From these data I make this estimate:
Taking matters as they stand, 20,000 men, distributed pretty much as indicated in my previous dispatch, should be kept in Kentucky; 20,000 in Middle Tennessee and on the line of communication to East Tennessee, and 80,000 should be available in any field in East Tennessee. Bragg's force in Kentucky has not fallen much, if any, short of 60,000 men. It will not be difficult for him to increase it to 80,000 men on the line of the East Tennessee Railroad. I could in an hour's conversation give you my views and explain the routes and character of the country better than I can in a dispatch, and perhaps satisfactorily; and if you think it worth while I can see you in Washington without deferring my movements, provided you concur in the expediency of moving first in the direction of Nashville; in fact, we must of necessity move so as to turn Jamestown and Montgomery. It will also help to conceal our plans. We can give good reasons why we cannot do all that the enemy has attempted to do, such as operating without a base, &c., without ascribing the difference to the inferiority of our generals, though that may be true. The spirit of the rebellion enforces a subordination and patient submission to privation and want which public sentiment renders absolutely impossible among our troops. To make matters worse on our side, the death penalty for any offense whatever is put beyond the power of the commanders of armies, where it is placed in every other army in the world. The sooner this is remedied the better for the country. It is absolutely certain that from these causes, and from these alone, the discipline of the rebel that from these causes, and from these alone, the discipline of the rebel army is superior to ours. Again, instead of imitating the enemy's plan (campaign) I should rather say that his failure has been in a measure due to his peculiar method. No army can operate effectually upon less than this has done in the last two months. A considerable part of the time it has been in the last two months. A considerable part of the time it has been on half rations; it is now moving without tents, with only such cooking utensils as the men can carry, and with one baggage wagon to each regiment; but is must continue to do this during the cold, wet weather which must soon be expected, without being disabled by sickness.
D. C. BUELL,
DANVILLE, KY., October 22,* 1862 - 2 a. m.
(Received October 22, 1 p. m.)
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
The pursuit of the enemy has been continued beyond London. We have captured some property and taken a few prisoners; but no important advantage could be gained on a route abounding in strong defiles easily obstructed, and where a small force can successfully resist a large one, and where in fact a large force cannot be employed. The retreating army consumes the limited supply of forage which the country affords, rendering it impossible to subsist our animals. To continue the pursuit would exhaust and throw the troops out of position without any fruits. I am therefore putting them on other lines toward Tennessee.
Some 2,500 barrels of pork, two or three pieces of cannon, and other property were secured, which the enemy abandoned at Camp Dick Robinson.
* As appended to the record of the Buell Commission this dispatch is dated October 21. See Halleck to Buell, October 23, p.638.