War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0852 Chapter XXIX. WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

ginia, southwest to Knoxville, and connecting with the railroad triangle before mentioned. These two roads are the umbilical cords of the two systems, and form their only bond of unity; cutting them, a serious an disastrous blow is struck at the rebellion, the effect of which must be greatly aggravated by the fact of the comparative destitution of work animals an wagons, and the want of skill and experience in working iron and wood in the South. A separation of the eastern and western revolted States would result, depriving each of the means of succoring the other.

Experience has proven that a border warfare will not serve to extinguish the rebellion, and that the dispersion of our troops along exterior lines must continue to invite guerrilla raids and attacks by the enemy in overwhelming numbers. Five hundred thousand armed rebels now in the field, and inspired by confidence, cannot be conquered by such a mode of warfare. It must and can only be done by destroying the enemy's railroad communications, cutting him off from his sources of supplies, and by invasive war and interior attacks upon his vital parts.

Where those parts are is well understood. They are in the Gulf States, the home and first love of the arch traitors who initiated our present national afflictions. Strike home a deadly blow in those States, and the rebellion will have been virtually subdued. This is what I propose by the plan thus hastily and imperfectly alienated. If, however, it should be the determination of the Government to give the movement from Vicksburg a westerly, rather than an easterly, direction, that could be easily done, and with good effect. Arkansas has already been entered overland by a column marching from Missouri, and might also be penetrated by a co-operating force ascending the Arkansas and other rivers. Northern Louisiana may be penetrated by the railroad leading west from Vicksburg, and to Western Louisiana and Northeastern Texas by the Red River.

Texas has some 300 miles of railroad concentrating at Houston, on the Buffalo Bayou, which empties into Galveston Bay; hence the capture of Galveston would give us control of all those roads; also of the Trinity River, which is navigable for some distance. But it is thought the principal movement upon Texas should be up the Red River, and from Indianola, on Matagorda Bay. With the Mississippi under our control, an the advance of the Federal column from Missouri into the heart of Arkansas, no hostile force capable of offering serious resistance would be left to oppose the advance up the Red River, and Indianola being unfortified, might be easily taken. Moving a column from Indianola to Austin, the capital of Texas, the disaffected portion of the State in the southeast would be separated from the western portion, inhabited by friendly Mexicans and Germans, while, if the loyal population in Northwestern Texas should rise, as it is said they would do, the State would be delivered, and soon after Louisiana and Arkansas would fall for want of intrinsic ability to sustain themselves in their isolated condition. In short, as a consequence of the plan proposed-

1st. The Mississippi River would again be liberated, and the interests of commerce, at home and abroad, promoted.

2d. The extensive railroad system and numerous rivers of the Gulf States would be reopened to lawful and peaceful uses.

3d. An extensive district, fruitful of cotton, sugar, and corn, would be opened to accustomed markets and the wants of our armies.

4th. The ax would be laid at the root of the rebellion by dividing and distracting the enemy's forces, and striking a blow at the very hears of the rebellion, or, if this plan should exceed the present capabilities of