Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, 1862

Most of the members of the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry spent the Christmas of 1861 in camp at Calhoun, Kentucky.  Fresh from the relative comforts of home and anxious to put a quick end to the uprising in the southern states, they were immediately concerned with the communicable diseases decimating the camp and the approaching winter weather.  The recruits of the 17th and 25th regiments, numbering about 400 strong and proudly sporting their new Union blues, spent their time drilling and adapting to the rigors of military life under the tutelage of General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden from Russellville, Kentucky who was to survive the war only to be killed in 1876 in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

This second Christmas of the war finds that the survivors of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Buell's campaign in northern Alabama and pursuit of Bragg are encamped along the Louisville and Nashville Railroad tracks bounding the northern side of Russellville, Kentucky.  The two regiments have been combined into one which continues to bear the 17th Kentucky Infantry banner and numbers about 200 battle-hardened and road-weary grizzled veterans.  Their colonel has been dismissed from the service for respecting the legal rights of Kentucky's  slave-owning citizens, contrary to a general order issued by his Commander-in-Chief.  The entire regiment is on the verge of a mass desertion.  Colonel A.M. Stout is facing the challenge of his life, assuming command and trying to maintain the discipline and combat readiness of his troops.  The period of "guard and rest" at Russellville is nearing an end and rumors of an impending redeployment are spreading through the camp.

The volunteers are grateful to be stationed so close to home for this holiday season. Although rarely allowed personal leave, their friends and family could make frequent visits and supply some of the niceties of life that the quartermaster failed to provide.  The hardships they had endured (sub-freezing nights bivouacked on the open ground at Fort Donelson, miserable slogs through the bogs of flooded northern Mississippi forests and grueling 20-mile marches in the 100+ degree heat along the dusty roads of northern Alabama and southern Tennessee) are now becoming distant memories- nothing more than campfire stories to entertain and frighten the new recruits. All in all, this Christmas will be fondly remembered, due in part to it's stark contrast with the remaining two years of their enlistment.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lincoln's Ax Falls on Colonel McHenry

Colonel McHenry's order issued at New Market, Kentucky did not go unnoticed, and President Lincoln responded on December 2, 1862  by  issuing an order of his own.   He removed the Colonel who had organized and led his men through two major battles, across northern Alabama and north to Louisville, pursuing Bragg back into Tennessee.

Colonel A.M. Stout relieved  McHenry when the order was received at their camp in Russellville, but he inherited a regiment in utter disarray.  These loyal American citizens who had fought to preserve the Constitution and the Union were determined to follow Colonel Mchenry to the end.  If the army didn't want him, it must not want them either and they were, almost to a man, prepared to desert their regiment.

Ever faithful in the service of his country, Colonel Mchenry prepared a Special Order  to be read as a farewell to his troops on December 15, 1862.  With the entire regiment gathered north of the town square at Russellville, the following order was read aloud.  McHenry's character and eloquence as reflected therein are on par with many other great American leaders, and it is easy to see why his men held him in such high regard.

Headquarters, 17th Reg't Ky Vols.
Russellville, Ky., Dec. 15th, 1862


The Colonel commanding announces with unfeigned regret to the officers and soldiers of this regiment, that, by a Special Order of the President of the United States, he has been discharged from the service of his country, to which he has been unceasingly devoted since the invasion of the soil of our native state by the rebel forces more than a year ago.
He deems it unnecessary to explain to the members of this regiment the causes which have brought about this unpleasant and unfortunate state of affairs, as he supposes that they are familiar to every officer and soldier in the regiment, and moreover, he believes that the promulgation of his order dated October 27th, 1862, and the frequent expression of the opinion contained therein, accorded with the high-toned sentiment and with the law-abiding, conservative action that has characterized the 17th Regiment Kentucky Volunteers since the first blow that was struck by its soldiers in defense of our country's cause before any other troops of the belligerent armies had come in conflict upon the soil of Kentucky.
Sustained by the Constitution of our country which educated him, and which he loves, sustained by the Constitution of his native state and by the statue laws of that State, sustained by his own conscience and by first principles which induced the enlistment of you as well as of himself, sustained by the people, and endorsed by you with no intention of violating the laws of the land, or rebelling against the orders of superior military authority, he is prepared and is as willing to meet this decree of the President as cheerfully as he has met the foe on the battlefields that have been crimsoned with the blood of himself and of the brave officers and soldiers of the regiment which it has been his pride to command, and whose gallantry now forms a part of their country's history. It is an immense source of consolation to him to know that in leaving you he leaves a regiment which is a pride to the loyal heart of our native State, and has been an ornament to the different armies to which it has from time to time been attached. You were the first soldiers to leave Kentucky in defense of our country, and you were the first to return to it in pursuit of the foe that has recently been driven from its borders. You were the only representatives of Kentucky at the Battle of Donelson, and your participation in that conflict has been a theme of praise in the land. You nobly sustained the gallant reputation of your State at Shiloh on the day before it was rendered immortal by the brave sons of Kentucky who joined us from the "Army of The Ohio". The tattered but once beautiful flag presented to you by "the loyal ladies of Owensboro" was the first to wave on the enemy's entrenchments at Corinth. You have won for yourself a name that will be more lasting than "monuments of brass". Your State honors you, and your legion of friends now mention your regiment with a bounding heart. It is with pride that your wives, your children, and your relatives speak of you as "soldiers of the 17th Regiment of Kentucky".
The price of your good name is shown in the fearful list of your comrades who laid down their lives as a sacrifice to their country's honor and integrity, to the perpetuity of her institutions and of the Union. The sad dreams of the past brings mournfully to our minds the names of Captains Morton, Barnett, Hudson, Kinsolving; Lieutenants Griffin, Brown, Campbell, and Condit, with hundreds of others of our comrades who have a place among the heroic dead of our Commonwealth.
When the glorious McClellan took leave of the veterans who had fought with him through the terrible struggles on the Potomac, all that he asked of them was to sustain Gen. Burnside as they had sustained him. So would I say to you as a parting request. Stand by your commanding officer as you have stood by me. Desert not your country in this, her darkest hour of peril. Do not turn traitor or rebel. Discourage seccessionism and disunionism. Interfere not with the "peculiar institution" of the South. Commit not depredations upon private property of any kind. Stand by the principles that you first enlisted upon. Stand by your country and by the Constitution of your country, and when the struggle comes between you and the enemies of the Union, strike with the might and in the fear of the Lord, and the just and wise will sustain you, and the righteous and patriotic will honor you.

