Orders to occupy Paducah
- Did Grant really occupy Paducah without orders?
His Memoirs argue that he did it without Fremont's intervention.
Hughes (pg 5) wrote that Fremont "approved." Simon, in his PUSG 2
(pg 192n) asserted that Fremont's message was probably
not "available" to Grant. On the two previous pages, however, it
seems clear that Grant received and responded to Fremont's order to
either occupy Paducah--if Grant thought it possible--or place a
battery opposite it.
Aren't Grant's Memoirs clearly wrong?
P.S. Grant may also have been wrong about how closely he beat the
Rebels to Paducah, as I don't think that their arrival was nearly so
His Memoirs read: "The day after I assumed command at Cairo a man
came to me who said he was a scout of General Fremont. He reported
that he had just come from Columbus, a point on the Mississippi
twenty miles below on the Kentucky side, and that troops had started
from there, or were about to start, to seize Paducah, at the mouth
of the Tennessee. There was no time for delay; I reported by
telegraph to the department commander the information I had
received, and added that I was taking steps to get off that night to
be in advance of the enemy in securing that important point. There
was a large number of steamers Iying at Cairo and a good many
boatmen were staying in the town. It was the work of only a few
hours to get the boats manned, with coal aboard and steam up.
Troops were also designated to go aboard. The distance from Cairo
to Paducah is about forty-five miles. I did not wish to get there
before daylight of the 6th, and directed therefore that the boats
should lie at anchor out in the stream until the time to start. Not
having received an answer to my first dispatch, I again telegraphed
to department headquarters that I should start for Paducah that
night unless I received further orders. Hearing nothing, we started
before midnight and arrived early the following morning,
anticipating the enemy by probably not over six or eight hours. It
proved very fortunate that the expedition against Jeff. Thompson had
been broken up. Had it not been, the enemy would have seized Paducah
and fortified it, to our very great annoyance."
- I found it. OR Vol 7 Pg 571 McCellan to Halleck and Buell " A deserter just
in from the rebels, says that .... he heard officers say that Beauregaed was
under orders to go to
Kentucky with fifteen regiments from the Army of the Potomac.(Jan.29, 1862).
Halleck replied on Jan 30. "Your telegraph regarding Beauregard is received.
General Grant and Commodore Foote will be ordered to immediately advance, and
to reduce and hold Fort Henry, on the Tennessee river.
I remain, Sir, your most humble servant.