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[234] man on an errand of mercy and affection to an aged relative north of Dalton. His mission accomplished, he was not allowed to return through Sherman's lines, but was required to go to City Point, on James river, to get a pass from General Grant. When the General was informed of his arrival and wishes he courteously sent for him to come to his headquarters, and entered freely into conversation with him, and left upon the mind of my friend the impression that General Grant himself was the real deus ex machina of Sherman's army while manceuvreing in front of Johnston before Atlanta. He explained that by the aid of the electric telegraph he had free and instant communication with Sherman, and stated that every night they passed some time in telegraphic conversation with each other relative to the day's movements as well as to those to be made on the morrow; and the inference is plain that through all of that campaign Sherman had the benefit of Grant's advice at every stage of it.

After Atlanta was passed, Hood having removed his army from Sherman's path, there was no longer any obstacle to his “march to the sea.” It lay through a pleasant and abundant country, occupied only by women and old men, and Sherman could go on and have his pleasure of the unprotected people — as he did.

During the conversation before recited General Grant remarked to my friend, “When I heard, sir, that your government had removed General Johnston from command of that army, I felt as much relief as if I had been able to reinforce General Sherman with a large army corps.”

Not only has Grant been capable of forming and executing his own plans, but we must give him credit for ability to handle the great armies he forced his government to give him with more facility than any of his predecessors of the Army of the Potomac, McClellan excepted. When Grant took command of that army it had been successively commanded by McDowell, McClellan, Burnside, Pope, Hooker, and Meade. The Army of Northern Virginia had struck the Army of the Potomac under all these generals seriatim, and always, except at Antietam and at Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac had been utterly defeated, and could only be marched away from the presence of its victorious enemy to be reinforced, refitted, and brought back again after repose and reinforcement to attempt anew the “on to Richmond” under another experimental general.

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