Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buell Covers Pope's Exposed Flank

After spending the previous seeking out the Confederate positions, General Pope had returned to his camps.  But on this day in 1862 he discovers even more about their positions.

FARMINGTON, May 9, 1862.
Major-General HALLECK:

The enemy has advanced in such heavy force that the infantry command on opposite side of creek could not retain their position, and I did not wish to support them too strongly, as it would have brought on a general engagement. I have therefore withdrawn them to this side, and my whole command is in battle order. I have not heard from Nelson nor Buell and have no idea where they are. The enemy may attempt to follow us; but, if so, we are able to hold our own for a long time.

JNumbers POPE,

With about 2 1/2 miles of wetlands between Pope's right and Buell's left, Halleck urgently demands that Buell send  Nelson's division to close this gap, less the enemy wedge themselves between the two armies.  Buell, who only has three divisions after Halleck's latest restructuring responds with his best judgement.

May 9, 1862.
General HALLECK:

I have sent two divisions over to support Pope's right flank, information having come to me that our pickets have been driven in at Nichols' Ford. If the enemy appears there in force I shall move my whole command there, as any success of the enemy which would intercept my route across Chambers Creek, on the Farmington road, might be a serious matter. If I leave my position here it ought to be immediately occupied by three divisions.


Nelson later summarizes his movements on this day, again with a note of frustration.
"At 10.30 o'clock received an order to march my division to the support of General Pope. Marched in quick-time in the direction indicated, the enemy having attacked the troops at Farmington. Received repeated messages urging my more rapid advance; also a letter from General Pope informing me that the enemy were advancing fiercely on his camp." Before I could get up the firing ceased, but messengers arriving with the intelligence that my picket had been attacked at Nichols' Ford, changed direction and moved to that point, to which point the camp was moved the day following."*

*ORE reports courtesy of my Favorite Link, Ohio State's eHistory

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