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[292] so as to reach the Tennessee River near Kingston, where a crossing can be effected; that Lieutenant-General Longstreet move simultaneously by a route east and south of Knoxville, so as to form a junction with you near this crossing. As soon as you come within supporting distance, Knoxville is isolated, and Chattanooga threatened, with barely a possibility for the enemy to unite. Should he not then offer you battle outside of his intrenched lines, a rapid move across the mountains from Kingston to Sparta (a very practicable and easy route) would place you, with a formidable army, in a country full of resources, where it is supposed, with a good supply of ammunition, you may be entirely self-sustaining. And it is confidently believed that such a move would necessitate the withdrawal of the enemy to the line of the Cumberland.

At the same time when this move is made, it is proposed to throw a heavy column of cavalry, as a diversion, into West Tennessee; and thence, if practicable, into Middle Tennessee, to operate on the enemy's lines of communication and distract his attention.

If by a rapid movement, after crossing the mountains, you can precipitate your main force upon Nashville, and capture that place before the enemy can fall back for its defense, you place him in a most precarious position. But in any event, by a movement in rear of Nashville while the Cumberland is low, similar to the one in passing Chattanooga, you isolate that position and compel a retrograde movement of the enemy's main force.

It is needless, General, for me to impress upon

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