I have now to request that, if you have not already done so, you will send to me as soon as possible a statement of the numbers, positions, and conditions of the troops in your department, together with the same information in regard to the enemy, as far as you can give it.
I am, very truly, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.
LOUISVILLE, January 13, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding U. S. Army:
MY DEAR FRIEND: I did not mean to be understood in my dispatch to the President as attaching little importance to the movement on East Tennessee; on the contrary, it is evidently of the highest importance, if thoroughly carried out; but I believe that if the other object were attained the same result would be accomplished quite as promptly and effectually. I have taken to step thus far has not had that in view also. It is certainly more favorable to its success that my whole attention has seemed to be devoted to Bowling Green, for it has had the effect to withdraw nearly the whole of the enemy's attention from East Tennessee, while an apparent preparation for it on our side would have made its force more formidable. As I told you in my dispatch, I shall now devote myself to it, contenting myself, as far as Bowling Green is concerned, with holding it in check and concealing my design as long as possible.
The presence of Zollicoffer at Mill Springs, although an obstacle, I do not regard as altogether unfortunate, as it affords a reason for send ing a considerable force to that point. He has entrenched himself on both sides of the river, which is readily navigable, and affords him facilities for supplying himself from Nashville. i have sent Thomas there, with the remainder of his division, in all some 14,000 men and twenty-six pieces of artillery, and have ordered a brigade and battery to the river at Jamestown, by which I hope to stop Zollicoffer's supplies through that channel. As soon as our means of transportation will permit I will establish a depot at Somerset and commence our movement. At present it is with the greatest difficulty that the troops are supplied, and I am quite sure that I have not let the subject of transportation rest. Colonel Swords is now sick, and has evidently not been able to work. I am afraid Cross will not be much better. The Tennessee arms are being unpacked and put it order and forwarded to Lebanon.
It is not too early to consider some matters connected with this movement. The first column may be from 8,000 to 10,000 strong, but it should be promptly supported and its communications kept open. It will no doubt very soon draw off some of the force now in front of us, but at first we cannot reduce the force on Green River very much. I shall have to take a division from there unless we succeed in destroying Zollicoffer's force entirely, which perhaps is too much to calculate upon.
By the organization of the Kentucky regiment and the introduction of raw regiments from Ohio and Indiana our numerical strength has suddenly risen from 70,000 to 90,000. It is unnecessary to say that a large proportion of this is unfit for active operations. However, it will answer a certain purpose. It is organized into twenty-three bri-