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[670] be furnished in the northern and eastern states, and more than all the available sea-going vessels in northern ports could float. On receiving the requisitions I directed General Meigs to take active measures to fill them, so far as possible, but to make no shipments till further orders.

Now, if General Sherman is going east to connect with the coast by the Savannah river, these stores should not be shipped to Mobile or Pensacola, but to Hilton Head, and transportation be sent to New Orleans to move all available troops to that point. Moreover, operations at Mobile should, in that case, be limited to mere demonstrations, and that only so long as they may serve to deceive the enemy. It is exceedingly important that some definite conclusion should be arrived at as early as possible, for the expenses of the water transportation, and especially of the demurrage of large fleets, are enormous.

Perhaps it may be desirable that I should give my reasons in brief for concurring with General Sherman in his first proposed plan of operations.

In the first place, that line of connection with the coast is the shortest and most direct.

2nd. By cutting off a smaller slice of rebel territory it is not so directly exposed, and leaves a smaller force to attack in rear.

3rd. It does not leave Tennessee and Kentucky so open to rebel raids.

4th. The Alabama river is more navigable for our gunboats than the Savannah.

5th. The line is more defensible for General Canby's troops than the other.

6th. Montgomery, Selma, and Mobile are, in a military point of view, more important than Augusta, Millen, and Savannah.

7th. Mobile can be more easily captured than Savannah.

8th. This line will bring within our control a more valuable and important section of country than that by the Savannah. There is a section of country, from fifty to one hundred and fifty miles wide, extending from Selma west to Meridian, and thence north on both sides of the Tombigbee to Columbus, Aberdeen, and Okalona, more rich in agricultural products than any equal extent of country in the Confederacy. Slave labor has been but very little disturbed in this section, and the large crops of this year are being collected at Demopolis, Selma, Montgomery, and other points for the use of the rebel army. By moving on that line they will be converted to our

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