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energy in preserving Washington from seizure by the conspirators (p. 47). To him Lincoln spontaneously turned, satisfied that by him the great duties of the War Department would be energetically and faithfully discharged. Others, who had aspired to the position thus unexpectedly imposed upon Stanton, declared that he was unsuited to the office; that he was a man of only one idea. "It is true," wrote a very observant foreigner at that time residing in Washington, "he is a man of one idea, but his enemies abstain from saying that his one idea is the grandeur and immortality of the Republic."
THE GENERAL WAR ORDER.
At Stanton's suggestion, the President, whose patience He infuses energy was completely worn out by McClellan's inin the department. activity, issued an order that on the 22d day of February a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent states should take place; that "especially the army at or about Fortress Monroe, the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Western Virginia, the army near Mumfordsville, Kentucky, the army and flotilla near Cairo, and the naval force in the Gulf of Mexico, be ready to move on that day. That all other forces, both land and naval, with their respective commanders, obey existing orders for the time, and be ready to obey additional orders when duly given. That the heads of departments, and especially the Secretaries of War and the Navy, with all their subordinates, and the generals in chief, with all other commanders and subor dinates of land and naval forces, will severally be held to their strict and full responsibilities for the prompt execution of this order."
The President's general war order.
A special war order was issued January 31st," that all the disposable force of the Army of the Pothe Potomac Army. tomac, after providing safely for the defense of Washington, be formed into an expedition for the im
Special order as to
CONFEDERATE LINE OF DEFENSE.
mediate object of seizing upon the railroad southwestward of what is known as Manassas Junction; all details to be in the discretion of the commander-in-chief, and the expedition to move before or on the 22d day of Febru ary next." This order was, however, subsequently modified.
These orders carried upon their face the distrust which the administration had conceived of General McClellan, a distrust fast spreading all over the country. It was felt not alone in the council chamber of the cabinet, but among all grades of society.
With the President's order of January 27th the war may be said to have begun systematically.
The rivers of Kentucky and Tennessee show by their Commencement of course that those states present a topographical incline to the northwest, the Cumberland Mountains being its culminating ridge. Down the gentle slope thus afforded, the Tennessee and its affluent the Duck, the Cumberland, the Green, the Kentucky, the Big Sandy, empty into the Ohio. Beyond the ridge the rivers flow southward into the Gulf of Mexico.
Political as well as military considerations, already deThe first line of Con- scribed (p. 219), had led the Confederate federate defense. officers to establish upon this incline their first line of defense. Commencing at Columbus, a little below the junction of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers at Cairo, it crossed the Tennessee and Cumberland, having on the former Fort Henry, on the latter Fort Donelson. Eastward of the latter post there was an intrenched camp at Bowling Green. The Confederate left, therefore, rested on the Mississippi, their right on the intrenched camp at Bowling Green, which was at the junction of the Memphis and Ohio with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. A railroad connection between the ends of the line gave
facilities for military movements. The intrenched camp covered the city of Nashville.
In November, 1861, General Halleck was directed to take command of the Department of Missouri. It included Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, and Kentucky west of the Cumberland Mountains. He divided it into districts, assigning to General U. S. Grant the District of Cairo, which also included Paducah, in Kentucky. Cairo, at the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi, is a place of great strategic importance.
General Halleck in command.
THE CAMPAIGN OF THE TENNESSEE.
E O R GIA
Halleck saw at once that the military operations which His views on the had been carried on in Missouri by Genercorrect war-plan. als Lyon, Curtis, and Fremont (Chapter XLVII.) were in reality without significance, so far as
OPERATIONS ON THE TENNESSEE.
the overthrow of the Confederacy was concerned, and that the proper movement was the forcing of the Confederate line just described as reaching from the Mississippi to Bowling Green. He therefore, on the removal of FreHe withdraws from mont, caused the army in Missouri to retire to Rolla (p. 235), his course in this respect meeting with much condemnation among those who only looked at the consequences it brought on the inhabitants of that country, and did not comprehend the character of the movement about to be put into execution.
Explains his deci
line of operation.
One evening late in December (1861), Generals Halleck, Sherman, and Cullum were conversing sion as to the true together at the Planters' Hotel, in St. Louis, on the proper line of invasion. They saw clearly that the Confederates meant to stand on the defensive, and Halleck asked, "Where is their line?" Sherman replied, "Why, from Bowling Green to Columbus." "Well, then, where is the true point of attack?" "Naturally the centre." "Then let us see what is the direction in which it should be made."
A map lay on the table, and, with a blue pencil, Halleck drew a line from Bowling Green to Columbus, past Donelson and Henry, and another perpendicular to its centre, which happened to coincide nearly with the Tennessee River. "There," said he," that is the true line of attack."
This forcing of the Confederate line would bring the important states Kentucky and Tennessee under national control; it would take in reverse the strong works on the Mississippi, which could not be reduced by a mere naval attack; it would open that great river; it would permit the pas sage of a national army into the recesses of the Cotton States, and expose Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and even Virginia, to attack on an unprotected flank.
Effect of operations on the line of the Tennessee.
In determining the mode in which this movement should be carried into execution, it was evident that the essential point was the seizure of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. This implied the reduction of the two forts Henry and Donelson, on which the Confederates were relying for the protection of those rivers.
Conditions of that movement.
THE OPPOSING ARMIES.
The Confederate line of defense had been intrusted to General Albert Sydney Johnston. He was post at Columbus. at Bowling Green, confronting General Buell. The fortified post at Columbus, on which the left flank of the Confederates rested, was considered by them to be the Gibraltar of America. They believed that it would close the Mississippi until their independence was acknowledged. It was in charge of General Polk (p. 226). The strength of the entire force holding the line was about 60,000 men.
To execute the proposed operation two national armies were available. One lay at Cairo, under
The national armies
at Cairo and Louis- General Grant. There was with it a naval
force, having some iron-clad gun-boats under Commodore Foote. The second army was at Louisville. It was under.command of General Buell, and was 40,000 strong.
It had been intended originally that Grant's force should operate directly on the Mississippi River, forcing it open, and that Buell's army should strike at the intrenched camp at Bowling Green. If the force there were disposed of, Nashville, in its rear, must necessarily be abandoned.
In Halleck's view, the operation on the line of the Tennessee River would accomplish all these results. If the army and the gun-boats could force their way up that stream, Columbus and Bowling Green, no matter how strong they might be, must both at once fall, and Nashville must share their fate.