten or eleven thousand. Moreover, many of these are very imperfectly armed.

Under these circumstances, it would be madness for me to attempt any serious operation against Camp Beauregard or Columbus. Probably, in the course of a few weeks, I will be able to send additional troops to Cairo and Paducah to cooperate with you, but at present it is impossible; and it seems to me that, if you deem such cooperation necessary to your success, your movement on Bowling Green should be delayed. I know nothing of the plan of campaign, never having received any information on the subject; but it strikes me that to operate from Louisville and Paducah, or Cairo, against an enemy at Bowling Green, is a plain case of exterior lines, like that of McDowell and Patterson, which, unless each of the exterior columns is superior to the enemy, leads to disaster ninety-nine times in a hundred.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.


On the 6th of January McClellan wrote to Buell as follows: ‘Halleck, from his own accounts, will not soon be in condition to support properly a movement up the Cumberland.’ And again on the 13th: ‘Halleck is not yet in condition to afford you the support you need when you undertake the movement on Bowling Green.’

On the 10th of January Halleck telegraphed Buell:

headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, January 10, 1862.
General Buell, Louisville.
Troops at Cairo and Paducah are ready for a demonstration on Mayfield, Murray, and Dover. Six additional regiments will be there next week. Fix the day when you wish a demonstration; but put it off as long as possible, in order that I may increase the strength of the force.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

On the same day Halleck telegraphed Grant: ‘Reenforcements are receiving arms. Delay your movements until I telegraph. Let me know when the channel is clear.’

And on the next day: ‘I can hear nothing from Buell, so fix your own time for the advance. Three regiments will come down Monday.’

Subsequently the following passed between Halleck and Buell:

General: Yours of the 30th ultimo is received. At present it is only proposed to take and occupy Fort Henry and Dover, and, if possible, cut the railroad from Columbus to Bowling Green. * * * But it will take some time to get troops ready to advance far south of Fort Henry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. Halleck, Major General.

St. Louis, February 7, 1862.
To General Buell, Louisville.
You say you regret that we could not have consulted on this matter earlier. So do I most sincerely. I had no idea of commencing the movement before the 15th or 20th inst., until I received General McClellan's telegram about the reenforcements sent to Tennessee and Kentucky by Beauregard. Although [18] not ready, I deemed it important to move instantly. I believe I was right Fort Henry must be held at all hazards.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General.

From all of which it will appear that General Halleck had not originated, up to the time General Grant was ready to execute it, any such move as the latter was anxious and waiting to make, and General McClellan did not even consider Halleck as prepared to afford a support.

As a matter of fact, General Grant began preparations for the move he had in contemplation the latter part of December, and consequently before the date of the correspondence between President Lincoln and Generals Buell and Halleck. Nor is there any thing in the records to indicate that General McClellan, the President, or General Buell communicated with General Grant upon the subject of a move up the Tennessee or Cumberland. In fact, as he was subordinate to General Halleck, they would not have written him directly.

On the 6th of January, 1862, General Grant, then in command at Cairo, telegraphed to General Halleck for permission to visit St. Louis, for the purpose of obtaining authority from General Halleck to move against Forts Henry and Donelson. At first, leave to visit headquarters was refused; but on the 22d of January it was granted, and on the 23d Grant started for St. Louis, called on Halleck, and suggested a move on Fort Henry. According to Badeau, who wrote by authority, when Grant ‘attempted to broach the subject, Halleck silenced him so quickly and sharply that Grant said no more on the matter, and went back to Cairo with the idea that his commander thought him guilty of proposing a great military blunder.’

Grant, however, had been quietly engaged for three weeks in preparing for this move, had studied it carefully, and quite set his heart upon it. He was the more convinced of its feasibility, from a report of a partial reconnoissance of Fort Henry, made by General C. F. Smith, and forwarded to General Halleck on January 24th. [19]

Upon reaching Cairo he telegraphed Halleck:

With permission I will take Fort Henry on the Tennessee, and establish and hold a large camp there.

U. S. Grant, Brigadier-General.

On the same day Commodore Foote, then in command of the gun-boats in that section, and in full accord with General Grant, also telegraphed Halleck as follows:

Commanding General Grant and myself are of opinion that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, can be carried with four iron-clad gun-boats and troops to permanently occupy. Have we your authority to move for that purpose when ready?

A. H. Foote, Flag Officer

On the 29th General Grant wrote Halleck as follows:

headquarters district of Cairo, Cairo, January 29, 1862.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, St. Louis Mo.
In view of the large force now concentrating in this district, and the present feasibility of the plan, I would respectfully suggest the propriety of subduing Fort Henry, near the Kentucky and Tennessee line, and holding the position. If this is not done soon, there is but little doubt but that the defenses on both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be materially strengthened. From Fort Henry it will be easy to operate, either on the Cumberland, only twelve miles distant, Memphis, or Columbus. It will, besides, have a moral effect upon our troops to advance them toward the rebel States. The advantages of this move are as perceptible to the General commanding as to myself, therefore, further statements are unnecessary.

