Abraham Lincoln always saw the situation at Chattanooga as an opportunity.
WAR DEPARTMENT, October 12, 1863.8.35 A.M.
MAJOR-GENERAL ROSECRANS, Chattanooga, Term.:
As I understand, Burnside is menaced from the west, 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.