Wrote Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith in Paducah, “On Monday next [Feb. 3] I expect to start from Smithland, Paducah and this place with some 15,000 men for Ft. Henry to take and occupy that position.
“Full instructions will be received from Gen. Halleck in the morning. At the present I am only in possession of telegraphic orders to “take and hold”.
“If my instructions contain nothing to change the plan I would adopt I will want a Brigade from Paducah and all the command from Smithland except the 52 Ill. and one battalion to be designated by yourself. These troops will take with them all their baggage but no baggage train, these being left to take up afterwards. I do not regard over a Squadron of Cavalry as being necessary for the whole command in taking the position. All that might afterwards be required can be sent from here.
“The troops going from your command may take such rations as they have on hand at the time of starting, not less than two days supply however, preparations being made here for issuing on arrival at place of debarkation.
“A supply of Ammunition will also be taken from here, but every regiment should take all they have on hand and not less than forty rounds.
“Should I not be able to write more definitely by tomorrow’s boat, I will telegraph during the day if a change from the above is necessary.
“But very little preparation is necessary for this move, and if possible the troops and community should be kept from knowing anything of the design. I am well aware however this caution is entirely unnecessary to you.
“It is impossible to spare a boat just now to run exclusively between Paducah and Smithland, but until one can be sent, the Steamer from here can continue her trips to the latter place upon your order as often as necessary.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 124-5
O.R., I, vii, 575
Jan 31 1862, Wrote Gen. Halleck, “Enclosed herewith I send you a communication from Gen. Smith containing the latest and most reliable information I have from the upper Tennessee.
“I am quietly making preparations for a move without as yet having created a suspicion even that a move is to be made. Awaiting your instruction which are expected in the morning. I have not made definite plans as to my movement, but expect to start Sunday evening [Feb. 2], taking 15,000 men. I would move by steamers as far as practicable taking but little Cavalry and but little transportation (land) expecting to forward these afterwards.
“I shall go in person and take with me either Gen. McClernand or Gen. Smith to command after my return.
“I will report from this ’til starting by telegraph.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 122-3
O.R. I, vii, 575
Jan 30 1862 Received word from Gen. Halleck, “You will immediately prepare to send forward to Fort Henry, on the Tennessee river, all your available forces from Smithland, Paducah, Cairo, Fort Holt, Birds Point, etc. Sufficient garrisons must be left to hold these places against an attack from Columbus. As the roads are now almost impassable for large forces, and, as your command is very deficient in transportation, the troops will be taken in steamers up the Tennessee river, as far as possible. Flag Officer Foote will protect the transports with his Gun-boats — the Benton and perhaps some others should be left for the defense of Cairo — Fort Henry should be taken and held at all hazards — I shall immediately send you three additional companies of artillery from this place. The river front of the fort is armed with 32 pounders, and it may be necessary for you to take some Guns of large caliber, and establish a battery on the opposite side of the river — It is believed that the guns on the land side are of small caliber and can be silenced by our field artillery. It is said that the north side of the river below the fort is favorable for landing — If so you land, and rapidly occupy the road to Dover, and fully invest the place, so as to cut off the retreat of the garrison. Lt. Col. McPherson U.S. Engrs will immediately report to you, to act as chf. engineer of the expedition — It is very probable that an attempt will be made from Fort Columbus, to reinforce Fort Henry; also from Fort Donelson at Dover — If you can occupy the road to Dover, you can prevent the latter. The steamers will give you the means of crossing from one side of the river to the other — It is said that there is a masked battery opposite the island below Fort Henry — If this cannot be avoided or turned, it must be taken. Having invested Fort Henry, a cavalry force will be sent forward to break up the railroad from Paris to Dover — The bridges should be rendered impassible, but not destroyed. A telegram from Washington says that Beauregard left Manassas four days ago with fifteen regiments for the line of Columbus and Bowling Green. It is therefore of the greatest importance that we cut the line before he arrives. You will move with the least delay possible. You will furnish Com. Foote with a copy of this letter – P.S. A telegraph line will be extended as rapidly as possible from Paducah east of the Tennessee river to Fort Henry. Wire and operatives will be sent from St. Louis.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 104
O.R., I, vii, 121-22
Jan 28, 1862 Wrote Gen. Halleck, “With Permission I will take Fort Henry on the Tennessee and hold and establish a large camp there.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 99
O.R., I, vii, 121
I am returning to Cairo after my meeting with Gen. Halleck proposing to advance on Ft. Henry.
“I had known General Halleck but very slightly in the old army, not having met him either at West Point or during the Mexican War. I was received with so little cordiality that I perhaps stated the object of my visit with less clearness than I might have done, and i had not uttered many sentences before I was cut short as if my plan was preposterous. I returned to Cairo very much crestfallen.”
Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Chpt XXI, p 190
Jan 23 1862 Wrote my sister Mary, “You have seen through the papers notice of my return from the great expedition into Kentucky. My orders were such and the force with me also so small that no attack was allowable. I made good use of the time however, making a splendid reconnaissance of the country over which an army may have to move. I have now a larger force than General Scott ever commanded prior to our present difficulties . I do hope it will be my good fortune to retain so important a command for at least one battle. I believe there is no portion of our whole army better prepared to contest a battle than there is within my district, and I am very much mistaken if I have not got the confidence of officers and men. This is all important, especially so with new troops. I go tonight to St. Louis to see General Halleck; will be back on Sunday morning. I expect but little quiet from this on and if you receive but short, unsatisfying letters hereafter, you need not be surprised.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 96-7
Jan 22 1862 Received letter from Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith, “Finding it would take the better part of today to distribute our stores, I went up in the Lexington to have a look at Ft. Henry. As the river is now fourteen feet above its very low stage a week since, we took the right hand (our right) channel of the island just below the Fort and got about two and on-half miles from it, drawing a single shot from the enemy which fell (say) half a mile short; this in response to several shots fired at them. There were evidently from two to three thousand men there. The appearance of the works corresponds, as far as could be discovered, with the rough sketch that Gen. Grant has seen in my quarters at Paducah. The hill on the west bank, which commands the fort some sixty feet or so, seems to be covered by a thick growth of timber. Going by the number of roofs seen in the fort it must cover considerable space.
“I think two iron clad gun-boats would make short work of Ft. Henry. There is no masked battery at the foot of the island as was supposed, or if so, it is now underwater. Two stern wheel steamers were at the fort but moved away rapidly at our first gun. The Dunbar, a fast side wheel steamer, plies up and down, and was chased last evening by the Lexington without effect. She is said to be armed with two twelve pounder rifled guns. The Commander of the Lexington thinks she has not been altered in any way. I shall resume my march at 8 o’c tomorrow morning, at which time the Lexington and transport Wilson will start for Paducah, carrying some sick men and the mail.
Brig. Gen. Charles F. Smith
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 90-91
O.R., I, vii, 561
“I was directed by General McClellan, through my department commander, to make a reconnoissance in favor of Brigadier-General Don Carlos Buell, who commanded the Department of the Ohio, with headquarters at Louisville, and who was confronting General S. B. Buckner with a larger Confederate force at Bowling Green. It was supposed that Buell was about to make some move against the enemy, and my demonstration was intended to prevent the sending of troops from Columbus, Fort Henry or Donelson to Buckner. I at once ordered General Smith to send a force up the west bank of the Tennessee to threaten forts Heiman and Henry; McClernand at the same time with a force of 6,000 men was sent out into west Kentucky, threatening Columbus with one column and the Tennessee River with another. I went with McClernand’s command. The weather was very bad; snow and rain fell; the roads, never good in that section, were intolerable. We were out more than a week splashing through the mud, snow and rain, the men suffering very much. The object of the expedition was accomplished. The enemy did not send reinforcements to Bowling Green, and General George H. Thomas fought and won the battle of Mill Springs before we returned.”
The Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chapter XXI, p189
Jan 20 1862 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “I returned this evening to Cairo leaving the last of the troops from here at Fort Jefferson. They will be brought back tomorrow.
“The effect of the demonstration made by the troops, upon the enemy, cannot be positively stated, but there is but little doubt that Columbus was reinforced, likely from Union City and Camp Beaurigard. Several persons came into our lines from Columbus whilst we were out, and two gentlemen are in today from New Orleans. All agree in saying that public confidence in ultimate success is fast on the wane in the South.
“The expedition, if it had no other effect, served as a fine reconnaissance. I have nothing official from Gen. Smith but understand that Camp Beaurigard was destroyed. The detachment of troops from Paducah, that went up the Tennessee, landed two and a half miles from Fort Henry.
“Gen. Smith will reach Paducah, with all his force, tomorrow. I will then prepare a report of the entire expedition unless the Gen. Comd.g Department should see fit to permit me to visit Head Quarters, as i have before desired.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 74-5
O.R. I, vii, 565-66
Jan 19 1862 Wrote Brig. Gen. Eleazer Paine, “You will proceed to Bird’s Point as soon as practicable with a portion of your command, as much as can be taken with their baggage with the transportation supplied.
“On your arrival, all citizen prisoners, against whom you have no charge, will be released and all Negroes who have flocked into camp will be permitted to return to their masters.
“I learn from Col. Perczel that there are many of this class now in camp, who have flocked there through fear. Some discretion will have to be used in forcing these people out of camp, now that they are in. I would require all, however, who have masters in Camp, to take their negroes with them.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 68-9
O.R., I, vii, 560