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[414]

Mobile, Ala., September 5th, 1862.
General,—Under the supposition that on the restoration of my health I would be returned to the command of Department No. 2, I had prepared while at Bladon, Alabama, a plan of operations in Tennessee and Kentucky, based on my knowledge of that part of the theatre of war; but hearing that my just expectations are to be disappointed, I have the honor to communicate it to the War Department, in the hope that it may be of service to our arms and to our cause. It was submitted by me to General Bragg on the 2d instant. By looking at the map it will be seen that the forces operating in that section of country will be separated at first by one river (the Tennessee), and afterwards by two (the Tennessee and Cumberland), hence they will be unable to support each other, being unprovided with pontoon trains; but their operations must be more or less dependent on or connected with each other. I will first refer to those in East Tennessee and then to those west of it.

In the first case, our objective points must be, first, Louisville, and then Cincinnati. How best to reach them from Chattanooga, with Buell at Huntsville and Stevenson, is the question. It is evident he has the advantage of two bases of operations, the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, and that if we advance towards our objective points without getting rid of him, we would expose our lines of communication with Chattanooga. We must, then, give him battle first, or compel him to retire before us.

Should he retire on Nashville (as the newspapers say he is now doing), we will be advancing towards Louisville; but should he venture on Florence or Savannah, to unite his forces with Rosecrans and Grant, we will have to concentrate enough of our forces from Mobile and East Tennessee to follow him rapidly and defeat him in a grand battle, when we would be able to resume our march as before indicated. We must, however, as soon as practicable, construct strong works to command the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, for otherwise our communication would be cut off by the enemy as soon as those two rivers shall have risen sufficiently to admit the entrance of their gunboats and transports.

The best positions for said works are about forty miles below forts Donelson and Henry, not far from Eddysville, where those two rivers come within one and a half miles of each other. I am informed there is at that point a commanding elevation where a strong field-work could be constructed for a garrison of about twenty-five hundred or three thousand men, who could hold out (with ample provisions and ammunition) against a large army. Under the guns of this work, and along the bank of each river, a series of batteries, armed with the heaviest guns (eight, nine, ten inch, and rifled guns), could be constructed, bearing directly on obstructions placed in each of said rivers.

When Louisville shall have fallen into our possession, I would construct a work there for the command of the Ohio and the canal, and I would destroy the latter as soon as possible, so completely that future travellers would hardly know where it was. This I would do as a return for the Yankee vandalism in attempting to obstruct forever the harbors of Charleston and Savannah. A detachment of our army could, I think, take Louisville, while the main body would be marching to Cincinnati; but if we could get boats enough it would


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