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bandon such posts as Chattanooga, Stevenson, Huntsville, Decatur, Athens, &c., and in effect relinquish more to the enemy than they could hope to win by a victory.
He knew that time was on his side — that, if he fell back to Nashville, showing a firm front that would compel Hood to keep his army together, our strength would be constantly augmenting, while the enemy must be steadily weakened.
There was a more brilliant alternative, but he chose to be safe.
While Sherman remained near Kingston, Ga., menacing his flank and rear, Hood seemed to linger on the Tennessee; possibly deeming the odds against him too great; perhaps not yet fully provided and equipped for his great venture.
At length, a dispatch from Sherman
Dated Cartersville, Ga., Nov. 12. apprised Thomas that the former had cut loose from his base and started southward from Atlanta on his Great March ; and no sooner had the tidings reached Hood, still at Florence, Ala., where he had a pontoon bridge, with part of his