War of the Rebellion: Serial 079 Page 0659 Chapter LI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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which otherwise he would have kept to himself. As he is not only the President of the Southern Confederacy but also its Commander- in-Chief, we are bound to attach more importance to his words than we would to those of a mere civil chief magistrate. The whole burden of his song consisted in the statement that Sherman's communications must be broken and his army destroyed. Now, it is a well-settled principle that if we can prevent his succeeding in his threat we defeat him and derive all the moral advantages of a victory. Thus far Hood and Beauregard conjointly have utterly failed to interrupt my supplies or communications with my base. My railroad and telegraph are now in good order from Atlanta back to the Ohio River. His losses at Allatoona, Resaca, Ship's Gap, and Decatur exceed in number (his losses in men) ours at the block- houses at Big Shanty, Allatoona Creek, and Dalton; and the rapidity of his flight from Dalton to Gadsden takes from him all the merit or advantage claimed for his skillful and rapid lodgment made on my railroad. The only question in my mind is whether I ought not to have dogged him far over into Mississippi, trusting to some happy accident to bring him to bay and to battle. But I then thought that by so doing I would play into his hands by being drawn or decoyed too far away from our original line of advance. Besides, I had left at Atlanta a corps and railroad guards back to Chattanooga, which might have fallen an easy prey to his superior cavalry. I felt compelled to do what is usually a mistake in war, divide my forces, send a part back into Tennessee, retaining the balance here. As I have heretofore informed you, I sent Stanley back directly from Gaylesville and Schofield from Rome, both of whom have reached their destinations, and thus far Hood, who had brought up at Florence, is farther from my communications than when he started, and I have in Tennessee a force numerically greater than his, well commanded and well organized, so that I feel no uneasiness on ths score of Hood reaching my main communications. My last accounts from General Thomas are to 9. 30 last night, when Hood's army was about Florence in great distress about provisions, as he well must be. But that devil Forrest was down about Johnsonville and was making havoc among the gun-boats and transports. But Schofield's troops were arriving at Johnsonville and a felt of gun-boats reported coming up from below, able to repair that trouble. But you know that the line of supplies was only opened for summer use when the Cumberland is not to be depended upon. We now have abundant supplies at Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville, with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Cumberland River unmolested, so that I regard Davis' threat to get his army on my rear, or on my communications, as a miserable failure. Now as to the second branch of my proposition, I admit that the first object should be the destruction of that army, and if Beauregard moves his infantry and artillery up into that pocket about Jackson and Paris, I will feel strongly tempted to move Thomas directly against him and myself move rapidly by Decatur and Purdy to cut off his retreat. But this would involve the abandonment of Atlanta and a retrograde movement, which would be very doubtful of expediency or success; for, as a matter of course, Beauregard, who watches me with his cavalry and his friendly citizens, would have timely notice and would slip out and escape to regain what we have earned at so much cost. I am more than satisfied that Beauregard has not the men to attack fortifications or meet me in battle, and it would be a great achievement for him to make me abandon by mere threats and maneuvers. These are the reasons which have determined my former movements. I have employed the last ten days