HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, February 21, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
GENERAL; For the events of the last two weeks I must refer you to my telegrams, having had no time to write. Our successes on the Tennessee and Cumberland and in the Southwest, together with the stringent measures taken here, have completely crushed out the rebellion in this city and State; no more instructions, bridge-burnings, and hoisting of rebel flags. This enables me to rapidly increase my force in Tennessee. Nashville and Columbus must soon fall. I am, however, perfectly confident that if you had sent General Buell to the Cumberland to co-operate with me both would have been evacuated by this time.
I cannot possibly be mistaken in the strategy of the campaign. Threatened as I have continually been from Columbus, compelling me to keep a large force at Cairo and Paducah, I was too weak to act with promptness and efficiency on the Tennessee and Cumberland. The enemy made a terrible mistake in not falling back from Bowling Green on Clarksville, driving me out of Fort Henry, re-enforcing Fort Donelson, and connecting again with Columbus. I is true they would thus have exposed Nashville to Buell, but with their river communication they could soon have reoccupied Nashville-much sooner
I think, than Buell could have reached it on muddy roads. They have lost the golden opportunity and I believe they will fall back from Nashville, without a battle, either on Decatur or Memphis. I certainly should if I were in Johnston's place. If he should not, and General Buell should take the line of the Cumberland, so as to co-operate with me on the Tennessee, the enemy would be cut off and forced to surrender.
In your telegrams you complain of not getting returns from me of the numbers and positions of my troops. Certainly you do not expect to get information from me which I cannot obtain myself. I have worked hard for months issuing order after order for returns, but the officers of this department are so negligent or ignorant of their duties in this respect that I find it impossible to obtain returns till long after they cease to be of any use, as everything in the mean time has changed. They became so negligent under the Fremont regime of al law, regulations, and orders that it will take time to bring about a reformation. I am doing everything in my power to effect it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
SAINT LOUIS, February 21, 1862-10 p.m.
I find it utterly impossible to get returns of either of the regiments arriving or of those sent with prisoners. Moreover, telegraph lines have been defective and many of my messages not received. Have sent staff officers to obtain the information wanted. Have ordered a gunboat reconnaissance to-day of Columbus. Will send you results as soon as I get it.
H. W. HALLECK.