John H. McHenry, Jr.,
Col. 17th Ky. Vol.

By order.

Geo. W. Gist
1st Lt., and Adj.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shaker Colony at South Union

In the early 1800's, new Shaker colonies were established in Kentucky and Indiana.  The southernmost of these was near the Kentucky-Tennessee border in South Union, Logan County, Kentucky.  Original documents from this colony are stored on microfilm at the Western Kentucky University Library and include a detailed record of the hardships endured by their members during the Civil War.

As mentioned in an earlier post, this colony became a temporary home to Confederate troops from the fall of 1861 until their departure in January 1862.  It then became a major encampment for the Union forces of the District of Western Kentucky, closely associated with the camps along the L&N railroad at Russellville.

The best description of their ordeal may be found in the Shaker Journal 1805-1891 which is currently held at the Western Kentucky University Library.  Especially interesting is their "Letter to President Lincoln from the Shakers".  The excerpt printed below describes their obligatory contributions to both the Union and Confederate troops as a prelude to their appeal for Conscientious Objector Status.

To the Honorable Abraham Lincoln 
President of the United States of America,

Kind Friend Strike, but hear,

The armies of the South like a great prairie fire swept over this part of Kentucky in the fall and winter of 1861.  Licking up the substance of land, we were humbled before it's power and for many months remained the quiet subjects of the Confederate Government, obeying all request save one, which nobly and generously they permitted us to disregard, and that was to take up arms on their behalf. They encamped for days as many as a thousand at a time in our lots and occupied our buildings.  We chopped and hauled wood for their campfires and slaughtered our animals for their commissariat, and at all hours of the night were compelled to furnish diets for hundreds at a time.  They pressed all our wagons and horses of value for army purposes; but for these they paid us a moderate price in Confederate Script.  

                              *  *  *

Your armies have visited us from the small squad of 5 to 6,000 at a time.  Our barns were cheerfully relieved of their contents.  Our fences torn into campfires.  For those we have been paid by you, but gratuitously, have we furnished diets for thousands of your men.  Of this we complain not.  To our uniform kindness (if we must say it) all your armies that have passed us, all your hospitals within our reach, all your past surgeons and commanders can be witness.

When John Morgan destroyed that bridge at Franklin and cut off our supplies your officers pressed our sugar for the hospital purposes.  Our cellars disgorged themselves of nearly a thousand dollars worth, for which so far an account of informality we have given in vain to obtain one cent repayment.

We state these things now, not by way of complaint, but mainly as grounds(coming to your knowledge) on which we may rest a hope that we may be treated on the sensitive point with as much dignity and as much justice as we were by the rebels whilst we were subjects of their government.  Is it impossible that our friends can be as tolerant, as just and generous as their enemies?  Must our prayers now be reserved and shall we now pray to the Lord to be delivered from our friends?*

To be continued...

* from an unpublished manuscript found in the Logan County Public Library, Civil War files, credited to Barry Kennedy.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Illegal Order

As if Lincoln's threat of emancipation in the Confederate States wasn't enough, the Commander-in-Chief further complicated the turmoil in McHenry's regiment by the issuance of a standing order to the effect that any fugitive slave should be granted refuge and the protection of the United States government if they arrived at a Union encampment.  

This order presented a legal and ethical conflict to Colonel McHenry as it was received while he was serving in Kentucky, where slaves were still considered the rightful property of their owners.  How could he respect the rights of property owners who had remained loyal to the Constitution, as was their policy even in occupied Tennessee, and yet give refuge to runaway slaves? He was forced to choose between following the laws of his state or the order from his Commander-in-Chief.  His legal training suggested that Lincoln's order was unlawful as it violated state law and was not supported by any Federal law or Supreme Court decision.  

The order also presented a practical problem, since the troops that were being ordered to provide refuge to runaway slaves were the same troops that had been ordered by the War Department to live off the land.  Remember the brilliant maxim that the movement of the army was hindered by an abundance of transportation? They obviously could not send the runaways out into the Kentucky countryside to forage for food and the soldiers could not even  find enough supplies to sustain themselves and their animals.  Additionally, when the army did provide rations of food and clothing, their issue was based on the number of soldiers in the regiment-  the refugees were not included. 

As the number of  runaways in the camp grew, providing for their care became an increasing strain on regimental supplies until finally, the colonel felt compelled to issue the following order.

Headquarters, 17th Regiment, Ky. Vols
In the Field, Near Mew Market, Kentucky
October 27, 1862


   No fugitive slave will hereafter be allowed in this regiment, and all officers and soldiers are forbidden from employing any other than slaves or Negroes known to be free.
   All fugitive slaves are hereby ordered to leave this regiment in two weeks from this date.
   All fugitive slaves within the limits of this regiment will be delivered to his owner or agent appointed, upon application whether the owner be loyal or rebel.

By command of John H. McHenry, Jr. 

Col., 17th Inf.

Geo. W. Gist, 

1st Lt., Adjutant*

* Blackburn, John, A Hundred Miles - A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972,  LOC 72-93774, pp. 106-107.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Threat of Emancipation

On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln threatened to order the emancipation of all slaves within the boundaries of any Confederate state that did not return to the Union by January 1863. This proposition is not as simple as it seems at first glance, which may explain why none of the rebellious states took this opportunity to revoke their secession.

First, Mr. Lincoln might have hoped that the Confederates would conclude that if they rejoined the Union, their slaves would not be emancipated.  As any student of logic can tell you, this argument falls under the informal fallacy of denying the antecedent. The consequences of returning to the Union were not specified in this prelude to the Emancipation Proclamation.

Second, and most important to our story, this threat was addressed only to the states that had seceded.  It had no affect on the four slave states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri) that remained loyal.  The ownership of slaves in these states remained at the discretion of their respective legislatures.

The news of this proclamation filtered through the Union encampments across the eastern and western theaters.  It reached the camp of Col. John McHenry, Jr. and the Seventeenth Kentucky fairly quickly as they were assembled at Louisville, posed to drive Bragg's Army of Mississippi out of Kentucky and back into the Confederate State of Tennessee.

