The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Messages of Disappointment with His Generals
TELEGRAM TO GENERAL D. C. BUELL.
WASHINGTON, January 4, 1862.
Have arms gone forward for East Tennessee? Please tell me the progress and condition of the movement in that direction. Answer.
TO GENERAL D. C. BUELL.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
January 6, 1862.
MY DEAR SIR:--Your despatch of yesterday has been received, and it disappoints and distresses me. I have shown it to General McClellan, who says he will write you to-day. I am not competent to criticize your views, and therefore what I offer is in justification of myself. Of the two, I would rather have a point on the railroad south of Cumberland Gap than Nashville. First, because it cuts a great artery of the enemy's communication, which Nashville does not; and secondly, because it is in the midst of loyal people who would rally around it, while Nashville is not. Again, I cannot see why the movement on East Tennessee would not be a diversion in your favor rather than a disadvantage, assuming that a movement toward Nashville is the main object. But my distress is that our friends in East Tennessee are being hanged and driven to despair, and even now, I fear, are thinking of taking rebel arms for the sake of personal protection. In this we lose the most valuable stake we have in the South. My despatch, to which yours is an answer, was sent with the knowledge of Senator Johnson and Representative Maynard of East Tennessee, and they will be upon me to know the answer, which I cannot safely show them. They would despair, possibly resign to go and save their families somehow, or die with them. I do not intend this to be an order in any sense, but merely, as intimated before, to show you the grounds of my anxiety.
Yours very truly,
TELEGRAM TO GENERAL BUELL.
WASHINGTON, January 7, 1862.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL D.C. BUELL, Louisville:
Please name as early a day as you safely can on or before which you can be ready to move southward in concert with Major-General Halleck. Delay is ruining us, and it is indispensable for me to have something definite. I send a like despatch to Major-General Halleck.