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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

October 04, 1863

Lincoln Letter to Rosecrans

President Abraham Lincoln wrote Union General William Rosecrans in Chattanooga, predicting the demise of the “rebellion.” He was mistaken in this assessment, and clearly had lost confidence in Rosecrans. Lincoln would change his plans soon.

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 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 raid 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.