Would the loyal Kentucky volunteers view this offer with optimism, hoping that at least some of their neighbors might rejoin the Union?  They had been on their tour of the south since February and had more than enough first hand experience with the resoluteness of the southern soldiers and citizens to entertain this possibility.

Would the road-weary foot soldiers associate this threat with the likelihood of another march through Dixie to begin after Christmas?  Even the simplest-minded farm boy could see that this "Tour of Emancipation" was what Lincoln had planned.  The same farm boy, remembering that they had confiscated the property of rebels (including slaves) on their last tour and put said property to work rebuilding roads and bridges, might wonder at the significance of this new policy.

The more astute of these volunteers, however, would see this threat for what it was- the first official linkage between the war and abolition.  To men like Col. McHenry, this was a significant change in policy.  He and most of his men were strongly anti-secessionists, and equally strong in their anti-abolitionist beliefs.  They were only marginally consoled by the fact that the issue of slavery in their home state was not being challenged, for the moment.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Russellville Campsites

The town of Russellville remained in Confederate hands under the command of General Simon Buckner until nearby Forts Henry and Donelson became threatened by Union forces under the command of Buckner's old friend, Ulysses S.Grant. The Confederates' first invasion of Kentucky thus ended in January of 1862 as the troops were consolidated to defend these two strongholds on the lower Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and the Tennessee capitol of Nashville.  Fort Henry surrendered almost without protest so Buckner's troops proceeded through Clarksville to defend Fort Donelson at Dover, TN  (about 75 miles sw).  Buckner, as the junior officer, was ordered to surrender the fort as his senior officers escaped under the cover of darkness on February 16th, 1862. The Confederate State of Kentucky became a government-in-exile and attached itself to the Army of Tennessee as the Confederate forces at Bowling Green rushed to defend Nashville.  After the subsequent fall of Nashville, the government of the Confederate State of Tennessee would suffer a similar fate, after first briefly relocating to Memphis.

Confederate camps established  along the L&N Railroad just north of the court square as well as the more accommodating one located at a Shaker colony near South Union would become the Logan County  home of Union troops throughout the remainder of the war.  The county once occupied by John Hunt Morgan  (General,CSA) came to be under the command of Sanders D. Bruce (Colonel, USA), the brother of Morgan's wife, Rebecca.  It was into this complicated but predominantly southern cultural environment that the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry marched, that first week of November in 1862.

The Southern Bank of Kentucky (1857) located in Russellville was one of the strongest banks in the area, conducting business throughout the South. After turning down a loan request by the Confederate government, the owner removed from it's vault gold reserves of more than $2,000,000.00 and hid them to guard against less formal requests that might follow.        Photo by the author, all rights reserved.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Russellville Convention

The border states of Tennessee and Kentucky were, in today's parlance, the key swing states that would determine the course of the war west of the Appalachians and Logan County Kentucky was situated in the middle of the border between these two border states.  The Tennessee Legislature voted to join the Confederacy by a slim margin (overturning an initial vote to remain in the Union) only after Lincoln's call for troops to retake Fort Sumter in June of 1861. The Commonwealth of Kentucky  which had decided against secession in February 1861 used this demand for troops to declare their neutrality.

In October of 1861, however, two coordinated incursions into neutral Kentucky were conducted by former Kentucky citizens who had joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The first incursion into Bowling Green led by General Leonidas Polk of Tennessee was supported by Kentuckians like Simon Bolivar Buckner who had left home to fight for the South and it was welcomed by many of those who had remained behind.  The second, led by General John Hunt Morgan had targeted the small crossroads town of Russellville in Logan County, which also had strong Confederate sympathies as well as good connecting roads from Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee to Hopkinsville, Owensboro and Bowling Green Kentucky.  An added bonus was it's strategic location on the Louisville & Nashville railroad line.

With their sovereignty threatened by these incursions, loyal volunteer regiments like the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantries began forming across the state in the fall of 1861, while many pro-secessionists fled to the newly established strongholds of Russellville and Bowling Green to join the Confederate Army. The prospect of remaining neutral was becoming less likely and the state whose official seal features a businessman and frontiersman clasping hands surrounded by the motto "United we stand, divided we fall" was about to become the most conflicted participant in the conflict.

Seizing upon this opportunity, a convention was called by Kentucky's pro-secessionists at Russellville in November 1861 for the purpose of creating the Confederate State of Kentucky, with it's capitol being established at Bowling Green.  The constitution for this state was written and adopted at the Russellville Convention and on December 10, 1861 the Confederate State of Kentucky was admitted to the rebellious confederation and honored by the addition of the 13th and central star on the Confederate flag.  Thus the Confederate government gained the rights of conscripting men and commandeering private property in Kentucky to support their fight for a state's right to secede from the Union.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guard and Rest at Russellville

The month of November proved to be an eventful one for the Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.  After pursuing Bragg from Nashville to Louisville and, after the Battle of Perryville as far as Livingston, KY, they were ordered to Bowling Green with an anticipated arrival date of October 31, as reported in earlier posts.  After this trek of nearly 600 miles, they were ordered to march from Bowling Green to Russellville, Kentucky for "Guard and Rest", still assigned to the District of Western Kentucky, Department of Ohio.  Thankfully this was merely another 30 miles along the Russellville Road (now State Route 80 / US 68).

The posts for this time from early November until late December will break from the "150 Years Ago Today" format because sufficient daily information is not available. Instead, two story lines relevant to these weeks on duty so close to home will be intertwined.  The first, "Why Russellville" will explore the significance of this small but historic seat of government for Logan County.  The second storyline, "Illegal Orders" will follow the conflict faced by Col. John McHenry as the former lawyer, whose father served in the state legislature, chose between following the laws of his state which he was fighting to protect and obeying an order from his Commander-in-Chief whom he had sworn to serve.  Col. McHenry's decision culminated in his dismissal from the service while stationed at Russellville, a controversial decision that gave President Lincoln cause to reconsider but not so for Secretary Stanton.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween at Bowling Green

General McCook's First Corps is heard from indirectly on this day in 1862.  This Halloween day is the one appointed for the arrival of the Seventeenth Kentucky to arrive at Bowling Green, as per previous orders.  They were no longer with the Fighting McCook when this telegram was transmitted.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0658

LOUISVILLE, KY., October 31, 1862.

