On my passage through Washington in January, 1865, Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War, confirmed the view I had taken of the situation, and gave reasons for it before unknown to me, by telling me it was regarded by the administration as an absolute financial necessity that the war be ended in the campaign then about to begin. It is, perhaps, not strange that General Thomas had not thought of this; but it does seem remarkable that he should have proposed to let a broken and dispirited enemy have several months in which to recuperate before annoying him any further. The expectation and instructions of General Grant and General Sherman were that General Thomas should, as soon as he was ready to take the offensive, pursue Hood into the Gulf States. General Thomas appears to have forgotten that part of his instructions. As soon as he had driven Hood across the river, he proposed to go into winter quarters, and ‘hold the line of the Tennessee’ till some time the next spring. If General Sherman
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