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 6. To inspirit the troops and the country by success, and to discourage the enemy. 7. To obviate the necessity of falling back, which might probably occur if our antagonist be allowed to consummate his plans without molestation. General Johnston cordially approved of an aggressive movement, and informed me of his purpose to make it as soon as reenforcements and supplies, then on the way, should reach him. He did not approve the proposed advance into Tennessee. He believed that the Federal forces in Tennessee were not weaker, but if anything stronger, than at Missionary Ridge; that defeat beyond the Tennessee would probably prove ruinous to us, resulting in the loss of his army, the occupation of Georgia by the enemy, the ‘piercing of the Confederacy in its vitals,’ and the loss of all the southwestern territory. He proposed, therefore, to stand on the defensive until strengthened, ‘to watch, prepare, and strike’ as soon as possible. As soon as reenforced, he declared his purpose to advance to Ringgold, attack there, and, if successful, as he expected to be, to strike at Cleveland, cut the railroad, control the river, and thus isolate East Tennessee, as a consequence forcing his antagonist to give battle on this side of the Tennessee River. Simultaneously with, and in aid of this movement, General Johnston proposed that a large cavalry force be sent to Middle Tennessee, in the rear of the enemy. These operations, he thought, would result in forcing the Federal army to evacuate the Tennessee Valley and make an advance into the heart of the state safely practicable. The irreparable loss of time in making any forward movement as desired having sufficed for the combinations which rendered an advance across the Tennessee River no longer practicable, I took prompt measures to enable General Johnston to carry out immediately his own proposition to strike first at Ringgold and then at Cleveland, proposing that General Buckner should threaten Knoxville, General Forrest advance into or threaten Middle Tennessee, and General Roddy hold the enemy in northern Alabama, and thus prevent his concentration in our front. This movement, although it held out no such promise as did the plan of advance before the enemy had had time to make his combinations, might have been attended with good results had it been promptly executed. But no such movement was made or even attempted. General Johnston's belief that General Grant would be ready to assume the offensive before he could be prepared to do so, proved too well founded,
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