telegraphed him: “Go on as you propose.”
In anticipation of this permission, he had been preparing himself ever since Hood
left him a clear path by starting westward on his campaign of invasion.
, he sent back his sick and wounded and surplus stores to Chattanooga
, withdrew the garrisons, burned the bridges, broke up the railroad, and destroyed the mills, foundries, shops and public buildings in Atlanta
With sixty thousand of his best soldiers, and sixty-five guns, he started on November 15 on his march of three hundred miles to the Atlantic
They carried with them twenty days supplies of provisions, five days supply of forage, and two hundred rounds of ammunition, of which each man carried forty rounds.
With perfect confidence in their leader, with perfect trust in each others' valor, endurance and good comradeship, in the fine weather of the Southern
autumn, and singing the inspiring melody of “John Brown
's body,” Sherman
's army began its “marching through Georgia
” as gaily as if it were starting on a holiday.
And, indeed, it may almost be said such was their experience in comparison with the hardships of war which many of these veterans had seen in their varied campaigning.
They marched as nearly as might be in four parallel columns abreast, making an average of about fifteen miles a day. Kilpatrick
's admirable cavalry kept their front and flanks free from the improvised militia and irregular troopers of the enemy.
Carefully organized foraging parties brought in their daily supply of miscellaneous provisions-corn, meat, poultry, and sweet potatoes, of which the season had yielded an abundant harvest along their route.
The Confederate authorities issued excited proclamations and orders, calling on the people to “fly to arms,” and to “assail the invader in front, flank, and ”