HEADQUARTERS, November 28, 1863.
Maj. Gen. L. McLAWS,
GENERAL: Please urge upon your officers the importance of making the assault with a determination to succeed. If the assault is made with that spirit, I shall feel no doubt of its success.
I shall be up before daylight.
HEADQUARTERS HOOD'S DIVISION, November 28, 1863.
Lieutenant Gen. JAMES LONGSTREET:
GENERAL: It may become very important to know whether the fort which General McLaws is to attack is an inclosed work or not. I suppose that this has been discovered by sight from the other side of the river, and I will be much obliged for any information on the subject. I rode over to General McLaws' headquarters just after you left it in the hopes of meeting you as well as to get understanding of his plan of operations, so that I might act knowingly. His attack I fear will have too much daylight to relieve us from the effect of the enemy's guns. I met General Gracie in riding over, and his impression [from previous sight and acquaintance] gives formidable depth to the ditches. The depth of ditch was 4 or 5 feet when he left it. The height of parapet and cotton-bales will make an ascent 11 or 12 feet from the bottom of the ditch up slippery clay. I suggested to General McLaws that the assailing party carry fascines to fill the ditch; but he said they knew nothing about such things, and they would trust to luck in getting around or over. An attack upon which depends the safety of our army, and perhaps country, should have every advantage that science can give. Your note of this evening calling for all my energy will meet with the response of every energy and capacity that God has given me. In the event of a repulse [which may God forbid], I suppose we will endeavor to reform, covered by Johnson's division, on our own intrenchments. Johnson's division, I notice, has not encamped where he could avail me in case of a battle when we advance our skirmish-line, covering with skirmishers much more front than I could begin to fill in line of battle with a diminished division. I would make my fight from my right as far to the left as I could cover in line, in case an engagement is drawn on outside the enemy's line. I have made all my arrangements for sustaining my part in the affair. In case of the initial success in carrying the fort, upon which the affair hinges, General Gracie's knowledge of the town and locality will be very useful in continuing our movements.
I am, general, with earnest wishes for our complete success and great respect,