War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0814 KY.,SW.VA.,Tennessee,MISS.,N.ALA., AND N.GA. Chapter XLIII.

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signal, conclusive victory until we can manage to throw a heavy and overwhelming mass of our forces upon the fractions of the enemy, and at the same time successfully strike at his communications without exposing our own. I believe this may yet be done. Not knowing, however, our present available forces and their locations, I am unable to make a definite or detailed plan of operations, but I believe I am warranted is assuming that we have under arms 210,000 effective men, distributed as follows:

In the Trans-Mississippi Department,say.................. 40,000

Department of Alabama and Mississippi, say............... 15,000

Under Hardee,including Longstreet,say.................... 60,000

Department of South Carolina, Georgia,and Florida,say..... 28,000

Department of North Carolina, say........................ 7,000

Department of Virginia,say............................... 60,000

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Total.................................................... 210,000

Looking at a map of the Confederate States, it will be seen that the most injurious blow which the enemy could strike at present would be to take possession of Atlanta, thus isolating still more completely the trans-Mississippi States, and detaching, in a great measure, the States of Mississippi and Alabama from the eastern portion of the Confederacy. It would also be a deplorable injury to the energeting, populous State of Georgia, and cripple the great resources of that people. We should, therefore, regard Atlanta as the actual objective point of the large force which the enemy has concentrated about Chattanooga, and the one which we must at all cost prevent him from obtaining. In this state of affairs, throwing aside all other considerations, subordinating all other operations to this one vital campaign, at a concerted moment we must withdraw from other points a portion of their forces - all, indeed, not absolutely essential for keeping up a show of defense or safety against a coup de main, and concentrate in this way every soldier possible for operations against General Grant. Such strategic points as Richmond, Weldon, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and Meridian or Jackson, Miss., at the same time should be fortified, garrisoned, and provisioned, according to their present relative value to the Confederate States, sufficiently to prolong their defense it attacked or besieged until troops for their relief could be detached, as required, from the army in Northwestern Georgia.

I will now state, approximately, what troops may, in my belief, be withdrawn from the following quarters and added to the army at or about Dalton, namely:

From Alabama and Mississippi............................. 10,000

From South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida................. 8,000

From North Carolina...................................... 2,000

From Virginia............................................ 20,000

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Total.................................................... 40,000

These 40,000 men, added with celerity to the force now under Hardee, and including that under Longstreet and other detachments, would make an army of 100,000 men. Let this army take the offensive at once, and, properly handled, it should crush any force that Grant could assemble in time an oppose, scattered as he evidently is, and unprepared as he would be for such an event.

To insure the success of a plan of operations the press must be let do preserve complete silence touching all military movements.