“I did not see Buell during the day, and wrote him a note saying that I had been in Nashville since early morning and had hoped to meet him. On my return to the boat we met. His troops were still east of the river, and the steamers that had carried Nelson’s division up were mostly at Clarksville to bring Smith’s division. I said to General Buell my information was that the enemy was retreating as fast as possible. General Buell said there was fighting going on then only ten or twelve miles away. I said: “Quite probably; Nashville contained valuable stores of arms, ammunition and provisions, and the enemy is probably trying to carry away all he can. The fighting is doubtless with the rear-guard who are trying to protect the trains they are getting away with.” Buell spoke very positively of the danger Nashville was in of an attack from the enemy. I said, in the absence of positive information, I believed my information was correct. He responded that he “knew.” “Well,” I said, “I do not know; but as I came by Clarksville General Smith’s troops were embarking to join you.”
The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXIII, p 217
Not having found Gen. Buell in Nashville, I sent him this note, “I have been in the City since an early hour this morning, anxious and expecting to see you. When I first arrived I understood that you were to be over today, but it is now growing too late for me to remain longer.
“If I could see the necessity of more troops here, I would be most happy to supply them. My own impression is, however, that the enemy are not far north of the Tennessee line. I was anxious to know what information you might have on the subject. Gen. Smith will be here this evening, with probably, 2000 men requested by you, and should still more be required, address me at Clarksville. Tonight I shall return to Fort Donelson, but will take up my Head Quarters at Clarksville the next day. Should you deem the command under Gen. Smith unnecessary to your security, I request that they be ordered back. I am in daily expectation of orders that will require all my available force.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 293-4
O.R., I, vii, 670-1
Feb 27 1862, “After [Gen.] Nelson had gone [to Nashville] … I sent word to department headquarters that I should go to Nashville myself on the 28th if I received no orders to the contrary. Hearing nothing, I went as I had informed my superior officer I would do. On arriving at Clarksville I saw a fleet of steamers at the shore—the same that had taken Nelson’s division—and troops going aboard. I landed and called on the commanding officer, General C. F. Smith. As soon as he saw me he showed an order he had just received from Buell in these words:
NASHVILLE, February 25, 1862.
GENERAL C. F. SMITH,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Clarksville.
GENERAL:—The landing of a portion of our troops, contrary to my intentions, on the south side of the river has compelled me to hold this side at every hazard. If the enemy should assume the offensive, and I am assured by reliable persons that in view of my position such is his intention, my force present is altogether inadequate, consisting of only 15,000 men. I have to request you, therefore, to come forward with all the available force under your command. So important do I consider the occasion that I think it necessary to give this communication all the force of orders, and I send four boats, the Diana, Woodford, John Rain, and Autocrat, to bring you up. In five or six days my force will probably be sufficient to relieve you.
Very respectfully, your ob’t srv’t,
D. C. BUELL,
P. S.—The steamers will leave here at 12 o’clock to-night.
General Smith said this order was nonsense. But I told him it was better to obey it. The General replied, “of course I must obey,” and said his men were embarking as fast as they could.”
The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt XXIII, p216-7
Wrote Julia, “I am just starting to Nashville and will drop you a line before starting. Gen. Buell is there, or at least a portion of his command is, and I want to have an interview with the comdg. officer and learn what I can of the movements of the enemy. I shall be back here tomorrow evening and remain until some movement takes place. Since my promotion some change may take place in my command, but I do not know. I want however to remain in the field and be actively employed. But I shall never ask a favor or change. Whatever is ordered I will do independently and as well as I know how. If a command inferior to my rank is given me, it shall make no difference in my zeal. In spite of enemies, I have so far progressed satisfactorily to myself and the country and in reviewing the past can see but few changes that could have bettered the result. Perhaps I have done a little too much of the office duties and thereby lost time that might have been better employed in inspecting and reviewing troops.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 292
Algernon Sartoris, “Unpublished Letters By Grant after First Victory”, New York Times, Apr 6, 1913
Feb 26 1862 Issued General Orders No. 14, “General Orders No. 3 of the series from 1861, from Head Quarters, Department of the Missouri, are still in force and must be observed.
“The number of citizens who are applying for permission to pass through the camps, to look for their fugitive slaves, proves the necessity of the order, and its faithful observance. Such permits cannot be granted, therefore the great necessity of keeping our fugitives.
“Such slaves as were within the lines at the time of the capture of Fort Donelson, and such as have been used by the enemy in building the fortifications, or in any way hostile to the Government, will not be released or permitted to return to their Masters, but will be employed in the Quarter Masters Department, for the benefit of Government.
