Washington, January 11, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, U. S. A., Saint Louis, Mo.:
The following dispatch is from General Buell. Does it meet your views?
Raw troops do not add much to our strength active operations. Why not send them into garrison at Cairo Paducah, and let the order troops take the field, as the Confederate are doing? I refer to the Illinois regiments ordered here.
HEADQUARTERS, Somerset, Ky., January 11, 1862.
General GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Commanding Division, near Columbia, Ky.:
GENERAL: Yours of the 9th, by Captain Hall, was dully received. You ask whether I consider the position of Zollicoffer impregnable in front. I would not like to say positively that such was the case; but I may safely say that to carry his position must be attended with heavy loss of life on our part.
There is no possible chance of maneuvering with infantry in front of his works, while artillery could be of no use, from the impossibility of securing any point from which it could be used to advantage, with an almost certainty of losing it in the event of our failing to carry the enemy's works at the first onset. If it deemed not best to cross the river, the next thing to be done is to find some accessible point on the west side of White Oak Creek from which our artillery could be brought to bear with force on his works, in the mean time crowding him in front and flank with our infantry. By this means we may draw him out for a field fight. The immediate occupancy by artillery of one or more suitable points on the river below Mill Springs, for the purpose of stopping his steamers, is a matter which in my opinion should not be overlooked, as, with the present condition of the roads, it is thought this channel that he must necessarily draw his supplies. I send you three men to-day who are acquainted with the country west of White Oak Creek, and who can be of service to you as you approach that line. Please keep me advised of your approach and plans, that I may act promptly and in concert with you.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding at Somerset.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CAIRO,
Cairo, January 12, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.:
Before the receipt of your telegram directing delay in the demonstration previously ordered, I had commenced by sending a portion of my command immediately under General McClernand to Fort Jefferson. At is would be attended with a good dear of trouble to bring these troops back and have a demoralizing effect on them besides, I have left them there. They occupy a good camp ground, and have Mayfield Creek, a stream not fordable, between them and the enemy.
35 R R-VOL VII