War of the Rebellion: Serial 023 Page 0017 Chapter XXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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be soonest completed. Put all your force on it at once. Don't release the engines yet.

D. C. BUELL.

HUNTSVILLE, June 12, 1862.

General BUELL:

It is not for me to inquire into the plans of my commanding officer but it is impossible to act intelligently without some general idea of the object which is to be accomplished. your order me to rebuild the bridges on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad immediately. Every available mechanic under my command is now at work on the Decatur and Nashville Railroad. I think they should all be transferred to the other road. There remains a gap of about 36 miles on the Decatur and Nashville Railroad, and with my supply trains, aided by brigade trains, I could feed from Nashville 20,000 troops at Stevenson. Even now to reduce the gap in the Decatur and Nashville Railroad sensibly will require twenty days, as there are 1,100 feet of trestle work and the great bridge across Elk River to build. The road from Nashville to Stevenson can be opened in half the time. There are two bridges to build between this point and Stevenson, but the road is in complete order to Bellefonte, and the haul from here to Stevenson is but 14 miles. There is a small bridge to build between Stevenson and Bridgeport. If we hold the river at Shell Mound, 6 miles from Jasper and 20 from Chattanooga, I have a small boat driven by steam, and armed with one gun which can be used as a ferry-Boat. It is now here and can be placed under your orders to go down the river, but cannot pass the Shoals.

I have ordered the brigade to remain at Stevenson for the present.

Pardon me if I exceed the limits of strict duty.

O. M. MITCHELL,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS, June 12, 1862.

General MITCHEL, Huntsville:

The present plan contemplates active operations eastward from your line, and and it is desirable to open as many channels of communication as possible to depots and with the forces operating in this region. Hence the reason for opening the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and the various roads intersecting it from the north. Of the two in Middle Tennessee the Nashville and Chattanooga road is the most important, because it can be the soonest put in order. Put all your working force on that road and on the bridges between Huntsville and Stevenson. Call on Mr. Anderson for what help you require. I expect the road will be repaired between this point and Decatur in a week. The troops on the Columbia route and at Bainbridge and Lamb's Ferry had best remain a few days, unless you find it absolutely necessary to use them elsewhere. Your arrangements seem to me very judicious.

D. C. BUELL.

HUNTSVILLE, June 12, 1862.

General BUELL:

Yours received. Had already advised Colonel Turchin to remain at

2 R R-VOL XVI, PT II