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[81] force, to drive Burnside from East Tennessee. The government was exceedingly anxious to hold this section of country, not only on account of its strategic importance, but for the sake of the loyal inhabitants who had suffered the malignant persecution of the rebels. Grant was informed of the importance attached to this by the government, and appreciated the urgency of the case. But it was impossible to reenforce Burnside, for the latter had no supplies for additional troops, and there was no way of sending supplies; while to weaken the forces at Chattanooga would invite an attack on that place by Bragg's strong army. Grant therefore determined that the only way in which he could relieve Burnside was to attack the rebels before Chattanooga, and compel Longstreet to abandon his movement. For this purpose he was most anxious for the arrival of Sherman, without whose forces such an attack could not be made. But Sherman encountered many difficulties in moving his forces hundreds of miles through the enemy's country, and Grant was for once impatient, not at Sherman's delay, for he knew that was unavoidable, but lest he might be too late, and Burnside be captured or driven from East Tennessee. He urged the latter to maintain himself as long as possible, promising soon to relieve him by a movement at Chattanooga; and as Sherman's forces drew near, he several times issued orders for an attack, but was compelled to countermand them, for the very elements seemed to conspire to retard the movement of Sherman's column.

But at last the wished — for troops arrived, weary with their long and difficult march, but having all the toughness

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