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[298] united forces on the road from that place to Chattanooga, at the point nearest to Dalton, and employing our cavalry, with its artillery, to close the navigation of the Tennessee — the army in Chattanooga might be induced in that way to attack in order to drive us back and reopen the routes to Knoxville; and that the attempt to unite the Army of Tennessee and Longstreet's corps, near Kingston, would be a violation of a sound military rule, never to assemble the troops that are to act together, in such a manner that the enemy's army may attack any considerable body of them before their union.

General Bragg replied on the 21st to my dispatch of the 18th. His telegram, received on the 22d, indicated that the plan of offensive operations devised by the Administration was an ultimatum. “Recent Northern papers report Grant superseded Halleck, who becomes chief of staff. Sherman takes Grant's command. Your dispatch of 19th does not indicate an acceptance of the plan proposed. The troops can only be drawn from other points for an advance. Upon your decision of that point further action must depend.”

To correct the misapprehension of my views on the part of the Administration which General Bragg's language indicated, I replied immediately: 1

In my dispatch of the 18th I expressly accept taking the offensive. Only differ with you as to details. I assume that the enemy will be prepared to advance before we are, and will make it to our advantage. Therefore I propose, as necessary both for the offensive and defensive, to assemble our troops here immediately.

1 In the original, the words in italics were written in cipher.

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