Monday, August 6, 2012

New District for Kentucky?

Earlier this week General Halleck had sent a dispatch to Buell suggesting that a separate District be created, responsible for the areas along the Ohio River and southward to Tennessee. This is precisely the territory originally intended for the Army of the Ohio, before Halleck ordered it south into Tennessee last February.

When asked which of his generals Buell would recommend to head the new district, he replied that no officer could be spared from his operations in Tennessee and suggested that W.T. Sherman was best deserving of such a promotion.  In the following exchange, Buell first hears directly that his performance since the Siege of Corinth has not been winning any friends in Washington.  This criticism is expecially ironic since it is coming from General Henry Halleck, the engineer of the advance on Corinth which required more than a month to cover 22 miles.


August 6, 1862.
Major-General BUELL, Huntsville, Ala.:

General Sherman cannot be spared to command the proposed district. Can you not designate some one from your command? There is great dissatisfaction here at the slow movement of your army toward Chattanooga. It is feared that the enemy will have time to concentrate his entire army against you.


Buell responds  and begins laying out fresh defenses- this time of his career, not the railroads.  He suggests that General Jeremiah Boyle, who is currently commanding Buell's troops in Kentucky, be given command of the new district.

August 6, 1862-12.30 p.m.
Major-General HALLECK,Commander-in-Chief:

I would rather leave General Boyle in command of the proposed district for the present than to take another officer from any active force, and for the present I think he would do, though it would be desirable, if possible, to have an officer of more military knowledge and experience. He is zealous and active and not without ability.

It is difficult to satisfy impatience, and when it proceeds from anxiety, as I know it does in this case, I am not disposed to complain of it. My advance has not been rapid, under the circumstances. I know I have not been idle nor indifferent. Our lines of communication have been constantly beset by a vastly superior cavalry force. They have been twice seriously broken in that way just as they were finished. The army could not be sustained in its present position, much less advanced, until they were made secure. We have therefore found it necessary to fortify every bridge over more than 300 miles of road. This cold [sic] only be done with safety by distributing a large force along the road until the works were complete. They will be done this week, and I am already concentrating the troops again. The Nashville and Decatur road is finished and the first train came through yesterday. Both roads are now open.

As to any effect our rate of movement will have on the force we ar [sic] to meet it amounts to nothing. The enemy will meet us with what force he can spare for the object, and his facilities enable him always to move more rapidly than we possibly can. If I could have reached Chattanooga in two weeks I should probably have met the same force as now. I will telegraph you further to-morrow.


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