To William S. Rosecrans

Major General Rosecrans:            Washington, D.C.,
Chattanooga, Tenn.                        Oct 4. 1863

Yours of yesterday received. If we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die. I think you and Burnside can do this; and hence doing so is your main object. Of course, to greatly damage, or destroy, the enemy in your front would be a greater object, because it would include the former, and more; but it is not so certainly within your power. I understand the main body of the enemy is very near you—so near that you could “board at home” so to speak, and menace or attack him any day. Would not the doing of this, be your best mode of counteracting his raids on your communications? But this is not an order. I intend doing something like what you suggest, whenever the case shall appear ripe enough to have it accepted in the true understanding, rather than as a confession of weakness and fear. A. LINCOLN

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