this project of the enemy: First. To assume the offensive, by moving the mass of your forces into East Tennessee, and giving the enemy sufficient occupation there. If this were practicable, it would certainly be preferable not only in a military point of view, but would serve to relieve the loyal people of East Tennessee. But it is said that there are almost insuperable obstacles to this plan; that the country from the Kentucky Blue Grass Region to the valley of the Tennessee is almost barren, and would afford your army no supplies of provisions or forage; that a wagon could hardly carry forage enough for its own animals, much less provisions for men and forage for artillery and cavalry horses; moreover, it is said that East Tennessee has been so stripped by the enemy of forage and provisions that no adequate supplies can be procured there, even if we were to take away the means of support from the loyal or non-combatant inhabitants of that already impoverished country. I cannot say that these statements are entirely correct, but you will be able to determine on your arrival in Kentucky. Second. To seize and fortify the different gaps in the mountains which separate Kentucky from East Tennessee.
Unfortunately for this plan, there are so many practicable roads that it would require a large force to accomplish this object, and it would then be so scattered as to be incapable of concentration on any one point. Again, the difficulty of supplies is very great. The passes to be occupied are at a very considerable distance from your base, and can be reached only by dirt roads which are impracticable most of the year.
Third. To concentrate your forces at some point in Central Kentucky, say Lebanon, Danville, or Richmond, from which point they can operate against an invading force, to meet or cut it off before it can reach any supplies, and while its men are short of provisions and its animals suffering for want of forage. This plan is objected to on the ground that it leaves too many important points unprotected, and does not serve as a check to disloyal lists now scattered through Kentucky. To accomplish this last object, it is urged that a considerable body of troops must be distributed through the country. You will very probably find it impracticable to adopt either of these plans exclusively; indeed, I am of opinion that it will be preferable to combine the first and last; that is, to hold your main force in some central position, and at the same time to annoy the enemy and threaten his communications, by making cavalry raids into East Tennessee. In this way you will be able to feel the enemy to ascertain his movements, and to operate with your main body so as to thwart his plans. The movements of your own troops will depend in no small degree upon those of the army under General Rosecrans. You will, therefore, frequently consult with him in regard to his intended operations. His first object is to occupy and injure as much as possible the army in his front, and, secondly, to rescue the loyal inhabitants of East Tennessee, or rather, the latter is the ultimate object of his campaign. After the closing of the navigation of the Cumberland, all his supplies must reach him by rail from Louisville . It is, therefore, of vital importance that the line of the railroad is well protected. If good block-houses are constructed at all the important bridges, and strong works of moderate extent thrown up at crossings of Green and Big Barren Rivers, they will greatly diminish the number of troops necessary for the security of that line. These precautionary measures for the protection of railroads have been too much neglected by our generals.
Another matter, to which I would particularly call your attention, is the retention, under various excuses, of troops in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and more particularly in the latter State. With the exception