HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
June 17, 1862.
The movement which I am making cannot be made without risk if it is not made promptly and the enemy is watching on our flank as is stated. General nelson sends me information similar to your own, and possibly from the same source, that Van Dorn and Price are at Fulton, another corps at Okolona, and another farther west, ready to take advantage of any disorder in our arrangements. On the other hand, General Mitchell reports on similar authority that there are 20,000 troops at Chattanooga; that troops are constantly moving in that direction from the west and demonstrations to cross the river are being made. Our whole force, scattered as it is, is really weaker than a much smaller one concentrated. I think it at least proper, if not important, to expedite the movement of my troops so as to get them across the Tennessee at the earliest possible day. I will cross two, perhaps three, divisions here, and leave only force enough on this side to repair the road and guard it against molestation by small parties. It seems to me that the importance of the road from Bear Creek to Decatur is greatly overrated; as a means of transferring troops it is of no value whatever, and as a channel for supplying those in Tennessee it is neither essential nor the most convenient, while its exposure to interruption makes it extremely objectionable. A small force is insufficient to guard it against anything but mere depredating parties; a large force makes it a tempting object to the enemy. Such a force can neither be withdrawn nor re-enforced with facility or safety, exposed as it constantly is on its flanks. An object of far greater importance, it seems to me, is the immediate construction of a floating bridge at Eastport, an I would suggest that the bridge which I brought around be immediately put in use for that purpose. A good deal of the material has been used for bridging creeks, &c., but it can soon be replaced. A telegraph order to Captain Dickerson at Cincinnati will complete it at Eastport in a week. The importance of this measure is I think apparent. By means of it troops can move to either flank under shelter of the Tennessee, and the distance between river transportation on the west and the railroad transportation on the east is about 70 miles.
D. C. BUELL,
CORINTH, June 17, 1862.
Major-General BUELL, Tuscumbia:
I fully appreciate the importance of your moving promptly; but I do not think there is any serious risk of flank attack in force from Fulton. A small force might strike at the railroad if it be not sufficiently guarded. Beauregard has not transportation to supply his army at any considerable distance from his line of railroad. It seems to me that be repairing the road to Decatur, then moving light, your supplies following you by rail, you can reach Chattanooga sooner than in any other way. I cannot perceive any object in constructing a floating bridge at Eastport. Every division of General Grant's army is engaged in repairing railroad and establishing batteries for the defense of Corinth. I hope in a few days to send Thomas' division to Tuscumbia. I oppose no objection to your crossing a part of your army at Florence if you think it will facilitate your advance. I see no risk, however, in moving to De-
3 R R-VOL XVI, PT II