Colonel A. STAGER:

A dispatch from General McCook to-night says Bragg is attempting by forced marches to reach Nashville ahead of our troops. A special states Bragg's intention is to push for Chattanooga for the purpose of advancing on Nashville. Has no provisions. Green River Bridge completed to-day. 


The following reply from General Halleck to General Thomas's letter of the previous day is printed out of sequence both here and in the Official Records in the interest of completeness.  Thus closing the book on General Buell's tenure as the embattled general is being ordered to submit to a court of inquiry concerning his well-published failings.

Ref.: http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0663

WASHINGTON, November 15, 1862.

Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Nashville, Tenn.:

 GENERAL: Your letter of October 30 is just received. I cannot better state my appreciation of you as a general than by referring you to the fact that at Pittsburg Landing I urged upon the Secretary of War to secure your appointment as major-general, in order that I might place you in command of the right wing of the army over your then superiors. It was through my urgent solicitations that you were commissioned.

When it was determined to relieve General Buell another person was spoken of as his successor and it was through my repeated solicitation that you were appointed. you having virtually declined the command at that time it was necessary to appoint another, and General Rosecrans was selected.

You are mistaken about General rosecrans being your junior. His commission dates prior to yours. But that is of little importance, for the law gives to the president the power to assign without regard to dates, and he has seen fit to exercise it in this and many other cases.

Rest assured, general, that I fully appreciate your military capacity, and will do everything in my power to give you an independent command when an opportunity offers.

It was not possible to give you the command in Tennessee after you had once declined it.

Truly, yours.

And Thomas's response follows by the same reasoning.

Ref.:  ibid

GALLATIN, TENN., November 21, 1862.
Major-General HALLECK,
Commanding U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.: 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of its tone.I should not have addressed you in the first place if I had known that General Rosecrans' commission dated prior to mine. The letter was written not because I desired a command but for being superseded, as I supposed, by a junior rank when I felt that there was no cause for so treating me. 

I have no objection whatever to serving under General Rosecrans now that I know his commission dates prior to mine, but I must confess that I should feel very deeply mortified should the President place a junior over me without just cause, although the law authorizes him to do so should he see fit. 

I am, general, very truly, yours,

Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Buell Bids Farewell / Thomas Miffed

Having arrived in Louisville, General W.S. Rosecrans dispatches the letter from General Halleck to Buell at his headquarters in the Galt House with the following attachment.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0653

Louisville, Ky., October 30, 1862.

Major General D. C. BUELL, Gall[sic] House:

GENERAL: Inclosed I transmit the autograph letter of General Halleck, directing you on its presentation to turn over your present command to me and report at [Indianapolis
for orders.* I know the bearer of unwelcome new has a "losing office," but feel assured you are too high a gentleman and too true a soldier to permit this to produce any feelings of personal unkindness between us. I, like yourself, am neither an intriguer nor newspaper soldier. I go where I am ordered; but propriety will permit me to say that I have often felt indignant at the petty attacks on you by a portion of the press during the past summer, and that you had my high respect for ability as a soldier, for your firm adherence to truth and justice in the government and discipline of your command. I beg you, by our common profession and the love we bear our suffering country, to give me all the aid you can for the performance of duties of which no one better than yourself knows the difficulties.

Please name an hour and place most convenient for me to meet you.

Very truly and respectfully, your obedient servant,


*See Halleck to Buell, October 24, p. 642.

General Buell's farewell to his troops is issued in the form of a Special Order.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0654


No. 50. Louisville, Ky., October 30, 1862.

In obedience to orders from the Headquarters of the Army, Major General Buell relinquishes the command of the District an Army of the Ohio to Major General W. S. Rosecrans. 

It is impossible for the general without feelings of regard an a warn interest in their future success to part with troops whom he has been the instrument of converting for the most part form raw levies into a powerful army, honored by common consent for its discipline and efficient organization, for its esprit de corps, and for victories unqualified by single reverse, and whose reserve, and whose fortunes he has followed for a twelve mount over a field of operations embracing considerable portions of four States, thorough difficulties and dangers which its fortitude and courage have mastered without accident or failure. It has recently, by a rapid march of some 500 miles, with limited subsistence, often with an inadequate supply of water, returned to Kentucky and driven from her borders a powerful army; and having re-established its communications, is now well on its way to meet the enemy at other points. 

The occasion is not convenient for recounting its services during the past twelve months, but the army may safety recur to them with pride. If anything has not been accomplished which was practicable within the sphere of its duty the general cheerfully holds himself responsible for the failure. 

The general reflects with pride that the army under his command had for the most part been free from petty jealousies and intrigues; that it has neither indulged in vain boasting nor tarnished its high character by bickerings and low criminations. I will enhance his gratification if it shall carry to its new commander, who already has earned its confidence and respect by distinguished service the same noble qualities which have characterized it since its organization. He will pray that it may be the instrument of speedily restoring the union to its integrity, and there is no individual in its ranks in whose honor and welfare he will not feel a special interest. 

By command of Major-General Buell:

Colonel and Chief of Staff.

General George Thomas, who had been ordered to take command of Buell's troops in the failed restructuring attempt of late September, sends his objections to the selection of Rosecrans to General Halleck in Washington.
Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0657

October 30, 1862. Major General

Commander-in-Chief U. S. Army,
Washington, D. C.:

 GENERAL: Soon after coming to Kentucky in 1861 I urged the Government to give me 20,000 men properly equipped to take the field that I might at least make the attempt to take Knoxville and secure East Tennessee. My suggestions were not listened to, bi there passed by in silence. Yet, without boasting, I believe I have exhibited at least sufficient energy to show that I had been intrusted with the command of that expedition at that time (October, 1861) I might have conducted it successfully. Before Corinth I was the command of the right wing of the Army of the Tennessee. I feel confident that I performed my duty patriotically and faithfully and with a reasonable amount of credit to myself. As soon as the emergency was over I was relieved and returned to the command of my old division. I went to duties without a murmur, as I am neither ambitious nor have any political aspirations.

On the 29th of last September I received an ordered through your aid, Colonel McKibbin, placing me in command of the Department of Tennessee, and directing General Buell to turn over his troops to me. This order reached me just as General Buell had by most extraordinary exertions prepared his army to pursue and drive the rebels from Kentucky. Feeling convinced that great injustice would be done him if not permitted to carry out his plans I requested that he might be retained in command. The order relieving him was suspended, but to day I am officially informed that he is relieved by General Rosecrans, yet feeling conscious that no just cause exists for overs laughing me by placing me under my junior, I feel deeply mortified and aggrieved at the action taken in this matter.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.

