Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 12, 1863 (Wednesday):Lincoln and Rosecrans Compare Notes

Period Telegraph (Lincoln Library and Museum)

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 12, 1863-8.35. a.m.
Major-General ROSECRANS, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
    As I understand Burnside is menaced from the east, and so cannot go to you without surrendering East Tennessee. I now think the enemy will not attack Chattanooga, and I think you will have to look out for his making a concentrated drive at Burnside. You and Burnside now have him by the throat, and he must break your hold or perish. I therefore think you better try to hold the road up to Kingston, leaving Burnside to what is above there. Sherman is coming to you, though gaps in the telegraph prevent our knowing how far he is advanced. He and Hooker will so support you on the west and northwest as to enable you to look east and northeast. This is not an order. General Halleck will give his views.


Chattanooga, October 12, 1863-3 p.m.
(Received 8.45. p.m.)
Honorable A. LINCOLN, President United States:
    Line from here to Kingston is long; our side is barren mountain; rebel side has railroad. Our danger is subsistence. We cannot bring up Hooker to cover our left against a crossing above us, for want of means to transport provisions and horse-feed. Enemy's side of valley full of corn. Every exertion will be made to hold what we have and gain more, after which we must put our trust in God, who never fails those who truly trust.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 30, Part 4, Page 306.

Lincoln believed the end of the war was becoming in sight if only Rosecrans could hold out.  What he did not take into account was Rosecrans troops were starving in Chattanooga.  Burnside was not nearly so menaced as Lincoln (and Burnside) believed, and it was their good fortune to be facing Braxton Bragg and not a more able general, else there existed the possibility of Rosecrans force being reduced to submission. 

No comments:

Post a Comment