run out before the Charleston and Savannah road is cut. Should Sherman reach any point on that road, or a column come out from Beaufort and occupy it, everything of value in Savannah must be lost; for if well out on the Gulf road to Thomasville, a raiding party of 1,000 men would find no difficulty in destroying it. It is impossible for us here to say where Sherman is going. Your last telegram left him at Numbers 9, ten miles above Millen. Supposing the rear column may reach Grahamville, he may move down the Central road to savannah, in which case no concentration can be made against him, as he would tear up the road as he advanced, whilst both flanks would be protected, the one by the Savannah and the other by the Ogeechee River. Such forces as might be at Savannah, unable to escape to Charleston and beyond the reach of re-enforcements, would have to retire toward Thomasville. Indeed, if the enemy should establish himself on the Charleston and Savannah road-either by moving up from the sea and down from Georgia-Savannah, Southern Georgia, and all Florida would pass into his hands. This will be evident upon an inspection of the map. It would seem to be of the first importance, therefore, to save the movable railway property at Savannah, of which there is a large amount, and to do this it must be removed before the Charleston and savannah road is cut, unless Sherman cross the river opposite Millen, in which case it might be moved up the Central road to that point.
Of Sherman's ultimate object there can be but little doubt, viz, the reduction of Savannah or Charleston. If the former, then he will establish a water base there and throw forward his advance to Millen, and thus cut out communications. if Charleston be his object, as it probably is, then his establishment at that place would leave him only sixty miles to march to reach Branchville, where he would place himself astride the only line by which we can communicate with the South. In this event his base would be unassailable and his flanks, admirably protected by a river and swamp on either hand, would be free from attack. For four years the enemy has tried to penetrate the Confederacy from the north and east by land. He reached Atlanta it is true, but found it impossible to keep open his communications, since the further he advanced the longer and more difficult of defense became his base and line of communication. This policy, it now appears, has been changed. Hereafter he will operate from the sea or some of its tributaries. This makes his lease safe, and renders it easy to protect his short communications. This policy reduces the length of his communications to sixty miles from Charleston to Branchville, whereas before it was near 500 miles from Louisville to Atlanta. After charleston, Wilmington will probably be the next point of attack, and then Richmond. These ideas have been floating through my mind. There may be nothing in them. All I can hope is that you will excuse me for presuming to send them to you. It strikes me that of concentration is the only alternative left us, and should be adopted. We must make up our minds to abandon some place and concentrate for a stubborn resistance. There is nothing new here. I do not think Grant has the least idea of attacking Lee. He is only maneuvering to prevent his sending re-enforcements of Georgia. Colonel Forsyth is here and well. The president has disapproved of the finding in the case of his son Charles.
Very truly, yours,
P. W. ALEXANDER.