and Cumberland Rivers, including Nashville and the fortified points below. It is, I have no doubt, within bounds to estimate their force on that line at 80,000 men, including a column about Somerset, Ky. In rear of their right flank it is more. Of this force 40,000 may be set down as at Bowling Gren, 20,000 at Columbus, though you doubtless have more information on that point than. I have, and 20,000 at the center. Considering the railroad facilities, which enable the enemy to concentrate in a few hours on any single point of this front, you will at once see the importance of a combined attack on its center and flanks, or at least of demonstrations which may be converted into real attacks, and fully occupy the enemy on the whole front. It is probable that you may have given the subject, as far as Columbus and the center are concerned, more attention than I have. With reference to the former at least I can make no more than the general suggestion already expressed that it should be fully occupied.
The attack upon the center should by two gunboat expeditions, with, I should say, 20,000 men on the two rivers. They should of course be organized with reference to the depth of water in the rivers, and whether they be of equal or unequal strength would depend on that and other considerations, and can hardly be determined until the moment of departure. The mode of attack must depend on the strength of the enemy at the several points and the features of the localities. It will be of the first importance to break the railroad communications, and, if possible, that should be done by columns moving rapidly to the bridges over the Cumberland and Tennessee. The former probably would not be reached at first, being some 31 miles above the first principal battery that I know of, at Dover. The other is 18 miles above Fort Henry, the first I know of on the Tennessee.
If the expeditions should not be strong enough to do work alone, they should establish themselves firmly at the nearest possible point, and remain at least until they ascertained that re-enforcements from my columns or some other source would not reach them. By resisting they could establish themselves permanently under the protection of the gunboats.
I say this much rather to lay the subject before you than to propose any definite plan for your side.
Whatever is done should done speedily, within a few days. The work will become more difficult every day. Please let me hear from your at once.
Very truly, yours,
D. C. BUELL,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Numbers 51.
Louisville, Ky., January 3, 1862.
I. Brigade the Nineteenth is hereby constituted as follows:
Colonel W. B. HAZEN, 41st Ohio Volunteers, commanding.
41st Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Hazen.
46th Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Fitch.
47th Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Slack.
6th Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Whitaker.
* * * * * * * *
By command of General Buell:
[JAMES B. FRY.]
34 R R-VOL VII