conversation with General Slaughter, that you might probably desire to have my views also relative to the campaign about to be inaugurated in that State. Unfortunately, being entirely unprovided with pontoon trains, your armies will be divided at first by one river [the Tennessee] and afterward by two [Tennessee and Cumberland]. Hence they will be unable to support each other, but their operations must be more or less dependent on or connected with each other. I will then refer first to the operations east of the Tennessee and then to those west of it.
In the first case your objective points must be first Louisville and then Cincinnati. How to best reach them from Chattanooga with Buell advantage of two bases of operations-the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers-and that if you advance toward your objective points without getting rid of him you would expose your lines of communication with Chattanooga. You must then give him battle first or compel him to retire before you. Should he retire on Nashville [as the newspapers say he is now doing] you will be advancing toward Louisville, but should he retire on Florence or Savannah to unite his forces with Rosecrans or Grant you will have to concentrate enough of your forces from Middle and East Tennessee to follow him rapidly and defeat him in a great battle, when you will be able to resume your movement as before indicated. You must, however, as soon as practicable, construct strong works to command the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, for otherwise your communications will be cut off by the enemy as soon as these two rivers shall have risen sufficiently to admit the entrance of their gunboats and transports. The best position for said works is about 40 miles below Forts Donelson and Henry, not far from Eddyville, where two rivers come within 1 1/2 miles of each other. I am informed there is at that point a commanding elevation where a strong field work could be constructed for a garrison of about 2,500 or 3,000 men, who could hold out [with ample provisions and ammunition] for months against a large army. Under the guns of this work and along the bank of each river a series of batteries, armed with the heaviest guns [8,9, and 10 inch and rifled guns], could be constructed, bearing directly on obstructions placed in each of said rivers. When Louisville shall have fallen into your possession I would construct a work there for the command of the Ohio and the canal, and I would destroy the latter as soon as possible so completely that future travelers would hardly know where it was. This I would do as a return for the Yankees' vandalism in attempting to obstruct forever the harbors of Charleston and Savannah. A detachment of your army could, I think, take Louisville, while the main column would be marching to Cincinnati; but if you could get boats enough it would be shorter to go up the Ohio in them. To keep the command of Cincinnati I would construct a strong work, heavily armed, at Covington.
Now for the operations in Western Tennessee: The object there should be to draw the enemy from there and resume the command of the Mississippi River. For these purposes I would concentrate rapidly at Grand Junction Price's army and all that could be spared from Vicksburg of Van Dorn's; from there I would make a forced march to Fort Pillow, which I would take with probably only a very small loss. It is evident the forces at Memphis and Yazoo River would then have their line of communication by the river with the north cut off, and they would have either to surrender or cross without resources into Arkansas, where General Holmes would take good care of them. From Fort Pillow I would compel the forces at Corinth and Jackson, Tenn., to fall back