ppy accident to bring him to bay and to battle; but I then thought that by so doing I would play into his hands, by being drawn or decoyed too far away from our original line of advance.. I felt compelled, therefore, to do what is usually a mistake in war—divide my forces—send a part back into Tennessee, retaining the balance here. . . I admit that the first object should be the destruction of that army, and if Beauregard moves his infantry and artillery up into the pocket about Jackson and Paris, I shall feel strongly tempted to move Thomas directly against him, and myself move rapidly by Decatur and Purdy to cut off his retreat. But this would involve the abandonment of Atlanta and a retrograde movement, which would be of very doubtful expediency or success. . . I am more than satisfied that Beauregard has not the nerve to attack fortifications, or to meet me in open battle, and it would be a great achievement for him to make me abandon Atlanta, by mere threats or manoeuvres.