Had he better proceed to Fayetteville or stop and hold the mountain passes, while I send 4,000 men from Ironton and Doniphan to take Pocahontas and Jacksonport and destroy their supplies? I prefer the latter, but Curtis advises an advance to Fayetteville.
One of my scouts was in Columbus. During the night of the 18th some high officer arrived, and immense cheering at railroad depot-said to be for Beauregard. Nineteen steamers in the river. No preparations either for advance or retreat.
Navy officers say they cannot repair the gunboats in less than ten days.
H. W. HALLECK.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 21-7.30 p.m.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis, Mo.:
I think you are entirely right in not wishing to push Curtis beyond Bentonville. No necessity for anything more than a party of cavalry at Fayetteville. The true line of advance into Arkansas is by Pocahontas and Jacksonport; there you seriously threaten Memphis. To-morrow I shall hear definitely from Buell what he can do. I think our next move must be on Nashville with least possible delay. As soon as we can move a column on Humboldt or vicinity Columbus will fall. Hurry repairs of gunboats; work on them day and night. As soon as enough of them are ready to protect mortar boats send latter to shell Columbus.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding U. S. Army.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 21, 1862-9.30 p.m.
The advance on Nashville is of the greatest importance. If you can make it by the line of the Cumberland more rapidly than by Bowling Green at once change your line of operations, and I will direct Halleck's troops on Memphis and Columbus.
What is Thomas' division doing at Bardstown? Rapid movements are now necessary. If railroad to Nashville is destroyed, take the line of Cumberland River. I repeat, both Halleck and yourself keep me to much in the dark. Your reports are not sufficiently numerous or explicit.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 21, 1862
What more have you from Columbus? You do not report either often or fully enough. Unless you keep me fully advised, you must not expect me to abandon my own plans for yours.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.