BOWLING GREEN, February 17, 1862-2 a.m.
General D. C. BUELL:
Our scouts have returned this evening, bringing intelligence that the town of Franklin is now clear of the enemy. They are pushing on for Nashville.
A company of Kennett's cavalry advanced upon the turnpike 2 1/2 miles beyond Woodburn, and learned the above facts. Two regiments of the Nineteenth Brigade are now encamped in Bowlin Green, having carried on their shoulders their baggage and camp equipage across the river over a temporary foot bridge, constructed upon the ruins of the railroad bridge. They will move forward to-morrow, transporting their baggage upon platform cars on the railroad. The Second Ohio Regiment, Colonel Harris, which was ordered to remain at Bell's, was directed to-day to join the bridge. We are now-11 o'clock p.m.- calling a flat-boat sufficiently large to take over our artillery. It will be used as a ferry-boat. We are also building a floating bridge, but as the current is very swift, I have doubts of its success. The enemy cut down large timber across the road to the ford; a fact we discovered this evening. After completing the ferry we will clean out these obstructions and start another ferry at the ford, using the large flat-boat at the mill.
I hope by Tuesday morning to have passed the entire division, with its baggage, across the rive, and intend to throw forward a brigade on the Russellville road, one on the turnpike, and one on the Nashville road some 10 miles from Bowling Green, and within supporting distance of each other. We have no hay, and there is none at Munfordville. We are obtaining a sufficient supply of corn from the country. I ventured to suggest Bowling Green was strongly fortified. There are two lines of natural defenses, which, if properly occupied, will render the position exceedingly strong.
O. M. MITCHEL,
FEBRUARY 17, 1862-8.15 p.m.
General CRITTENDEN, Calhoun:
(Care of quartermaster, Evansville; to be forwarded in haste.)
Suspend your movement until further orders, but keep ready to embark, and report by telegraph the position of your command. Detain the boats until you hear further from me.
Is Green River in such a stage that boats can pass over the dams, and have boats started for Bowling Green?
D. C. BUELL,
SAINT LOUIS, February 18, 1862
You could not have received my telegram of yesterday, Numbers 20,* when yours was sent. That gives my reasons for wishing General Buell to move on Clarksville. They are not changed by the taking of Fort Donelson.
H. W. HALLECK,
*See p. 627.