FEBRUARY 17-7.30 a.m.
Brigadier General D. C. BUELL, Louisville:
To arm ten Ohio regiments reported without arms. Make the best use you can of the arms you have. I have ordered 3,500 first-rate rifled arms to you at once, 16,000 good Prussian smooth bores, and the next 5,000 made at Springfield.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
LOUISVILLE, February 17, 1862
Major-General HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.:
As the object of the re-enforcements I have been sending you was to assist at Fort Donelson and succor the force there if necessary, and as they are no longer required for that object, we had best consult about further operations, as well for the great object as to determine the disposition to be made of the re-enforcements, which if they have not gone beyond reach, I have thought it advisable to stop until we understand each other. The object of both our forces in directly or indirectly, to strike at the power of the rebellion in its most vital point within our field. Nashville appears clearly, I think, to be that point. Now, on your side, Clarksville intervenes. It will probably be pretty strongly fortified towards you, but mainly on this side of the river. It has not heretofore had any defenses on the south side, but it may be expected that at least a strong bridge-head will be thrown up on that side, and perhaps even somewhat extensive works, as the railroad bridge affords them the means of communication, though not a very secure one.
My impression is that the place could be easily invested on that side, so as to cut off their river communication, and without risk of the investing force being disturbed in the rear, the country in that direction being broken and the roads bad. They would still have, however the railroad via Hadensville and Springfield on the north side. That route is exposed to my attack, and whenever I advance against it, either at Clarksville, Nashville, or any other point, they must fall back, unless succored by a force through Nashville that I cannot beat. It is to be observed also that I should be exposed to a combineds resistance both from such a force and most of the Clarksville force, which would not be in great danger from your side of the river.
There can be no doubt that heavy re-enforcements will be thrown into Nashville from all quarters east and south. These considerations seem to require a large force on my line, which in fact is one on which a large force can be employed; the reverse of the case on your side. The difficulty on this side is one of transportation and it is a very serious one. To depend on wagons at this season for a large force seems out of the question, and I fear it may be two weeks before I can get a bridge over the Barren River, so as to use the railroad beyond. I shall endeavor, however, to make an advance in less or much force before that time. According to this view of the problem, I have thought it would be best for my troops to return. Let me hear your views.
D. C. BUELL,