Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ixnay on Ashvillenay

This letter from General Halleck offers Buell some support and agrees that gaining control of East Tennessee is of prime importance. Buell's plan to fall back to Nashville, however, is not considered an adequate measure toward this end.


Washington, October 18, 1862 - 3.50 a. m.
Major General D. C. BUELL,
Crab Orchard, via Louisville, Ky.:

The rapid march of your army from Louisville and your victory at Perryville has given great satisfaction to the Government. The great object to be attained is to drive the enemy from Kentucky and East Tennessee. If we cannot do it now we need never to hope of it. If the country is such that you cannot follow the enemy, is there not some other practicable road that will lead to the same time result - that is, compel him to leave the country? By keeping between him and Nashville can you not cover that place and at the same time compel him to fall back into the valley of Virginia or into Georgia? If we can occupy Knoxville or Chattanooga we can keep the enemy out of Tennessee and Kentucky. To fall back on Nashville is to give up East Tennessee to be plundered. Moreover, you are now much nearer to Knoxville and as near to Chattanooga as to Nashville. If you go to the latter place and then to East Tennessee, you move over two sides of an equilateral triangle, while the enemy holds the third. Again, may he not in the mean time make another raid into Kentucky? If Nashville is really in danger, it must be re-enforced. Morgan's forces have been sent to Western Virginia, but we probably can very soon send some troops up the Cumberland. Those intended for that purpose have been drawn off by the urgent appeals of General Grant and Curtis. Cannot some of the forces at Louisville be sent to Nashville?


Meanwhile, this brief communique from the office in Cincinnatti provides a summary of the situation in Kentucky on this day in 1862.


CINCINNATI, OHIO, October 18, 1862 - 10 p. m.

Morgan with 1,500 guerrillas made raid on Lexington this morning. Met by Home Guards - 300 Federals. Engagement short and brisk. Morgan holds place. Weight's army not at Lexington yet. Bragg still running. Reached Mount Vernon a day or two since. Road to Gap obstructed by trees, &c. Bragg obliged to abandon it an go via Somerset. Crittenden close after him, followed by McCook. Hundreds of rebels falling by the way form exhaustion. Federals picking up large numbers of stragglers. Gilbert at Crab Orchard at last accounts. Office opened at Buell's headquarters, 7 miles from Crab Orchard, this evening.


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