The enemy's Wister programme.
--If we are to believe the statements of John W. Forney
, whose means of information must certainly be very good, the Cabinet
, with few exceptions, are in favor of remaining on the defensive on the Potomac
, and making no advance upon our lines before Manassas
The object of this policy, according to the same authority, is to afford a greater number of troops for operations upon other holds.
In the first place, the lower Potomac being blockaded, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
being subject to freeing over for the greater part of the winter, it becomes absolutely necessary to the abstinence of the army and population in Washington
that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad should be opened as far West as Its junctions with the railroads running up into Pennsylvania
As the possession and refitting of this part of the road would carry them back so far into Northwest Virginia
as to reach the portion of that region already in their hand it is no doubt their purpose to send a sufficient force in that direction from Gen. Banks
' column or some other, to hold the whole of the Baltimore
road to Wheeling
This is doubtless the explanation of the sudden appearance of five or six regiments at Romne last week and the defeat of Col. McDonald
The absolute necessity of the possession the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to the enemy at Washington
, as a means of proeming supplies, is so apparent as to render this part of their policy certain.
There is really no root for speculation on the subject; and we may as confidently expect to hear of strong columns troops being sent into the country along the line of that road, as we may expect any certain future event, such as the meeting of Congress, or the setting in of winter.
Half the large force they now have on the Potomac
would be sufficient for the defence of Washington
against any aggressive movement of our army.
The rest of the surplus portion of their vast ho can be sent off to different fields of service.
A portion of it has been put upon transports a Annapolis, and sent out upon the grand have expedition against our Southern coast.
A portion of it has been sent to that portion o Maryland
lying opposite our batteries on the Potomac
Another portion has been sent, or preparing to be sent, along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with a view to restoring the track and the bridges, and putting that highway again in running order.
This last measure will require the strengthening of Reynolds
an Rosencranz, and probably reinforcements will be sent to those Generals
The campaign in Kentucky
is also so popular with the North
, especially with the Northwest
, that doubtless whatever remaining force may be spared from Washington
, in consequence of assuming the defensive in the quarter, will be sent to Kentucky
Nor will the enemy neglect his interests in Missouri
If, therefore, the revelations of Forney
betrue, the winter programme of the enemy it to do his best against us on the seaboard with his armade; to occupy all that portion of Northern Virginia
penetrated by that coarse is the State
--the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to keep up the campaign on the Kanawha river
and the Cheat mountain
; to strengthen his hands as much as possible in Kentucky
pushing his interests there with the greater rigor, without any relaxation during the winter; and at least hold his own in Missouri
Another fortnight will fully determine whether this really be his winter programme or not; for unless he attacks us before Centreville
during the next fortnight it is reasonable to suppose he will not do s at all before the next season.
The object of an attack there would, of course, only be for an advance into our territory as far as Richmond
at least; and the weather and condition of the roads will be such very-soon as to prevent the accomplishment of that result of; successful battle.
It is believed that our works at Centreville
, and Evansport
a absolutely impregnable, and it is not probable that the attack we so much desire will be made.
It can hardly admit of doubt that this would be a wise programme on the part of the enemy.
It would give the South
a mach more troublesome winter's batch of work than if he concentrated his whole force before Alexandria
with a view to an advance.
It will require more men and infinitely more difficult transportation on our side, than if we could neglect other fields for that before Manassas We shall have to throw a strong column into the lower Valley to strengthen Gen. Thomas Jackson
, at Winchester
We shall have to reinforce Gens. Loring
and Henry Jackson
on the Greenbrier
, and General Floyd
on the Kanawha
We shall have to throw every man and every gun into Kentucky
that we can rake and scrape through the whole country and we shall have to be prepared for the grand armada on our seaboard.
All this needful work will tax Mr. Benjamin
's rare activity the highest point.
We trust that no pains will be spared to meet these varied emergencies.
so many points around the horizon.
We suppose the most important part of our counter programme will be to prevent the enemy's designs upon the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad If we can cut him off from this avenue of supplies, we can reduce him to terrible straits it his capital.
The mere item of fuel would, it that case, tax his other means of conveyance to their highest capacity; and we should have him starving and shivering, if not freezing in his capital, during the whole winter.
In this point of view, the view, the valley of the Shenandoah
becomes our most important field of operations, and we are glad to hear that it will probably be committed to the charge of the indomitable General of the Stone Wall Brigade