Thursday, May 31, 2012

"All Aboard"

With the valuable crossroads of the Mobile & Ohio RR and the Memphis & Charleston RR in hand, Halleck calls for engineers to reconstruct the lines and get the trains running on this day in 1862.  For all of his hesitance to engage the enemy, "Old Brains" is wasting no time on this logistical problem.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
Corinth, May 31, 1862.

Main body of the enemy has moved south toward Okolona. General Pope, with 50,000, men is following him. I do not, however, propose to pursue him far into Mississippi. Having no baggage trains except railroad trains, he can moved much faster than we can pursue. I propose to immediately open the railroad to Decatur, Ala., and to Columbus, Ky. The fall of the Tennessee river will soon render the use of this road necessary to us for supplies. The destruction of the Decatur Bridge by General Mitchel was a most foolish operation. If that had not been done we could have had a connection with him in one week. As it is, we must receive our locomotives and cars from the Ohio River. I have ordered an examination of the road toward Florence, and I think a couple of locomotives landing at that place with cars could be immediately brought here, and be of great assistance to us in repairing the road to Columbus, Ky. Please inform me immediately if an agent of the War Department will act in this matter of procuring locomotives and cars or if I shall detail a quartermaster for that duty. There is no time to be lost in this matter.

Major-General, Commanding*

As for the three divisions  of the Army of the Ohio...

HEADQUARTERS, May 31, 1862.
Major-General BUELL:

It is now fully shown that the main body of the enemy is retreating south. The first thing now to be done is to open the railroad to Decatur. You will therefore immediately put your Engineer Regiment and such railroad officers and men as you may have on that duty, opening the road as rapidly as possible to Tuscumbia, to which point a force will be sent from Pittsburg. Send with them a sufficient force to supply guards for working parties. Supplies can be landed, as they advance, at Tyler's, Eastport, &c.
I shall immediately order working parties on the road toward Humboldt.


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

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