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Collection Reference Number GLC05601.083
From Archive Folder Archive of 104 dispatches, notes and letters from Dept. of Mississippi 
Title Henry W. Halleck to Major General McClellan, Washington regarding communication with Genl. Buell and reinforcements
Date 7 March 1862
Author Halleck, H. W. (Henry Wager) (1815-1872)  
Recipient McClellan, George B.  
Document Type Correspondence
Content Description "I am in immediate communication with Genl. Buell by telegraph. I cannot leave here to meet him, till Fort Henry, New Madrid and Ponton are connected by telegraph. Have strong parties at work to effect this. Genl. [Samuel R.] Curtis is again calling for reinforcements & has drawn in his reserves, thus exposing his depot, which is threatened. I want him in reach to direct him by telegraph."
Subjects Civil War  Military History  Union General  Union Forces  Telegraph  
People Halleck, H. W. (Henry Wager) (1815-1872)  Buell, Don Carlos (1818-1898)  Curtis, Samuel Ryan (1805-1866)  McClellan, George B. (1826-1885)  
Place written St. Louis
Theme The American Civil War; Science, Technology, Invention
Sub-collection Papers and Images of the American Civil War
Additional Information Folder information: This collection of 104 documents contains 99 telegraph dispatches (#1-99) and four letters (#100-103) written by Major General Henry W. Halleck. Also, one letter written by William H. Seward to Halleck is included in the collection (#104) (thanking him for a copy of his book , International Law or Rules Regulating Intercourse of States in Peace and War, written during the Trent Affair). Most of the dispatches direct troop movements or discuss official business in that theater during the winter of 1861-1862. Halleck wrote three of the letters to union generals (# 101 - 103) and one letter to his wife, Elizabeth (#100). The letters convey a sense of a general in action, running the war in the west, during an early phase of the Civil War. Halleck’s dispatches concentrate on securing troops and transportation for the winter campaign, and provide details about troop movements through-out Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas. The missives take on a sense of urgency as Halleck rushes troops to support the Union attack on Fort Donelson, February 12th - 16th (# 28-57). The day before the attack begins, Halleck declares that new regiments could be sent to him without arms and he would have them supplied at the St. Louis arsenal (# 27). No letter in the collection is written directly to troops involved in the important union victories at Forts Henry and Donelson. The documents illustrate the logistical difficulties of managing an army. Price limits set by Montgomery C. Meigs, the Union Quartermaster General, made it difficult to purchase horses and mules (# 3). A lack of transportation prompts Halleck to refuse to share his boats with the Department of the Ohio (# 61). After the fall of Fort Donelson, Halleck ordered that contrabands be put to work in order to pay for their food and clothing (# 62). The dispatch explaining that the money for paying soldiers had run out and officers were responsible for keeping discipline until Congress passed a new bill, may also help to explain why soldiers frequently complained of not being paid ( #31). The papers also touch upon the issue of prisoners (# 15, 23, 66 & 80). When the families of captured Confederate officers requested permission to stay with their husbands, Halleck responded that the issue had not yet been decided in Washington (# 66). In a slightly more surprising dispatch, Halleck instructs the Commanding officers at Columbus, Ohio that prisoners should not be allowed to carry their side arms (# 80)!
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Civil War, Reconstruction and the Modern Era: 1860-1945
Civil War: Theater of War Main Western Theater