Aug 13 1862, I received a telegram from Gen. Buell again trying to get me to send two divisions to bolster his position. He writes,
Please inform me of your action upon my dispatch of yesterday. I have no doubt of the necessity of sending the troops at once. Your estimate of the force in East Tennessee is substantially confirmed by information from Cumberland Gap and other sources. The supposition that they are moving to Virginia is hardly consisted with the fact that they are bringing troops from Virginia. It is undoubtedly true that they deem it of vital importance not only to hold East Tennessee but regain what they have lost, and that is said to be their present plan. The road from Decatur is important to us a chain of outposts and a channel of communication.
D. C. BUELL.
My divisions are composed of ten infantry regiments, three batteries, and about two battalions of cavalry. To send two divisions of my force beyond my control would be to leave this place an easy prey to the forces that are known to be at Saltillo, Tupelo, and points from which they could be concentrated. In addition to troops now ordered to Tuscumbia, intended to co-operate with you, I will see what force I can send to Eastport, as you suggest, and inform you. You have not informed me of the necessity of attempting to hold the railroad east of Tuscumbia. If I do not learn reasons not now in my possession I will abandon all points east of that place.
Troops 200 miles away at least and on the other side of a river, which, with the means they have, cannot be crossed in less than two days, are not in a position to support me in any emergency.
Tuscumbia is not a safe point for troops to cross in the presence of even an inferior force.
The railroad is useful as a line of outposts and to protect our telegraphic communication. The latter cannot otherwise be kept open, but of course you can judge whether you have the means. Your small posts are certainly not safe there unless they fortify with stockades. With them they are perfectly so, unless attacked by artillery. It is best that I should know at once exactly what to depend on in the way of re-enforcements.
D. C. BUELL.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 5, p 290-1
O.R., I, xvi, part 2, p 325