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[480] occasion, and how I thought that they might be most advantageously met.

Before this time General Hood had already crossed the Chattahoochee wth his entire force, moving against the enemy's line of communication. General Forrest, with a strong force of cavalry, had been ordered to Tennessee to strike the railroad from Nashville to Chattanooga. During my visit to Hood's army, I learned that its morale had been partially restored, many absentees had returned to duty, and the waning hope of the people was beginning to revive.

The plan of operations which I had discussed with General Hood while at his headquarters was fully explained to General Beauregard at Augusta, and by him cordially approved. It comprised the occupation of a strong position on the enemy's line of communication by the railroad between Atlanta and Chattanooga, the capture of his depots of supplies and the small garrisons left to guard them. If this, as was probable, should cause Sherman to move to attack us in position, in that case, if the tone of the troops justified it, a battle should be joined; otherwise, he should retreat toward Gadsden, where supplies would be collected, and, should Sherman follow him so far, then there, on the dividing line of the states of Georgia and Alabama, the largest practicable number of militia and home guards of both states would be assembled as an auxiliary force, and there a final stand should be made for a decisive battle. If victorious, as under the circumstances it was hoped we should be, the enemy could not retreat through the wasted country behind him, and must surrender or disperse. If Sherman should not pursue our retiring army to Gadsden, but return to Atlanta to march toward the seacoast, he was to be pursued, and, by our superiority in cavalry, to be prevented from foraging on the country, which, according to our information as to his supplies on hand at Atlanta, and as to his inadequate means of transportation, would be indispensable for the support of his troops. Should Sherman, contrary to that information, have supplies and transportation sufficient to enable him to march across the country, and should he start toward the seacoast, the militia, the local troops, and others who could be employed should obstruct the roads and fords in his front by felling trees, and, by burning bridges and other available means, delaying his progress until his provisions should be consumed and absolute want should deplete if not disintegrate his Army It was supposed that Augusta, on account of our principal powder manufactory and some important workshops being located there, would be the first objective point of Sherman, should he march

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W. T. Sherman (5)
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