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[144] general advance could be made during the good weather of December: I was mistaken.

My wish was to gain possession of the Eastern Tennessee Railroad, as a preliminary movement, then to follow it up immediately by an attack on Nashville and Richmond as nearly at the same time as possible.

I have ever regarded our true policy as being that of fully preparing ourselves, and then seeking for the most decisive results. I do not wish to waste life in useless battles, but prefer to strike at the heart.

He next proceeds to state that two bases of operation presented themselves for the advance of the Army of the Potomac,--first, that of Washington, its present position, involving a direct attack upon the intrenched positions of the enemy at Centreville, Manassas, &c., or else a movement to turn one or both of those positions, or a combination of the two plans. The relative force of the two armies would not justify an attack on both flanks of the enemy; and an attack on his left flank alone would involve a long line of wagon-communication, and could not prevent him from collecting for the decisive battle all the detachments now on his extreme right and left.

He next sets forth in great detail the difficulties and dangers of an attack upon the right flank, by the line of the Occoquan, and a crossing of the Potomac below that river, showing a minute knowledge of the localities of the region, and demonstrating to his correspondent the great advantage possessed by the enemy in the central position he occupied, with roads diverging in every direction,

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