Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gathering Storm

With Kentucky in a state of turmoil from the raiding rebel forces, and the newly appointed General H.G. Wright struggling to gain control over his freshly recruited and under-equipped regiments of volunteers from Indiana and Ohio, General Buell decides to fall back to a defensive position around Nashville.  It seems the Seventeenth Kentucky, already encamped outside of Nashville, after months of detached duty, is about to become involved in yet another massive military build-up..


Decherd, August 30, 1862.


For Governor Johnson, Nashville:

I think it but proper and due that I should advise you of our situation in reference to the enemy in Tennessee and of the course I find it necessary to adopt. You are aware that when this army was separated again from the force which operated against Corinth it was expected that it would attack Chattanooga and perhaps advance into East Tennessee. You cannot very well know all the circumstances which rendered that impossible and which now force us upon a defensive campaign.
At first it was necessary to rebuild the bridges over a long line of railroad, and in some cases it has had to be repeated several times. So constant has been the interruption of our communications that it has been with the greatest difficulty the troops could be sustained at all, and even then some 15,000 men were required to occupy positions and guard our communications, which, starting necessarily from Louisville, extended in all over some 400 miles of railroad.

From this cause the force which I can bring to bear so ar in advance of the source of supplies in reduced to 25,000 or 30,000 men. This force is not only very much less than that which is now crossing the mountains under Bragg, but labors under all the difficulty and peril of operating virtually in an enemy's country surrounded doest not amount to less than 50,000 and 60,000, not including the force operating against Kentucky. If it be 40,000, it is still too large under the circumstances to be engaged by 25,000 or 30,000.

By falling back to Nashville my force will increase to 40,000 of the Army of the Ohio proper, and including troops that are coming from Corinth it will be about 50,000.These facts make it plain that I should fall back on Nashville, and I am preparing to do so. I have resisted the reasons which lead to this necessity until it would be criminal to delay any longer.

That we shall triumph in the effort to preserve Tennessee I do not for a moment doubt. It is necessary that this communication shall be strictly confidential, and I request that you will destroy it, to guard against the possibility of discovery.


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