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CHAP. X. the military Governor of the District of Washing
ton, that McClellan had left him present for duty only 19,000 men, and that from that force he had orders to detach eight good regiments. He further reported that his command was “entirely inadequate to the important duty to which it was assigned.” As General Wadsworth was a man of the highest intelligence, courage, and calm judgment, the President was greatly concerned by this emphatic statement. Orders were at once given to General E. A. Hitchcock, an accomplished veteran officer on duty at the War Department, and to Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas, to investigate the statement made by General Wadsworth. They reported the same night that it would require 30,000 men to man and occupy the forts, which, with the covering force of 25,000, would make 55,000 necessary for the proper defense of the city, according to the judgment of the council of corps commanders. They confirmed the report of Wadsworth that his efficient force consisted of 19,000, from which General McClellan had ordered eight regiments away. They therefore concluded “that the requirement of the President, that the city should be left entirely secure, had not been fully complied with.” In accordance with this report the President directed that General McDowell's corps should not be sent to the Peninsula until further orders.
1 General McClellan made in land, under Banks in the Shenanhis report an elaborate effort to doah, all those at Warrenton, at explain away these facts. He Manassas, and on the lower Poclaims to have left a force of tomac. But he does not deny 73,000 for the defense of Wash- the facts stated by Wadsworth ington, including in the number and confirmed by Hitchcock and all the troops under Dix in Mary- Thomas.
MAP OF FORT DONELSON, AS INVESTED BY GENERAL GRANT; BASED ON THE
OFFICIAL MAP BY GENERAL J. B. MCPHERSON.
Opposite page 185.
\HE news of the fall of Fort Henry created a CHAP. XI.
sudden consternation among the Confederate commanders in Tennessee. It seemed as if the keystone had unexpectedly fallen out of their arch of well-planned defenses. Generals A. S. Johnston, Beauregard, and Hardee immediately met in a council of war at Bowling Green, and after full discussion united in a memorandum acknowledging the disaster and resolving on the measures which in their judgment it rendered necessary. They foresaw that Fort Donelson would probably also fall; that Johnston's army must retreat to Nashville to avoid capture; that since Columbus was now separated from Bowling Green, the main army at Columbus must fall back to Humboldt, or possibly Beauroto Grand Junction, leaving only a sufficient garri- Mormoranson to make a desperate defense of the works and Feb. 7, 1862. the river; and immediate orders were issued to prepare for these movements. Nevertheless, John- Johnston ston, to use his own language, resolved" to fight for Committee Nashville at Donelson.” For this purpose he divided the army at Bowling Green, starting 8000 of his men under Generals Buckner and Floyd, together 1862. W.K. with 4000 more under Pillow from other points, on
of Confederate House of
CHAP. XI. a rapid march to reënforce the threatened fort,
while General Hardee led his remaining 14,000 Feb. 8, 1862. men on their retreat to Nashville. This retreat was Vol. VII, not alone a choice of evils. Even if Fort Henry
had not fallen and Donelson been so seriously menaced, the overwhelming force of Buell would have compelled a retrograde movement. Had Buell been a commander of more enterprise, he would have seized this chance of inflicting great damage upon the diminished enemy in retreat. His advance-guard, indeed, followed; but Johnston's remnant, marching night and day, succeeded in reaching the Cumberland River opposite Nashville, where, after preparations to cross in haste, the rebel commander waited with intense eagerness to hear the fate of Donelson.
Of the two commanders in the West, the idea of the movement up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers was more favorably thought of by Halleck than by Buell. Buell pointed out its value, but began no movement that looked to its execution. Halleck, on the contrary, not only realized its importance, but immediately entertained the design of ultimately carrying it out; thus he wrote at the time he ordered the reconnaissance which demonstrated its practicability: “The demonstration
which General Grant is now making I have no Hallook to doubt will keep them (the enemy] in check till 1862. w. r. preparations can be made for operations on the
Tennessee or Cumberland.” His conception of the necessary preparations was, however, almost equivalent to the rejection of the plan. He thought that it would require a force of 60,000 men; and to delay it till that number and their
Jan, 14, Vol. VIII.,