NASHVILLE, TENN., March 23, 1862.
I had a communication through from General Grant to-day, dated the 19th, at Savannah. It contains no information of importance. We have not yet completed the bridge at Columbia. I shall be occupied here till that is done. I will write to-night in regard to the disposition I am making of the forces under my command. I did not know of but one gunboat on the Cumberland, which I supposed had already gone to the Tennessee. I find there is still one here. I have so informed General Grant, that she can go up if he needs her. The information from the enemy is that Johnston is probably moving the principal part of his force to Tuscumbia. There is no force of consequence at Chattanooga. I hear of artillery going into East Tennessee from Georgia. This may be for defense or attack. Is the bridge at Florence destroyed?
D. C. BUELL.
March 23, 1862.
Major-General BUELL, Nashville:
General Fremont asks to have General Garfield directed to report to him. I refused to give the direction, because it may delay or frustrate judicious movements in progress under your direction. I do not intend to place Garfield under Fremont's order unless you deem it expedient, but I desire to know what instructions have been given General Garfield and the number and composition of his force and what operations he is to conduct. Please inform me immediately.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
NASHVILLE, March 23, 1862-10 p.m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I think it imperatively necessary that not a man, and particularly no good officer, shall be withdrawn from the operations against the enemy's line along the East and West Tennessee Railroad. Nothing can be more important. General Garfield recently completed the expulsion of Marshall's force from Eastern Kentucky, in accordance with instructions, and I ordered him, with all the force I considered it prudent to withdraw from that region, to Bardstown, in anticipation that it might become necessary to strengthen the Cumberland Gap column. That necessity has almost become certain, as the rebel force has already been considerably increased in East Tennessee, whether with an offensive or defensive object is not yet apparent. My expectation is to put him in command of that column, with all the spare force I can gather in Kentucky. It will then have probably ten regiments, two batteries, and five companies of cavalry, sufficient to hold a large force in check or penetrate against a weak one, as the case may be. General Garfield is now on his way from the Big Sandy with three regiments, two having been left at Piketon. My report to the Adjutant-General, now on the way, explains this. The operations against Cumberland Gap cannot wisely be separated from those of Middle Tennessee.
D. C. BUELL,