U. S. Grant, Brigadier-General.

To these dispatches of Grant and Commodore Foote, Halleck replied:

headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, January 29, 1862.
Brigadier-General Grant, Cairo.
Make your preparations to take and hold Fort Henry. I will send you written instructions by mail.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General


headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, January 29, 1862.
Commodore Foote, Caro.
I am waiting for General Smith's report on the road from Smithland to Fort Henry. As soon as that is received will give orders. In the meantime have every thing ready.

H. W. Halleck, Major-General

On the 1st of February permission to make the movement arrived from Halleck, and on the 2d Grant began the campaign with seventeen thousand men, less than one-third the force Halleck had in mind for the operations he thought might be carried on along this general line. On the 6th of February Fort Henry was taken, and on the 8th Grant telegraphed Halleck that he should immediately take Fort Donelson and return to Fort Henry.

On the 16th he had accomplished the work, and the campaign for which Halleck wanted ‘not less than sixty thousand effective men,’ thirty thousand of which he hoped to have ‘by the middle or last of February,’ had been made a success by Grant with a force of seventeen thousand men and four gun-boats.

General Sherman closes the chapter in which he treats of the movements on Forts Henry and Donelson as follows:

‘From the time I had left Kentucky General Buell had really made no substantial progress; though strongly reenforced, beyond even what I had asked for, General Albert Sidney Johnston had remained at Bowling Green until his line was broken at Henry and Donelson, when he let go Bowling Green and fell back hastily to Nashville, and on Buell's approach he did not even tarry there, but continued his retreat southward.’

Three chapters previous to the one containing this unkind allusion to General Buell, General Sherman, writing of his selection as Superintendent of the Louisiana Military College, says: ‘For this honorable position I was indebted to Major D. C. Buell and General G. Mason Graham, to whom I have made full and due acknowledgment.’

While the General of the army should have felt himself, by virtue of his position and opportunities for obtaining exact [21] information, under strong obligations to correctly present all matters of which he wrote, he was thus peculiarly bound to treat General Buell with common fairness. But in the above extract he wholly ignores the fact that after he left Kentucky, General Buell had organized and made efficient the Army of the Ohio, which, from that time forward, under Buell, Rosecrans, and Thomas, held high rank among the armies of the Union. A portion of it under General Buell's directions and the immediate command of General Thomas, had broken the Confederate right at Mill Springs, killed the commander of its army, captured its fortified camp, with all its artillery, several thousand stand of small arms, transportation, and stores, and there achieved a victory which at the time was regarded by the nation as a most important one. It was the Western Bull Run for the Confederacy. General Thomas, in his report upon the battle, thus speaks of the captures:

On reaching the intrenchments we found that the enemy had abandoned every thing and retired during the night. Twelve pieces of artillery, with their caissons packed with ammunition, one battery wagon and two forges, a large amount of small arms, mostly the old flint-lock muskets, and ammunition for the same, one hundred and fifty or sixty wagons, and upward of one thousand of horses and mules, a large amount of commissary stores, intrenching tools, and camp and garrison equipage, fell into our hands. A correct Zzz***t of all the captured property will be forwarded as soon as it can be made Zzz*** and the property secured.

The steam and ferry-boats having been burned by the enemy on their retreat, it was found impossible to cross the river and pursue them; besides, their command was completely demoralized, and retreated with great haste and in all directions, making their capture in any numbers quite doubtful if pursued.

Besides this, General Buell had contributed a considerable ***rce to aid General Grant in the movement on Fort Donelson, and Bowling Green was evacuted in the face of an advance upon it by General Buell, and before Fort Donelson had fallen.

But whether any ‘substantial progress’ had been made by [22] General Buell after General Sherman left Kentucky, will best appear from portions of three letters written by General Sherman while in Kentucky, the first two bearing date about ten days before he relieved General Robert Anderson in command, and the third about a week before he was in turn relieved by General Buell. Muldraugh's Hill is about forty miles south of Louisville, on the railroad to Nashville, and was one of the first points of consequence occupied on that line by the Union forces. General Sherman gives the following account of the movement upon it, and the condition of affairs after his troops were established there:

headquarters Muldraugh's Hill, September 27, 1861.
Captain Oliver D. Green, Adjutant-General.
Sir: When I left Louisville on the cars in charge of the Home Guards, followed by Rosseau's brigade, I understood my orders to be to station parties along the road at all the bridges, secure the road and occupy Muldraugh's Hill. * * * *

This is not an isolated hill, but a range separating the waters of the Rolling Fork of Salt Creek and Green River, the ascent from the north being very abrupt, and the descent to the south being very gradual.

