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[145] and a strong line of defence, enabling him to await an attack with a small force on one flank, while he concentrates every thing on the other for a decisive action. Among other difficulties, he speaks of “the present unprecedented and impassable condition of the roads.” But, supposing the movement in this direction to be successful, the results, he thinks, would be confined to the possession of the field of battle, the evacuation of the line of the Upper Potomac by the enemy, and the moral effect of the victory,--important results, it is true, but not decisive of the war, or securing the destruction of the enemy's main army or the capture of Richmond.

The second base of operations available for the Army of the Potomac is that of the Lower Chesapeake Bay, which affords the shortest possible land-route to Richmond and strikes directly at the heart of the enemy's power in the East. In favor of this plan he thus reasons:--

The roads in that region are passable at all periods of the year.

The country now alluded to is much more favorable for offensive operations than that in front of Washington (which is very unfavorable),--much more level, more cleared land, the woods less dense, the soil more sandy, and the spring some two or three weeks earlier. A movement in force on that line obliges the enemy to abandon his intrenched position at Manassas in order to hasten to cover Richmond and Norfolk. He must do this; for, should he permit us to occupy Richmond, his destruction can be averted only by entirely defeating us in a battle in which he must be the assailant. This movement, if successful, gives us the capital, the communications, the supplies,

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