marches and the results of the fighting in that time did not enable the enemy to make prisoners.
His successes and prisoners were subsequent.
On page 49, General Sherman
claims that the strength of the country, by mountains, streams, and forests, gave his enemy a fair offset to his numerical superiority.
, one sees but two semblances
of mountains-Rocky Face, which covered the march by which he “flanked” Dalton
, less than two miles long.
The country was no more unfavorable for the offensive than the Wilderness
, or that on which Lee
fought near Richmond
, or that between Amelia
and Appomattox Court-Houses.
certainly executed his plan of operations with great perseverance, skill, and resolution.
But it is a question if that plan was the best.
The results obtained, compared with those attainable, indicate that it was not. At Dalton
, only the southern left flank was covered by Rocky Face
, not its front; and an attack in front would have been on ground as favorable to the Federal
army as its general could have hoped to find.
With odds of near ten to four, he might well have thought the “breaking up of Johnston
's army” attainable there.
If defeated, Atlanta
, its place of refuge, was one hundred miles off, with three rivers intervening; while the Federal
army, if unsuccessful, had a secure refuge in Chattanooga
, which was easily reached.
, the Federal
general had a still better opportunity, for the two armies met there without intrenchments between them — the Federals
having a line of retreat from their centre directly to the rear; while the Southern
troops, formed near and parallel to the road to Atlanta
, would have been driven from that road by defeat, and, consequently, destroyed.
Battle at either place, whatever the result, would not have cost a fourth of the number of men actually lost.
And success would have ended the campaign, and decided the war.
On page 39, General Sherman
says: “Of course it was to my interest to bring him to battle as soon as possible.”
His overwhelming numbers ought to have made it possible at any time.
The flanking operations forced the Southern
army back to Atlanta
, but could do no more.
There it was safe in intrenchments — much stronger than any it had previously occupied, and too extensive to be invested.
And three railroads met there, either one capable of supplying the army.
So it could have maintained itself there indefinitely, and so won the campaign with little more loss.
This is no afterthought, but was expressed to General Hood
when he took command.
The Federal march to Jonesboroa
caused, but did not compel, the