NASHVILLE, March 18, 1862.
Your dispatch of the 16th is only just received. It came by the Louisville line, which was interrupted. I, however, answered this morning in substance.
D. C. BUELL.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Savannah, March 18, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Saint Louis, Mo.:
Your dispatch of the 16th is just received and replied to by telegraph from Fort Henry. I arrived here last evening, and found that General Sherman and Hurlbut's divisions were at Pittsburg, partially debarked; General Wallace at Crump's Landing, 6 miles below, same side of the river; General McClernand's division at this place, encamped, and General Smith's, with unattached regiments, on board transports, also here. I immediately ordered all troops, except McClernand's command, to Pittsburg, and to debark there at once and discharge the steamers, to report at Paducah for further orders.
All your instructions will be carried out to the best of my ability. There is no doubt a large force is being concentrated at Corinth and on the line of the railroad.
Troops of cavalry are all over the State impressing men into the service, most of whom would rather serve with us. Refugees are coming in here and other points on the river for protection. Some enlist and others ask for transportation to a safe retreat North.
I have not been here long enough to form much idea of the actual strength of the rebels, but feel satisfied that they do not number 40,000 armed effective men at this time.
I shall go to-morrow to Crump's Landing and Pittsburg, and if I think any change of position for any of the troops needed I will make the change. Having full faith, however, in the judgment of General Smith, who located the present points of debarkation, I do not expect any change will be made. There are no intermediate points where a steamer can land at the present stage of water. This is an elevated piece of ground, probably 40 feet above the present water level. The opposite side is covered with water to the depth of 6 or 8 feet on the bank and much more farther back, extending far beyond where field artillery would reach.
I will send with this a copy of my instructions to Colonel Lowe on leaving Fort Henry.* Over fifty pieces of light artillery were captured at Forts Henry and Donelson, all of which were ordered shipped at Saint Louis; afterward, I understand, were stopped at Paducah. There has been so much absolute theft, however, in spite of all my exertions to prevent it, that I cannot say that all reached their destination. Many steamers are commanded in whole or in part by secessionists, so that there is no certainty of honest shipments being made. I instructed, however, that invoices be sent and receipts required from steamers, to give all the security possible.
I have found that there was much truth in the report that captured
*See p. 30.