Mar 20 1862 Wrote Capt. McLean, “Last night at 11 O’Clock dispatch of Maj. Gen. Halleck stating that the enemy would probably attempt to cut off the river navigation was received and immediately replied to to go from Fort Henry by telegraph.
“Some time ago I directed Gen. Smith to let one of the gunboats ply between Fort Henry and this place to keep the river open, but the Gen. did not think it prudent to spare one at that time. One boat went down yesterday and returned to day and will go back again this evening.
“Owing to the high stage of water, there are but few points on the river where light artillery could be taken to annoy our transports.
“I will go with the expedition to Corinth in person should no orders received hereafter prevent it. Owing to the limited space where a landing can be effected, it will take some days yet to debark the troops now there. I was in hopes of starting on the 22d but now think the 23d or 24th will be as early as I can get off.
“There is no enemy on this side of the river much before reaching Florence. I sent yesterday two scouts to find Gen. Buell. They will probably be back tomorrow.
“A deserter from the rebel army just in says that Bethel is deserted and the troops from there are gone to Corinth. Some troops at Jackson and Humboldt and in fact small parties all along the Railroad. He represents the panic as very great among the troops, but few of them wanting to fight.
“I will take no risk at Corinth under the instructions I now have. If a battle on anything like equal terms seems to be inevitable, I shall find it out in time to make a movement upon some other point of the railroad, or at least seem to fill the object of the expedition without a battle and thus save the demoralizing effect of a retreat upon the troops.
“I am very much in hopes of receiving further instructions by Mail.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 396-7
O.R., I, x, part 2, 51
Mar 19 1862 Wrote Capt. McLean, “I have just returned from Pittsburg and Crumps Landing. I find these two positions are the only ones where a landing can be effected on the West bank of the river, as far as I saw, and learn that there is no other point from there to Eastport Miss. This of course only applies to the present stage of water.
“From information to Gen. Sherman received whilst I was there the enemy cannot be over 20,000 strong at Corinth, but has troops scattered at all stations and important points. Some heavy artillery arrived at Corinth on Monday, but the informant saw no signs of fortifications.
“Buell seems to be the party most expected by the rebels. They estimate his strength all the way from 20 to 150 thousand.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 392-3
O.R., I, x, part 2, 48-9
Mar 18 1862 Wrote Gen. Halleck, “Your Dispatch of the 16th is just received and replied to by telegraph from Fort Henry. I arrived here last evening and found that Gens. Sherman’s and Hurlburt’s Divisions were at Pittsburg partially debarked. Gen. Wallace at Crump’s Landing, six miles below, same side of the river. Gen. McClernand’s Division at this place encamped and Gen. Smith’s with unattached regiments on board transports also here.
“I immediately ordered all troops except McClernand’s command to Pittsburg and to debark there at once and discharge the steamers to report at Paducah for further orders.
“All your instructions will be carried out to the best of my ability. There is no doubt a large force is being concentrated at Corinth and on the line of the R.R.
“Troops of Cavalry are all over the state impressing men into the service, most of whom would rather serve with us. Refugees are coming in here and to other points on the river for protection. Some enlist and others ask for transportation to a safe retreat North.
“I have not been here long enough to form much idea of the actual strength of the rebels but feel satisfied that they do not number 40,000 armed effective men at this time.
“I shall go tomorrow to Crumps Landing and Pittsburg and if I think any change of position for any of the troops needed will make the change. Having full faith however in the judgment of Gen. Smith who located the present points of debarkation, I do not expect any change will be made. There are no intermediate points where a steamer can land at the present stage of water.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 386-7
O.R., I, x, part 2, 45-6
Mar 17 1862 Arrived in Savannah TN. Wrote Capt. Nathaniel McLean, A.A. Gen. Dept. of the Mississippi, “I have the honor of reporting my arrival, but a few minutes since, at this place. Just as I arrived a report was received from Gen. Sherman which I herewith enclose. A man employed by Gen. Smith as a scout also came in reporting the enemy very strong from Chickasaw to Corinth. Their number was estimated at 150,000, about one third of them being at Corinth. Gen. Johnson with his force is said to be with them. The number of course very much exaggerated and Johnson being there was very much against my expectation.
