The order to march, though dated the 10th, did not reach me until the 14th. This made me, of course, more anxious to be rapid in my movement. To do this I was forced to cross at Calhoun and march to South Carrollton, on the south side of the river. I considered this movement imprudent unless South Carollton was first occupied. For this reason Cruft's command was sent by the steamboats and barges, as the only expedition way of occupying the town. I confess to great anxiety of mind when I saw over 2,000 troops crowded on the boats, and determined that, except on a great emergency, I would not start such another expedition. In the present condition of the road it would have taken me five or six days to reach this place, marching by the north side of the river.
My command is now in South Carrollton, on the south side of the river. This is, I am aware, in violation of General Buell's order, at least the spirit of it. It is impossible to execute the order, there being no strong position on the north side of the river in the vicinity of South Carrollton.
Unless I occupied this place, 1,000 men could have stopped me from crossing at any point where there is a road by which I could march. This is a position of great strength, and my command ought to hold it against 15,000 good troops.
If I must move to the north side of the river, I will be compelled to go at least 2 miles back to find ground high enough to camp on, and it would take me two days to cross the river here if ordered to advance. I consider my command safe here. I assure you I have endeavored to obey orders, and have done so as far as practicable-obeying what I considered most important where all could not be obeyed. I could not have secured a passage across the river at or near this place by occupying any position in the vicinity of South Carrollton, on the north side of the river.
For miles this place, on the north side of the river, the land is flat, and so low as to overflow when the river is up. If I move over and across this flat, as I should be compelled to do, and the river should rise, I could not cross at all.
South Carrollton is situated on a hill, rising abruptly from the river, 150 feet high. There are only two days of approaching the place from the south-one the road by which I came, through a swamp, and which could be defended by a small force; the other through a wooded country and up hill.
Captain Edwards, of the U. S. Army, doubtless known to you as an educated and accomplished soldier, fully concurs in my view as to the strength of the place. With another battery of artillery it seems to me I could hold the place until starved, and as it is can hold it against any force the enemy can send.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN,
HEADQUARTERS CAMP IN FIELD,
January 18, 1862.
Colonel JOHN COOK,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Elliott's Mill, Ky.:
You will move your command, if possible, across the creek and to Fort Jefferson, starting early to-morrow morning. If it is not practicable