course, will be destroyed as the rebels retire, and to wait for them to be rebuilt would consume a season. It therefore appears necessary to leave a force to hold Chattanooga, and with the main army move upon a line of communication that will facilitate, and not retard, our progress. It seems to me that Mobile should be taken this winter, and, if possible, Montgomery. It is the best season of the year for these operations,and a sufficient force I should think, without knowing, is available for the service.
With Montgomery in our possession it might be ventured to move this army to and beyond Atlanta, and look to that for our future line of communication. The advantages of this will readily suggest themselves to you. From that point all that is left of the Confederacy is vulnerable. The enemy would require an army everywhere, and would have one nowhere. It would require Lee to abandon Virginia,or the balance of the South to fall into our hands with a feeble struggle. I should prefer this to canaling or making a railroad portage around what is called the shoals on the Tennessee. That in my judgment would be a great improvement on our existing communications, as then, in our operations with the uninterrupted navigation of the Tennessee, Chattanooga might be made to hold the same relation to the future movements of this army that Nashville has to the past. One-half of the men now established on the line of the railroad for its protection would cover the river. In view of all considerations, and I have given it a good deal of reflection, I prefer the former plan, mainly for the reason that I believe it will lead to a more expeditions and a more certain solution of the vast problem in which we are engaged. I have before communicated to you my views concerning the importance of Chattanooga. The advantages its possession give to us cannot be too highly estimated. With its present defenses a limited force can hold it. In the foregoing I have only indicated my general ideas in order to call it to your attention, and in the hope that you will suggest some wiser ones. At all events it well deserves the study of all. But, whatever plan may be determined on, we shall require men, and I hope that our friends in Congress will not relax in their efforts to raise them, and as speedily as possible. If I mistake not, the spring movements will be delayed from want of troops. The history of the war has shown more vigor and activity in providing men and means in the dark days of our adversity than when they bear a brighter aspect. I fear our friends feel that the war is nearly over, and that there is no cause for further exertion; besides, many of them are liable to be allured this winter from their duties to the country by the great business of president-making. The enemy are evidently looking forward with intense interest to the time when our three years' men will be discharged, and it is then they hope to have their ranks full and to make head against us. I am doing all I can to preserve the veteran regiments, and hope to save all of them in my command. Eight of Geary's regiments have declared their willingness to re-enlist for the war, and the most of them have availed themselves of the thirty days' furlough with that view. Howard's regiments are following their example. No event of the war has afforded me more satisfaction than this. It is conclusive evidence to my mind that our men are here but for one purpose, and that to personally conquer this rebellion. The announcement of this determination will carry dismay to the hearts of the rebels. I very much regret that the suggestion I made in regard to raising negro troops in Kentucky and Tennessee was not thought