It is now believed that the railroad will be completed to near Bowling Green by Saturday night or Sunday at the furthest, unless the weather should hold very bad. The brigade at Bowling Green across the Barren River may require two week's time; hence the desire of the general for height water in the Green River to get steam transports over the dam at the damaged lock to enable him to get full supplies for his army by water at Bowling Green. He will make a simple transfer at the damaged lock case the water gets low, keeping boats on each side of the lock.
I shall go with the general to-night at Bowling Green, and there he will determine, from the information received, as to the condition of roads, what he will do in the way of movement upon Nashville, and about the time at which he expects to make the blow.* The general has information which he believes reliable to the effect that a large part of their forces have been moved from Clarksville will be comparatively light, and will be for purposes of causing delay in movements up the river. A number of small fortifications are erected on the river between Clarksville and Nashville.* By Saturday or Sunday you may receive definite information s tot he plans for movement.
I have explained very fully to General Buell your ideas of a movement up the Tennessee and south thereof, all of which are deemed good, if proper re-enforcements are had from the East.
I find here an intensely bitter feeling against Buckner, and do not think it safe to send him to this point. Many threats are made of lynching him if he is brought into Kentucky. It appears that he was indicted for treason some time since at Louisville, and after his capture at Donelson a writ was issued by the superior court and an officer dispatched for Cairo to bring him here for trial. Fearing trouble, by the advice of some of our Union friends I telegraphed you this morning to hold him in military custody and send him to Ohio or any point you might select until the Secretary of War could be advised. I telegraphed him the purport of my telegraph to you.
Savannah is ours; Norfolk will be in a few days. We then hope for Nashville, Columbus, Memphis, and the cities farther South.
Very truly, yours,
THOMAS A. SCOTT,
Assistant Secretary of War.
P. S.-General Buell showed me your message ot him of yesterday's date, which I did not clearly comprehend, and therefore telegraphed you in regard to two points. We leave in a few hours for Bowling Green.
THOMAS A. SCOTT.
CAIRO, ILL., February 19, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK:
MY DEAR GENERAL: It is mighty hard to play everything from corporal to general and to perform the functions of several staff department almost unaided, as I have done the past two weeks. I hardly get time to eat very much or to sleep. However, I am ready for every and any amount of duty I can stagger under if it will crown
*Of these points General Grant must satisfy himself by proper examination before acting.-T. A. S.