Perhaps it may be desirable that I should give my reasons in brief for concurring with General Sherman in his first proposed plan of operations. In the first place, that line of connection with the coast is the shortest and most direct; second, by cutting off a smaller slice of rebel territory it is not so directly exposed, and leaves a smaller force to attack in rear; THIRD, it does not leave Tennessee and Kentucky so open to rebel raids; fourth, the Alabama River is more navigable for our gun-boats than the Savannah; fifth, this line is more defensible for General Canby's troops than the other; sixth, Montgomery, Selma, and Mobile are, in a military point of view, more important than Augusta, Millen, and Savannah; seventh, Mobile can be more easily captured than Savannah, and eight, this line will bring within our control a more valuable and important section of country than that by the Savannah. There is a section of country from FIFTY to one hundred and FIFTY miles wide extending from Selma WEST to Meridian, and thence north on both sides of the Tombigbee to Columbus, Aderdeen, and Okolona, more rich in agricultural products than any equal extent of country in the Confederacy. Slave labor has been but very little disturbed in this section, and the large corps of this year are being collected at Demopolis, Selma, Montgomery, and other points for the use of the rebel army. By moving that line they will be converted to our use or be destroyed. By moving on Augusta they will be left for the use of Hood's forces.
I do not write this for the purpose of influencing your adoption of a particular plan of camping, or of changing your decision, if you have adopted any plan, but simply to urge on you an early decision if you have not already made one. It is proper, however, to remark that I have taken every possible means to obtain correct information on the subject and present these conclusions only after through examination and the most mature consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Nashville, Tenn., October 2, 1864.
Brigadier General J. L. DONALDSON,
Chief Quartermaster, Department of the Cumberland:
GENERAL; It is highly desirable that every men that can be mounted should be. To do this it will be necessary to get every horse and sandle that can be raised in your department. You will please have turned over to Captain Irvin by 3 p. m. to-day for issue to the cavalry, under instructions from chief of cavalry, all public animals that can be spared. Officers, clerks, &c., have horses to which they are not entitled. These must be turned in to Captain Irvin by 3 p. m. to-day. The saddles, horses, &c., will be receipted for. It has been observed that many fine cavalry horses are used as carriage horses by officers. These, of course, should be turned over. Please have the matter attended to at once, as the emergency is great.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
J. D. WEBSTER,