Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rosey in for Buell

In deference to all of the controversy stemming from the events of this day in 1862, the following communications are printed in their entirity.


WASHINGTON, October [24], 1862.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS, Cincinnati, Ohio:

You will receive herewith the order of the President placing you in command of the Department of the Cumberland and of the army of operations now under Major-General Buell.

You will immediately repair to General Buell's headquarters and relieve him from the command.*

The great objects to be kept in view in your operations in the field are: First, to drive the enemy from Kentucky and Middle Tennessee; second, to take and hold East Tennessee, cutting the line of railroad at Chattanooga, Cleveland, or Athens, so as to destroy the connection of the valley of Virginia with Georgia and the other Southern States. It is hoped that by prompt and rapid movements a considerable part of this may be accomplished before the roads become impassable from the winter rains.

Two modes of reaching East Tennessee have been proposed. First, to push a small force on the rear of Bragg's army to drive him into Tennessee and move the main army on such lines as to cover Nashville; second, to go directly to Nashville and make that the base of your operations, by McMinnville or Cookville. Adopting the first plan, the route by Somerset to Montgomery, if practicable, would be the most direct; if not practicable, it would then be necessary to move by Columbia or Glasgow to Sparta, &c. If the second plan be adopted, you will be obliged to move twice the distance in order to reach your objective point and at the same time afford the enemy an opportunity to resumed his raids into Kentucky. Moreover, it would give the appearance of a retreat, which would encourage the enemy, while it would discourage our own troops and the country. Nevertheless, the difficulty or the roads, the pressure of the enemy upon Nashville, the position in which you find General Buell's army, and the difficulty of supplying it in a mountainous and sparsely populated country may compel you to adopt this line. In either case it will be necessary for you to repair and guard the railroad, so as to secure your supplies from Louisville until the Cumberland River becomes navigable.

You will fully appreciate the importance of moving light and rapidly, and also the necessity of procuring as many of your supplies as possible in the country passed over. Where your cannot obtain enough by purchase of loyal men or requisitions upon the disloyal you will make forced requisitions upon the country, paying or receipting, as the case may be, for the supplies taken. The time has now come when we must apply the sterner rules of war, whenever such application becomes necessary, to enable us to support our armies and to move them rapidly upon the enemy. You will not hesitate to do this in all cases where the exigencies of the war require it.

Great care, however, must be taken to prevent straggling and pillaging and a strict account must be kept of all property taken. On this subject your attention is called to recent general orders and also to the system adopted in the French Army.

In connection with your proposed operations in Middle and East Tennessee, a column of about 20,000 men, under General Cox, is moving up the Kanawha river, and it is hoped that they will be able to cut the railroad near Newbern or Wytheville. This movement may possibly draw off a portion of Bragg's forces for the protection of that road.

Moreover, if the enemy's forces in Mississippi now operating against General Grant should be drawn east to re-enforce Bragg of to operate in Tennessee General Grant may be able to render you important assistance.

Although the Department of the Ohio covers a portion of your theater of operations this will in no respect interfere with your movements in the field nor the command of your army. Moreover, you will call upon General Wright for any assistance of supplies which you may require.

It is possible that Bragg, having failed of his object in Kentucky, may leave only a small force in East Tennessee and throw his main army into Mississippi against General Grant. His railroad communications from Knoxville to Holly Springs and Tupelo will enable him to make this movement with great rapidity. In that case a part of your forces must be sent to the assistance of General Grant, either by railroad to Decatur of by water, should the Cumberland be navigable, to Columbus or Memphis. Every effort should be make to ascertain Bragg's movements by pressing him closely.

I need not urge upon you the necessity of giving active employment to your forces. Neither the country nor the Government will much longer put up with the inactively of some of our armies and generals.

Very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


* See Rosecrans to Buell, October 1862, p.635.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

ADJT. General 'S OFFICE,

No. 168. Washington, October 24, 1862.

I. By direction of the President the State of Tennessee east of the Tennessee River and such parts of Northern Alabama and Georgia as may be taken possession of by United States troops will constitute the Department of the Cumberland.

II. Major General W. S. Rosecrans is assigned to the command of the Department of the Cumberland.

III. The troops under the command of Major-General Grant will constitute the Thirteenth Army Corps, and those assigned to the command of Major-General Rosecrans will constitute the Fourteenth Army Corps.

By order of the Secretary of War:
L. THOMAS,Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1862.

Major General D. C. BUELL,
Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: The President directs that on the presentation of this order you will turn over your command to Major General W. S. Rosecrans, and repair to Indianapolis, Ind., reporting from that place to the Adjutant-General of the Army for further orders.

Very respectfully,
your obedient servant,


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