THIRTY-SEVENTH MILES FROM NASHVILLE,
February 23, 1862.
I have endeavored to keep you quite well informed of my plans and movements. Thomas' division was, as I previously informed you, on its way to Nashville, via Bardstown, that being the only practicable route; but in order to expedite its arrival on Cumberland River and in consequence of subsequent developments I ordered it on the 21st instant to proceed by forced marches to Louisville and embark. I have also ordered some other troops by the same route that could reach Nashville sooner that way than by the land. I am moving with one division (Mitchell's), without baggage, by forced marches, on Nashville. My pickets are now in front of the city, and but for the destruction of the railroad by the heavy rains I should have been there myself to-day with the advance. I expect to reach there to-morrow, and by Tuesday night or Wednesday expect to have the principal part of the division up. Two regiments here, unable to cross the river at Bowling Green in consequence of the flood.
My troops are moving forward everywhere as rapidly as possible. The arrival of a steamer at Bowling Green to-day will enable them to cross the river rapidly and come up to me soon. I would advise that positive instructions be given in regard to the disposition of General Halleck's troops until the work nearest at hand is dispose of. It appears pretty well established that the enemy have mostly retired from Nashville, with the determination of making a stand at Murfreesborough. They have burned the bridge at Nashville.
D. C. BUELL,
THIRTY-SIX MILES FROM NASHVILLE,
February 23, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN:
Nashville all right. Men wearied by excessive marching and toil.
Before Columbus or Memphis is struck the rebel army of over 40,000 men in Middle Tennessee should be crushed. To do this safely a little time must be given. Large detachments we believe, from rumors that reach us, have left Manassas; of the truth of which you of course know.
Generals Buell and Halleck can effect the capture or surrender of Columbus and Memphis as easily as they have secured the other important positions of the enemy. Give them help in the shape of good soldiers and you are certain to achieve great results.
THOMAS A. SCOTT,
Assistant Secretary to War.
LOUISVILLE, February 23, 1862-2 a. m.
General Buell telegraphs General Halleck that he will be opposite or near Nashville to-morrow night, and asks General Halleck to move up the river with his gunboats, but without exposing them unnecessarily. I don't know what force General Buell moved with, but presume it is Mitchell's and McCook's divisions. He has ordered forward Wood's