DEFENSE OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER—ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON'S ARMY—STATE TROOPS IN KENTUCKY—BATTLE OF BELMONT—FISHING CREEK—FORT HENRY—FORT DONELSON—REORGANIZATION AT CORINTH—BATTLE OF SHILOH.
WHILE, as we have seen, Mississippi soldiers were fully maintaining the honor of the State on the Gulf coast and the Potomac river, the State itself reposed in confident security. The enlistment of more troops was not thought necessary after the victory at Manassas, and though it soon became apparent that more soldiers were needed, the immense possibilities of the war were far from being realized. Gen. Mansfield Lovell, in command of the coast as well as New Orleans, felt supreme confidence in his ability to defeat any attempt to ascend the river, and the people placed great reliance in the strength of the plans made for resisting any invasion through Kentucky and Tennessee.
But, toward the close of 1861, the government at Washington had arranged for an expedition against New Orleans, and with its land forces had occupied most of Kentucky; while Grant, with an army of 20,000 men was at Cairo and Paducah, separated from the northern line of Mississippi by not much more than the width of Tennessee. Vicksburg, the key to the Mississippi valley, was already the objective point of vast naval and land movements at the beginning of 1862. President Davis and the Confederate government undoubtedly realized the importance of protecting the great river and the magnitude of the attack which must be met in Kentucky and Tennessee; but it was not so fully comprehended by