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“U. S. FLAG-STEAMER “CONESTOGA,' CLARKSVILLE,
TENNESSEE, February 20, 1862. “We have possession of Clarksville. The citizens being alarmed, two thirds of them have fled; and having expressed my views and intentions to the mayor and the Hon. Cave Johnson, at their request I have issued a proclamation, assuring all peaceably disposed persons that they may with safety resume their business avocations, requiring only the military stores and equipments to be given up, and holding the authorities responsible that this shall be done without reservation.
“I left Fort Donelson yesterday, with the Conestoga, Lieutenant-Commanding Phelps, and the Cairo, Lieutenant-Commanding Bryant, on an armed reconnoissance, bringing with me Colonel Webster, of the engineer corps, and chief of General Grant's staff, who, with Lieutenant-Commanding Phelps, took possession of the principal fort, and hoisted the Union flag. A Union sentiment manifested itself as we came up the river. The rebels have retreated to Nashville, having set fire, against the remonstrances of the citizens, to the splendid railroad bridge across the Cumberland River.
I return to Fort Donelson to-day for another gun-boat and six or eight mortar-boats, with which I propose to proceed up the Cumberland. The rebels all have a terror of the gun-boats. One of them, a short distance above Fort Donelson, had previously fired an iron rolling-mill belonging to the Hon. John Bell, which had been used by the rebels.
“A. H. FOOTE, “Flag-Officer, commanding Naval Forces, Western Waters. “ The Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy."
The proclamation to the citizens of Clarksville was as follows:
“To the Inhabitants of Clarksville, Tennessee. “At the suggestion of the Hon. Cave Johnson, Judge Wisdom, and the mayor of the city, who called upon me yesterday, after our hoisting of the Union flag and taking possession of the forts, to ascertain my views and intentions toward the citizens and private property, I hereby announce to all peaceably disposed persons that neither in their persons nor in their property shall they suffer molestation by me or the naval force under my command, and that they may in safety resume their business avocations, with the assurance of my protection.
“At the same time, I require that all military stores and army equip
The Proclamation at Clarksville.
ments shall be surrendered, no part of them being withheld or destroyed ; and further, that no Secession flag, or manifestation of Secession feeling, shall be exhibited ; and for the faithful observance of these conditions I shall hold the authorities of the city responsible.
“ANDREW H. FOOTE, “Flag-Officer, commanding Naval Forces, Western Waters. “U. S. FLAG-SHIP CONESTOGA,' February 20, 1862.”
This document is, we think, a model of its kind, exhibiting kindness and firmness, brief, modest, positive, and reminding us of the sharp-cut though courteous letters written by our hero in his diplomatic correspondence on the African coast. He refers with considerable self-satisfaction to his Clarksville visit in a letter of the same date to his wife:
“I have just returned from Clarksville—a beautiful city-where I issued the inclosed proclamation. Old Cave Johnson, who knew my father so well, came to me. The Clarksville affair will do me credit. Give one of the proclamations to Dr. Bacon. I am off to Cairo to-night to procure more gun-boats for Nashville. They are held in terror, and we will easily take it.”
He assuredly had reason to feel chagrined at not being permitted to carry into execution his feasible plan in regard to East Tennessee and Nashville. He was, in fact, deeply injured in his feelings at what seemed to be a robbery of that opportunity for fair fame that justly belonged to him; and, more than all, for the injury done to the cause. General Halleck's peremptory telegram was as follows: “ To GENERAL GRANT :
" Don't let the gun-boats go higher than Clarksville; even then they must limit their operations to the destruction of the bridge, and return immediately to Cairo, leaving one at Fort Donelson. Mortar-boats to be sent back to Cairo as soon as possible.
“H. W. HALLECK, Major-General. " Official.-S. A. Hurlbut, Brigadier-General U. S. A.”
