The roads were very bad, so bad that in returning from the First Arkansas Regiment to Bowling Green my operative was compelled several times to lift his buggy wheels to enable the horse to draw it out of deep mud.
A very large mountain or hill, one-half mile high, rises, with its base on the east side of the town of Bowling Green. Half a mile from base to summit; nearly as steep as the roof of a house, or quarter pitch, on the top of which, at or near the very summit, is a heavy earthwork, mounted with very heavy guns, said to be the largest in that region. Operative met guard half way up the mountain, who stopped him from going up to examine the fort.
Forage was getting very scarce at Bowling Green, and was then brought from 10 to 12 miles. Eight Texan Rangers rode into Bowling Green. The army used by that force were large buck-shot double-barreled guns and Colt's navy revolvers.
Not over sixty regiments at Bowling Green in the opinion of my operative, who thinks the statement of Major Harris exaggerated. A. Sidney Johnson is in command of that division, and is at Bowling Green in person. General Hardee, of Hardee's Tactics, was also there.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Louisville, Ky., February 5, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding Department of Missouri:
GENERAL: My plan of operations was sketched in the letter which I wrote you on the - ultimo. You have, I learn from your letter and dispatches, entered upon what would have concerned it on your side, and that is a very important part of it. I regret that we could not have consulted upon it earlier, because my work must at first be slow. Besides, since I wrote you those plans have been changed, or at least suspended, in consequence of the diversion of a large part of my efficient force for other objects, which the General-in-chief urged as of primary importance, namely, our advance into East Tennessee. I have, however, in consequence of the want of transportation, and, more than all, the impassable condition of the roads, urged him to allow me to resume my original plan, and, if I am not restricted, shall enter upon its execution at once. My troops have, however, been thrown somewhat out of position, and it will take some days to get them into place. My progress, too, must be slow, for we are dependent upon the railroad for supplies, and that we must repair as we go, the enemy having very much damaged it between Green River and Bowling Green, 40 miles. That will take ten or twelve days. I must go provided with a siege train, because the enemy is strongly entrenched with heavy artillery behind a river, and the condition of the roads will, I fear, effectually bar any plan of attack which will depend on celerity of movement.
I think it is quite plain that the center of the enemy's line-that part which you are now moving against-is the decisive point of his whole front, as it is also the most vulnerable. If it is held, or even the bridges on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers destroyed and your force maintains itself near those points, Bowling Green will speedily fall and Columbus will soon follow. The work which you have undertaken is therefore of the very highest importance, without reference to the injurious effects of a failure. There is not in whole field of operations