New York, East
12 May 1999
BENJAMIN, JUDAH P. Secretary of War, C.S.A. Three letters in the hand of a secretary, TO BRAXTON BRAGG and ALBERT S. JOHNSTON, 8-18 February 1862. Together 8 pages, folio, slight age-toning.
A "HEAVY BLOW" AS FORTS HENRY AND DONELSON FALL
An excellent group of official letters from the confederacy's energetic Secretary of War. As Johnston withdrew following the capture of Fort Henry, Benjamin informs him (8 Feb.) of "orders issued today and...measures adopted." He lists reinforcements and officer promotions, before advising that "the President thinks it best to break up the army of Genl. Crittenden" following his defeat. The second dispatch of 8 Feb. orders Bragg "as soon as possible send to Knoxville all the troops that you can spare" to support Johnston's outnumbered army. Responding to the collapse of the key positions at Henry and Donelson, Benjamin writes to Bragg (18 Feb.) that "the heavy blow which has been inflicted on us...renders necessary a change in our whole plan of campaign...I am still without...information from Genl. A.S. Johnston. I know not the nature nor extent of the disaster at Fort Donelson nor the disposition of his troops nor his plans...It is almost certain that he has agreed with General Beauregard upon the movements now to be made, but we grope in the dark here, and this uncertainty...prevents that promptness of action which the emergency requires." (3)
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