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[278] he said: β€˜I think that every effort should be made to concentrate as large a force as possible under the best commander to insure the discomfiture of Grant's army. To do this and gain the great advantage that would accrue from it, the safety of points practically less important than those endangered by his army must be hazarded. Upon the defense of the country threatened by General Grant depends the safety of the points now held by us on the Atlantic, and they are in as great danger from his successful advance as by the attacks to which they are at present directly subjected.’ Beauregard, greatly unlike Lee, but nevertheless a military genius, also offered a plan of campaign. It was his judgment that all other operations must be subordinated to the defense of Atlanta against Grant, holding such places as Richmond, Weldon, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, etc., merely as fortified posts with garrisons strong enough to hold out until they could be relieved after Grant had been cared for. Twenty thousand men should be drawn from Virginia and a like number from other sources, forming with Hardee and Longstreet a force of 100,000. Let this army take the offensive at once, and properly handled it should crush any force that Grant could assemble in time, in his scattered and unprepared condition. β€˜It is concentration and immediate mobility that are indispensable to save us.’

Hardee's force was increased after the battle of Missionary Ridge by Baldwin's and Quarles' brigades from Mississippi, about 4,000 men; and in addition to that there was a clear gain in twenty days of over 3,500. Though a general and liberal system of furloughs had been adopted, the effective strength of the two infantry corps and artillery was over 35,000, December 20th. Gen. H. R. Jackson had by energetic efforts brought about a system of co-operation among the railroads, which improved the commissariat.

There was a general desire on the part of the country

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