other is occupied in transporting provisions, &c. This move may be made, if if is begun very soon, in time to enable us to take the initiative in the approaching campaign.
Our strongest and most effective move, however, is to concentrate an army near Abingdon, Va., and throw it into Kentucky upon the enemy's lines of communication. This can be done best by moving General Beauregard up via Greensville, S. C., to unite with my troops and march through Pound Gap.
General Beauregard could collect his transportation and supplies at Greeneville, S. C., for the purpose ostensibly of supplying my army, which could be advertised as about to march by that route for General Johnston's army. Having his supplies and transportation ready, he could throw his troops up by rail and put them on the march as rapidly as they could arrive. We could thus mask the move so completely that our own people would not suspect it before the troops were well on the march for Kentucky.
If General Beauregard could start on his march from Morganton, N. C., he would have some 60 miles less than if he sets out from Greeneville or Spartanburg, S. C. The move itself would not surprise the enemy, of course, but the strength of it would, and we should in all probability encounter a force of his which could not stand before us.
If the enemy is obliged to abandon his present line he must give up nearly, of not all, of Tennessee south of the Cumberland. This of itself will be equal to a great victory for us. If he moves his entire force to the rear for the purpose of attacking General Beauregard with his concentrated forces, General B., if he sees fit, can avoid him, and our armies, Johnston's and Beauregard's, can unite in Tennessee and then advance into Kentucky, or if we only hold Tennessee without a fight we shall have accomplished great moral advantages.
But there can scarcely be a doubt but we can advance into Kentucky and hold that State if we are once united. I presume that nearly all of General Beauregard's troops could be spared from his department by drawing off General Loring's division from Mississippi and General Maury's at Mobile, and replacing the troops drawn from General Beauregard's department by one of these commands, and placing one Atlanta to re-enforce Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, or Dalton.
This last position would only be necessary as a temporary precaution, of course, as the enemy will be entirely occupied by the move into Kentucky as soon as he begins to feel us upon his rear. This move would leave our own positions as securely covered as they now are, at the same time gives us the opportunity to strike a vital blow at the enemy. It can be made much sooner than any other; promises much greater results than any other without such difficult and complicated maneuvers as the move into Middle Tennessee; it gives us the certain means of getting provisions for our troops, and if entirely will put an end to the war.
It has the objection that there may be some difficulty in joining the armies of General Johnston and General Beauregard, but it is more probable that these two armies would be able to unite without serious trouble. After the enemy has been thrown back into Kentucky, and whilst in the confusion an trouble attending his speedy retreat [sic], than that two armies starting from the two ends of the enemy's lines to effect a junction at an intermediate would be able to join and have an opportunity to get a blow at the enemy.