I do not desire the command of the Department of the Tennessee but that an officer senior to me in rank should be sent here if I am retained on duty in it.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Who's in Charge? (Ver. 2)

It seems everyone except Buell has been informed of his dismissal.  The general sends this tersely worded telegram to his commanding officer in Washington to request clearification of his position.  Apparently Buell has returned to his headquarters at Louisville.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0651

LOUISVILLE, KY ., October 29, 1862-11.30 a. m.
H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief: 

If, as the papers report, my successor has been appointed, it is important that I should know it, and that he should enter on the command immediately, as the troops are already in motion.


And to General Thomas...

Ref.: Ibid

OCTOBER 29, [1862].
General THOMAS, Lebanon:

I have just seen your letter to Fry.* I judge from what appears in the papers that Rosecrans has been ordered to relieve me. Under the circumstances I am sure I do not grieve about it.


* not found

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rosecrans in Cincinnati

On this day in 1862 General Rosecrans arrives in Cincinnati to relieve Buell of his command of the Army of the Cumberland.  His instructions were to deliver the orders to General Buell at his headquarters.  Rosecrans is about 100 miles off the mark, since it is well known that General Buell is near Crab Orchard, southeast of his headquarters at Louisville. Rosey must have taken this detour to consult with General Wright at Cincinnati.  He also takes time to update General Grant in regards to his new position, which will take effect when he reaches Buell's camp. 

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0650

CINCINNATI, OHIO, October 28, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK:

Arrived here at 11 a. m. Have received yours, inclosing your letter to Major-General Buell, copy of General Orders, No. 138, and your letter of instructions. I shall proceed at once to carry them out. My horses will reach here to-night. I will leave to-morrow for General Buell's headquarters.


                              *  *  *                                   

CINCINNATI, October 28, [1862].

Major-General GRANT:

My orders are to relieve General Buell and assume command of the Department of the Cumberland, and we are to co-operate so far as possible to support each other's operations. Please keep me advised, and I will do the same for you.I will go to Louisville to-morrow.


Meanwhile, the beleaguered general is directing troop movements from his field command, unaware of the change about to come.  He surely assumed that, if he were to be relieved of command, Major -General Thomas, who has been serving as his Second-in-Command since the previous botched restructuring, would again be appointed his successor.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Buell's Support Arrives Too Late

General Buell may have had many powerful detractors, but Kentucky Senator James Guthrie presents this letter in support of the embattled general on this day in 1862.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0646

LOUISVILLE, KY., October 27, 1862 - 11.45 a. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:

The renewed rumors of the removal of General Buell I hope are without foundation. If he should be removed a winter campaign with his army - now the best in the service - will be lost, and perhaps Nashville and all Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee in danger, without the possibility of relief to East Tennessee. His army is now again on the march south and good results must be achieved by it. He has confidence of most, if not all, of his generals and of all thinking men here. When he could no longer get supplies by the Tennessee and Cumberland River and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was destroyed his army was put on half rations. In this condition he could not advance on the enemy. He fell back and saved Nashville; then fell back and saved Bowling Green and Southern Kentucky; then fell back and saved Louisville, and brought through all his baggage trains without loss, and now has driven Bragg and Smith out of Kentucky. The battle of Perryville proves the efficiency of his army and the character of his officers. No reflecting man here believe Bragg would fight Buell's army unless he could throw his whole force on a single division. His retreat is the prof of the correctness of their judgment. No general can now take his place without injury to the service and the cause. The clamors of the press and of unfeeling men for more bloody fields, without regard to results obtained and reasonable future ones, in my judgment should not prevail. The complaint about the organization of his army and the wrong inflicted on the inhabitants are intrude as to the old regiments, but true as to the new ones to a lamentable extent. They are of course being corrected. I repeat again, I hope General Buell has not and will not be removed.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Dealing with Insurgents

In a policy statement issued as a Special Order on this day in 1862, General Buell sets forth his plan for dealing with captured rebels and, more important to our story, Kentucky citizens found to be supporting the enemy.  General Rosecrans has apparently yet to arrive.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0646


No. 49. In Camp, October 26, 1862.

I. All recruits for the rebel army captured or arrested by troops of this command will be regarded as prisoners of war, and sent without delay to Vicksburg and there paroled and left subject to exchange.

II. All persons who have actively aided or abetted in the invasion of Kentucky by rebel troops within the last three months will be immediately arrested and sent to Vicksburg, Miss., and forbidden to return to Kentucky. This order will not be understood as including persons indicted or help by the civil authorities for trial, nor will arrests be made on suspicion or insufficient evidence of guilt.

Brigadier General J. T. Boyle is charged with the execution of these orders, and will give such special instructions as may be found necessary.

By command of Major-General Buell:

Colonel and Chief of Staff.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rosecrans Receives Vote of Confidence

The growing political pressure from the northwestern states of Indiana and Illinois is relieved by Lincoln's departmental restructuring and Rosecrans' new appointment.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0642

INDIANAPOLIS, IND., October 25, 1862 - 10.40 a. m.

His Excellency PRESIDENT: We were to start to-night for Washington to confer with you in regard to Kentucky affairs. the removal of General Buell and appointment of Rosecrans came not a moment too soon. The removal of General Buell could not have been delayed an hour with safety to the army or the cause. The history of the battle of Perryville and the recent campaign in Kentucky has never been told. The action you have taken renders our visit unnecessary, although we are very desirous to confer with you in regard to the general condition of the Northwest, and hope to do so at no distant period.

Governor of Illinois.

Governor of Indiana.

Meanwhile, back at headquarters, Colonel Fry sends the following orders to Buell's Second-in-Command with no reference to a higher authority.  The Seventeenth Kentucky, in Rousseau's Division is ordered to Bowling Green from their current location near Lebanon.  Note that this is in the direction of Nashville, not East Tennessee. The march will cover more than 100 miles of hilly terrain and the soldiers will have to forage for fresh water as there is only one significant source along the route.  They are alotted five days to accomplish this feat.

