Beyond that they diverge, and may be stated briefly and candidly thus: First, to establish a sufficient force Bowling Green to hold Buckner there, while a column movies into East Tennessee by Somerset and the route we had in view; second, to hold him in check while a column moves rapidly past him on Nashville by the turnpike via Gallatin; and third, holding him in check at Bowling Green and throwing in column on both the Somerset and Nashville routes. The choice of these must depend on circumstances, which may vary in the mean time or which may not now be clearly perceived. In conjunction with either of these should be the movements of two flotilla columns up the Tennessee and Cumberland, so as at least to kind and unite near the State line, and cut off communication between Bowling Green and Columbus, and perhaps run directly into Nashville. A strong demonstration should at the same time be made on Columbus by the Mississippi. The details of all this, such as the destructions of railroads, so as to cut off communication, and a thousand other details, I do not go into, nor is it necessary. You can imagine them all.
All this I hope you will at least say looks plausible; more than that I hope it is reasonable and believe it is practicable, through I would not like you to forget that circumstances not fully foreseen may mar it in part. For the water movements means are necessary which I have not the control of; that is, gunboats and transports. The troops which you promise from Missouri could be used for the purpose, and ought to move at my signal. I should take the troops from Paducah for one of them and replace them by those which probably would not be as well disciplined and equipped.
Thus far I have studiously avoided any movements which to the enemy would have the appearance of activity or method. The points occupied are pretty much the same as when I arrived, except that a regiment has now and then been moved into position and Thomas has gradually been closing in upon Lebanon. I shall in a couple of days at most complete the matter of organizing brigades and divisions as the troops come in, and being to get them into position. We are now " lying around somewhat loose," and I shall not care much if some of our fragments have to look sharply after themselves. We are at the mouth of Salt, Elizabethtown, Nolin, Columbia, Campbellsville, at the points on the Lebanon Railroad, Somerset, London, Crab Orchard, and Dick Robinson, and no the Lower Green River. The letter force is composed mostly of Kentucky regiments, half organized. I shall probably keep them to make a demonstration on Russellville and Hopkinsville at the proper time. We have occasional stampedes at the outposts, but I do not allow myself to be much troubled about them. Such a one we have now on the Lower Green River, where Breckinridge is said to be advancing with 8,000 men. He may have 2,500 or 3,000. Another at Somerset, where Zollicoffer is said to be crossing with 10,000. He may have 4,000 or 5,000, and he may cross a regiment or two.
As the troops come in they go into camp 5 miles from the city, under Mitchel, who is attentive and subordinate, and where they replenish their worn-out clothes and outfit and go to drilling. Nelson has been in camp a day, and, I am informed, has already got into difficulty with Mitchel; and, if I am rightly informed, has behaved very absurdly. As he is a veteran, some allowance must made for him.
There are at Indianapolis seven regiments ready for service, but demoralized by the proximity of friends and the want of discipline and instruction. I propose to form them into a reserve and camp of instruction