Our position is far from being a strong one when held against a superior force. Roads will enable the enemy with cavalry to pass round us and cut off our communications and starve us out. I have no safe line of retreat, but must stand our ground let what will happen.

Our opponents, led by General Buckner, who is familiar with the ground, are now supposed to be along the railroad from Green River to Bowling Green. Their forces are variously estimated from seven thousand to twenty thousand men; and, I doubt not, they have fifteen thousand, some well and some poorly armed, but all actuated by the one purpose to destroy us. I am fully alive to the danger of our position and to all its disadvantages, especially that of supplies. Our provisions have been hauled up the rugged valley of Clear Creek by hired wagons, and by some which were brought along by the Thirty-ninth Indiana. We can barely supply our wants, and are liable at any moment to have these wagons seized. The reason I came to Muldraugh's Hill was for effect. Had it fallen into the hands of our enemy the cause would have been lost, and even with it in our possession for a week nobody has rallied to our support. I expected, as we had reason to, that the people of Kentucky would rally to our support, but, on the contrary, none have joined us, while hundreds, we are told, are going to Bowling Green. The railroad from Bowling Green toward us is broken at Nolin, ten miles off, and and at another trestle beyond some seven miles. I doubt if this was done by [23] Buckner's orders, but rather by the small parties of guards left to protect them and who are scared at our approach. I have from time to time given you telegraphic notice of these events, and must now await the developments.

We should have here at least twenty thousand men, but that has been an imposibility.

Truly yours,

W. T. Sherman, Brigadier-General.

From this first letter it appears how ‘the cause would have been lost’ if the enemy had gained Muldraugh's Hill. The second one shows how the conduct of the Union troops after securing the Hill, was about to ‘ruin our cause.’

headquarters Muldraugh's Hill, September 29, 1861.
General Robert Anderson, Louisville, Ky.
dear General: I am sorry to report that in spite of my orders and entreaties, our troops are committing depredations that will ruin our cause. Horses and wagons have been seized, cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens, taken by our men, some of whom wander for miles around. I am doing and have done all in my power to stop this, but the men are badly disciplined and give little heed to my orders or those of their own regimental officers. We have received no accessions from the country, and I have only a few weak, scattered camps, such as Curran Pope's at New Haven, and General Ward's at Greenburg. Of course, the chief design of our occupying Muldraugh's Hill was to afford an opportunity for the people to organize and arm, but I can not learn that such is the case.

A great many people come into our camps, take the oath of allegiance and go away. I have no doubt spies could enter our camp and we can not conceal the strength of our command. Although Buckner is not at Green River he has many locomotives and cars there, and can march from there in a day or a day and a half, and I feel uneasy about our communications. The Home Guards have all returned, leaving us whom they deem outsiders alone, and the whole country would raise round about us, leaving us with an ambush all the way. To be effective, a force here should be very large, too large to be attacked in position. As to us we could make a good fight, but would soon be starved out. I know how you are situated and will do my best, and only want you not to draw too strong inferences from the destruction of the Green River bridges. This was, no doubt, intended as an obstruction to our advance, until other designs of their's were completed, but as soon as Buckner is ready, he will surely advance on Elizabethtown where he lives. I hear nothing of Thomas' moves or those at Paducah. Our lines are broken and I have sent down to examine.


The third letter was written a few days before he was relieved by General Buell:

headquarters Department of the Cumberland, Louisville, November 6, 1861.
General L. Thomas, Adjutant-General.
Sir: General McClellan telegraphs me to report to him daily the situation of affairs here. * * * * We should have here a very large force, sufficient to give confidence to the Union men of the ability to do what should be done—possess ourselves of all the State. But all see and feel we are brought to a stand still, and this produces doubt and alarm. With our present force it would be simple madness to cross Green River, and yet hesitation may be as fatal. In like manner the other columns are in peril, not so much in front as rear; the railroads over which our stores must pass being much exposed. I have the Nashville Railroad guarded by three regiments, yet it is far from being safe, and the moment actual hostilities commence these roads will be interrupted and we will be in a dilemma. To meet this in part, I have put a cargo of provisions at the mouth of Salt River guarded by two regiments. All these detachments weaken the main force and endanger the whole. Do not conclude, as before, that I exaggerate the facts. They are as stated, and the future looks as dark as possible. It would be better if some man of sanguine mind were here, for I am forced to order according to my convictions.

Yours truly,

W. T. Sherman, Brigadier-General commanding.

In the light of these letters it would seem as if there had really been most ‘substantial progress’ under General Buell after General Sherman left Kentucky.

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