and threatening demonstrations and even substantial preparations may be made for a movement on Norfold. This may be made in such a way as to deceive them as to our first purpose, and, if so, a sudden spring on Yorktwon may our hands, it can be streanghthened into an excellent base for further operations, communicating with the ocean. Twenty or thirty thousand men in position at that place will make all the formidable works around Manassas useless. Twenty thousand additional troops can be thrown to Fort Monroe, the ostensible object of course a march upon Richmond; but I repeat, as nothing is to be left to chance in this campaign, I urgently recommend the reduction of Norfolk and the sweeping away of all the defenses around the bays and lower waters of James River as the first great step in the campaign.
The minor posts will all Yorktwon and Norfolk. In the siege of Norfolk the Navy will be able to give efficient aid.
I will venture the prediction, and my reasons for it are more than military, that Virginia will compel the whole force of the Confederate Army to be turned to the relief of Norfolk. The administration will do it reluctantly, but Virginia regards Norfolk as her only naval station, the solitary door by which she communicates with the world, and she dare not and will never give it up without a struggle.
In view of this, let us throw up strong covering works at he outset. The effect of this movement will be to reverse the advantages of position. They will have to seek us in our own works, as we sought them at Manassas, and this alone will decide the campaign. Driven back and followed rapidly to Richmond, the Army and the Government may be hurled South without even a general battle. In case a serious attempt is not made to relieve Norfolk, it is bound to fall by regular approaches within the space of three months. This done, the whole Army, in improved working order and confident in spirits, can then be concentrated for a move on Richmond by Yorktown.
Until the capture of Yorktown and the fall of Norfolk the Army of the West should not hazard a serious engagement. A reverse there would have a discouraging influence upon the principal campaign. This must be avoided by all means. That army should be held in hand and kept in complete by all means. That army should be held in hand and kept in complete readiness to move rapidly on Memphis, flanked by the Mississippi River and supported by a fleet of gunboats. These two great movements, if well combined and well timed, will influence each other..
The advance on Richmond ought to be conducted with such caution and shadiness as to preclude the possibility of any casualty, however insignificant, so that the whole Army should arrive before that place in heart and spirit. There the enemy will have to deliver his great and to him his decisive engagement. The works around Richmond will not be found, and cannot be made, sufficiently strong to resist for any considerable time an army that will have achieved so much, been so often under fire, and accustomed to deal with entrenched positions. The struggle there may be bloody, but cannot be doubtful. Richmond will fall. The Government will not abide the shock in that place. It will fly South on the approach of the Northern Army. This will have a disheartening effect upon their cause. Whether the operation then ought to be conducted by slow and certain approaches, or by a rapid, dashing, and irresistible assault, must be determined on the ground and at the time in view of all the the circumstances. But in either case the wreck of the Southern Army can be hurled after the Government. The fall of