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[413] at Corinth; second, to attack Buell at or about Chattanooga; third, to attack Grant at or about Memphis; fourth, to remain idle at Tupelo.

From what you state the first is evidently inadmissible, and the last cannot be entertained for one moment, for action, action, is what we require.

Now, with regard to the other two propositions, it is evident that unless you reinforce General E. K. Smith, at Chattanooga, he will be overpowered by Buell, and that our communication with the East, and our supplies at Atlanta, Augusta, etc., will be cut off; also that a partial reinforcement would so weaken you at Tupelo as to paralyze you for any other movements from there; hence you have adopted the wisest course in sending to Smith all your available forces, except just enough to guard your depots, etc., to the rear of your present position at Tupelo.

The third proposition would have afforded you some success, but not as brilliant and important in its results as the second one, if the newspapers will permit you to carry it successfully into effect; for Halleck and Buell, occupying the base of a long isosceles triangle, of which Mobile is the apex, could get to Chattanooga before you if they should become aware of your movements, and then you would have to contend again with superior forces, as usual to us. The moment you get to Chattanooga you ought to take the offensive, keeping in mind the following grand principles of the art of war: First, always bring the masses of your army in contact with the fractions of the enemy; second, operate as much as possible on his communications without exposing your own; third, operate always on interior or shorter lines. I have no doubt that with anything like equal numbers you will always meet with success.

I am happy to see that my two lieutenants, Morgan and Forrest, are doing such good service in Kentucky and Tennessee. When I appointed them I thought they would leave their mark wherever they passed.

* * * * * * * * *

Sincerely your friend,

General Bragg, for reasons we cannot explain, did not follow the advice given; and his campaign into middle Tennessee and Kentucky ended almost in disaster.

General Beauregard, it seems, had not given up all hope of again assuming command of his army. He followed its every movement with the greatest interest and anxiety; and during the leisure now afforded him, drew up an extensive plan for its further success, which he finally forwarded to the War Department. In the meantime—namely, on the 25th of August—he had officially reported ‘for duty in the field.’ The plan we here refer to was addressed to General Cooper, whose relations with General Beauregard had not ceased to be of an agreeable character. It was marked ‘Confidential,’ and read thus:

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