and it is hardly probable that he would attempt any serious invasion of Pennsylvania at this season of the year; and even should he make a successful lodgment in that State of any force that he can spare, the destruction of that force would be the result very soon after winter sets in, and the destruction of property by him would be small in comparison with the other expenses of the war.
Could the army before Richmond be beaten and their capital taken, the loss of half a dozen of our towns and cities in the interior of Pennsylvania could well be afforded. A movement of the enemy upon Baltimore I consider altogether improbable, as an attack on that place would render the destruction of the city certain.
In connection with this movement in the direction of Fredericksburg, I would suggest that at least thirty canal-boats and barges be at once loaded with commissary stores and forage, and be towed to the neighborhood of Aquia Creek, from which place they can be brought to Belle Plain after the arrival of our forces in that vicinity. These should be followed at once by enough stores and forage to subsist the army for thirty days. A great portion of this, I think, could be towed up the Rappahannock, under convoy of light-draught gunboats, but that is a matter for after-consideration.
It will also be necessary to start at once from Washington or Alexandria, by way of Dumfries, a quantity of beef-cattle and all the wagon trains that can be spared, filled with small rations, such as bread, salt, coffee, sugar, soap, and candles. This train should be preceded by pontoon trains enough to span the Rappahannock with two tracks. But a small escort of cavalry for this train would be necessary, as we would be all the time between the enemy and the train. I will, however, if notified of its departure by telegraph, see that it is protected by my cavalry. During these movements it would be well for General Sigel to remain with his force at Centreville and its neighborhood, holding Manassas Junction, Thoroughfare Gap, Aldie, and Leesburg with forces sufficient to protect them against any light attack, any one of which can fall back on the main body if attacked by too large force. The main portion of his cavalry can be kept in Loudoun County, where there is an abundance of subsistence and forage. Below Fredericksburg, between the Rappahannock and the Potomac, there must be quite an amount of forage, which could be used for our broken down animals after we reach Fredericksburg. We will need some fresh horses and mules on our arrival, which can be driven direct from Washington on this side of the Potomac, or direct from Baltimore to Smith's Point, opposite Aquia Creek, from which place they can be thrown overboard, and swim ashore. I cannot impress too strongly upon the General-in-Chief the necessity of furnishing by all these means an abundant supply of horses, mules, and beef cattle. These should be sent to Fredericksburg, even at the risk of arriving after we leave.
After reaching Fredericksburg, our wagon trains can be organized and filled with at least twelve days' provisions, when a rapid movement can be made direct upon Richmond by way of such roads as are open to us.
As soon as the army arrives in front of the place, an attack should be made at once, with a strong hope of success. The detail of the movement from Fredericksburg I will give you hereafter.
A great reason for feeling that the Fredericksburg route is the best