all their available forces at Tuscumbia, or in that vicinity, to co-operate with Rosecrans. This exhausts all the available forces we have in the west on the east side of the Mississippi River. Banks and Steele are operating in Louisiana and Arkansas, and no troops can be withdrawn from them without breaking up their expeditions.
You will see from this statement that I have done all in my power to meet the contingency of the probably fear an attack on Atlanta, or seek to crush Rosecrans and recover East Tennessee.
In regard to your own army, you are aware that it will be impossible at present in any contingency to give you any considerable re-enforcements. No rash movements can, therefore, be ventured. Nevertheless, if Lee's force has been very considerably reduced, something may be done to weaken him or force him still farther back. Moreover, all the country this side of the Rapidan can be stripped of supplies, to support our army and to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy if he should again advance. All provisions and forage not required for the immediate support of non-combatants should be taken.
The enemy probably saw that if you and Rosecrans could hold your present position till Grant and Banks cleaned out the States His policy undoubtedly was to concentrate all his available forces against you or Rosecrans. All the information I could gather until within the last few days indicated that you would be attacked. It would now seem that Rosecrans and Burnside will be made to receive the shock.
I think, for obvious reasons, that this letter should be immediately destroyed. You can at any time obtain a copy from the archives here.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, September 15, 1863.
If I did not misunderstand General Meade's last dispatch, he posts you on facts as well as he can, and desires your views and those of the Government as to what he shall do. My opinion is that he should move upon Lee at once in manner of general attack, leaving to developments whether he will make it a real attack. I think this would develop Lee's real condition and purposes better than the cavalry alone can do. Of course, my opinion is not to control you and General Meade.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
September 15, 1863-12 p. m.
GENERAL: Your letter of this date, per Captain Wager, has been received, read, and destroyed. In accordance with the views therein