Gen Halleck: “You will immediately prepare to send forward to Fort Henry …all your available forces”

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

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