Saturday, May 19, 2012

Confederates Test the Right

Amid verifyable reports from McClernand and Sherman on the right of Halleck's formation that the enemy is massing for an attack, Halleck informs Buell to strengthen his position and be prepared to press the enemy in front as well detach forces to his right on this day in 1862- a challenge for the general who has only three divisions under his command in the present arrangement.

Major General BUELL, in Field:

Considering how much we have at stake, I do not think we ought to omit any measure of security. Our line is a very long one, and if the enemy should attempt to turn us, forces from the center must be detached. In that case intrenchments would be exceedingly important.

You will use your own discretion as to the location. Perhaps the ground may be such as to require them on only a part of your front Of this you will be the judge. Do all you can in the way of reconnoitering the ground in your front.

There are very important reasons, which I will explain verbally, why an attack should not be delayed many days. I therefore wish the line from Farmington to Russell's made as secure as possible, so that we can proceed to press the enemy in front.


Don't forget that Buell is still commanding the divisions of George W. Morgan (currently stretched thin and trying to control the Cumberland Gap while occupying Nashville to Lexington, KY) and Ormsby M. Mitchel (responsible for south-central TN and currently engaged near Florence, AL). 

Despite the great rattle and hum generated by the rebel movement a general attack is not forthcoming, merely a test of strength.  The Confederates are probably still hoping to push the Union forces back toward the bogs of the Tennessee River and corral them along a stretch with no viable riverboat landings.

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

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