this I propose to demonstrate the vulnerability of the South, and make its inhabitants feel that war and individual ruin are synonymous terms. To pursue Hood is folly, for he can twist and turn like a fox and wear out any army in pursuit. To continue to occupy long lines of railroads simply exposes our small detachments to be picked up in detail and forces me to make countermarches to protect lines of communication. I know I am right in this and shall proceed to its maturity. As to details, I propose to take General Howard and his army, General Schofield and his, and two of your corps, viz, Generals Davis and Slocum. I propose to remain along the Coosa watching Hood until all my preparations are made, viz, until I hare repaired the railroad, sent back all surplus men and material, and stripped for the work. Then I will send General Stanley, with the Fourth Corps, across by Will's Valley and Caperton's to Stevenson to report to you. If you send me 5,000 or 6,000 new conscripts I may also send back one of General Slocum's or Davis' DIVISIONS, but I prefer to maintain organization. I want you to retain command in Tennessee, and before starting I will give you delegated authority over Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, &c., whereby there will be unity of action behind me. I will want you to hold Chattanooga and Decatur in force, and on the occasion of my departure, of which you shall have am I think he will follow me, at least with his cavalry, in which event I want you to push south from Decatur and the head of the Tennessee for Columbus, Miss., and Selma, not absolutely to reach these points, but to divert or pursue according to the state of facts. If, however, Hood turns on you, you must act defensively on the line of the Tennessee. I will ask, and you may also urge, that at the same time Canby act vigorously up the Alabama River. I do not fear that the Southern army will again make a lodgment of the Mississippi, for past events demonstrate how rapidly armies can be raised in the Northwest on that question and how easily handled and supplied. The only hope of a Southern success is in the remote regions difficult of access. We have now a good entering wedge and should drive it home. It will take some time to complete these details, and I hope to hear from you in the mean time. We must preserve a large amount of secrecy, and I may actually change the ultimate point of arrival, but not the main object.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
NASHVILLE, October 20, 1864.
(To be forwarded via Chattanooga.)
The following telegrams just received from Major-General Washburn are forwarded for your information:
JOHNSONVILLE, October 18, 1864.
Major General G. H. THOMAS:
My cavalry has been left at Clifton. General Forrest, from the best information I can obtain, is at Corinth and Eastport, with complete railroad communication from Mobile to Cherokee. Shall I send my cavalry back to Memphis? I think there may be some hazard in crossing the country. The Tennessee is rapidly falling, and Forrest can return to Middle Tennessee whenever he likes, unless there is an adequate force to oppose him. My infantry here, under Colonel Hoge, I will send back to Memphis to insure the safety of that point, but my cavalry can be used to pursue