The exact truth of the matter is, when Commodore Foote
returned from Clarksville to Fort Donelson (after taking possession of the former place on the 20th of February), an arrangement was made between him and General Grant for a joint movement upon Nashville, and all the troops that could be transported were to have been embarked and ready to leave at 4 A.M. on the 21st, under convoy of the gun-boats. This would have placed them in Nashville by or before noon of the 21st of February-four days before the Cairo reached Nashville with Nelson's command. At midnight on the 20th the commodore and General Grant were together-part of the troops had already embarked—when the general received a telegram from Halleck positively ordering him not to push his forces beyond Clarksville, nor to permit the gun-boats to go higher up the river than that place. On receiving the telegram, the general handed it to the commodore without remark; the latter read it, and said, “I suppose this ends our movement.” General Grant himself was severely annoyed that the full fruit of his victory at Donelson should not have been gathered. Had it not been for the great number of prisoners to be sent away to places where they could be cared for, and for his limited means of transportation, he would have gone on to Nashville in twenty-four hours after the capitulation of Fort Donelson; and the delay to follow up the victory was of immense value to the rebels. We might say that if it had not been for this unexpected and unfortunate check, Grant's future operations would have been by the way of Nashville, and a wholly different and undoubtedly more advantageous turn would have been given to the war in the Southwest.
At Nashville itself it was confidently expected that Foote wonld be up immediately with his whole flotilla, and there was great excitement there, and a rapid clearing out of obnoxious Secession leaders. Floyd, on bearing that Foote's gunboats were coming, gave orders on Monday (it was supposed by the Confederates that the Nationals would push on toward
Foote expected at Nashville.
East Tennessee, and it was for the purpose of opposing such a movement that Johnston took position at Murfreesboro) for the Confederate stores to be thrown open to the public; two steam-packets, which were being changed into gun-boats, to be burned; and the two bridges at Nashville to be destroyed. Against the last act the citizens most veheinently protested, and it was postponed until Tuesday night, when they were both burned by Floyd's order; and he and Pillow literally scampered away southward by the light of the conflagration. During the remainder of the week Nashville was the theatre of the wildest anarchy, and neither public nor private property was safe for an hour. Happily for the well-disposed inhabitants, Colonel Keaner, of the Fourth Ohio Cavalry, of Mitchell's division, entered the city on Sunday evening, the 23d, and endeavored to restore order. He was immediately followed by the remainder of his commander's force, who encamped at Edgefield, opposite Nashville, and there awaited the arrival of General Buell. That officer came on the 25th, and on the same morning the Cairo arrived from Clarksville, as a convoy to transports bearing a considerable body of troops under General Nelson. These had not been opposed in their passage up the river, for the only battery on its banks between the two cities was Fort Zollicoffer, on a bluff, four or five miles below Nashville, which was unfinished, and was then abandoned. Pursuant to previous arrangement, the mayor of Nashville (R. B. Cheatham), and a small delegation of citizens, crossed over to Buell's quarters at Edgefield, and there made a formal surrender of the city. General Buell at once issued an order congratulating the troops “ that it had been their privilege to restore the national banner to the capitol of Tennessee.” On the following day, General Grant and staff arrived, and he and General Buell held a consultation about future movements.*
Lossing's “ “Civil War in America," vol. ii., p. 233.
On reading the above, a sensible person would be struck by the fact that there was a totally uncalled for delay in capturing the city, and that if Foote, as he desired, had gone up at once, much property would have been saved, much disorder prerented, and extensive movements of National troops rendered unnecessary. This certainly is the appearance on the face of things, whatever occult reasons there might have existed for a contrary course. These reasons have never trans
The final settling up of the Cumberland and Tennessee war matters, as far as Foote and his fleet were concerned, seems to be contained in this general telegraphic order from Halleck:
“ST. LOUIS, February 25, 1862. "To COMMODORE FOOTE, Cairo:
“The possession of Nashville by General Buell renders it necessary to countermand the instructions sent to Foote and Sherman yesterday morning, dated 23d. Grant will send no more forces to Clarksville; General Smith's division will come to Fort Henry, or to a point higher up on the Tennessee River; transports will be collected at Paducah and above; all the mortar-boats to be immediately brought back to Cairo; two gun-boats to be left at Clarksville, to precede Nelson's division up the river to Nashville-having done this, they will return to Cairo; two gun-boats to be left in the Tennessee River with General Grant; the latter will immediately have small garrisons detailed for forts Donelson and Henry, and all other forces made ready for the field.
“H, W. HALLECK, Major-General."
It may be that the following letter, being that of a warm personal friend, and for that reason, perhaps, somewhat prejudiced, should remain unpublished; but, after due consideration, we have concluded to make it public, although in this biography we have no desire to rake np old jealousies and disputes, which, in the peculiar relations of the Army and Navy at the West, where both were striving to do the most gallant deeds, were unavoidable, and which, among brave men, are