Ref.:  ibid

OCTOBER 25, 1862.
General THOMAS, Lebanon:

Crittenden's corps will proceed to Glasgow as fast as it reached Columbia. If its baggage should not have arrived it will follow. It must be at Glasgow entire by the 31st. Put McCook's division in motion by way of Summersville, Horse Well, and Bowling Green. It must reach Bowling Green by the 31st. Rations will meet it at Bell's. Crittenden's division will draw rations from Cave City or Munfordville. Direct the First and Third Divisions (Schoepf's and Rousseau's) to march for Bowling Green by Campbellsville, Greensburg, and Glasgow. They must reast Bowling Green by the 1st proximo and Glasgow by the 29th. Rations for them all will be at Cave City.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rosey in for Buell

In deference to all of the controversy stemming from the events of this day in 1862, the following communications are printed in their entirity.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0640

WASHINGTON, October [24], 1862.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS, Cincinnati, Ohio:

You will receive herewith the order of the President placing you in command of the Department of the Cumberland and of the army of operations now under Major-General Buell.

You will immediately repair to General Buell's headquarters and relieve him from the command.*

The great objects to be kept in view in your operations in the field are: First, to drive the enemy from Kentucky and Middle Tennessee; second, to take and hold East Tennessee, cutting the line of railroad at Chattanooga, Cleveland, or Athens, so as to destroy the connection of the valley of Virginia with Georgia and the other Southern States. It is hoped that by prompt and rapid movements a considerable part of this may be accomplished before the roads become impassable from the winter rains.

Two modes of reaching East Tennessee have been proposed. First, to push a small force on the rear of Bragg's army to drive him into Tennessee and move the main army on such lines as to cover Nashville; second, to go directly to Nashville and make that the base of your operations, by McMinnville or Cookville. Adopting the first plan, the route by Somerset to Montgomery, if practicable, would be the most direct; if not practicable, it would then be necessary to move by Columbia or Glasgow to Sparta, &c. If the second plan be adopted, you will be obliged to move twice the distance in order to reach your objective point and at the same time afford the enemy an opportunity to resumed his raids into Kentucky. Moreover, it would give the appearance of a retreat, which would encourage the enemy, while it would discourage our own troops and the country. Nevertheless, the difficulty or the roads, the pressure of the enemy upon Nashville, the position in which you find General Buell's army, and the difficulty of supplying it in a mountainous and sparsely populated country may compel you to adopt this line. In either case it will be necessary for you to repair and guard the railroad, so as to secure your supplies from Louisville until the Cumberland River becomes navigable.

You will fully appreciate the importance of moving light and rapidly, and also the necessity of procuring as many of your supplies as possible in the country passed over. Where your cannot obtain enough by purchase of loyal men or requisitions upon the disloyal you will make forced requisitions upon the country, paying or receipting, as the case may be, for the supplies taken. The time has now come when we must apply the sterner rules of war, whenever such application becomes necessary, to enable us to support our armies and to move them rapidly upon the enemy. You will not hesitate to do this in all cases where the exigencies of the war require it.

Great care, however, must be taken to prevent straggling and pillaging and a strict account must be kept of all property taken. On this subject your attention is called to recent general orders and also to the system adopted in the French Army.

In connection with your proposed operations in Middle and East Tennessee, a column of about 20,000 men, under General Cox, is moving up the Kanawha river, and it is hoped that they will be able to cut the railroad near Newbern or Wytheville. This movement may possibly draw off a portion of Bragg's forces for the protection of that road.

Moreover, if the enemy's forces in Mississippi now operating against General Grant should be drawn east to re-enforce Bragg of to operate in Tennessee General Grant may be able to render you important assistance.

Although the Department of the Ohio covers a portion of your theater of operations this will in no respect interfere with your movements in the field nor the command of your army. Moreover, you will call upon General Wright for any assistance of supplies which you may require.

It is possible that Bragg, having failed of his object in Kentucky, may leave only a small force in East Tennessee and throw his main army into Mississippi against General Grant. His railroad communications from Knoxville to Holly Springs and Tupelo will enable him to make this movement with great rapidity. In that case a part of your forces must be sent to the assistance of General Grant, either by railroad to Decatur of by water, should the Cumberland be navigable, to Columbus or Memphis. Every effort should be make to ascertain Bragg's movements by pressing him closely.

I need not urge upon you the necessity of giving active employment to your forces. Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactively of some of our armies and generals.

Very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


* See Rosecrans to Buell, October 1862, p.635.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

ADJT. General 'S OFFICE,

No. 168. Washington, October 24, 1862.

I. By direction of the President the State of Tennessee east of the Tennessee River and such parts of Northern Alabama and Georgia as may be taken possession of by United States troops will constitute the Department of the Cumberland.

II. Major General W. S. Rosecrans is assigned to the command of the Department of the Cumberland.

III. The troops under the command of Major-General Grant will constitute the Thirteenth Army Corps, and those assigned to the command of Major-General Rosecrans will constitute the Fourteenth Army Corps.

By order of the Secretary of War:
L. THOMAS,Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1862.

Major General D. C. BUELL,
Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: The President directs that on the presentation of this order you will turn over your command to Major General W. S. Rosecrans, and repair to Indianapolis, Ind., reporting from that place to the Adjutant-General of the Army for further orders.

Very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Buell Ordered to East Tennessee Posthaste

On or about this day in 1862, Buell is again cautioned against falling back on Nashville.  The political pressures noted previously are clearly having an influence on mimlitary strategy.  The footnotes are copied as printed on the eHistory website.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0638

Washington, October 23,* 1862.
Major-General BUELL, Lebanon, Ky.:

Your three dispatches of yesterday+ are received and will be submitted to the Secretary and President to day. It is the wish of the government that your army proceed to and occupy East Tennessee with all possible dispatch. It leaves to you the selection of the roads upon which to move to that object; but is urges that this selection be so made as to cover Nashville and at the same time prevent the enemy's return into Kentucky. To now withdraw your army to Nashville would have a most disastrous effect upon the country, already wearied with son many delays in our operations. To wait for the rising of the Cumberland for supplies will carry us into the rainy season, when the roads will be almost impassable and the campaign will terminate with no results Neither the Government nor the country can endure these repeated delays. Both require a prompt and immediate movement toward the accomplishment of the great object in view - the holding of East Tennessee.



* True date appears to have been October 22, 12.20 p. m.

