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Despite the mammoth Federal success at Fort Donelson, the war did not come to an end (though some acted as if it had.) General U.S. Grant looked to push the next objective, which appeared to be Nashville. And he requested guidance from St. Louis. In meantime, Clarksville (about fifty miles up the Cumberland River, in the direction of Nashville) was deemed a suitable target: a reconnaissance conducted by U.S. Navy gunboats Conestoga and Cairo on February 18th discovered that Confederate Clarksville was practically a ghost town; the Rebels and most of the citizens had fled. So, General C.F. Smith was dispatched with a suitable force pulled from his Second Division and occupied Clarksville on about February 23rd. Early the next day, U.S. Grant, in company with Surgeon Brinton, , BGen McClernand, Captain Taylor (of Taylor's Battery), Colonel Lauman and Colonel WHL Wallace, departed Fort Donelson aboard steamer W.H.B. for an inspection of Union-occupied Clarksville. But, it does not appear that an inspection took place at Clarksville that day: General Grant caught wind that General William Nelson's Division (which was known to have been promised to assist Grant at Fort Donelson) had arrived at Paducah; reported to General Sherman; and departed Paducah aboard a small fleet on February 23rd, bound for the Cumberland River. The seven steamers, under gunboat escort, continued to the ordered destination of Clarksville (arrival recorded as 8 a.m. February 24th) and General Nelson met with General Smith. At about noon (in accordance with orders relayed from General Grant to General Nelson) General Nelson returned to his steamer, Diana, and in company with six other steamers (led by USS Carondelet) the force proceeded up the Cumberland (with U.S. Grant aboard steamer W.H.B, in company with USS Cairo, well in advance of the fleet.) Bull Nelson arrived at the "open city" of Nashville on February 25th, stepped ashore... and became the first Federal General Officer to enter Nashville following Rebel occupation; (General Buell was just across the river at Edgefield: today's East Nashville); and U.S. Grant appears to have waited aboard the W.H.B., at least, for a little while. Nelson made contact with Buell; and Grant escorted his party from Fort Donelson into Union-occupied Nashville for two days of what can best be described as relaxation and diversion. On February 27th, U.S. Grant met with Don Carlos Buell aboard the W.H.B. and exchanged pleasantries; and then Grant and his party departed Nashville, and arrived back at Fort Donelson late on 28 FEB 1862. Cheers Ozzy References: OR 7 pages 661, 662- 3, 668, 670- 1, 674. OR (Navy) vol.22, pages 315, 587, 616, 617, 625. Memoirs of U.S. Grant page 318. Adam Badeau's Military Career of U.S. Grant, pages 58 - 9. Diary of Jacob Ammen for dates February 23, 24 and 25 (found in OR 7 page 659 - 660. Hoppin's Life of Andrew Hull Foote, pages 230 - 236. Memoirs of Surgeon John Brinton, page 139. Life of General WHL Wallace, pages 166 (Letter of 20 FEB 1862) and page 171 (Letter of 28 FEB 1862).
There was a moment when this author entertained the thought that, “Perhaps General Grant intended for Rebels to attack his forces at Pittsburg Landing” [which would explain “no trenches or abatis” – used as bait; seemingly haphazard arrangement of camps at Pittsburg – bait, to lure the Rebels north; lack of extensive cavalry patrols (to avoid bringing on engagement, too far south, which would allow Rebels to fall back to formidable defences at Corinth); and cavalry patrols that were conducted, seemingly without any coordination with infantry pickets…] But, the more research is conducted, the more apparent becomes the fact: Ulysses S. Grant was caught by surprise. There was no intention; no “offering Federal troops as bait” to lure the Rebels north. The April 6 attack by Rebels upon Grant’s forces at Pittsburg Landing was unanticipated… at least, on April 6. Prior to that bloody Sunday [but, we get ahead of the story...] When Major General Grant arrived at Savannah Tennessee on 17 March 1862 (released from limbo, and returned to command in the field) he had every expectation of “conducting an operation against the Rebels, further south.” Pittsburg Landing and Crump’s Landing and Savannah were merely temporary sites, staging grounds for assembling and preparing the Federal force that would drive south (at the time and place of General Grant’s choosing.) But, initiation of that operation was anticipated to take place soon. (Sherman’s frequent raids and probes offered potential to initiate more robust offensive action, “requiring” substantial forces from Pittsburg Landing be rushed forward to assist Sherman. But no solid opportunity for increased engagement presented.) Therefore, Grant’s operation at Savannah, Crump’s, Pittsburg evolved over time into, “Wait for Buell.” But, as time dragged on, General Grant must have realized that, “He had been caught in a trap of his own making.” The situation on April 1st (as Sherman launched yet another raid) revealed Federal troops camped at uncoordinated sites (close proximity to fresh water deemed more important than mutual defense); no trenches or abatis; contrary to Jomini, his force was “on the wrong side of the river” (although use of Lew Wallace’s division as “grand reserve” offset this danger); and Grant’s own HQ was maintained at Savannah (for reasons not adequately explained.) With Rebel moves against Lew Wallace (about April 2nd) and the Picket Skirmish (April 4th) there would have been cause for concern. And Grant would have had time for reflection that, “he had occupied his time – an unexpectedly long time, as it turned out – focused on minutia.” And, there may have been “rising cause for concern” end of March/ early April, as Rebel probes became increasingly aggressive, and Buell remained remarkable for his lack of presence. The cloud would have lifted on April 3rd with the report by telegraph of Bull Nelson’s arrival at Waynesborough (allowing Grant to view the Picket Skirmish of April 4th through a rosy lens.) And, when Jacob Ammen and Bull Nelson appeared at Savannah on April 5th (with promise of the remainder of Army of the Ohio arriving in short order) any concerns held by General Grant would have evaporated. So confident became General Grant of his invincibility, that he joked with Jacob Ammen about “steamers taking him across the Tennessee River in a few days,” and directed Major General Buell not to hurry, but to report on April 6th. So confident became Major General Grant (in his apparent safety, and the impending operation against Corinth moving ahead) that he organized an “engagement” that took place Saturday afternoon (mentioned by Grant to Ammen, to which Brigadier General Ammen was not invited.) References: OR 10 pages 330 – 331 [Jacob Ammen’s diary.] SDG topic “Why Stay at Crumps?” 14 NOV 2017. Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 7 “Letter to Julia of 3 April 1862.” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 6 “Telegraphic reply to BGen Nelson at Waynesborough.” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 9 “4 APR 1862 instruction to BGen Sherman to be prepared to provide support to MGen Lew Wallace, if necessary.” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page12 “4 APR 1862 instruction to BGen WHL Wallace to be prepared to reinforce MGen Wallace, if necessary.” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 13 “5 APR 1862 communication sent from Savannah to MGen Henry Halleck at St. Louis, advising arrival of advance of Buell’s Army, with reported strength of enemy at Corinth.” Papers of US Grant vol.5 page 16 “5 APR communication from Grant to Buell, advising ‘[Grant] will be hear April 6th to meet you.” [Sent in reply to Buell’s communication, found in Notes, top of page 17.]