Letter of William Holland Thomas to Jefferson Davis, November 8, 1862
Strawberry Plains, November 8, 1862
President Jefferson Davis:
Dear Sir: Summer is gone; fall has come. During the latter we came near losing East Tennessee. At present we have to look out for the future.
I beg leave to submit a plan for the defenses of East Tennessee, which has been submitted to General Jones and others, and received their approval:
1st. Let a depot be established at the west end of the bridge at Strawberry Plains.
2d. Let the road be completed from that point into the road leading to Blain’s Cross-Roads.
3d. This would complete the opening of the wagon communication between the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad and Kentucky.
To Secure this communication to be kept open, I would respectfully recommend the establishment of the line of posts, from 15 to 20 miles apart, on the plan adopted on the road leading from the Mississippi Balley to California. The wagons, by stopping at a post each night, could be protected, which would secure us permanently.
To complete this Communication with Kentucky, a guard of Indians or other soldiers would be necessary to pass from post to post and an old-fashioned block-house should be built at such post to protect our troops against sudden emergencies.
The present prices of salt produce the necessity of putting in operation the goose Creek salt works where coal is in convenient distance to the salt works and fuel. But there is another advantage to be anticipated. It will secure the control of the article of salt in the hands of government agents. That is worth more than 5,000 troops. Besides, it will secure a communication with Southern Kentucky to be kept open, which will facilitate trade in beef, bacon, &c.
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