“This country is so overflown that but few roads can be traveled and all are most impassable for artillery. A few dry days however would remedy this and it is certainly time to look for a change of weather.
“I shall order all the forces here, except McClernand’s Division, to Pittsburg and send back steamers as rapidly as possible.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 378-9
O.R., I, x, part 2, 42-3
Mar 16 1862 Received telegram from Gen. Halleck, “As the enemy is evidently in strong force, my instructions not to advance so as to bring on an engagement, must be strictly obeyed. Genl. Smith must hold his position without exposing himself by detachments, till we can strongly reinforce him. Genl Buell is moving in his directions, and I hope in a few days to send ten or fifteen thousand more from Missouri. We must strike no blow till we are strong enough to admit no doubt of the result. If you deem Fort Heiman best for defense, occupy it instead of Fort Henry. You must [decide upon all details] from your better local information. What captured field pieces have you?”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 367
O.R., I, x, part 2, 41
Wrote Gen. Halleck, “An expedition under Gen. Wallace has cut one half of a mile of trussel work north of Purdy [TN]. [Confederate Gen] Cheatham with a force estimated at about 13,000, probably will not exceed twelve thousand, is to the left of Wallace. The probable estimated strength of the enemy from the point referred to Eastport and near there eastward is estimated at from fifty to sixty thousand. I am much exercised to know if it will be prudent to leave the garrison intended for this place mostly at [Fort] Heiman — the latter point commands the river effectually even with light artillery and is accessible by good roads from the interior. A small garrison would be perfectly secure at Henry and might not be at the other.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 367
Mar 15 1862 Wrote Julia, “A boat is going down to Cairo a little unexpectedly to me and gives me but a moment to write. I can say however that I am well; something that I could not say for the last three weeks. I will send by this boat a present made to me by some of the officers of my command for safe keeping. You will see that it is very beautiful. I start tomorrow up the river to resume command of the army in the field.
“You will probably hear from me again soon, either that I or someone else is whipped. I does not look much now as if you would be able to join me soon. I have no time to write more.
“Kiss all the children for me and give my love to all at home.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, vol 4 p 375-6
Mar 14 1862 Received letter from Maj. Gen. Charles F. Smith, “I wrote you yesterday to say how glad I was to find from your letter of the 11th. inst., that you were to resume your old command from which you were so unceremoniously and (as I think) improperly stricken down. I greatly fear your coming here will be a matter of necessity in consequence of my lameness. I cannot mount a horse. In jumping into a yawl two days ago I mis-calculated the distance and the seat scraped my leg and shin in a rude manner — hurting the bone. I hope for the best but it is with great difficulty that I limp through the cabin from one chair to another. Capt. Lyman, asst. qr. mr., brought up this morning a story of a reverse to our arms at Paris in which Capt. Bullis was shot. I hope the story is unfounded or greatly exaggerated. Can you give me any news of Buell’s movements? I heard yesterday he was about 40 miles from Decatur. I shall send you down today 6 or 8 steamers and two tomorrow. Please do not forget we need coal very much and in great quantities. The river is falling fast — two feet a night.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 343
National Archives, RG 393, District of West Tenn., Letters Received
Received telegram from Gen Halleck, “You cannot be relieved from your command. There is no good reason for it. I am certain that all which the authorities at Washington ask is that you enforce discipline & punish the disorderly. The power is in your hands; use it and you will be sustained by all above you. Instead of relieving you, I wish you, as soon as your new army is in the field, to assume the immediate command and lead it on to new victories.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 354-5
Responded to Gen. Halleck’s letter, “Yours of the 6th inst. enclosing an anonymous letter to Hon. David Davis speaking of frauds committed against the government is just received. I refer you to my orders to suppress marauding as the only reply necessary.
“There is such a disposition to find fault with me that I again ask to be relieved from further duty until I can be placed right in the estimation of those higher in authority.”
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 353
O.R., I, x, part 2, 30