it would not be unreasonable to expect an early occupation of the former place. 5. But the chances are more than even that a sudden and rapid movement would compel a general engagement, and the defeat of Bragg would be in the highest degree disastrous to the rebellion. 6. The turbulent aspect of politics in the loyal states renders a decisive blow against the enemy at this time of the highest importance to the success of the government at the polls, and in the enforcement of the Conscription Act. 7. The government and the war department believe that this army ought to move upon the enemy — the army desires it, and the country is anxiously hoping for it. 8. Our true objective point is the rebel army, whose last reserves are substantially in the field, and an effective blow will crush the shell, and soon be followed by the collapse of the rebel government. 9. You have, in my judgment, wisely delayed a general movement hitherto till your army could be massed and your cavalry could be mounted. Your Mobile force can now be concentrated in twenty-four hours, and your cavalry, if not equal in numerical strength to that of the enemy, is greatly superior in efficiency and morale. For these reasons, I believe an immediate advance of all our available forces is advisable, and, under the providence of God will be successful. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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