+ One of these dispatches refers to prisoners of war, and will appear in Series II; the others appear as of October 22, on pp.636, 637.

Meanwhile, in a move that will have great significance for the Seventeenth Kentucky and the rest of Buell's Army of the Ohio, General William Starke Rosecrans is sent this telegram from Washington.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0639

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 23, 1862.

Major-General ROSECRANS, Corinth, Miss.:

You will immediately repair to Cincinnati, where you will receive orders. Telegraph your arrival. Go with the least possible delay.


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Plea of Hardship , A Dose of Reality

Representative Horace Maynard of eastern Tennessee sends the following appeal to General-in-Chief Halleck on this day in 1862. He had made the same request on October 10th. This letter is included in today's post merely to show the level of fatigue that is settling over citizens and soldiers alike.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0635

WESTBOROUGH, October 22, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: On the 10th instant I had the honor to address you in relation to an alleged order sending into Western Virginia the East Tennessee troops just from Cumberland Gap under General G. W. Morgan.Since then I have received a letter form one of the field officers of that corps, a constituent of mine, upon the same subject. After giving a detailed account of their operations from early in August, he adds "The health of the men is excellent, and thought they are worried, they are in good spirits. The whole division is literally naked and barefooted and without equipage. We are ordered to Western Virginia, but men swear they will not go. Please have the order revoked and us ordered to Kentucky. General Wright want us to go there and we want to go. But we have been so long in the mountains that to send us to Virginia, where our army was frozen and starved out last winter, in our condition is an outrage. Such a dirty set as we are and ragged never was seen before since the Revolution. At least 50 of our men cam through without shoes. Please get the order to go to Western Virginia countermanded at once.

I beg again to call your attention to this matter. These men entered the service under very great difficulties, for the purpose primarily of defending their homes and families from rebel oppression and outrage. Our State, as you know, is now overrun by rebel arms, Military operations on a large scale will be be conducted there during the fall and winter. Obivious considerations require that these troops should be taken where they would have an efficiency that they could not have in a different field, and where they could render more efficient services than troops of equal general merit from any of the Northern States. But, more, I plead upon the high ground of right their claims where their own soil is the scene of conflict t be allowed to bear a part in the strife. I will not elaborate these views into as argument which your own mind will readily anticipate, but trust this matter without further remark to your wisdom and sense of justice. 

I am, very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


And from General Buell, Halleck receives more discouragement on this day in 1862 in this harsh but accurate portrayal of reality.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0636

Danville, Ky., October 22,* 1862 - 1 a. m.

(Received October 22, 2.20 p. m.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

 I am very grateful for the approbation expressed in your dispatch of 17th [18th?]. I have also received your dispatch of yesterday [19th], conveying orders for moving into East Tennessee. Undoubtedly the present is in may respects a favorable opportunity for the movement. Far from making objections, the object of my dispatch was to call attention to its importance, but at the same time I suggested the difficulties, so that the requisite means could be provided if possible. In speaking of Tennessee as being nearer the heart of the enemy's resources, I meant that he could concentrate his troops there rapidly. I have no doubt you realize that the occupation of East Tennessee with a suitable force is an undertaking of very considerable magnitude, and that if undertaken unadvisedly it will fail.

I venture to give you my views:
If the enemy puts himself on the defensive in East Tennessee it will require an available force of 80,000 men to take and hold it. If our army can subsist on the country so much the better; but it will not do to rely solely on that source. If we can obtain forage and one-half our breadstuffs that for the present is probably as much as we can do; everything else must be hauled. Nashville is essential as a depot; afterward McMinnville. Gainesborough will be an important point for us as soon as the navigation of the Cumberland opens, which may not be for two months. We can procure all of our forage and breadstuffs and some meat form Middle Tennessee, but Nashville and the vicinity must be rid of the enemy in any considerable force. We cannot otherwise collect supplies. The enemy has repaired and is now using the Chattanooga Railroad to Murfreesborough, and is threatening Nashville somewhat seriously, as appears form a dispatch received to-day from General Negley, which I send you. this danger has no reference to Bragg's movements. then, if the enemy should not be there in heavy force, it would not be necessary or desirable to go to nashville in full force. We could cross the Cumberland Gap [missing phrase] being out of the question. The railroad to nashville must be opened and rendered secure, because, until navigation opens, that is the only channel for supplies. A part of the route to East Tennessee is mountainous and destitute of supplies of every sort. As we advance depots of forage, to be supplied form the productive region, must be established to carry our trains across the sterile region - say at McMinnville and Cookville - but that will not delay the advance of the army.

From these data I make this estimate:
Taking matters as they stand, 20,000 men, distributed pretty much as indicated in my previous dispatch, should be kept in Kentucky; 20,000 in Middle Tennessee and on the line of communication to East Tennessee, and 80,000 should be available in any field in East Tennessee. Bragg's force in Kentucky has not fallen much, if any, short of 60,000 men. It will not be difficult for him to increase it to 80,000 men on the line of the East Tennessee Railroad. I could in an hour's conversation give you my views and explain the routes and character of the country better than I can in a dispatch, and perhaps satisfactorily; and if you think it worth while I can see you in Washington without deferring my movements, provided you concur in the expediency of moving first in the direction of Nashville; in fact, we must of necessity move so as to turn Jamestown and Montgomery. It will also help to conceal our plans. We can give good reasons why we cannot do all that the enemy has attempted to do, such as operating without a base, &c., without ascribing the difference to the inferiority of our generals, though that may be true. The spirit of the rebellion enforces a subordination and patient submission to privation and want which public sentiment renders absolutely impossible among our troops. To make matters worse on our side, the death penalty for any offense whatever is put beyond the power of the commanders of armies, where it is placed in every other army in the world. The sooner this is remedied the better for the country. It is absolutely certain that  from these causes, and from these alone, the discipline of the rebel army is superior to ours. Again, instead of imitating the enemy's plan (campaign) I should rather say that his failure has been in a measure due to his peculiar method. No army can operate effectually upon less than this has done in the last two months. A considerable part of the time it has been on half rations; it is now moving without tents, with only such cooking utensils as the men can carry, and with one baggage wagon to each regiment; but is must continue to do this during the cold, wet weather which must soon be expected, without being disabled by sickness.

