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[444]

Georgia, and suggesting that a successful march, such as he had started on, would again bisect the Southern country, and that when that was done the war would be virtually over. I suggested that he should adhere to his defensive tactics upon the Rapidan, and reinforce from his army the army lying in front of Rosecrans-so that it could crush that army, and then push on to the West. He seemed struck with these views, but was as much opposed to dividing his army as he was in the spring when I first suggested it. He went down to Richmond to arrange for another offensive campaign during the fall.

While there several letters passed between us, only two of which I have preserved in connected form. The result of this correspondence was, however, that I was sent with two divisions-Hood's and McLaws'-to reinforce our army then in Georgia. The result of this movement was the defeat of Rosecrans, at Chickamauga, when the last hope of the Confederacy expired with the failure of our army to prosecute the advantage gained by this defeat. The letters are appended herewith:

(confidential.) [Copy.]

Richmond, August 31st, 1863.
Lieutenant General J. Longstreet, Headquarters Army of West Virginia:
General-I have wished for several days past to return to the army, but have been detained by the President. He will not listen to my proposition to leave tomorrow.

I hope you will use every exertion to prepare the army for offensive operations, and improve the condition of men and animals. I can see nothing better to be done than to endeavor to bring General Meade out and use our efforts to crush his army while in the present condition.

The Quartermaster's Department promise to send up three thousand bushels of corn per day, provided the cars can be unloaded and returned without delay. I hope you will be able to arrange it so that the cars will not be detained. With this supply of corn, if it can be maintained, the condition of our animals should improve.

Very respectfully and truly yours,

[Signed] R. E. Lee, General.

[Copy.]

headquarters, September 2d, 1863.
General-Your letter of the 31st is received. I have expressed to Generals Ewell and Hill your wishes, and am doing all that can be done to be well prepared with my own command. Our greatest difficulty will be in preparing our animals.

I don't know that we can reasonably hope to accomplish much here, by offensive operations, unless we are strong enough to cross the Potomac. If we advance to meet the enemy on this side, he will, in all probability, go into one of his many fortified positions. These we cannot afford to attack.

I know but little of the condition of our affairs in the West, but am inclined to the opinion that our best opportunity for great results is in Tennessee. If we could hold the defensive here with two corps, and send the other to operate in


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