thus far it has certainly been as successful as nay one could reasonably except. if however, his opponents were to find at the end of three years that we held Kentucky and were as well to do as at the beginning of the war, it would be a powerful argument against Lincoln and against the war. Lincoln's re-election seems to depend upon the result of your efforts during the present year. If he is
reelected, the war must continue, and I see no way of defeating his re-enlisted except by military success.
I was under the impression that General Beauregard could bring into the field at least 20,000 men. These, which what we have here, could go into Kentucky and force the Yankee army out of Tennessee as far back as the borders of Kentucky. If the enemy should attack us before Johnston joins us, he would be obliged to do so in some haste, and we ought, therefore, to be able to beat him. If he uses caution we could maneuver so as to avoid battle and make a junction with Johnston, when we could advance to the Ohio.
This, thorough, should be done without delay and before the enemy can have time to being his plans. If he beings to operate I fear that we shall adopt our usual policy of concentrating our troop s just where he wants them. Dalton, as you say, would be a more easy point of concentration, but I should have to travel a thorough miles to get there, and should then be twice as far from Louisiana as I am at present. His troops (the general's) would be farther from Louisville at Dalton than they would be at Morganton, N. C., and they would be quite as far from Louisville at Dalton at Dalton as they would be at Greenville or Spartanburg, S. C. From Dalton we should be obliged to march through a country that may not be able to supply the army. My chief objection to Dalton, however, is the time that will be occupied in getting there and getting away from there. One or the other I regard as essential.
You speak of the enemy getting behind us to fortify the Cumberland Mountain passes. This I regard as next to an impossibility. He will be obliged to seek a base before he can anything else., and whilst he is doing Johnston can open ours, and we shall have the mountain passes besides.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
MONTGOMERY, March 28, 1864.
Colonel THOMAS M. JACK,
I inclose for General Polk's information, and such action as he my deem proper, copies if important communications from General Johnston's headquarters. I inclose also copies of my instructions to Brigadier-General Clanton, * and of my communications in reply to that from General Johnston. I have received several important and urgent appeals from citizens for force in that region of the State. The people up in that section have a strong conviction that the force now stationed at Decatur of the enemy is designed to make a dash on Central Alabama. I give the general all the fact, embodying important information from that section. I think
* Not found.