This had its part in the Bull Run case; but worse in that case was the expiration of the terms of the three-months' men.
Applying the principle to your case, my idea is that Halleck shall menace Columbus and "down-river" generally, while you menace Bowling Green and East Tennessee. If the enemy shall concentrate at Bowling Green do not retire from his front, yet do not fight him there either, but seize Columbus and East Tennessee, one or both, left exposed by the concentration at Bowling Green. It is a matter of no small anxiety to me, and one which I am sure you will not overlook, that the East Tennessee line is so long and over so bad a road.
Yours, very truly,
Having to-day written General Buell a letter, it occurs to me to send General Halleck a copy of it.
SAINT LOUIS, January 15, 1862.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General of the Army, Washington:
GENERAL: I am fully satisfied, from the inquiries made of officers of confidence who visited Paducah, that there are no real grounds of complaint against General Smith; certainly not sufficient to justify his withdrawal. His command is reported in the best discipline and order of any one in the department.
An attempt has been made for several months to injure General Smith by newspaper attacks. This was done for the purpose of having totally unfit for any command. General Smith applied some weeks ago for a court of inquiry to examine into the conduct of certain officers of his command, which application was forwarded to your office for the action of the President, but received no reply.
Under these circumstances I sent General Cullum, General Sturgis, Colonel Totten, and others to Paducah on inspecting duty, to report on the condition of the command. In order to leave terse officers free from all prejudice in the matter, I did not inform them of any particular subject of examination till they returned. I then asked them directly as to the difficulty between General Smith and some of the officers of his command, and each one has answered that in his opinion the blame should rest, not on General Grant, who now commands the district.
I was not aware that any formal report on this matter was expected of me or I should have reported some time ago. That part of General McClellan's orders to place General Grant in command of the district was executed, but the part relating to the withdrawal of General Smith was suspended.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
59 R R-VOL VII