The backing, digging, and constant service in trenches, from Dalton to Atlanta, had very perceptibly injured the morale of the Confederate forces before General Johnston was relieved from command.
The condition of that army had not been improved by the loss of Atlanta, and its practical efficiency was likely to be ruined if the policy of backing and digging was continued.
Hood determined to move against the railroad over which Sherman, in Atlanta, drew all his supplies from Nashville, then invade Tennessee, transfer the theater of operations to that State, and perhaps to Kentucky and the Ohio River.
He believed that a change from the defensive, in trenches, to the active offensive would reestablish the morale of his army, present many chances of success, free north Georgia, and probably arrest the previous tide of Federal successes in the West.
It seemed to him that the passive policy — waiting for Sherman to manoeuvre the Confederate army back from one position to