Monday, October 22, 2012

A Plea of Hardship , A Dose of Reality

Representative Horace Maynard of eastern Tennessee sends the following appeal to General-in-Chief Halleck on this day in 1862. He had made the same request on October 10th. This letter is included in today's post merely to show the level of fatigue that is settling over citizens and soldiers alike.


WESTBOROUGH, October 22, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General, Commanding, &c.:

SIR: On the 10th instant I had the honor to address you in relation to an alleged order sending into Western Virginia the East Tennessee troops just from Cumberland Gap under General G. W. Morgan.Since then I have received a letter form one of the field officers of that corps, a constituent of mine, upon the same subject. After giving a detailed account of their operations from early in August, he adds "The health of the men is excellent, and thought they are worried, they are in good spirits. The whole division is literally naked and barefooted and without equipage. We are ordered to Western Virginia, but men swear they will not go. Please have the order revoked and us ordered to Kentucky. General Wright want us to go there and we want to go. But we have been so long in the mountains that to send us to Virginia, where our army was frozen and starved out last winter, in our condition is an outrage. Such a dirty set as we are and ragged never was seen before since the Revolution. At least 50 of our men cam through without shoes. Please get the order to go to Western Virginia countermanded at once.

I beg again to call your attention to this matter. These men entered the service under very great difficulties, for the purpose primarily of defending their homes and families from rebel oppression and outrage. Our State, as you know, is now overrun by rebel arms, Military operations on a large scale will be be conducted there during the fall and winter. Obivious considerations require that these troops should be taken where they would have an efficiency that they could not have in a different field, and where they could render more efficient services than troops of equal general merit from any of the Northern States. But, more, I plead upon the high ground of right their claims where their own soil is the scene of conflict t be allowed to bear a part in the strife. I will not elaborate these views into as argument which your own mind will readily anticipate, but trust this matter without further remark to your wisdom and sense of justice. 

I am, very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


And from General Buell, Halleck receives more discouragement on this day in 1862 in this harsh but accurate portrayal of reality.


Danville, Ky., October 22,* 1862 - 1 a. m.

(Received October 22, 2.20 p. m.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

 I am very grateful for the approbation expressed in your dispatch of 17th [18th?]. I have also received your dispatch of yesterday [19th], conveying orders for moving into East Tennessee. Undoubtedly the present is in may respects a favorable opportunity for the movement. Far from making objections, the object of my dispatch was to call attention to its importance, but at the same time I suggested the difficulties, so that the requisite means could be provided if possible. In speaking of Tennessee as being nearer the heart of the enemy's resources, I meant that he could concentrate his troops there rapidly. I have no doubt you realize that the occupation of East Tennessee with a suitable force is an undertaking of very considerable magnitude, and that if undertaken unadvisedly it will fail.

I venture to give you my views:
If the enemy puts himself on the defensive in East Tennessee it will require an available force of 80,000 men to take and hold it. If our army can subsist on the country so much the better; but it will not do to rely solely on that source. If we can obtain forage and one-half our breadstuffs that for the present is probably as much as we can do; everything else must be hauled. Nashville is essential as a depot; afterward McMinnville. Gainesborough will be an important point for us as soon as the navigation of the Cumberland opens, which may not be for two months. We can procure all of our forage and breadstuffs and some meat form Middle Tennessee, but Nashville and the vicinity must be rid of the enemy in any considerable force. We cannot otherwise collect supplies. The enemy has repaired and is now using the Chattanooga Railroad to Murfreesborough, and is threatening Nashville somewhat seriously, as appears form a dispatch received to-day from General Negley, which I send you. this danger has no reference to Bragg's movements. then, if the enemy should not be there in heavy force, it would not be necessary or desirable to go to nashville in full force. We could cross the Cumberland Gap [missing phrase] being out of the question. The railroad to nashville must be opened and rendered secure, because, until navigation opens, that is the only channel for supplies. A part of the route to East Tennessee is mountainous and destitute of supplies of every sort. As we advance depots of forage, to be supplied form the productive region, must be established to carry our trains across the sterile region - say at McMinnville and Cookville - but that will not delay the advance of the army.

From these data I make this estimate:
Taking matters as they stand, 20,000 men, distributed pretty much as indicated in my previous dispatch, should be kept in Kentucky; 20,000 in Middle Tennessee and on the line of communication to East Tennessee, and 80,000 should be available in any field in East Tennessee. Bragg's force in Kentucky has not fallen much, if any, short of 60,000 men. It will not be difficult for him to increase it to 80,000 men on the line of the East Tennessee Railroad. I could in an hour's conversation give you my views and explain the routes and character of the country better than I can in a dispatch, and perhaps satisfactorily; and if you think it worth while I can see you in Washington without deferring my movements, provided you concur in the expediency of moving first in the direction of Nashville; in fact, we must of necessity move so as to turn Jamestown and Montgomery. It will also help to conceal our plans. We can give good reasons why we cannot do all that the enemy has attempted to do, such as operating without a base, &c., without ascribing the difference to the inferiority of our generals, though that may be true. The spirit of the rebellion enforces a subordination and patient submission to privation and want which public sentiment renders absolutely impossible among our troops. To make matters worse on our side, the death penalty for any offense whatever is put beyond the power of the commanders of armies, where it is placed in every other army in the world. The sooner this is remedied the better for the country. It is absolutely certain that  from these causes, and from these alone, the discipline of the rebel army is superior to ours. Again, instead of imitating the enemy's plan (campaign) I should rather say that his failure has been in a measure due to his peculiar method. No army can operate effectually upon less than this has done in the last two months. A considerable part of the time it has been on half rations; it is now moving without tents, with only such cooking utensils as the men can carry, and with one baggage wagon to each regiment; but is must continue to do this during the cold, wet weather which must soon be expected, without being disabled by sickness.

Major-General, Commanding.

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