Major-General, Commanding.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gloom, Despair and Agony

On this day in 1862,Governor Morton of Indiana presents his concerns over the aftermath from Perryville to President Lincoln. General McCook may not express his resentment from being left to face half of Bragg's army but the governor feels no such constraints, as many of the casualties were from Indiana volunteer regiments.  Perryville, as Donelson and Shiloh before, had resulted in heavy numbers of  Hoosier dead and wounded, the later of which are returning home in varying states of agony.  With no immediate prospects of victory, their hearts are heavy and yet more sacrifice is to be asked of the people from the northwestern states.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0634

October 21, 1862 - 9.15 p. m.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

An officer just from Louisville announces that Bragg has escaped with his army into East Tennessee, and that Buell's army is counter-marching to Lebanon. The butchery of our troops at Perryville was terrible, and resulted from a large portion of the enemy being precipitated upon a small portion of ours. Sufficient time was thus gained by the enemy to enable them to escape. Nothing but success, speedy and decided, will save our cause from utter destruction. In the Northwest distrust and despair are seizing upon the hearts of the people.

Governor of Indiana.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Say, I Say Again, Sir

In case General Don Carlos Buell was not sufficiently persuaded by his letter of the previous day, Halleck reiterates his instructions to push on toward either Knoxville or Chattanooga, with an endorsement by President and Commander-in-Chief Abraham Lincoln. It seems that the orders to live off the land also originate from the top of the chain of command.  This plan can only work if Buell is is moving to intercept Bragg's army.  If he follows Bragg, he will again find that the Confederate Army has consumed or destroyed any materiel available for forage.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0626

Washington, October 19, 1862 - 1.33 p. m.
Major-General BUEL, Mount Vernon, Ky.:

Your telegram of the 17th was received this morning, and has been laid before the President, who concurs in the views expressed in my telegram to you yesterday. The capture of East Tennessee should be the main object of your campaign. You say it is the heart of the enemy's resources; make it the heart of yours. Your army can line there if the enemy's can. You must in a great measure live upon the country, paying for your supplies where proper and levying contributions where necessary. I am directed by the President to say to you that your army must enter East Tennessee this fall, and that it ought to move there while be no serious difficulty in reopening your communications with that place. He does not understand why we cannot march as the enemy marches, live as he lives, and fight as he fights, unless we admit the inferiority of our troops and of our generals. Once hold the valley of the Upper Tennessee and the operations of guerrillas in that State and Kentucky will soon cease.


Perhaps the President is recalling the land of his youth, with bountiful farmlands tilled and maintained by the slaves and small farmers. Or possibly his opinion is informed by observations from the northern states, where the labor shortage has had only a small impact on agriculture.  He obviously fails to appreciate the fact that, in Kentucky and Tennessee, there were few men available for sowing or reaping and the harvest, such as it was, has largely been consumed, destroyed or hidden from the marauding armies.  In this part of the country, October of 1862 will not be remembered for it's Fall Festivals where local growers gathered to celebrate the abundance of their harvests.

General Buell has to weigh these instructions to march forward and live off the land with the reality on the ground. The following letter from Corps Commander T.L. Crittenden provides a substantial dose of reality, in case it was needed. By all accounts, the Confederate army is exhausted, demoralized and surviving on short rations. Is this the army Mr. Lincoln wants Buell to emulate?

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0628

October 19, 1862 - 8.30 a. m.

[Major-General BUELL or THOMAS:]

GENERAL: I inclose you a note from General Smith, which gives all the information yet received from either of the brigades sent to the Richmond road. I am afraid Cruft came on the last of them and that Colonel Matthews will not see them. General Smith is convinced from information derived from a man who escaped from the rebels on the London road that they have fallen back to London. If so I have no hope of catching them. However, in obedience to orders, I send out a brigade this morning to press on in that direction. We cannot subsist our animals here and it looks like rain to-day. If it should rain and we don't succeed better than I dare hope in foraging we will, in my opinion, do ourselves more damage than we can do the enemy either by pursuing or remaining here. This is my opinion, but I am ready to do with alacrity whatever the general directs.My command will be out of provisions to-night.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ixnay on Ashvillenay

This letter from General Halleck offers Buell some support and agrees that gaining control of East Tennessee is of prime importance. Buell's plan to fall back to Nashville, however, is not considered an adequate measure toward this end.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0623

Washington, October 18, 1862 - 3.50 a. m.
Major General D. C. BUELL,
Crab Orchard, via Louisville, Ky.:

The rapid march of your army from Louisville and your victory at Perryville has given great satisfaction to the Government. The great object to be attained is to drive the enemy from Kentucky and East Tennessee. If we cannot do it now we need never to hope of it. If the country is such that you cannot follow the enemy, is there not some other practicable road that will lead to the same time result - that is, compel him to leave the country? By keeping between him and Nashville can you not cover that place and at the same time compel him to fall back into the valley of Virginia or into Georgia? If we can occupy Knoxville or Chattanooga we can keep the enemy out of Tennessee and Kentucky. To fall back on Nashville is to give up East Tennessee to be plundered. Moreover, you are now much nearer to Knoxville and as near to Chattanooga as to Nashville. If you go to the latter place and then to East Tennessee, you move over two sides of an equilateral triangle, while the enemy holds the third. Again, may he not in the mean time make another raid into Kentucky? If Nashville is really in danger, it must be re-enforced. Morgan's forces have been sent to Western Virginia, but we probably can very soon send some troops up the Cumberland. Those intended for that purpose have been drawn off by the urgent appeals of General Grant and Curtis. Cannot some of the forces at Louisville be sent to Nashville?


Meanwhile, this brief communique from the office in Cincinnatti provides a summary of the situation in Kentucky on this day in 1862.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0625

CINCINNATI, OHIO, October 18, 1862 - 10 p. m.

Morgan with 1,500 guerrillas made raid on Lexington this morning. Met by Home Guards - 300 Federals. Engagement short and brisk. Morgan holds place. Weight's army not at Lexington yet. Bragg still running. Reached Mount Vernon a day or two since. Road to Gap obstructed by trees, &c. Bragg obliged to abandon it an go via Somerset. Crittenden close after him, followed by McCook. Hundreds of rebels falling by the way form exhaustion. Federals picking up large numbers of stragglers. Gilbert at Crab Orchard at last accounts. Office opened at Buell's headquarters, 7 miles from Crab Orchard, this evening.