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[163] July into Pennsylvania, which did not save Middle Tennessee and the Mississippi Valley. You must, no doubt, recollect what I wrote on the subject to General Johnston, on the 15th of May1 last, to endeavor to prevent that offensive campaign, which, I thought, would not effect the object in view.

I now address you my views on the reported intentions of General Lee or the War Department, to see if our small available means cannot be used to a better purpose.

It is evident to my mind that, admitting Lee's movement can prevent Meade from reinforcing Rosecrans and drive the former across the Potomac, Lee cannot prevent Rosecrans from being reinforced by about 40,000 or 50,000 men from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and the Mississippi Valley, in about one month's time; hence, admitting that Rosecrans has now about your own supposed effective force—say 60,000 men of all arms—he will then have about 110,000 men against 60,000.

War being a contest of “masses against fractions,” all other things being equal, you would certainly be defeated; then, either you must be reinforced from Johnston's or Lee's army, or Middle Georgia would be lost, and the Confederacy, now cut in two, would then be cut in three. Meanwhile, Meade, having been reinforced by the new levies of the enemy, and taking his time to organize and discipline them, would retake the offensive, and Lee would be driven back towards Richmond, admitting that his supplies would enable him to maintain his army that long on the south side of the Potomac; or a large army might be concentrated here, and, having taken this place and marched into the interior, towards Augusta, the Confederacy would again be subdivided; or, should the enemy find it impossible or too tedious to take Charleston, he might concentrate again his forces on the coast of North Carolina, and, marching to Raleigh or Weldon, would cut off all our present communications with Virginia.

The question now arises, can these calamities be avoided, and in what way? If my opinion for once could be listened to, I would say again, act entirely on the defensive in Virginia, send you immediately 25,000 men from Lee's army, 5000 or 10,000 more from Johnston's forces, to enable you to take the offensive forthwith, and cross the Tennessee to crush Rosecrans before he can be reinforced to any large extent from any quarter. Then you could attack and defeat the enemy's reinforcements in detail, before they could be concentrated into a strong army.

In the mean time, Lee, if necessary, could fall back within the lines around Richmond until a part of your army could be sent to his relief. I fear any other plan will, sooner or later, end in our final destruction in detail.

Should you approve of this plan, can you not address it as your own to the War Department, in the hope of its being adopted? What I desire is our success. I care not who gets the credit for it. Our resources are fast getting exhausted; our people, I fear, are getting disheartened; for they can see no bright spot in the horizon to revive their drooping hopes after the patriotic sacrifices they have made in this terrible contest. Let us, then, unite


1 See Chapter XXXI.

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