“All officers and companies now keeping slaves so captured will immediately report them to the District Quartermaster. Regimental commanders will be held accountable for all violation of this order, within their respective commands.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 290-1
O.R., I, vii, 668
Wrote Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, “Your letter of the 23d asking what disposition I will have made of large reinforcements now on their way is just received. I do not know what work Gen. Halleck intends me to do next, therefore cannot say where it is best to have them. Probably they had better remain at Paducah until further orders are received from Head Quarters of the Department.
“Our troops are now occupying Nashville. The rebels have fallen back to Chattanooga, only three miles from Georgia state line. Two soldiers from the 8th Mo. regiment who were sent as spies have just returned from Memphis. They describe the felling of the people as much inclined to return to their allegiance.
“Orders have been given for the evacuation of Columbus. This I get not only from the men themselves but from a Memphis paper of the 19th which they bring with them. There is a detachment of troops belonging to my command at Henderson Ky which there can be of no further use of detaining there. If you have an opportunity of having them transported I would like them to return to their regiments.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 288-9
O.R., I, vii, 667
Feb 25 1862 Wrote Gen. Cullum, “I wrote you that Genl Nelson’s Div had been sent ot Nashville. Since that I have learned that the head of Genl Buells column arrived there on Monday evening [Feb 24]. The rebels have fallen back to Chattanooga, instead of Murfreesboro as stated in a former letter. I shall go to Nashville immediately after the arrival of the next Mail, should there be no orders to prevent it.
“Two soldiers of the 8th Mo Vols who were disguised and sent to Memphis have just returned. They went by the way of Nashville and Decatur. Saw Beauregard at Decatur, sick. He has since gone to Columbus. They were in Fort Donelson before the attack commenced, and say the force was estimated at Forty thousand.
“Since the battle, the people thro’ the country are much disposed to return to their allegiance. Orders have been given for the evacuation of Columbus. This I learn not only from the men themselves, but from Memphis papers, which they bring with them. I send two of these papers to Genl Halleck.
“I am growing anxious to know what the next move is going to be.
“The Southern papers advise the Columbus forces to fall back on Island No 10 and to Fort Pillow. The force at Memphis is said to be about 12,000.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 286-7
O.R., I, vii, 666
Feb 24 1862, A division from Gen. Buell’s Army of the Ohio has arrived at Fort Donelson. I ordered the commander, Brig. Gen. Nelson, “You will proceed with the Division under your command to Nashville, Tenn, keeping in rear of the Gun Boat Carondelet, with all your transports. From Nashville you will put yourself in immediate communication with Gen. Buell, and if you find that his command is not within two days march of you, your command will not debark, but fall back (down the river some miles) on the transports, and remain to form a junction with Gen. Buell, when he does arrive.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 282
O.R., I, vii, 662-3
Feb 23 1862 Wrote Gen. Cullum, “Reports have just reached me from Clarksville that a powerful change is taking place in the minds of the people through this state. The Capt. of a steamer just down says that some two hundred people wanted to come down to see me to give assurances of obedience to such rules as may be laid down by the Military authorities and to ask protection. — I will go up to Clarksville tomorrow and return in the evening. Of course I shall not tie the hands of myself or any future commander by any promise or proclamation.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 276
National Archives, RG 393, Dept. of the Mo., Letters Received
Feb 22 1861, Wrote Julia, “You no doubt received a letter from me immediately on your arrival in Covington. I will write to you frequently but short. How long I shall be here is uncertain, but not many days I am confident.
“I see from the papers, and also from a dispatch sent me by Mr. Washburn, that the Administration have thought well enough of my administration of affairs to make me a Maj. General. Is father afraid yet that I will not be able to sustain myself? He expressed apprehensions on that point when I was made a Brigadier.
“There is but little doubt but that Fort Donelson was the hardest fought battle on the Continent. I was extremely lucky to be the Commanding officer. From the accounts received here it must have created a perfect furor through the North.
“I am in most perfect health and ready for anything even to chasing Floyd & Pillow. There is but little hope however of ever overhauling them. They are as dead as if they were in their graves for any harm they can do.
“To go over the works here it looks as if the enemy had nothing to do but stand in their places to hold them. I have no doubt but you have read of Fort Donelson until you have grown tired of the name, so I shall write you no more on the subject. Hope to make a new subject soon. Give my love to all at home. Kiss the children for me and write me all the news.
“Tell Mary to write me also.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 271-2