at Mobile, the column should march upon him there, and, conjointly with our fleet, attack and destroy him, or, if he had concentrated at Montgomery, he should be attacked and destroyed there; but in either case Mobile should be secured as a new and more favorable base for operations farther eastward.
Having secured Meridian, Montgomery, and Mobile, and reopened the railroads connecting these places with each other, a depot of military stores should be established at Mobile, wicks only 165 miles by rail from Montgomery, and from which our forces at or east of Montgomery could readily obtain supplies, while the garrisons in the rear could obtain them either from the same place or from Vicksburg. At Montgomery the advancing column would only be 75 miles by rail from Opelika, near the western boundary of Georgia. In a military view, this is a most important place. Here the whole railroad system of the Southern Atlantic States, including Georgia, converge into the Montgomery and West Point Railroad, which forms one of the two links connecting that system by rail with the Gulf system of railroads. Hence, seizing that place, the Atlantic communication by rail between the revolted States east and west would be severed.
As a measure tending to the success of the enterprise, I would also recommend that a Federal force be advanced from Port Royal, on the coast, in an interior direction, and that naval demonstrations should be made at the principal points along the Southern Atlantic and Gulf coasts; but I must forbear to dwell upon those matters.
In combination with the movement from Vicksburg, the noticeable railroad triangle, of which Boyce and Dalton, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, are the base, and Cleveland, on the Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, is the apex, should be seized. This should be done by advancing the forces now in West Tennessee or a portion of those in Kentucky, or conjunctival by both.
This co-operative movement is indispensable, unless the Gulf column be increased to more than 60,000 men. In executing it, the left flank of that column during its advance would be protected against any formidable attack from the north. The seizure of the triangle mentioned would not only give us possession of the remaining or interior link, connecting by rail the Southern Atlantic and Gulf Stattes, but place a Federal army in a favorable position to march south upon Rome, in Georgia, and site of one of the principal arsenals an manufactories of arms in the revolted States, and to Atlanta, in the same State, one of the principal; railroad centers in those States; or northeast to and beyond Knoxville, in Tennessee, in co-operation with any more easterly Federal movement directed against the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad or the enemy on or near it. The absence of any railroad south of Vicksburg, running east and west, would secure the right flank of the column against any serious danger from the south.
Incidentally, the two great railroad systems of the revolted States have been noticed. By reference to the map of those States, a more complete and satisfactory idea of those systems may be formed.?The one, which may be called the eastern system, ramifies itself along the eastern coast; the other, which may be called the western system, radiates from the Gulf of Mexico or the Mississippi River, and runs in great uniform line at wide intervals, either parallel or at right angels with that river.
These two systems, as I have already said, are only connected by two links, one being the road leading from Montgomery to Opelika, and the other being the more extended road leading from Lynchburg, in Vir-