War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0683 Chapter XVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS,

Saint Louis, March 4, 1862.

Major General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN:

Our cavalry from Paducah marched into Columbus yesterday at 6 p. m., driving before them the enemy's rear guard. The flag of the Union is flying over the boasted "Gibraltar of the West." finding himself completely turned on both sides of the Mississippi, the enemy was obliged to evacuate or surrender. Large quantities of artillery and stores were captured.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,

Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, March 10, 1862.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, U. S. A.,

Commanding Department of the Mississippi, Saint Louis:

It has been reported that soon after the battle of fort Donelson Brigadier-General Grant left his command without leave. By direction of the President the Secretary of War desires you o ascertain and report whether General Grant left his command at any time without proper authority, and, if so, for how long; whether he has made to you proper reports and returns of his force; whether he has committed any acts which were unauthorized or not in accordance with military subordination or propriety, and, if so, what.

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

Saint Louis, March 15, 1862.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General of the Army, Washington:

In accordance with your instructions of the 10th instant I report that General Grant and several officers of high rank in his command, immediately after the battle of Fort Donelson went to Nashville with out my authority or knowledge. I am satisfied, however, from investigation, that General Grant did this from good intentions and from a desire to subserve the public interests.

Not being advised of General Buell's movements, and learning that General Buell had ordered Smith's division of his (Grant's command to Nashville, he deemed it his duty to go there in person. During the absence of General Grant and a part of his general officers numerous irregularities are said to have occurred at Fort Donelson. These were in violation of the orders issued by General Grant before his departure, and probably, under the circumstances, were unavoidable.

General Grant has made the proper explanations, and has been directed to resume his command in the field. As he acted from a praiseworthy although mistaken zeal for the public service in going to Nashville and leaving his command, I respectfully recommend that no further notice be taken of it. There never has been any want of military subordination on the part of General Grant, and his failure to make returns of his forces has been explained as resulting partly from