War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0418 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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HEADQUARTERS CUMBERLAND GAP,

February 18, 1862.

SIR: In a dispatch of the 14th instant I acquainted you with the fact that our cavalry pickets had been attacked by the cavalry of the enemy and than an attack on this place was probable.

During the night following the engagement between the pickets there fell a deep snow, which, followed by constant rains up to this time, has placed the roads and streams between us and the enemy in such condition that an immediate attack is improbable. Several days of fair weather much elapse before the enemy, distant about a day's march, would attempt to reach us.

By a dispatch from Colonel Vance, commanding at Knoxville, I learn that three regiments are on their way to re-enforce us. If these regiments reach us in time the place is safe against any force that can be brought over the roads in our front. Indeed, it is not probable that thus re-enforced we will be attacked at all. If not re-enforce, an attack is highly probable.

I would respectfully suggest that the whole East Tennessee border is much exposed and several important gaps wholly undefended, through any one of which it would not be difficult for the enemy to throw a force.

Respectfully,

JAMES E. RAINS,

Colonel, Commanding Post.

General S. COOPER.

FEBRUARY 14-15, 1862.- Evacuation of Bowling Green, Ky., by the Confederates and its occupation by the Union forces.

REPORTS.

Numbers 1.- General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding Western Department.

Numbers 2.- Brigadier General O. M. Mitchel, U. S. Army.

Numbers 1. Report of General A. Sidney Johnston, C. S. Army, commanding Western Department.

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT,

Nashville, Tenn., February 18, 1862.

SIR: In conformity with the intention announced to the Department, the corps under the command of Major-General Hardee completed the evacuation of Bowling Green on the 14th instant, and the rear guard crossed the Cumberland at this point yesterday morning in good order. I have ordered the army to intrench to-night midway between this place and Murfreesborough. My purpose is to place the force in such a position that the enemy cannot concentrate his superior strength against the command, and to enable me to assemble as rapidly as possible such other troops in addition as it may be in my power to collect. The complete command which their gunboats and transports give them on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers renders it necessary for me to retire my line between the rivers. I entertain the hope that this disposition will enable me to hold the enemy in check, and when my forces are sufficiently increased to drive him back.