War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0896 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA.

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pendently of each other until they can again be brought together. Meantime the first must defend the State of Tennessee along the time already indicated; the second that part of the State included between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers. But as the possession of the Tennessee River by the enemy had also rendered the communications of the army at Columbus liable to be cut off at any time from that river by an overflowing force of the enemy rapidly concentrated from the various points of the Ohio, it had become further necessary to guard and provide against such a calamity, to which end it was decided that the main force in occupation of Columbus should fall back upon Humboldt, and thence, if need be, to grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either point and still secure a line of retreat to the latter place or Grenada, Miss., or even to Jackson, of that State.

Finally, at Columbus, left with a sufficient garrison for the defense of the works there, assisted by Hollins' gunboats, a desperate defense of the river was to be made. But at the same time transports were to be collected and held near by for the prompt removal of the entire garrison when the position was no longer tenable in the opinion of the commanding officer. Meanwhile Island Numbers 10 and Fort Pillow would be fortified for defense to the last extremity, assisted by the naval gunboats, which as a last resort would retire to the vicinity of Memphis, where another resolute stand should be made.

Five days later, in view of existing conditions, I addressed to General Johnston a paper, a copy of which I now transmit for the information of the War Department.

On reaching here I received information that confirmed my views in great part as set forth in that letter, and satisfied me that to attempt to hold Columbus with any force nw at my disposition could only result in an early fate like that of Fort Donelson and the loss of the Mississippi Valley as a necessary consequence. Unfit physically to visit Columbus, I requested General Polk and Governor Harris to meet me here. They did so. Meantime your reply to my telegraphic dispatch though inc the further occupation of Columbus had been received. Arrangements were made for the prompt defense of Island Numbers 10, a position naturally of great strength, and New Madrid; for the early evacuation of the position at Columbus, and removal of the large stores of supplies and munitions now there in such way as to avoid publicity. These new lines can be made of great strength with a garrison of about 5,000 men, thus leaving free my main force for maneuver and "defensive, active" operations against the enemy as he shall penetrate the country by the avenues now unfortunately in his possession.

Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,


General, C. S. Army.


BOWLING GREEN KY., February 12, 1862.


Commanding Western Department, Bowling Green, Ky.;

GENERAL: By the fall of Fort Henry the enemy, having possession of the Tennessee River, which is navigable for their gunboats and transports to Florence, it becomes evident that the forces under your immediate command and those under General Polk, separated unfortunately by that river, can no longer act in concert, and will be unable to support each other until the fortunate of war shall have restored the Ten-