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[270] miles from Richmond, with only land-transportation all the way.

The step would demoralize the army, and have a most depressing effect upon the people of the North, and might induce foreign Powers to recognize our adversaries.

The communication concludes thus:--

It may be said that there are no reinforcements available. I point to Burnside's force,--to that of Pope, not necessary to maintain a strict defensive in front of Washington and Harper's Ferry,--to those portions of the Army of the West not required for a strict defensive there. Here, directly in front of this army, is the heart of the rebellion: it is here that all our resources should be collected to strike the blow which will determine the fate of the nation.

All points of secondary importance elsewhere should be abandoned, and every available man brought here. A decided victory here, and the military strength of the rebellion is crushed. It matters not what partial reverses we may meet with elsewhere: here is the true defence of Washington; it is here, on the banks of the James, that the fate of the Union should be decided.

Clear in my convictions of right, strong in the consciousness that I have ever been, and still am, actuated solely by the love of my country, knowing that no ambitious or selfish motives have influenced me from the commencement of this war, I do now what I never did in my life before: I entreat that this order may be rescinded.

If my counsel does not prevail, I will with a sad heart obey your orders to the utmost of my power, directing to the movement, which I clearly foresee will be one of the utmost delicacy and difficulty, whatever skill I may possess. Whatever the result may be — and may God grant

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