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[83] a vital strategic point, a mountain funnel — the only one--through which the South-west could send supplies to Lee.

One coherent plan for relieving the starvation General Rosecrans evidently had; and, to carry it out, he was going to employ Hooker's command, at this time sent to re-enforce him. It involved bridging the Tennessee River, thereby to acquire the use of an approach not commanded by the enemy. To state what geographical precision this plan had reached in the mind of General Rosecrans involves a question of accuracy between his memory and the memory of General W. F. Smith. Both with some acrimony have claimed the glory of thinking of it, and upon this point the official records are not quite specific; but the glory of doing it, and doing it to perfection, is certainly General Smith's. Enough has been said to remind the reader that we are walking here, as everywhere, upon the treacherous embers of controversy.

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