position to be made of the re-enforcements, which, if they have not gone beyond reach, I have thought it advisable to stop until we understand each other. The object of both of our forces is directly or indirectly to strike at the power of the rebellion in its most vital point within our field. Nashville appears clearly, I think, to be that point now. On your side Clarksville intervenes. It will probably be pretty strongly fortified toward you, but mainly on this side of the river. It has not heretofore had any defenses on the south side, but it may be expected that at least a strong bridge-head will be thrown up on that side, and perhaps even somewhat extensive works, as the railroad bridge affords them the means of communication,m though not a very secure one. My impression is that the place could be easily invested on that side so as to cut off their river communications, and without risk to the investing force of being disturbed in rear, the country in that direction being broken and the roads bad. They would still, however, have the railroad via Hadansville and Springfield on the north side. That route is exposed to my attack, and whenever I advance against it, either at Clarksville or any other point, they must fall back, unless succored by a force through Nashville that I cannot beat. It is to be observed, also, that I should be exposed to a continued resistance both from such a force and most of the Clarksville force, which would not be in great danger form your side of the river. There can be no doubt that heavy re-enforcements will be thrown into Nashville from all quarters east and south.
These considerations seem to require a large force on my line, which, in facts, is one on which a large force can be employed; the reverse of the case on your side. The difficulty on this side is one the transportation, and it is a very serious one. To depend on wagons at this season for a large force seems out of the question, and I fear it maya be two weeks before I can get a bridge over the Barren River, so as to use the railroad beyond. I shall endeavor, however, to make an advance in much less force before that time. According ot this view of the position, I have thought it would be best for my troops to return. Let me hear your views.
D. C. BUELL,
LOUISVILLE, KY., February 19, 1862.
Commanding Department of the West, Saint Louis, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: I arrived here this morning at 9 o'clock, and have had several interviews with General Buell. He is concentrating forces at Bowling Green with a view of forward movement upon Nashville. It is not possible for him as yet to decide what point on the Cumberland he can move his army to; he may be able to move a large portion of it he can move his army ot; he may be able to move a large portion of it to Clarksville or to a point about midway between Clarksville and Nashville-possibly to Nashville direct. The country is being examined now with a view to determine the routes upon which his army can move. He is desirous of having your co-operation in the movement upon Nashville, with a portion of your forces and four good gunboats and about six mortars. His own force available for absolute movement upon the city will be about 40,000, which includes Nelson's division, sent to Smithland; this, being a good army in itself, may not require a very large column of your forces.