War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0632 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN.,N. ALA.,AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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Saint Louis, February 18, 1862

Brigadier General D. C. BUELL, Louisville, Ky.:

Can't you march on Clarksville and then go up the river to Nashville? We ought to be nearer together, so that we can assist each other. Had the enemy thrown his forces rapidly down the river he could have crushed me at Fort Donelson, and have returned to Nashville before you could have reached that place.



LOUISVILLE, February 18, 1862

General HALLECK:

I have received one dispatch from you of this date, but I infer that it was not written in answer to mine of last night, and therefore wait to hear further from you on the subject. I have telegraphed General Nelson to stop at Smithland until I hear from you. I agree with you as to the importance of our getting nearer each other. The difficulty in marching on Clarksville from Bowling Green is that the road is a common mud one and at this time impassable. That objection might be overcome if I could move light, with the certainty of meeting supplies at a point on the river; as, for example, if the enemy should retire from Clarksville, so that I could find you there. What do you think if I can get away, of our meeting at Smithland personally, and going up to Grant to study the ground?


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Saint Louis, February 18, 1862

Brigadier-General BUELL,

Louisville, Ky.:

To remove all questions as to rank, I have asked the President to make you a major-general. Come down to the Cumberland and take command. The battle of the West is to be fought in that vicinity. You should be in it as the ranking general in immediate command. Don't hesitate. Come to Clarksville as rapidly as possible. Say that you will come, and I will have everything there for you. Beauregard threatens to attack either Cairo or Paducah. I must be ready for him. Don't stop any troops ordered down the Ohio. We want them all. You shall have them back in a few days. Assistant Secretary of War Scott left here this afternoon to confer with you. He knows my plans and necessities. I am terribly hard pushed. Help me, and I will help you. Hunter has acted nobly, generously, bravely. Without his aid I should have failed before Fort Donelson. Honor to him. We came within an ace of being defeated. If the fragments which I sent down had not reached there on Saturday we should have gone in. A retreat at one time seemed almost inevitable. All right now. Help me to carry it out. Talk freely with Scott. It is evident to me that you and McClellan did not at last accounts appreciate the strait I have been in. I am certain you will when you understand it all. Help me, I beg of