July 25, 1862: Are Van Dorn and Price at Chattanooga?

Alexander McCook
Alexander McCook


“Bull” Nelson reports that he’s heard that Van Dorn and price are crossing the Tennessee River at Chattanooga with over 30,000 troops. Alexander McCook, just promoted to Major General of Volunteers on July 17, doesn’t buy it. BTW, in case you were wondering, McCook wasn’t watching the Tennessee River from Battle Creek, Michigan; his headquarters were at Battle Creek, TN, about 40 mile northwest of Chattanooga.

From the Official Record:

Major-General BUELL:

A man just from Chattanooga states that when he left there the Confederates were in large force; that they were crossing rapidly, saying that they intended marching on Nashville; that they were commanded by Price and Van Dorn with from 30,000 to 40,000 strong. I did not see the man myself because of the neglect of the officer in letting him pass, but I telegraphed Major Sidell to hunt him up in Nashville and cross-examine him and send you the information.


Huntsville, July 25, 1862.
General McCOOK, Battle Creek:

Nelson at Murfreesborough hears that the enemy, 30,000 or 40,000, under Price and Van Dorn, are crossing at Chattanooga to move on Nashville. Let your scouts learn the facts. The quartermaster will send you money as soon as he can find any one to take it.

Chief of Staff.

Pasted from

BATTLE CREEK, July 25, 1862.
Colonel J. B. FRY, Huntsville:

I don’t believe a word of it. None had crossed Wednesday at 11 p.m. I have men watching and will know in eight or ten hours if such a thing be possible. Nelson wishes you to know that he liveth. They are going to make a move soon, pressing wagons, &c., I believe, to Dalton or Atlanta.


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