As soon as it becomes perfectly clear that Kentucky is cordially united with us, I would advise a movement through that State into Eastern Tennessee, for the purpose of assisting the Union men of that region and of seizing the railroads leading from Memphis to the East. The possession of these roads by us, in connection with the movement on the Mississippi, would go far towards determining the evacuation of Virginia by the rebels. In the mean time all the passes into Western Virginia from the East should be securely guarded, but I would advise no movement from that quarter towards Richmond, unless the political condition of Kentucky renders it impossible or inexpedient for us to make the movement upon Eastern Tennessee through that State. Every effort should, however, be made to organize, equip, and arm as many troops as possible in Western Virginia, in order the Ohio and Indiana regiments available for other operations.
At as early a day as practicable it would be well to protect and reopen the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Baltimore and Fort Monroe should be occupied by garrisons sufficient to retain them in our possession.
The importance of Harper's Ferry and the line of the Potomac int he direction of Leesburg will be very materially diminished so soon as our force in this vicinity becomes organized, strong, and efficient, because no capable general will cross the river north of this city when we have a strong army here ready to cut off his retreat.
To revert to the West; It is probable that no very large additions to the troops now in Missouri will be necessary to secure that State.
I presume that the force required for the movement down the Mississippi will be determined by its commander and the President. If Kentucky assumes the right position, not more than 20,000 will be needed, together with those that can be raised in that State and Eastern Tennessee, to secure the latter region and its railroads, as well as ultimately to occupy Nashville.
The Western Virginia troops, with nor more than 5,000 to 10,000 from Ohio and Indiana, should, under proper management, suffice for its protection.
When we have reorganized our main army here 10,000 men ought to be enough to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Potomac; 5,000 will garrison Baltimore, 3,000 Fort Monroe, and not more than 20,000 will be necessary at the utmost for the defense of Washington..
For the main army of operations I urge the following composition:
250 regiments of infantry, say ........... 225,000
100 field batteries, 600 guns ............ 15,000
28 regiments of cavalry ................. 25,500
5 regiments engineer troops ............ 7,500
Total .................................... 273,000
The force must be supplied with the necessary engineer and pontoon.
trains, and with transportation for everything save tents. Its.
general line of operations should be so directed that water.
transportation can be availed of from point to point by means of.
the ocean and the rivers emptying into it. An essential feature of
the plan of operations will be the employment of a strong naval.
force, to protect the movement of a fleet of transports intended to
convey a considerable body of troops from point to point of the.
enemy's sea-coast, thus either creating diversions and rendering it
necessary for them to detach largely from their main body in order
to protect such of their cities as may be threatened, or else landing and forming establishments on their coast at any favorable
places that opportunity night offer. This naval force should also co-operate with the main army in its efforts to seize the important
seaboard towns of the rebels..
It cannot be ignored that the construction of railroads has introduced a new and very important element into war, by the great
facilities thus given for concentrating at particular positions large masses of troops from remote sections, and by creating new
strategic points and lines of operations.
It is intended to overcome this difficulty by the partial.
operations suggested, and such others as the particular case may.
require. We must endeavor to seize places on the railways in the.
rear of the enemy's points of concentration, and we must threaten
their seaboard cities, in order that each State may be forced, by
the necessity of its own defense, to diminish its contingent to the
The proposed movement down the Mississippi will produce important
results in this connection. That advance and the progress of the main army at the East will materially assist each other by diminishing the resistance to be encountered by each.
The tendency of the Mississippi movement upon all questions connected with cotton is too well understood by the President and Cabinet to need any illustration from me..
There is another independent movement that has often been suggested, and which has always recommended itself to my judgment. I refer to a movement from Kansas and Nebraska through the Indian Territory upon Red River and Western Texas, for.