Tuesday, October 2, 2012

McCook Leads the Way

With all deference to  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes' catch phrase,"The game is afoot.", never had truer meaning than on this day in 1862.  Alexander McCook's 1 Corps, with the Seventeenth Kentucky in Rousseau's Division, has marched ahead of the other corps, reaching their designated position ahead of schedule but finding no water.  Judging by their rate of travel, both men and beasts are in need of a good watering, which leads McCook to send this request to A.G. Thomas. 

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0565

OCTOBER 2, 1862.
Major-General THOMAS, Floyd's Fork, Bardstown Road:

I am absolutely compelled to go on to Taylorsville. There is no water in Plum or Elk Creek for man or beast. I fear I am about 5 miles out of position, but it cannot be helped. The force at Shelbyville must have gone to Frankfort. They belonged to Smith. Send me orders to Taylorsville.

Have driven the enemy's vedettes to-day.

 A. McD. McCOOK.

Remember that, according to the War Department, an excess of transportation hinders mobility. Therefore, this march is undertaken with the smallest possible wagon train and the 1 Corps is expected to live off the land.  This explains why the first days' journey for each corps terminated at a known source of water, that being the most necessary and difficult to carry commodity.

Also on this date, the ever-timely General-in-Chief Halleck sends this well intentioned telegram to D.C. Buell, just in case the cautious warrior needed additionl motivation.  Notice the phrase "I am directed to again urge you...", indicating that the Department's dissatisfaction with Buell does not come from within the command structure of the Western Theater.

Ref.:  http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?Content=023/0564

Washington, October 2, 1862.
Major General D. C. BUELL, Louisville, Ky.:

Much apprehension is left here that unless a movement be made by you immediately the enemy may turn a portion of his force on Cincinnati, which is not in condition to resist a very serious attack. I am directed to again urge upon you the importance of prompt action.


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