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[305] Sherman's army, without delaying its march a single day. Sherman could thus have easily struck Hood south of the Tennessee before the latter could have made his preparations for crossing that river. Indeed, with Sherman marching in that direction, even so bold a man as Hood could hardly have been so reckless as to have crossed the Tennessee; and if he had, his destruction must have been sure. Hence the least result would have been simply to transfer the theater of operations from Georgia to Alabama, or perhaps to Mississippi, and greatly to shorten Sherman's line of supply. And what possible difference could it make in which part of the revolted States the theater of war might be, so long as the Confederate army, to destroy which was the only important object of a campaign, was there? To avoid a transfer of the battlefield from Georgia to Alabama or Mississippi, was it wise to run the risk of transferring it to Kentucky or Ohio? Perhaps no movement which could have been contemplated by the Confederate authorities would have been more greatly to Sherman's advantage over Hood than the one they adopted.

I cannot better show my own exact impression at the time respecting the operations of Sherman and Hood in 1864, than by an illustration that will be at once appreciated on every farm in America. When two fighting-cocks meet for the first time, battle is joined without delay, and is prosecuted with all possible vigor and skill. If the result is decisive the victor's triumph is loudly proclaimed, while the defeated combatant, with lowered crest, seeks safety in flight. If, on the contrary, the result is a drawn battle, the two antagonists, as if by common consent, slowly separate, carrying their heads high, and sharply watching each other. When distance has assured the close of that contest, they severally go to feeding, as if nothing unusual had happened, or else march off to seek some less formidable foe. Neither

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William T. Sherman (6)
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