- Thanks to all, for your responses. It's usually good to test and
challenge ideas in a group. Some facets of this discussion include:
1). Are Grant's memoirs reliable when he referred to the CSA advancing
on Paducah? It seems not. Although he may have thought this at the
time, if Grant did not know whether or not this was true over twenty
years later then he should not have included it in the memoirs, and
this is demonstrative of the memoirs' unreliability. Grant's claim
that he took Paducah without orders cannot be accepted merely based on
his later writings; this has to be confirmed by the evidence.
2). Could Fremont's telegram to Grant have remained untranslated from
the original Hungarian? Not likely, as Fremont told USG on 9/5 in
another message to "Answer in Hungarian." [PUSG 2:192n] There is no
evidence which I've seen where Grant told Fremont that such translation
of either incoming or outgoing messages was impossible at this time.
3). Fremont's more important message on 9/5 was not only written, but a
summary version was telegraphed in Hungarian. [PUSG 2:191n] In both,
Grant was ordered to fortify the river shore opposite Cairo and to
either occupy Paducah, if possible, or guard the mouth of the Tenn.
River from the Illinois side. Grant's complaint that he didn't find
Fremont's orders until later makes little sense unless the telegraph's
electric current was running much more slowly than usual. Grant didn't
complain in his memoirs about receiving an unintelligible telegram.
4). Was Grant's message to Fremont on 9/5 in response to Fremont's of
the same day thereby showing that he had received the orders before
moving? Grant wrote: "I am now nearly ready (should not a telegraph
arrive preventing the movement) on the strength of the information
telegraphed." That is not likely phraseology for a subordinate to use
in announcing such a move to a superior who had not already broached
the subject and given Grant authority. Grant wouldn't say "I am now
nearly ready," but rather "I think that Paducah should be occupied. Do
I have your permission?"
Instead, Grant's writing is an apparent response to Fremont's
telegram: "Paducah should be occupied if it is possible." Grant's
mention of the fortifications also seems to be in response to Fremont,
rather than vice-versa.
5). Fremont should probably be given more credit than is usually done
by generally mocking historians. Not only did he order Grant to take
Paducah (independently of the question as to whether Grant received his
orders or not), and he had triggered Polk's foolish invasion of
Kentucky by sending Waagner to Belmont in the first place.
- 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.